“Gaslighting” has been chosen as (dictionary producer) Merriam-Webster’s word of the year, and is defined as : "the act or practice of grossly misleading someone especially for one’s own advantage.”
It is derived from the 1944 movie, Gaslight, which was shown on TV a couple of weeks ago as a tribute to recenly-deceased Angela Lansbury. She won an Oscar nomination for playing a teenage maid, in just her second movie role.
Gaslighting seems to fit perfectly with how certain governments interact with the general population, and was quite evident on a radio talk-show recently.
The federal government of Canada announced on Nov. 1 immigration levels would be raised to 500,000 annually by 2025, to ease labour shortages. With current immigration in the 400,000 range, this plan brought responses from many sectors, questioning how new arrivals would manage with the homeless problem right across the country and with house prices and rents far beyond the reach of many.
Then there’s a shortage of family doctors and the over-burdened health care system, which appears to be coming apart at the seams despite the wonderful medical personnel who strive to keep things operating.
Many newspaper columns editorials have expressed these concerns and my favourite radio talk-show host had a prominent and well-respected immigration lawyer on as his Sunday guest.
The host’s opening remark was that 75% of Canadians responding to a poll are somewhat or very concerned about the proposed rise in immigration levels, for the aforementioned reasons, along with the cost-of-living inflation and other post-pandemic strains on our daily lives.
The lawyer, introduced as an advisor to provincial and federal governments, replied that none of the concerns were warranted. He explained the 500,000 immigrants would consist of temporary workers, students and others already living in the country who would get their current status upgraded to permeant residency, so there would not be a huge influx of new people looking for housing, medical services, etc,.
According to the lawyer, there are more than two million people in Canada who are classified as temporary residents, paying taxes and living in various accommodation, so the concerns being raised simply will not apply.
There will be an influx of a few thousand spouses and other family members when permanent residence is granted.
The veteran talk-show host was gobsmacked, and asked why the public had not been notified of these facts. The lawyer said he had done some media interviews, which apparently were not to publish.
The interview podcast is easily accessible online at The Roy Green Show, and the lawyer Richard Kurland has a very lengthy media presence on his website.
By the government misleading the public about actual new immigration numbers, it sounds like a classic case of Gaslighting.
Bernie Smith, Parksville