P.E.I. needs more power to attract immigrants, premier tells chamber

Dave Stewart
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Premier Robert Ghiz

Premier Robert Ghiz and his Atlantic counterparts are pushing Ottawa for more power when it comes to immigration.

Ghiz told the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday that the Atlantic premiers, who will be meeting in Charlottetown this summer, would like to bring more immigrants in.

Right now, the federal government caps the number of immigrants provinces are allowed to bring in. In P.E.I., the number is around 460 this year.

“We believe if we’re going to grow our economies, grow our populations that immigration is extremely important,’’ Ghiz told The Guardian after speaking at the chamber’s annual general meeting. “We want to see our numbers be able to rise so that we’re able to grow.’’

Most immigrants these days tend to prefer the larger cities such as Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

“I think if the federal government was able to give us more of a cap in terms of the amount of immigrants that we’re allowed to bring in per year it would give us more of an opportunity — one, to grow our population and also to retain those immigrants.’’

Ghiz said the province’s economy is in pretty good shape overall, with real GDP growth expected this year around 1.5 per cent. The labour force, he noted, has expanded by 2.4 per cent while the number of jobs created is up 8.4 per cent since 2007.

The bioscience sector is one area of the province’s economy that’s growing. Employment has increased from 750 people in 2009 to nearly 1,000 last year.

The premier also noted that the IT and aerospace sectors are growing as well. But, he said, P.E.I. can’t rely on natural resources like Alberta, Saskatchewan or Newfoundland and Labrador.

So Ghiz says one of the areas that the province needs to focus on is bringing more people in.

The premier said auto sales rose 12 per cent in 2013 and immigrants are buying a lot of them.

Tingting Hu, an immigrant who graduated this month from UPEI, was at Wednesday’s chamber meeting. Later, she told The Guardian that P.E.I. would retain more immigrants if there were more opportunities for them here.

“I think we need internship opportunities because we always get asked ‘Do you have related work experience in the position you are applying for?’,’’ Hu said, noting that many are just coming out of school and haven’t had the chance to gain experience.

“That does not mean that we don’t learn or that we’re not capable of doing the things in the job description. We just need the opportunity to start and learn and then we’ll be good to go.’’

Hu said she would like to see more entry-level jobs, to start with, that don’t require Canadian citizenship.

“A mentorship would be nice. I think the chamber is trying to do something about that.’’

The chamber is putting emphasis on mentorship for entrepreneurs but Hu wants to see a program for those coming out of UPEI and Holland College.

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

 

Organizations: Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce

Geographic location: P.E.I., Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • ss
    November 16, 2014 - 00:10

    There are a lot of people in Canada who need work. Please, offer the same incentives to Canadians before reaching overseas. If we were given these opportunities, many skilled Canadians could come out of poverty and get back on their feet. Why is this being overlooked? I agree with the commenters that the youth and people of PEI should be trained and given the jobs first, then other Canadians. To give work out when PEI residents and Canadian residents are out of work isn't right.

  • Aaron
    July 20, 2014 - 13:39

    How about a little focus on education. Or better yet, make it a priority. The youth of the island, native and immigrant alike, deserve better. We should be giving our children the educational opportunities that we all want for them. Our government either believes that isn't possible or that it isn't worth the capital. They would rather ship in an expert than have the youth of this province become the expert.

  • w kennedy
    May 25, 2014 - 02:53

    Unless you have money to buy a new car all politicians are mostly set up to to sell something and tend to act and dress like used car salesmen. How long western countries can hold up under the sell off of national assets who knows? This is another clear indication of public majority opinion that was ignored before the internet and for that reason I expect in the future changes made to it to better control the "sheeple"

  • Rickerando
    May 22, 2014 - 16:10

    I came here to retire and get out of the hustle and bustle of Big City life. I love it here. There are a lot of people in Canada, WITH MONEY, that are looking to do the same. Let us provide a 'shout-out' to them to come here and enjoy a laid-back life whilst spending their (often) substantial retirement income. Their positive financial input is important too.

