So, I saw two things:
First, on my own social media feed, in response to my contention that a (reported) majority of Canadians is wrong and Canada must become “bigger and better” in the 21st century by adapting our immigration regime to accepting many more immigrants, year-after-year and decade-after-decade, there was this:
That’s arrant nonsense of the very worst sort and it indicates that my interlocutor (and a great many other Canadians, sad to say) is totally ignorant of economics, geography and history ~ a not uncommon situation given the state of Canada’s education systems for the past 50ish yrs.
Second, I saw this in The Hong Kong Free Press: “China on Friday said it will “no longer recognise” the British National (Overseas) passport for Hong Kongers, as Britain prepares to open its doors to millions more residents of the former colony following a security crackdown by Beijing … [and] …Holders of British National (Overseas) status — a legacy of UK rule over Hong Kong up to 1997 — will from Sunday be able to apply to live and work in Britain for up to five years, and eventually seek citizenship ….[whereas] … BNO passport holders previously had only limited rights to visit the UK for up to six months, and no right to work or settle.“
First, let me declare my conflict of interest: my wife is from Hong Kong, but she and my step-daughter are both Canadian Permanent Residents and are both in the process of becoming Canadian citizens, having just now met the full residency requirements. However, my step-son and some other relatives (most of whom, like my wife, have British National Overseas passports) are still in Hong Kong, along with many good friends. Now, as it happens my wife’s brothers and her son are all in the process of looking to move themselves and their business to the United Kingdom and this action will, I believe, hasten their departure from Hong Kong. We are not worried about my elderly mother-in-law and a sister (who is also my mother-in-law’s caregiver); they are apolitical and the changes in government will have near zero impact on them. The Chinese have a cultural proclivity to care for the elderly (and the handicapped) and Hong Kong’s very advanced, First World, social services ~ their Long Term Care facilities would amaze most Canadians ~ will remain unchanged. But, still, I have a vested interest in what happens in Hong Kong.
This situation is so typical of China’s current “wolf warrior diplomacy:” The British extend a welcoming hand to those Hong Kong people born before 1997, when Hong Kong was still a British colony, and the Chinese snap and snarl like a junk-yard dog. It shows, I think, two things:
- The Chinese are worried that their actions, including the crackdown in Hong Kong, are having unintended consequences which might have a detrimental impact on some of their economic and political ambitions; and
- They are also worried that too many well-educated, productive Hong Kong people will leave, taking their skills, abilities, ambitions and money with them.
There are about 300,000 Hong Kong people who, already, are Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents. They all have an absolute right to come back to Canada, even all on one day if that was physically possible. About 2.9 million Hong Kong people, all adults, have BNO passports.
Now, to be clear, not all of the millions of Hong Kong people who hold either BNO passports or who are Canadians will want to leave Hong Kong. Hong Kong is still an amazing and prosperous place and I know that some Hong Kong people are saying that Xi Jinping cannot last: he is making to many enemies, too many big promises and too many mistakes. They expect to wake up one morning soon, in the next very few years, and hear that he has died in his sleep. I happen to share that view. It is not based on any insider information, just on the facts at hand:
- Although he did act, quickly and decisively, through his anti-corruption campaign, to sideline (jail or execute) many of his enemies, he didn’t (could’t) get them all, and many, too many for comfort, are still there;
- He has made many bold economic promises and some of them are starting to materialize, a few, but not all; and
- Every unfulfilled promise emboldens his competitors who want his job and who are more than happy to kill to get it.
I do not expect a big influx of Hong Kong people into Canada. Many are horrified at Prime Minister Trudeau’s
handling bungling of the COVID-19 file. He is seen as a nincompoop who has failed, miserably to do even the most basic things right. But, Canada is seen as the safest as save havens, despite Justin Trudeau, because of its laws, opportunities and geopolitical position as a “protectorate” of the United States.
At the risk of repeating myself (and making even more enemies amongst the terminally ignorant), Canada needs many more immigrants. There is, simply, no coherent argument against that. Our immigration policy needs to be colour-blind and selfish. It needs to put our needs, Canadians’ needs first … and second and third, too. The desires of prospective immigrants (many of whom are “shopping” for a new home, comparing us to Australia, Britain and even Chile) are interesting but irrelevant. What we know, from recent experience, is that most Asians ~ Chinese, Indians and people from the Philippines ~ especially have adapted quickly and easily to life in Canada and have become exemplary new Canadians: honest, hard-working and ambitious for their children’s futures. We
want need more of them.
Some of my avowedly Conservative friends will say that new immigrants will change the “face” of Canada. What they are really saying is that they want white immigrants from Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Estonia. I have a simple message for them: they aren’t coming. We’ve known that for 50 years. If we don’t want to stagnate and then shrink we need to recruit the immigrants we need from Asia and we need to do it NOW.
The time to start is now and the way to start is to join with the UK in allowing any person with a valid Kong Kong identity document to come to Canada and claim refuge here, starting tomorrow. Liberal Prime Minister Trudeau should get up off his knees and stand up to China … just for once. Conservative Party Leader O’Toole should ignore the few timid, ignorant racists in his on party and announce that a CPC government will open Canada’s doors to those fleeing Chinese oppression. It may be true that a majority of Canadians oppose immigration. If it is true then the majority is wrong and it is the duty of honest political leaders to tell them that they are wrong and to explain why they are wrong. This is an opportunity to do both.