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Migrants finding open arms in Canada

11-24-2010 16:50 BJT

Rancorous debates over immigration have erupted from Australia to Sweden, but few nations take more immigrants per capita than Canada.

"I have yet to have people come up to me and say 'I want fewer immigrants,'" Jennifer Howard, Manitoba's minister of immigration, said. "But I hear, 'How can we bring in more?'"

As waves of immigrants from the developing world remade Canada a decade ago, the famously friendly people of Manitoba were irked by the newcomers' preference for Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver over the humble prairie province just north of the United States.

Demanding "our fair share," Manitoba won new power to bring foreigners in, handpicking ethnic and occupational groups. Winnipeg is now a hub of diversity.

Every province except Quebec now runs a provincial program.

This town now offers stocks of palm oil and pounded yams, four Filipino newspapers, a large Hindu Diwali festival and a mandatory course on Canadian life. About 600 newcomers a month learn that the Canadian charter ensures "the right to life, liberty and security" and that employers like cover letters in Times New Roman font. (A gentle note to Filipinos: resumes with photographs, popular in Manila, are frowned on in Manitoba.)

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