We, Conservatives, and by word I mean classical liberals, especially those of us who are also Canadian nationalists and who, generally, oppose agreements that infringe or threaten our sovereignty, like the recently signed USMCA and the UN’s Global Compact on Migration, need to be a bit careful when we talk about immigration, refugees and migration. It is critically important to understand that the three things are different and are only tangentially related to one another because each might involve people entering Canada. A recent column by Candice Malcolm in the Toronto Sun illustrates my point: she conflates the three distinct and separate problems into one.
A recent poll suggests that Canadians are growing increasing opposed to immigration. I suspect that is because of Prime Minister Trudeau’s refugee policies and his inaction in the face of a growing influx of
illegal irregular migrants. if that’s the case then it is, as I have previously suggested, a pity.
Let me be clear on my position:
- I believe that Justin Trudeau is right in his desire to increase immigration into Canada;
- I think that Justin Trudeau was politically astute to show compassion and generosity to Syrian refugees in 2015 ~ he didn’t take the approach which would have done the most good for the most people in need, but he took the most politically advantageous path; and
- I am certain that the Trudeau regime is dead wrong in supporting the United Nations’ Global Compact on Migration because, notwithstanding its good intention and despite its many dangerous flaws, it will accomplish nothing except to stir up resentment amongst Canadians.
Three distinct and separate issues and I have three distinct and separate views.
I believe that the Conservative Party of Canada needs to adopt the Liberals’ view of legal immigration, but with a few refinements. The aim should be to grow our working age, tax paying population by, let’s say, more than 300,000 per year so that by about the end of this century we will have a population . of 100 Million Canadians. Our immigration policy should remain:
- Merit (points) based ~ we bring in the people most likely to make positive contributions to our society and economy;
- Equitable (colour blind) ~ same as above but without regard to race or creed;
- Building upon success ~ our efforts will be directed to ‘recruiting’ immigrants from the source countries that have a demonstrated track record of providing the sorts of immigrants we want. In 2016 Statistics Canada said that “Among recent immigrants living in Canada in 2016, approximately 6 in 10 were admitted under the economic category, when principal applicants, spouses and dependants were taken into account … [and] … Furthermore, nearly 3 in 10 recent immigrants were admitted under the family class to join family already in the country, and approximately 1 in 10 recent immigrants were admitted to Canada as refugees.” The goal should be, in my opinion, to increase economic category immigrants at the expense of refugees; the ratio should be about 6.5+ (economic) : 3± (family class) : <0.5 (refugees). In other words we want a merit based system that also supports families. StatsCan also notes that in recent years, up to 2016, of over 1 Million immigrants admitted, legally, to Canada, three countries accounted for almost 40% of the total:
|Philippines||188,805 immigrants||15.6% of the total admitted|
|India||147,190 immigrants||12.1% “|
|China||129,020 immigrants||10.6% . “|
Personal observation and anecdotal evidence from the media and some friends in various agencies, including municipal government and police suggests that those folks, in that small table, above, are, broadly and generally, hard working, productive people who are easily integrated into our, Canadian (ever evolving) mainstream culture. That seems to me to be what ‘Building upon success‘ means. We also get high quality immigrants from every country from Austria through to Zimbabwe but some are less inclined to adapt than are others and that can (does in my experience) create tensions within the broad Canadian community ~ not just, it is important to add, amongst “angry, old, white men.” That is not to suggest that we should discriminate against Muslims or Buddhists or anyone else but it does suggest that Canada’s long traditions of tolerance and of an essentially secular society need to be preserved.
Statistics Canada suggests that if we continue as both Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau planned then we will be an increasingly racially (and culturally) diverse country …
… I, for one, believe that is a good thing. I think that we will be better positioned to play an active, positive, leading role in the world when our population is the world in miniature.
I have said, many times, that I believe that Canada should take a more utilitarian approach to the global refugee situation: we should try to do the greatest good for the greatest number. Our reflexive position, in society and in government, seems to be almost the opposite: we admit a few thousand refugees to Canada and think that we have made a measurable improvement … we haven’t; there are still tens of millions of refuges living in despair and often in squalor in camps around the world:
Those camps are most often in poor countries and more and more refugees ~ real refugees, not economic migrants ~ are streaming in every day. Rather than skimming a lucky few refugee families off the top, so to speak, and bringing them here, Canada should be taking action to help the majority. I will only briefly reiterate my position which is the best way to help the most refugees is to have a large enough military force so that we can, with allies, change the situations that create the need for people to flee from their homes and, at the same time, send our skilled military engineers, hundreds and hundreds of them, armed with tools and money to help the ‘host nations’ to make the refugee camps better, cleaner and safer. This is not something that Team Trudeau is likely to think much about … they prefer the generous reflex which scores political points for them.
Let’s face it: the reason there are Syrian refugees is because Bashar al Assad is ‘leading’ Syria for the benefit of a minority. He is supported by Vladimir Putin and, it seems, he is also being helped by US President Donald Trump, too; unless we send all the Arab refugees to Russia ~ where precious few of them want to go ~ then we, the world, not just the US led West, must, as the Godfather suggested, make him an offer he can’t refuse. But before that can happen the whole world needs to screw up some courage and find some backbone … not likely to happen in the Trump-Trudeau era.
The migrant issue is much simpler. If I lived in Haiti or Nigeria or any one of a hundred plus other countries I would want to make my way to Australia, Britain, Canada or Denmark, too. I have a basic, fairly fundamental human right (it’s part of liberty) to pack my bags, abandon my home and take my family to somewhere better …if, and it’s a bloody Big IF that “somewhere better” will let me in. What I do not have a right to do ~ and have not had since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 made the notion of the modern nation-state into law ~ is to cross any border and settle where I please. Each nation-state has a right to decide who may and may not enter, visit and settle. It’s really that simple.
I have nothing but sympathy for most of the migrants who are, illegally, crossing our borders and then ‘gaming the system’ by asking for political asylum because they claim to be refugees. As I said, above, if I was in their shoes I might try the same thing … but, quite frankly, the desperate situations in e.g. Haiti and Nigeria are none of Canada’s business. I believe that we should try to help both countries, if they will accept real help, but we have no obligation to resettle their discontented people here.
The United Nations’ Global Compact on Migration doesn’t help; it’s proponents say it’s non-binding; that means it has no teeth and we shouldn’t sign a ‘feel good’ document. But if it does have even one tooth then it threatens our national sovereignty and, possibly, our liberty and thus we should not sign it. No matter what it says and does, or doesn’t do or might do: Canada should join wth countries as diverse as Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Israel, Poland, and Slovakia in rejecting it.
I think one can and must be able to take three distinct and different position about three distinct and different problems: immigration, refugees and migration. I think we all need to take greater care in discussing and commenting on all three.