    • reality
      May 23, 2014 - 05:41

      that will require a lot of maids,servants and menial task providers --islanders are not able to pay their their bills with those wages- yes send all the islanders away to Boston,Toronto , Montreal ,Fort M etc etc as has been done throughout pei history and take in immigrants who are used to sub standard wages

  • voter
    May 22, 2014 - 14:29

    he gave up on making it attractive for islanders to live here --he just wants people who will work for little or nothing---moving back to the slave days, he hopes------the more poor people the better

    • of course
      May 22, 2014 - 17:26

      Typical Liberal in general, but Ghiz is off the ropes.

  • endangered islander
    May 22, 2014 - 13:06

    When we were young we all heard of a fairy tale about King John and Robin Hood ..we are living it on PEI with this group. Where is Robin Hood? We need help. The help here runs surpluses. Look at the mortgage sales in the paper lately,people cannot afford to live here anymore with the taxes and fees. We voted them in because they said no HST, open and accountable government, a doctor for every islander, no patronage, balance the books, off course Plan B ,spending money we didn’t have…the list goes on……..Now they, the very ones that we voted in , these liars, intend to replace by the rich that can afford to pay these dictators and their friends money to come live here. We will never be able to compete with the rich from the world. Also the Order of PEI where no other opinion counts…”just change the law”……is this how democracy is supposed to work or dictatorship? Make a “tough decision” put in recall legislation …”just change the law”……so we can get rid of these arrogant undemocratic dictators NOW. Anonymous….so I don’t get a road moved over top of my house…

    • Great comment!!
      May 22, 2014 - 18:11

      A real true statement of Ghiz and his very inept government! He has never held a true working job in his life; and it shows through his lies about patronage, plan B, PNP files, HST, a doctor for every Islander, lower the cost of gasoline, reduce the deficit, and no doubt, many,many others!! This little man has acted like a dictator is many, many ways; and has used his gift of the gab to deceive Islanders, time and time again! I really believe that he and his inept gang of Lieberals will be re- elected again; when he agains deceives Islanders through his deception!!!

  • endangered islander
    May 22, 2014 - 13:03

    When we were young we all heard of a fairy tale about King John and Robin Hood ..we are living it on PEI with this group. Where is Robin Hood? We need help. The help here runs surpluses. Look at the mortgage sales in the paper lately,people cannot afford to live here anymore with the taxes and fees. We voted them in because they said no HST, open and accountable government, a doctor for every islander, no patronage, balance the books, off course Plan B ,spending money we didn’t have…the list goes on……..Now they, the very ones that we voted in , these liars, intend to replace by the rich that can afford to pay these dictators and their friends money to come live here. We will never be able to compete with the rich from the world. Also the Order of PEI where no other opinion counts…”just change the law”……is this how democracy is supposed to work or dictatorship? Make a “tough decision” put in recall legislation …”just change the law”……so we can get rid of these arrogant undemocratic dictators NOW. Anonymous….so I don’t get a road moved over top of my house…

  • Albert A bound
    May 22, 2014 - 10:54

    Why not try to keep people here by lowering income taxes and raising the deductions. We are taxed to death and you keep downloading taxes from your business friends to the workers who cannot afford it. I thought it was the people who elected you not the business.Ghiz you are not a liberal at all think Justin should talk to you put you in your place

  • TOO LEFT AND NOT LOOKING BACK
    May 22, 2014 - 10:50

    I congratulate you for not using EI when you can work. What you do not realize is that on PEI Employment Insurance is a way of life and has been since it was created. People realized that all the had to do was work 10 or 14 weeks per year and sit back the rest of the time. Now a couple of generations later nothing has changed. I personally had a 16 year old who I offered a job raking my yard at 10 dollars an hours tell me that he wouldn't ever consider it for less then 17 dollars an hour. These are kids that are graduating high school that cannot ever read their diploma and you wonder why there is a BIG PROBLEM on PEI.

  • Dave Anger
    May 22, 2014 - 10:44

    My kids are having a problem getting work there is only work available during the summer months when tourism hires summer workers. you do not put more people on a sinking ship.

  • Stunned!
    May 22, 2014 - 08:31

    You have got to be kidding me....we do not need more immigrants. I recently had a young family member search for a job on the Island. He couldn't even find work at McD's, Tim's or even Subway. This is a huge factor that is going to affect our island people for years and years to come. I have no idea what the younger generation coming up, that will be looking for part-time work during school are going to do, there are no jobs out there now....The immigrants have them all, especially in the fast food industry, jobs which should be reserved for our young islanders. This disgust me! Ghiz is in no way!!looking out for islanders, he is actually trying to make us extinct!!

