So, two things caught my eye the other day:
- On the CBC News site, Kathleen Harris writes that “As the Liberal government gets set to bring at least 300,000 immigrants to Canada next year, experts say a more robust integration strategy is needed to ensure their economic success and prevent a public backlash;” and
- Morgan Lowrie of the Canadian Press says that “Winterized trailers will soon be replacing the tents providing temporary shelter to asylum-seekers who have crossed the Quebec-U.S. border, even as the number of irregular border crossings continues to drop.“
A few days ago I said “But, first, before he [Minister Ahmen Hussen] can promulgate a coherent, sane immigration policy he must secure our borders. That includes closing the legal loopholes that allow migrants to enter Canada improperly (at other than a designated border crossing) and then claim refugee status.”
In the CBC News report (first link, above) Ms Harris says that “Kareem El-Assal, a senior research manager specializing in immigration for the Conference Board of Canada, said it is “absolutely imperative” that Canada ups its intake in order to meet future labour needs … [and] … El-Assal said while big challenges persist, such as the length of time it takes to award foreign credentials, he believes governments have done a good job of managing what is “arguably the best immigration system in the world” with a careful selection process, public education and health care to foster smooth and successful integration …[but] … He said this should not be taken for granted at a time of big public backlash in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe, and that there’s a “huge danger” in dismissing views of those who oppose a big influx of immigrants … [and. he added] … “I don’t think it’s useful to ostracize these people or to call them racist or xenophobic. We need to have open and honest conversations with them and we need to listen to their concerns,” … [because] … In his view, many of them have valid concerns because they lost their own job or believe social traditions are at stake.” The last point is one I have raised about the rise of populism in America.
Part of the “concerns” of many people who worry about the Liberal government’s immigration and refugee policies is that there are still too many loopholes that allow people who would, in the normal course of events, be ineligible to enter Canada to circumvent the system, to, literally, sneak across the border and then claim (and often be granted) refugee status when, in fact, that are not in need of refuge because they have already found it in a “safe third country,” the USA. But so many of those fake refugees are coming to Canada ~ because they are “country shopping” and think that Canada is a will provide better benefits than Donald Trump’s America ~ that the emergency tent city that was erected in the early summer has to be replaced by heated trailers so that the “refugees” can be warm in the winter. Morgan Lowrie (second link, above) reports that Scott Bardsley, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, in his turn, “stressed that the Liberal government has undertaken numerous outreach efforts to clear up misinformation about Canada’s immigration system that was circulated online … [and] … Those efforts have included sending Creole and Spanish-speaking MPs to the United States to dispel the myth that it’s easy to come to Canada as a refugee.” Except, of course, that it’s not a myth, it IS easy, because, as Morgan Lowrie says, “about half the asylum claims heard so far from those who crossed the border since July have been accepted” by the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board. I’m not disputing the Board’s decisions … what annoys me is that the Board has to deal with applications from people who should not be allowed to make them in the first place and would not be allowed to make them if the Trudeau Liberals were not terrified of doing anything that might cost them the new Canadian votes they garnered in 2015. The Liberals saw, in the Conservative campaign, how easy it is to turn away new Canadian voters with just one ill-conceived act.
In the CBC News report we read that, “Gilles Paquet, an author and economics professor emeritus at the University of Ottawa, said with more than one in five now born outside the country, immigrants have become a political force so strong that it’s become taboo to talk about possible limits … [he says that] … “It’s not even a debate anymore. There are too many people voting and if you were to do something that looked like trying to limit the flow of new immigrants, you would antagonize all those who want to bring in their parents, their grandparents … so therefore nobody will do it,” … [and] … He believes an immigration intake of 300,000 or more is “mindless,” arguing that Canada does not have the capacity to adequately help them transition with services and supports … [because of] … growing frustration, marginalization and a number of cultural “enclaves” across the country that will lead to increased public tensions and problems down the road.“
The same report quotes “Herb Grubel, professor emeritus of economics at Simon Fraser University and a former Reform Party MP, … [who] … rejects the argument that increased immigration is necessary to offset an aging population … [he adds that] … “Whether it’s for pension purposes or maintaining the size of the labour force, these people are aging as well after they have arrived,” … [and, he says] … Increased immigration levels are putting too much pressure on the demand for housing, road space and recreational facilities, where demand has outpaced supply in some cities like Vancouver.“
I disagree with both Professors Paquet and Grewal but their concerns need to be noted, by Conservatives and Liberals alike, because many, a great many Canadians share them. But I believe that, basically, the Canadian immigration system is sound: it is both fair and, equally properly, a bit “selfish” in that it seeks to admit the people we need most (and their families). I also remain convinced that Minister Hussen’s new, larger, immigration target is correct. What is wrong is that the Trudeau regime is trying to have a sound immigration policy even as it seems afraid to secure our borders ~ physically and in law. Until we can control our own borders the idea of a coherent immigration policy and programme is nonsense.