International Metropolis Conference Keynote Speakers

June 24 to 28, 2019

The Promise of Migration

Inclusion, Economic Growth and Global Cooperation

Matt DeCourcey

Parliamentary Secretary

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Bio

Matt DeCourcey was elected in October 2015 as a Member of Parliament for the riding of Fredericton, New Brunswick, where he was born, raised and educated. He served on the Subcommittee on Agenda and Procedure of the Special Committee on Pay Equity and the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.

Mr. DeCourcey worked as an assistant to former Fredericton Member of Parliament and cabinet minister, Andy Scott, in 2005 and 2006. He also worked with former Labrador Member of Parliament and Métis leader, Todd Russell. After a five-month international development project in West Africa, Mr. DeCourcey established the Wanderers Friendship Cup – a soccer tournament and health-education initiative for youth in The Gambia. Armed with his unwavering vision for a caring and compassionate Canada, Mr. DeCourcey has dedicated the years prior to being elected to bettering the lives of disenfranchised youth through his role as Director of Communications, Education and Outreach, with the New Brunswick Child and Youth Advocate.

Mr. DeCourcey holds a Master of Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, and a Bachelor of Arts from St. Thomas University. He is a 2012-13 Action Canada Fellow, co-authoring the report, Who Cares About Young Carers? Raising Awareness for an Invisible Population, and a former provincial coordinator for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO’s Youth Advisory Group.

Mr. DeCourcey has served as a Parliamentary Secretary since 2017, and is currently Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

Speech/Allocution

Transcription/Transcription

Transcription prepared by Media Q Inc. exclusively for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Transcription préparée par Media Q Inc. exclusivement pour Immigration, Réfugiés et Citoyenneté Canada

Date/Date: June 25, 2019. 9:40 a.m. EDT
Location/Endroit: Shaw Centre 55 Colonel By Drive, OTTAWA, ON
Principal(s)/Principaux: Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Matt DeCourcey
Subject/Sujet: Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Matt DeCourcey delivers opening remarks at the International Metropolis Conference 2019

Moderator: Merci énormément. Maintenant, j’inviterais Monsieur Matt DeCourcey, secrétaire parlementaire d’Immigration, Réfugiés, Citoyenneté Canada qui va venir s’adresser à vous. Merci, sorry. Merci.

Matt DeCourcey: Merci beaucoup tout le monde. Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here. Meegwetch. Elder Josie (ph), thank you once again for the opening prayer and to the welcome to your unceded traditional Algonquin territory and for reminding us all of the importance of the long-term stewardship that the Indigenous peoples have played on this land and the importance of the continued stewardship and respect for something so precious as water.

Odashkin (ph), thank you so much for the song and the reminder of the youthful spirit of Indigenous people on this land to our grass dancers and our fancy shawl (sic) dancers. Thank you so much for reminding us about the diversity of Indigenous peoples on this land. And Gilbert, thank you for pointing out the painful truths of our history in this country and the ongoing work that we all have to do.

And as we look to be hopeful about the opportunity that migration presents to us, do not forget that there are traditional learnings and teachings and opportunities for us all to remember what first peoples offer to newcomers to this land and that we can all move together in reconciliation to build that more just, peaceful and equal Canada. Meegwetch, and as I would say in traditional Stockway (sic) language from Frederick, New Brunwick, oliwan (sic). Thank you all so much.

To the organizers, thank you for having me here. To those who have come from abroad, welcome to Canada. Welcome to our nation’s Capital. It’s great to be here at Metropolis 2019. Depuis deux décennies, le Congrès international Metropolis a contribué à l’établissement de politiques publiques essentielles en matière d’immigration. Encore une fois cette année, les questions qui seront abordées au cours des prochains jours sont très importantes.

The theme of this year’s conference is the premise of migration, inclusion, economic growth and global cooperation. This theme reminds us that we are all interconnected when it comes to the realities of global migration. It highlights the potential that migration offers to individual countries and to our global community, and it rallies us to work together to address challenges and take advantage of the tremendous human capital that exists throughout our global village.

Our collective ability to make good on the premise of migration is vital to social cohesion, economic stability and global peace and security. So thank you for being here to work together, to share and learn from one another, to make good on the premise of migration. And you can count on Canada to play its part. Canada is a country of communities, a country that celebrates and integrates the strength of our incredible diversity.