  • Donna
    May 22, 2014 - 07:52

    My family are American. We are a very skilled IT family with an average income. We have been trying to emigrate to rural PEI for over three years. We have had one job interview,via phone and have been told we would hire you but the paperwork is to hard. We would love to make this place our home, but have found it impossible. To get a job you need a work permit we have also been told to get a work permit you need a job???? As an American you can come stay for 6 months, but can not look for a job in that time. Your government makes it as hard as possible. We are very skilled law abiding people and have been turned away. I do not think this island is serious about Americans who are not rich coming here.

  • Whatanembarrasmenthe is to us..
    May 22, 2014 - 07:48

    We need more of our OWN PEI people out there working, Not bring more people from other places to work those same jobs.We have the jobs and the people to fill these jobs, Get them out there working, Too many jobs lost to imigrants now. This is not a joke, But he is. giz does NOT need more power. He has been a negative to our people already.hst.hymay . and much more.

  • Tim "the tool man" Taylor
    May 21, 2014 - 21:21

    What do we need?.... MORE POWER! *grunt grunt grunt*

  • Cyril
    May 21, 2014 - 20:53

    Maybe you could improve the economy to attract new immigrants if you would stop wasting so much money on these Royals.To spend $150,000 on this visit is very wastefull

  • Disgruntled
    May 21, 2014 - 19:42

    This government showed Ottawa what happens if you leave dirty politics involved in the PnP Program. We/PEIslanders are extremely lucky Ottawa allows us any foreign investment after the last round of corruption. Foreign investment $ are a real chance to grow the economy but the last $400+ million simply made a lot of "Friends" wealthier. congrats to the legitimate businesses that received $ honestly and spent it. We heed a mmmaaajjjooorrr shake up in policy before anything can happen.

  • Charles Foster
    Charles Foster
    May 21, 2014 - 18:51

    When governments have lost the capability to maintain or generate economic growth they turn to immigration. If economic and population growth is what you want then those who already reside here should first be given new opportunities and encouraged to have children - not outsiders.

    • Opportunities to have children?
      May 22, 2014 - 06:16

      IMO Islanders have too much opportunity to do so - based on lack of work, or work ethic - and the real problem is lack of a proper education. Collectively we are responsible for an education system which does not properly educate our children, and fosters the conclusion to move 'away' in order to prosper. Immigration is the last hope for this Island, but administered by independent, non-corrupt oversight.

  • A host of lies.!
    May 21, 2014 - 18:04

    Why would immigrants want to come to PEI, when Ghiz and his government has increased the debt by over a BILLION dollars in just eight years? He has also increased the taxes to Islanders, who have the lowest income in Canada, to record levels. His government will go down as the worst in PEI history; even worse that the government of Catherine Rollback Callbeck!!!

  • AMAZED
    May 21, 2014 - 17:46

    Harper says there are about 6000 Chinese for PNP program did not qualify ...don't know how many are affected on PEI but there will be a dirty bill refunding some of these claimants !!!

  • johnthames
    May 21, 2014 - 16:56

    We saw what happened the last time Mr. Ghiz had more power to attract immigrants -- a lot of Liberals got rich, and the immigrants got the shaft. No Mr. Ghiz, you cannot be trusted on this file, the fed will not be giving you any more ability with PNP. And for very good reason, even though we do need more immigrants to replace all the islanders that have left in part thanks to your poor governing.

  • rob
    May 21, 2014 - 16:48

    im wondering how many lost votes for liberal party happened in the last couple days? wow!!.and if islanders vote this party in next election,your as stupid as ghiz thinks you are!!!

    • And........
      May 22, 2014 - 06:48

      And if you vote the conservatives back in you are equally as stupid. Time for a new government that doesn't include the patronage loving revolving door crooks.

  • dear Ghiz
    May 21, 2014 - 16:47

    "Premier Robert Ghiz wants more power when it comes to attracting immigrants to P.E.I." Islanders want you OUT of POWER.

