I have, in the past, ranted a bit about immigration … but I am, in fact, happy with increased immigration levels if, and it’s a Big IF, we, Canadians, are selfish and take positive action to identify and recruit the people who are more likely to become productive Canadians, fairly quickly, because they will be comfortable with our existing (but constantly changing) societal norms. Concomitantly we will make it more difficult, at least more time consuming, for people from societies or cultures that have had less success in adapting to com to Canada. That is not being racist ~ not if our choices are based on evidence; it is being selfish and it is being pragmatic.
What I am very unhappy with is how we manage our borders. I believe that Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is criminally negligent in matters of border control. The fact, and it is an undisputed fact, that we have tens of thousands of improper migrants crossing our land border and then claiming refugee status means that the Trudeau government is incompetent in managing the border and dishonest in its reaction to the problem.
I think that a politically responsible Government of Canada could address this matter in three steps.
As a start Canada needs to close the loopholes in its own laws that inhibit the border control agencies from doing what Canadians want and need. That’s a simple political act but one which seems to be beyond both the wit and the moral courage of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.
As a second step Canada needs to look outwards to help refugees ~ bringing a few tens of thousands of refugees to Canada is not the best way to help. There are millions and millions of refugees, especially in Africa and the Middle East who need help in overcrowded, unsanitary camps that have too few hospitals and schools and are, too often a living hell. Canada should pioneer a new, joint civil-military “service corps” that can bring aid to refugees in their hundreds of thousands …
… it is better, in almost every respect, for a few thousand Canadians working “over there” to bring real, measurable aid to hundreds of thousands of refugees than to bring just a lucky few to Canada.
The third step is to at least affirm and even raise the recently announced immigration targets of 310,000 new permanent residents in 2018, 330,000 in 2019 and 340,000 in 2020 … but, and it’s an important BUT:
- That target should be for real immigrants, not just for entrants. The target should not include a single one of those who crossed the border improperly. I understand that our laws say they must be given a hearing, etc, but those who arrive improperly should be concentrated in government run camps, near to the borders so that deportation back to the USA will be simpler; and
- The quota should be met (even raised) in a wholly selfish manner by, for example ~
- Rejigging the rules, just a bit, to allow the “system” to be more selective: to allow more points to be awarded, each year, for, for example, the skills and education that we need in Canada ~ professional, technical and vocational. If we need caregivers, for example, make it easier for a caregiver to come from the Philippines than for a doctor to come from Africa ,
- Shortening the queues for immigrants from countries that have a track record of success in Canada, especially China, India and the Philippines. We don’t need to spend more money to hire e.g. new immigration officials, we can just reallocate priorities and resources, and
- Giving priority (shortening the queue, again) for family reunification for parents and children which may mean lengthening it for brothers and sisters and cousins and so on. We k now that in many (especially Asian) families having Grandma and Grandpa at home, to provide “free” childcare allows two well educated people to work to make Canada economically stronger ~ it really is a “win-win” situation.
A selfish system is one that works for us and, concomitantly, works for immigrants, too, because it is more likely to result in new Canadians who can get jobs and reunite their families and make new, prosperous lives here in Canada. Being selfish is being smart, not racist.
I was, personally, gratified, a few years ago, to see the large number of Filipino-Canadians serving in the Canadian Armed Forces who volunteered to go back, with the Disaster Assistance Response Team, to help out when their ancestral home was devastated by a typhoon. Asian Canadians have a ling, honourable record of service to Canada in the military that goes back more than a century … serving in the military is just one of the ways that new Canadians integrate. The most successful immigrant communities are those that integrate most easily.
Our immigration system needs to reflect our values … from the moment they click on a web page or visit a Canadian mission, prospective immigrants should understand that while Canada is constantly changing, often because new Canadians make us more polyglot and vibrant, there are some core values that we do not want to change. We insist that we will, always, remain a liberal, secular democracy where the rule of one law protects us all. All Canadians are entitled to believe what they want but no group may impose its beliefs on others. Equally we want new Canadians to be just that, Canadians, and that means leaving “old country” conflicts and hatreds in the “old country.” Canada must not tolerate sectarian violence here … not even if it costs one party or another votes. This is an issue that should units all of Canada’s major political parties and all of its leaders, national, local and community leaders alike.
We are, all of us, even the First Nations, immigrants … we all came her, sometime, from somewhere else and we, all of us together, built a “peaceable kingdom” which is the envy of the world. But we need new people to keep it successful and growing and peaceable. Immigration policy is, sometimes, a contentious issue because it may brush up against other matters and create dissension. It might be comforting, to some, to have only immigrants who look a lot like the first settlers from e.g France or who speak fluent English and like the bagpipes … that may be what a few of us want but most of us know that will not give us what we need … some others say that we want to welcome all newcomers, regardless of the “rules,” but most of us also know that will not give us the society that we need, either. We need to be a growing , prosperous, flexible, peaceful, democratic society and, therefore, we need to select new Canadians who share our values and we need them to bring their skills and knowledge here but, at the same time, to leave old hatreds behind.