Michelle Rempel, the Conservative Party’s point person on immigration, gets it 100% right when she said, a couple of days ago, that “The principles and policies announced by our Parrty in August of last year were sound. We heard that Canadians want their immigration system to be managed in a fair, orderly and compassionate manner … [and] … Canadians overwhelmingly accept immigration when the system is functioning in this way and the debate about immigration should not be about IF but rather about HOW, WHO and WHY.” This is what I have been banging on about, over and over again, since this blog started in 2015. My point is that Canada needs immigrants, Justin Trudeau is right about that, what is needed is a system that is fair, based on merit and the law, and orderly and that we get to decide who comes or not and that we will decide that on open, honest, colour-blind and on both selfish and compassionate grounds: we will select (even recruit) the people we need without depriving the poorest countries of their best people.
Canadians, Ms Rempel says, and I agree, again, fully, want to know that:
- The government is maintaining the integrity of our borders ~ that’s one of any government’s prime responsibilities;
- Canada will have the labour needed to maintain and grow our economy ~ we are not doing that, now, by having large families, we need to have new workers come here by choice; and
- Canada will continue to help the world’s most vulnerable.
Whenever the opposition raises legitimate questions about immigration policy, Michelle Rempel says, Prime Minister Trudeau “has chosen to use the debate about the immigration system to level thinly veiled accusations of racism.” That is something else I have discussed, more than once, and it goes back to something John Ibbitson predicted in the Globe and Mail over a month ago. The Liberals have no useful policy ideas so they must resort to the worst sort of mudslinging. Ms Rempel deplores the tactic and she says, “To be crystal clear, racism is a real issue that needs real solutions; it’s not a topic to be shied away from, flirted with for votes or tolerated … [and she says that Andrew Scheer has made it clear that] … there is no home in the Conservative Party for anti-immigrant or racist sentiment.” Hear, hear! Andrew Scheer needs to keep repeating that, as Ms Rempel says, “Canada’s Conservatives will always vigorously defend a pluralism based on Canadian freedom, compassion, understanding, self-sufficiency and [the] rule of law.“
Michelle Rempel says that “Canadians deserve an honest debate on immigration,” and she promises that the Conservatives will deliver that. The CPC’s policy proposal set out in August of 2018 was a good, albeit somewhat tepid start. Her comments last week have moved the yardsticks in the right direction: we need a fair, merit-based, transparent and productive immigration system that will grow our labour force (in order to pay for the social programmes which many Canadians consider to be a right or, worse, a sacred trust) while, at the same time, not stripping poor countries of their doctors, engineers and accountants just so we can have a few more taxi drivers.
Ms Rempel has got the principles right … Justin Trudeau has it wrong. The choice is clear.