The Globe and Mail, in a recent editorial, published on 14 Apr 19, says “Canada needs immigrants. Canada needs secure borders. These may sound like contradictory claims; they are not. They go hand-in-hand.” Bingo!
The Globe and Mail editorial writers explain that “Over the past couple of weeks, the Trudeau Liberals have abruptly woken up to this reality. They’ve started talks with the United States to close a loophole in the Safe Third Country Agreement that allows people who enter Canada at irregular border crossings to make a refugee claim, rather than being turned away. They also introduced legislation – buried in an omnibus budget bill – to make anyone who has filed an asylum claim in the United States and several other countries ineligible to do so in Canada.” Except for the bit about burying the legislation deep in a 390-page long budget implementation bill, which Justin Trudeau promised to never do …
… and for which he will, one hopes, pay a price in October, Justin Trudeau should be receiving congratulations or, at least, best wishes for success from Conservatives.
The Globe and Mail says that “Our refugee system is generous, but it’s also very slow-moving. And it’s breaking down and losing public confidence under the strain of too many people trying to use it. Many appear to be travelling to the United States on tourist visas for the purpose of making a refugee claim in Canada … [and] … The Liberals’ latest steps to address this risk is damaging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s brand. His government is now doing something that it spent the past three years attacking the Conservatives for even talking about. But though it’s out of sync with the Trudeau government’s previous rhetoric, it’s in line with how Canadian governments of all stripes have dealt with immigration over the past few decades … [because] … Under a series of administrations, Liberal, Progressive Conservative and Conservative, the vast majority of immigrants – whether economic migrants, family-reunification arrivals or refugees – have always been chosen from overseas and only entered Canada after having been vetted. It has been immigration by choice – Canada’s choice.” The reason that Prime Minister Trudeau’s ‘brand’ is being damaged is that for over three years he and his government were working against Canada’s best interests; now that Canadians have noticed, and don’t like what they see, the Trudeau Liberals have to turn about and do something which their progressive supporters find hard to accept. Conservatives must also hope that voters will remember that volte-face in October, too. But, at last, he is doing the right thing … albeit almost certainly for the wrong reasons.
“Compared with our southern neighbour,” the Good Grey Globe‘s editorial board says, “Canada is a high-immigration country. That’s long been true. Relative to population, Canada takes in roughly three times as many legal immigrants as the United States. And while the number of foreign-born American residents recently hit a high of 13.5 per cent, at no time since the 1901 has Canada’s level of foreign-born residents been that low. Today, 21.9 per cent of Canadians were born overseas.” That is, in my opinion, a good thing and, again, in my opinion, good national policy and good Conservative policy is to seek out and properly screen even more immigrants so that by the year 2100 there are 100 Million Canadians and, almost certainly, our skin is a little darker and our eyes are a bit differently shaped. Let’s be clear, the sorts of immigrants Canada needs and should want are not going to come, in sufficient numbers, from Denmarks, Norway and Sweden; they will come, mainly, from China, India and the Philippines and from other (mainly) Asian nations where there are surpluses of well educated, sophisticated, entrepreneurial people who have a track record of becoming good neighbours and co-workers here in Canada.
The editorial concludes by saying that “For a growing number of voters and politicians on the American right, all immigration, legal or illegal, is seen as a threat. For a large number of their opponents on the left, any distinction between legal and illegal immigrants is similarly rejected. Talk of higher legal immigration is unacceptable on the American right; talk of lower illegal immigration is unacceptable on the left … [but the editorial board says, and I agree, fully] … For Canadians, it should be a cautionary tale.” Canada needs immigrants, that ought to be something about which all real, thinking Conservatives can agree. We can disagree about how many, not everyone will want as many as I think are desirable, but fewer is NOT the right answer. We, Canadians, and especially we Canadian Conservatives, must not fall into the anti-immigrant trap. Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney were right to reach out to new Canadians because those people ~ all those Chinese and Indians and Filipinos and Filipinas ~ often share many, many moderate Conservative values. More of them will strengthen the Conservative base.
But that’s not why Conservative should embrace immigration. We need more immigrants to keep our economy growing and to pay for all those social services on which we have become so dependent. Conservative should challenge Justin Trudeau on border security and irregular migration ~ he’s made a serious mess of it. Conservatives should consider alternatives to Trudeau’s refugee policies, as I have said, there are better ways to help more people. But Conservatives should embrace Justin Trudeau’s notion of a better, more effective, but still very careful, colour-blind and merit-based immigration system.