TORONTO - Perhaps he was taking too much comfort in having signed a bilateral protocol with a foreign dignitary to increase the number of Working Holiday Visas (WHV) between Canada and Portugal two days earlier. The excitement of the pomp and circumstance tends to produce illusory visions of reality.
For those who may have forgotten, this WHV is a special visa accorded to foreigners to come to Canada on a “holiday” (for a maximum of six months) but with the opportunity to seek work and be “legally” employed for an additional six. It is a “trial run” to prove one’s ability to integrate, at no cost to Canada – a Pilot Project, if you will, one of several techniques to recruit more people to Canada.
At the discretion of the Minister’s delegate (the intake officer) the Visa may be granted for up to two years, for work purpose only.
Ahmed Hussen, Minister for Immigration to Canada, is a serious man. He wouldn’t let more European passport holders enter Canada the program unless their country of origin granted equal numbers to Canadians wishing to study abroad. If that country is from Southern Europe.
European passport holders don’t need a visa to come to Canada, if their stated intent is to visit for less than six months. Should their attention turn from “pleasure to employment” in the meanwhile … they join the ranks of the undocumented – out of sight and out of mind. It is not a scientific/public policy approach to solving a labour market or demographic crisis.
Hussen must have thought he had bought himself some grace when he scheduled a town hall meeting with three of his Parliamentary colleagues at the Oakwood library May 5, to address another “Pilot Project”, integration and settlement of self-declared refugees who cross our borders.
Some “planners” were probably confused about how to structure a productive (public relations exercise) meeting in such a venue.
More than two hundred people swarmed the event. If Hussen was looking to justify his “turning a blind eye” to the emerging “refugee crisis” at our southern borders or Israel, he lost quick control of the agenda.
Video reportage show him walking back from commitments to Israeli detainees. Any “hard line” demanded by Canadians on refugees from safe third countries (the USA) are were hastily set aside by the revelation that the government is either unable or unwilling to stem the tide.
Refugee claimants are entitled to a monthly welfare cheque plus health and other benefits as well until their case is determined.
Mayor Tory last week called on the federal government to reimburse the City for an additional estimated $64 million in unforeseen expenses brought about by the rising and unplanned refugee influx.
The undocumented workers, the visa overstays, bring no such cost. The Undocumented Workers Committee (UWC) has been stressing the human rights obligations of the Minister to “regularize” their status.
Imagine their satisfaction in having found so many other discounted allies who were their own reasons, but, agreed with Tony Letta of the UWC when he told the minister to stop talking and start doing.