TORONTO - The debris-littered field of immigration Minister Hussen left behind when prime Minister Trudeau finally [gently] removed him from his post is strewn with the shattered dreams of people who, like him, sought a better life in this country and contribute to its growth. Alas, they are not sharing his good fortune.
It is not all his fault. His predecessors, Kenney and Alexander, made a royal mess of a system that was already straining under the weight of public policy expectations, Canadian demographic and economic needs and socio-cultural renewal.
Canada has suffered from [a generation of Immigration Ministers] seemingly disconnected from the realities of the “pushpull” affecting their policy mandate. Irrespective of political stripe, they have virtually ignored human resources requirements faced by Provinces, Industry Sectors, Employers and conditions abroad - war, human trafficking and outright slavery.
Operationally, the application of Immigration strategies and their enforcement have become a laughing-stock. “Band-aid solutions” or Pilot Projects (“selfie moments”) have sprouted like weeds to clutter, confuse and corrupt Canada’s Immigration Plan(s). Major Press and Media (CBC, National Post, Globe and the Star) have investigated and chronicled “abuses in the system” from coast to coast.
Ahmed, he of the deceptive Pilot Projects, for three years floated from one questionable initiative to the next. Each of them potentially compromising the integrity of the overall System and turning otherwise genuine partnerships into collaborators and enablers.
For example, Colleges, Universities and even secondary schools a have turned the International Visa Student program into a “tuition cash cow” that sees more than 500,000 students bringing in at least $20 Billion in tuition fees annually and a generating a similar amount in accommodation and living expenses annually. Will these students go back? Do we want them to return home?
If they can afford this money, it is safe to deduce their families belong to a rather well-off class back home. More importantly, how many of those students are attending the programs for which they expended thousands to “qualify” for a permit that also allows them to work while studying? The is no shortage of sources pointing to the transportation/trucking sector as a placeholder for them.
There are hundreds of thousands of “visa overstays” who slip into the collateral economy and become “undocumented” or “ghost workers”. Is there a construction site or renovation sub-contract that does not employ them in the GTHA and beyond?
Indeed, is there a provincial government not at odds with the Feds because Hussen’s muddled criteria about what constitutes desirable, successful candidates for permanent residency and it over-reliance on a language testing procedure farmed out to a foreign entity excludes productive individuals and families?
The Corriere has chronicled and promoted the cause of individuals like Wojtec, Pica, families like the Neves, the Dimitri, the Martins. People who are established, integrated and productive. Despite spending hundreds on language preparation and testing (a huge industry approximating $500 million, based on estimated annual revenues) they fall outside the limits of “academic success” – even if French bricks still fit properly with English cement when handled by a “foreigner” expert in the art of deploying the appropriate tool but ignorant in the ways of those two languages.
Hussen was indifferent to their plight. He’s gone but the CBSA is still doing what it can to remove the families above. The Martins have been here for ten years. Some anonymous caller on a snitch line prompted a CBSA visit and a process that compels their expulsion. The principal applicant gainfully employed still can’t pass the required language test… he’s busy earning a living.
It’s this type of insensitivity that has produced negative response towards the Prime Minister in Italian, Polish and Portuguese communities. The new Minister, whose grandparents would probably – like my own parents – have been unable to pass the same language tests, has a big challenge ahead of him: make immigration to Canada more accessible from those countries and… restore Trudeau’s reputation in those communities.