Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan apologized Sunday for saying immigrants are better at creating businesses and jobs than native-born people.
“It was a bad choice of words from me,” the Newfoundland minister said in a statement Sunday. He said he was stupid to make such a comparison on Twitter last Monday to defend immigration retention programs in his province, which then sparked a flood of negative comments.
In his original Twitter post, he mentioned that immigrants are better than native Canadians in creating businesses and jobs based on a Statistics Canada study that showed in 2016 that 5.3% of immigrants who had been in Canada for at least nine years had a business versus 4.8% for native-born citizens.
“If you look at the Statistics Canada study, the difference is small and often circumstantial. It would have been better if I had said that immigrant entrepreneurs “hold their end,” said the federal minister on Sunday.
Seamus O’Regan reiterated that immigration is essential for Newfoundland.
“We have more people retiring and fewer young people being born than in every other province. It’s a cruel reality. So we need more people to create jobs and pay their taxes so we can pay for what we have, and also grow the economy. The last thing I want is to compromise this message, “he said in his statement, noting that he will be more vigilant in the future.