Kenney: Language = successful integration of newcomers

Last week, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney addressed delegates at the Calgary Metropolis conference and was quoted as saying that immigrants should “be required to have working knowledge of either English of French” in order to come to Canada. These remarks have been widely reported and debated in the media, including:

The Toronto Sun, English or french or out
The Calgary Herald, Kenney right person for immigration minefield
Ottawa Citizen, Immigrants should be able to speak English or French

Rudyard Griffiths (Dominion Institute and author of the recently released book “Who We Are: A Citizen’s Manifesto“) writes today in the National Post, defending and championing language as the key to successful integration. 

Happily, children are addressed in his piece. An excerpt:

“The federal government should also put special emphasis on second-language training for school-age children, particularly in the country’s major cities. In Toronto, the city that attracts the majority of newcomers to Canada, the percentage of elementary schools with English-as-a-second-language (ESL) instructors has declined from 41% to 29% in the last decade while the number of students requiring such instruction has doubled. The federal government should find ways to work with the provinces to get more funding for language instruction into urban classrooms to relieve overburdened ESL instructors”.