TORONTO - National press and Media are having a field day with Refugees’ Minister Ahmed Hussen.
He recently lost his responsibility for irregular border-crossers to another rookie MP, now Minister, Bill Blair.
It’s not clear what mechanisms or tools Minister Blair has at his disposal to solve the issue.
The National Post, citing contents of a “leaked” letter and quoting a spokesperson for Hussen, claims Hussen admits that Canada’s backlogged system “is not sustainable”. And it’s all the fault of a “decade of short-sighted and damaging policies under the Harper Conservatives”, according to an email response provided to the National Post, by that spokesman Mathieu Genest. How convenient.
There is no more “killer argument” than to blame the other guy, who, incidentally, passed away politically three years ago.
Having some reliable data to frame the discussion might help. Francesco Veronesi, journalist- editor, for the Corriere Canadese has been providing context in which to assess similar phenomenon in Italy – population 60 million - where asylum- seekers have literally invaded the peninsula over the last five year.
He has access to data that identifies government-verified landings at every port of entry literally daily. Intake officials identify claimants according to country of origin, gender age and ultimate destination intent. Doesn’t seem too much to ask.
In calendar years 2016 and 2017, 301,000 claimants have appeared, uninvited. A full 85%, at fi rst examination, are self-identifi ed economic migrants in search of a better life – not necessarily in Italy. God bless them; we are all creatures of God.
Last year, Italian authorities expended 4.3 billion Euros to minister to their immediate needs, house them, provide medical urgencies etc. A further 5.1 billion is budgeted for this year.
Between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2015, they expended more than 12 billion for 324,000 arrivals, not counting the additional costs for marine and coast guard required for search and rescue of the desperate thousands who fell victim to the waters of the Mediterranean during their effort to secure landing in Italy.
One can appreciate why Refugees and Immigration issues are consuming the governments of Europe.
In Canada, population 37 million, the citizenry is all in a knot because of the 20,000 asylum seekers who showed up unannounced last year and the further 12,000, so far this year – mere drop in the bucket, relative to the numbers cited above. Genest complained to the Post, in same email above, that the government budget $74 million to finalize the processing of the asylum seekers coming from the USA.
Minister Blair may find good use for those funds. Meanwhile, Minister Hussen re-announced the Immigration Levels Plan for 2018. They include “targets” - under five different categories - for 43,000 Refugees and Protected Persons.
As a point of interest and comparison, that would be the equivalent 68,800 such people for a country the size of Italy, which last year took in 120,000, a drop of 60,000 from the previous year. Minister Hussen’s plan calls for an additional 3,500 (or a low of 2,900) entrants under Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds. Maybe, Canada is not as well equipped to show its embracing, welcoming, compassionate character as it claims it is. Or, maybe the prime Minister’s advisors are too busy tweeting nonsensical partisan arrows to devote time to addressing demographic issues.