Newcomers enrich not only the cultural fabric of our country, but also our economy and consequently the lives of every Canadian. They enhance our creativity by bringing different perspectives and new ideas. Immigration creates opportunity for us all. We know this because we are largely a country of immigrants. The collective efforts of Indigenous peoples and those who have come here from every corner of the globe for over 300 years.

Dans ma petite province du Nouveau-Brunswick, nous nous demandons souvent où serions-nous sans notre héritage acadien et le retour d’un peuple cherchant refuge après avoir été dispersé aux quatre vents en 1755. Where would we be without the Irish who escaped the potato famine in the 1840s. Where would we be without newcomers from Europe and the Middle East who arrived during the cold boom of the early 1900s.

As Canadians, the experience of history has opened our minds and our hearts not only to the importance of welcoming newcomers, but also to their significant contributions. It’s why between 2015 and today, Canada has been able to resettle over 60,000 Syrian refugees and has become the global leader in refugee resettlement. Les immigrants ont bâti ce pays en route (sic), une école, une entreprise à la fois, une église, une mosquée, un temple et une synagogue à la fois.

Today, Canada’s strength lies in its diversity, in the richness of our multicultural identity and that identity was on full display last week as millions gathered in Toronto to celebrate the championship of Canada’s only NBA team, the Toronto Raptors. A truly international team itself, the Raptors symbolize the rich Canadian mosaic. What we saw last Monday was the largest crowd for any set victory parade in history. People from all walks of life, Canadians from every corner of the world came together to celebrate a team, but really to celebrate a country.

It was Canada’s immigration story on full display, a celebration of our social diversity. Canada’s economy depends on immigration as well. In Canada, we have a low birth rate and an aging population. Cela crée des pressions dans de nombreux domaines, par exemple le financement des services sociaux et médicals (sic), ainsi qu’une pénurie de main-d’œuvre dans différents secteurs.

Immigration is a key ingredient and our recipe to address these challenges, grow our economy and maintain our global competitiveness. And we know that immigrants not only fill our labour demands, but they create jobs themselves. Our Global Skill Strategy which fast-tracks the entry of highly skilled professionals has helped Canada create over 1 million jobs over the last four years. Innovative programs like the Atlantic Immigration Pilot and the World Remote in Northern Communities Pilot are helping our rural regions not only survive but thrive.

And Canada is a destination of choice for students from around the world adding over 15 billion dollars to our economy each year. In an ever-increasing global competitive economy, welcoming immigrants to Canada and helping them settle and integrate into our communities provides us with a competitive advantage. Les communautés diverses connaissent des avantages économiques, civiques et culturels considérables ainsi qu’une meilleure cohésion sociale et un plus grand respect pour les droits de la personne.

Dans la course mondiale pour attirer du talent, le Canada est bien positionné parce que nous investissons dans les programmes d’établissement et d’intégration pour aider les nouveaux arrivants à bien réussir une fois dans le pays. Mais, c’est certain que nous traversons une période mondiale particulièrement complexe. Les conflits armés, des guerres civiles et d’autres crises humanitaires mènent à des niveaux d’immigration historiques. Nous ne sommes pas les seuls à avoir notre système d’immigration et d’octroi de l’asile être mis à l’épreuve.

And even Canada is not immune to populous, anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiment. We need to address the very real concerns that exists around insecurity, instability and inequality, but never be afraid to call out those who would seek to scapegoat refugees, pit immigrant communities against one another and spread fear and division about the unknown.

And we need to do so together. More than at any other time in our history, we need a global approach to migration. Together, we can push back against the fear, address the challenges and embrace the premise of migration. This past year, Canada joined with other nations to adopt the global compact on refugees and the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.

These compacts are important tools through which countries can learn from one another. Canada can set an example by being strategic in how we go about our work domestically and not just in the way we plan and communicate our immigration goals. But by how we invest in communities, build a strong middle class and tackle climate change. And we can work with our allies around the world to address the international global migration issues. We can better tailor our development support and power women and girls, build economic opportunity for everyone and protect the international rules-based order.

Metropolis 2019 is an important venue for the exchange of information and ideas and to foster collaboration. Ce congrès nous donne l’occasion d’apprendre du passé, d’étudier le présent et de paver la voie pour l’avenir. And Canada will be there to play its part. Now, as Gilbert reminded us, we are far from perfect and we have a lot to learn from others but we also have experiences to share. And rest assured Canada believes in the premise of migration. And working with you, we will make good on that premise. Thank you. Merci. Meegwetch.