  • PNP largesse
    May 21, 2014 - 16:41

    What? Did he blow through all his ill gotten PNP funds already? Don't give him anymore power to rip anybody else off. He already proved he couldn't be trusted with the previous program.

  • george
    May 21, 2014 - 16:22

    no More pnp money ghiz

  • Apples
    May 21, 2014 - 15:59

    We have all seen how the man uses the power he has now, can anyone imagine the man with more power!!!! He doesn't know how to use the power he has now. How rich can the man and his friends get at the hands of the immigration community.

  • kerry neil
    May 21, 2014 - 15:09

    this this guy out of his mind?

  • Keep Digging
    May 21, 2014 - 14:57

    WELL..... What a great area to concentrate your efforts on Mr. Ghiz. Let me guess, tomorrow it'll be "how do I keep Islanders from leaving the province for work"?? Can't have it both ways... an intake of 460 in a province that can't sustain itself now isn't enough?? More federal dollars must be the final goal... Keep digging Ghiz, you'll get us all there... Unreal...

  • for what
    May 21, 2014 - 13:39

    Bring immigrants here for what? You are not taking care of the Islanders as it is.

  • Joe Smith
    May 21, 2014 - 13:06

    With our out of control debt and deficit and exorbitant tax rates, what immigrant would choose PEI as a destination? These things are well within Premier Ghiz's control if he wishes to do something about it. As it would get in the way of patronage and pork barrel politics I doubt he's much interested.

  • Perhaps
    May 21, 2014 - 12:28

    Perhaps if this corrupt government and the one that preceded it didn't lie, cheat and steal with the PNP program the cap on immigrants would be higher.

  • Mell
    May 21, 2014 - 12:13

    Would it be because these folks pay thousands of dollars to come here and open businesses and then get shafted or move on after they have "served the time"?

  • TOO MUCH POWER NOW
    May 21, 2014 - 12:08

    Wasn't the PNP farce enough. How much more power do you need. Islanders flocking West in order to live and your concern is bringing in new immigrants. wouldn't only be for the money would it? Try doing something for the people who are already here .

  • Islander
    May 21, 2014 - 12:07

    I think the government needs to focus on ISLANDERS. People that want to make their living here but have no choice but to move away to provide for their families. Everyday there are young Island families packing up and leaving. Attracting Immigrants is all well and good but what about the people that have family here and now have to leave because there is no jobs.

    • Sasha
      May 21, 2014 - 13:56

      Maybe jobless Islanders should focus on themselves and should stop looking to government for handouts. If you have no job - just create one or two or five - just the way immigrants do. Government should not be creating any more jobs, ever - with all new technology they should be able to shed of some jobs every year.

    • SlyFox
      May 21, 2014 - 16:03

      Sasha how out of touch are you? You think someone who is unemployed would have the funds to start up a new business?

    • Left and not looking back
      May 22, 2014 - 09:19

      Problem is that many of the jobs that immigrants take are too good for islanders. They'd rather draw EI then work at Tim Hortons or McDonald. although they have no education tosupport those lofty career aspirations. I am a university educated multiple degreed person who works in hi tech in Ontario and got laid off. To feed myself and stay off EI, I slung beer and coffee and did what I had to. If I lost my job today I'd do the SAME thing. Many (not ALL) Islanders are too quick to blame government and look for a handout. Look at the education levels and I don't mean poor performing schools. I mean skilled labour or specialized education that can make you competitive in the job market. Worse comes to worse there are plenty of Tim Hortons on the Island....

  • ...
    May 21, 2014 - 12:04

    Im all for diversity, but this should not be a priority. We need more jobs for our Islanders, we need more addictions services. We DO NOT need more power to bring immigrants here and keep them here.

    • wallace
      May 22, 2014 - 18:14

      I would like to know what a 'raw' immigrant cost the taxpayers of this province e.g. language training, settlement costs and possibly social assistance during the "adjustment' time. --- Tell us, Ghiz? It would be interesting to know. --- Part of our problem is that the businesses don't train anybody, only if they can grab huge amounts of training subsidy, - it is pathetic how the taxpayers support businesses who purport to be the driving force of the economy, --- it is all around and around, - biting our own tail, while a few are skimming profits off the top ----.