What policymakers...only in Canada, pity

di Joe Volpe del 10 August 2018

TORONTO - How does one justify removing entire families from Canadian soil when the family is working, integrated and its children well on the way to “Canadianization” through our school system? Well, we have to maintain the “integrity of the system”, is the answer. Just as Minister Ahmed Hussen. He wants more people to come to Canada, he only askes that they follow the rules, so to speak. Until they don’t. Asylum-seekers - 32,000 illegal border-crossers from the USA – have, over the last year, uprooted themselves from a “safe third country” (the USA), allegedly because they felt insecure as a result of President Trump’s attitudes towards newcomers. Minister Hussen’s fi rst response, after consulting with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was to corral several MP colleagues and begin an “information o ensive” in the USA’s collection centres housing other prospective boarder-crossers. In a radio interview, Minister Hussen was confi dent that his linguistic abilities and commonality of origin with many asylum seekers would allow him to stem the tide of the infl ux. Many of them were, like him, of African origin. They would have been impressed with his personal life journey from refugee to Cabinet Minister. Why wouldn’t they be? He represents a role model for them and their children. Why would they listen to his message of go slow, go proper? The Prime Minister said Canada welcomes them with open arms. Why wait? The end result will remain unchanged. Of what importance is the objection by some Canadians that the public purse will have to carry the cost of assuming responsibility for housing, clothing, feeding and educating them until they are integrated? According to another Minister, Bill Blair, there are communities and employers who need and want them. From his perspective, reasons enough not to remove them from Canada – which, incidentally, he and his co-minister for Canadian Border Services have the task of doing under the law. It’s hard to disagree. But, if it is “good for the Goose”, why is it not “good for the Gander”? The economy of the GTHA is heavily reliant on workers who have made their way into the area, found a job (or started a business – a legal possibility under Ontario law), bought a house or rented property. In the Construction Industry of Toronto where an estimated 50,000 ply their trades, they are known as “ghost workers” – they are there, but cannot be acknowledged for fear of removal. Their employers would have to shut down their operations if Immigration Officials conducted a site audit for “undocumented workers”. The same for the schools that their children attend or the stores they frequent, and so on. The Prime Minster’s arms are crossed to them. “Them” are primarily – but not exclusively - Brazilian, Portuguese, Central and South American skilled and semi-skilled labourers, Italian restaurateurs, mechanics, machinistist etc. “Them” are not asking for a hand out. In fact, the average wage in the construction sector is $83,000 - overtime included. Is the “integrity of the system” served by spending thousands of dollars to uproot and remove the “ghost workers” and their children. It sounds more like a case of cutting o one’s nose to spite one’s face. There must be a policy alternative. Is Minister Hussen working on one? His predecesssors in the Conservative government, Jason Kenney and Chris Alexandre, had become objects of ridicule for their incompetence, and their Party paid severely for it. Hussen just seems to have gone awol.

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