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Canadians share most favourable view of immigrants, global study finds

Canadians have the most favourable opinion of immigrants among the world’s top migrant destination countries, viewing newcomers as a strength rather than a burden, says a new international survey.

The report by Washington-based Pew Research Center also found Canadians are the least likely to blame immigrants for crime or an increased risk of terrorism, among the respondents in 18 countries that together host half of the world’s migrants.

“Canada is on the top of the list in believing immigration is a plus to the country,” said Jeffrey Reitz, director of ethnic, immigration and pluralism studies at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, who is not involved in the survey.

“It also shows Canada is less polarized than the other countries on immigration as all Canadian political parties are on board with immigration. Even those on our right are more positive about immigration than the left in many other countries.”

Sixty-eight per cent of Canadian respondents in the survey believed immigrants make the country stronger while only 27 per cent said newcomers are a liability because they take jobs and social benefits, said the report released Thursday.

Canada was followed by Australia, where 64 per cent of respondents favoured immigration; the United Kingdom and Sweden, both at 62 per cent; and with Japan, at 59 per cent, rounding up the top five. In Mexico, currently a destination and transit country for tens of thousands of migrants fleeing violence in Latin America, 57 per cent of people welcome migrants while 37 per cent considered them a burden.

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