Birth tourism … and more

image-memparl-rempelMichelle Rempel, a principled politician who has shown real focus and leadership on her shadow cabinet file (immigration) has posted the following on social media:

I am so profoundly tired of our inability to discuss policy issues related to immigration in a pragmatic way. I’m tired of raising legitimate concerns, trying to examine them, only to be labeled one way or another for political gain. So let’s talk about birth tourism. I agree with the criticism that we don’t understand the prevalence of the practice in Canada. However, media has reported on it more and more in recent months, and a Liberal MP sponsored a petition for the govt to take actions against it. I would hope that all Canadians would agree that the business practice of facilitating people who have no ties to Canada travelling to our country with no intent of staying here, simply to have their children so that they can receive benefits from our state, is wrong. I would hope that Canadians would also agree that we need to have concrete data to understand how prevalent this practice is prior to enacting policy to address the issue. I would also hope that everyone would want to get this data, given that it is an issue that is beginning to be reported on with increasing frequency in British Columbia. I would also hope that we, with it collective wisdom, could come up with policy options that prevent abuse of our citizenship laws without rendering people stateless or punishing those who play by the rules. Like say, with a Parliamentary committee study, or something. The things that CANADIANS PAY OUR SALARIES TO DO.” I am with her, all the way on that. I don’t know how big a problem birth tourism is but I agree that, large or small, it is a practice that goes against the grain. So, let’s hear about it, let’s get the data, let’s have our parliamentarians discuss it, calmly, rationally, perhaps even truthfully, for a change, in committee.

She adds that “Yes, our Party passed a member driven policy to deal with this issue that didn’t address the issue of statelessness, and was vague in wording. But CPC member policy conventions are messy and real. That’s why our leader issued a statement in response.” Indeed, democracy can be messy … real democratic, grass roots policy making is quite unlike the ritual theatre practiced by the Liberal Party of Canada. Andrew Scheer’s statement is available online, it’s not as clear as it might be and it, in effect, tosses the hot potato into Ms Rempel’s always capable hands.

Michelle Rempel concludes by saying: “Bringing the immigration debate back to policy is why I held a press conference last week and announced this … [the same Andrew Scheer statement liked above] … [and she added] … I reject Gerald Butts, Justin Trudeau, Bill Blair and Ahmed Hussen’s brand of deflect and counter accusations on this issue, vs debating solutions. It threatens Canada’s pluralism, and I will not let their brand of crap continue … [and she challenged us all to] … Debate this. And this. . But stop the cheap shots.

I repeat: I don’t know the scope of the problem … I am, in fact, more familiar with it is a 4d1cfdbc-0099-11e6-a9b2-800cbf78bba6_1280x720Hong Kong problem where anchor babies have been a problem for many years. I think I understand what motivates people from, say, China to travel to Hong Kong and Canada as “tourists” and “shoppers” and then stay long enough to give birth and establish an “anchor” which can be used to bring the whole family into a better place when they can build better lives. I agree with Ms Rempel when she says, in her Pathways To Canada statement (linked above) that “People are on the move, and Canada, with our pluralism, open democracy, freedom, economic opportunity and generous social programs, is a destination that many hope to reach.” Global migration may be at an all time high ~ I’ve been nattering about this, on these pages, since 2015 ~ and our response, the United Nations’ response, America’s response, Europe’s response, Australia’s response and Canada’s response, has been, broadly and generally, in my opinion, wrong. It would be better to remove the problems ~ sometimes using military force ~ that impel people to flee their homes, than to try to force them to try to make safer, better lives in strange countries with difficult socio-economic systems. I may not know the scope of the “birth tourism” problem but the whole unplanned migration issue may threaten the stability of much of the world.

Birth tourism is just one aspect, as Ms Rempel explains, of a much larger problem ~ the png-0819n-vancouverrally-195barriers that kept people apart and allowed diverse cultures to grow and strengthen their hold on individuals have fallen, suddenly (in multiculturalismhistorical terms) and we, the great Big WE, meaning all of us, everywhere, are unable to manage multiculturalism. Here, in Canada, multiculturalism has been a mainstay of both Conservative and Liberal party policies since 1971, although it has never been without both controversy and opposition. 36451506_2149464175268009_815205369969115136_nI am committed to the notion of a multicultural Canada … that’s me with my step-daughter in the photo on the left, but I am the first to admit that not everyone is able to “fit” so well into our 21st century, multicultural Canada as well as she does. Some people, for sincere and deeply held personal reasons that qualify maldivesas ‘beliefs‘ cannot learn to tolerate some of the customs that some newcomers bring to Canada and, sometimes, some newcomers cannot learn to tolerate the customs and institutions of the country to which they have migrated. Beliefs are, by definition, able to exist without any sort of rational proof and are, therefore, immune to reason and debate.

As I keep saying, we, Canadians, need to have a rational, civil debate ~ one that uses facts and is devoid of name-calling ~ about immigration, about refugees and about the newer problems of ‘irregular migrants‘ (asylum seekers) and ‘birth tourism.’ They are all different problems that all require different policy and regulatory solutions that are all, yet again, in keeping with our traditional liberal-democratic values and legal traditions.

In my opinion Canada needs more and More and still MORE immigrants (I would like to think that Canada will have a population of 100,000,000 by the year 2100) ~ the kind of immigrants we recruit and select because we have confidence that they (like my step-daughter) will “fit” here and succeed here and make positive contributions to Canada … and yes, she will change Canada, just a bit, too.  In my opinion we have a deeply flawed refugee policy that fails, quite miserably, to do the greatest good for the greatest number and, instead, rewards a lucky few with tickets to a country in which many (not all, by any means) are ill-prepared to live. In my opinion a sorry mix of partisan politics and populist, progressive ideology (yes, progressives can be populist, too) has led the Trudeau regime to surrender our borders to ‘irregular migrants‘ (a category that includes birth tourists aiming to have anchor babies in Canada) and, in the process have made it harder and harder to manage our immigration and refugee systems.

But that’s just one opinion, and it’s not necessarily a good one, and I await the outcome of Michelle Rempel’s Pathways To Canada discussions with great interest because I hope she will come up with useful, principled policy proposals that a Conservative government can implement.



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