TORONTO - For us at the Corriere Canadese, the last couple of years of the Harper government, on issues relating to immigration initiatives, had become head-scratching experiences in futile efforts to make rhyme or reason of their exercises.
Their successors appear determined to follow the path. The last two ministers of the Harper regime, Jason Kenney and Chris Alexander had become comic-book caricatures flailing about in search of a policy with a rationale that eluded them or anyone with common sense. More often than not, true to the time-honoured Conservative/Reform “traditions”, immigration was framed in the context of “national security”.
“Old stock” immigrants – potential and real – were given pride of place in the application system, whether for Working Holiday Visas, Family Reunification or Economic Class. One was left to assume this type of potential immigrant poses less of a threat to our values and way of life. Last week, Prime Minister Trudeau was confronted by a Quebec version of the “old stock” – “les Quebecois de souche”, old stock Quebecois, otherwise previously known as “purelaine”.
The video of his exchange with a woman who insisted on getting an answer to two questions. She sounded like Premier Ford. First, where’s the $140 million you owe Quebec for the Refugees you are introducing in our midst; secondly, what are you doing for our “old stock” Quebecois? An RCMP detail – undercover – tried the hustle the woman away, but not before the Prime Minister defiantly branded her a “racist”.
Cynics will say “it is all contrived”. It served Mr. Trudeau’s messaging that he alone stands for unity and against polarizing, divisive policies. People are doubling down on the Conservatives, who are being tagged with this “staged heckling”. Angus Reid, a public polling company, co-incidentally published results purporting to show a growing public dissatisfaction with immigration levels, overall number and types of applicants.
They are increasingly skeptical of the tangible economic benefits of increased immigration. Is it any wonder? Premier Ford is asking $200 million as a shortfall; Mayor Tory is demanding $64.5 million in unforeseen expenditures; the Quebecoise heckler (speaking for who knows whom) harangues for $140 million more.
And, all this for [questionable] refugees from a “safe third country” – the USA, which had already accepted them as refugees. Minister Goodale says we are doing a great job in keeping unwanted in Canada. Especially if they are integrated families with children, some of them born in Canada. We are in the middle of an election cycle at all three levels of government. So, claims and statements are probably best ingested after an application of an extra grain of salt.
That is how we read Minister Goodale’s glowing description of the efficiency and diligence of his officials at the Canadian Border Services Agency. They are keeping us safe. They are making sure that they will remove irregular/illegal entrants provided they do not come from the USA.