Hnn | The Latest From HNN | Details

Canada's Immigration Dilemma

 

Canada's Immigration Dilemma

COLUMN By DOUG THOMAS

For Humanist.Network.News
July 29, 2009

Canada has always encouraged immigration. A large part of our motivation has been our vast open space-fabulous to live in, but not self-supporting economically. We would like to fill the place up with the right people who want to be here. The problem, of course, is deciding who are the "right" people.

Visitors are always welcome because they spend money. Students are welcome because they spend money, and they make us Canadians proud of our educational facilities. Immigrants are welcome because Canada is still under populated-Southwestern Ontario aside. Refugees are welcome because they need refuge and because they appeal to the Canadian need to do the right thing.

Visitors, up to now, generally have not required any documents except passports (U.S. citizens require those only to get back home), and students get student visas quickly enough once they have been accepted into a school. Refugees get in quickly too-if they are, in fact, legitimate refugees and therein lies the dilemma. Who is a legitimate refugee?

We are as concerned about unsuitable people coming to Canada as you are about them coming to the U.S. Yes, there have been some notable lapses. The Khadr family, led astray by its El Quaeda father, is not particularly popular here even though we find Omar Khadr's imprisonment in Gitmo unjust. At least one Somalian warlord kept his family in Canada while he wrought havoc in his homeland.

However, we have some notable refugees as well. Our last two Governors General came to Canada as refugees: Adrianne Clarkson from Japanese-occupied Hong Kong and Michaëlle Jean from Duvalier-dominated Haiti. They represent the majority of refugees to this country-those who have made real contributions to our society.

To qualify under our refugee rules one's life has to be in immediate danger from an unsupportable regime. However, every year thousands of people come to Canada as visitors and students only to apply for refugee status when they get here. They may consider themselves legitimate refugees from bad economic systems or climates, but they don't qualify under the rules and their trying to cheat the system doesn't indicate that they are the "right" people. Desperation we understand,  designer desperation we don't.

Recently, Canada has imposed visa requirements on people visiting from Mexico and the Czech Republic. The number of people from these two countries entering as "visitors" and then claiming refugee status or staying here illegally has skyrocketed recently. Visas are not as draconian as the press claims. For example, New Zealand has required visitor visas from Canadians for a long time.

The Czech Republic's objection to the new system rings hollow since the claimants from that country are often Roma, a group that government discriminates against and encourages to leave.

These new regulations may or may not solve the problem completely, but they are a legitimate attempt to close some loopholes and save taxpayers considerable amounts of money spent on the appeals processes that inevitably result when visiting "refugees" refuse to leave gracefully.

Our door is open, but like any luxury institution, we require that you enter through that door.

 

 

Doug Thomas is an English teacher and novelist, an agnostic member of SOFREE (Society of Ontario Freethinkers), and an active member of the Humanist Association of Canada. He is also Managing Editor of Canadian Freethinker.

Posted 11:46AM on July 29 2009 by Ruth N. Geller
Categories: Ezine

American Humanist Association

Hooray! Florida's same-sex marriage ban struck down! Check it out! http://hmn.s...

11 minutes ago

American Humanist Association

New evidence supporting the theory of evolution has been found in parasite ants...

2 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Here is the newest episode of The Cartoon History of Humanism. Enjoy! Get TheH...

19 hours ago

American Humanist Association

An easy to follow video illustrating the separation of church and state and the...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Words are commonly used improperly. Here is one example of why you should actual...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

To some, Humanism and Hedonism are one in the same. Is that really all there is...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

This week's Humanist Hour Podcast features Bob Ready and Sarah Henry as they tal...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Update to the football prayer controversy happening at a Gainesville, GA High Sc...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

Fred Edwords reports from this year's Colorado Secular Conference! Get TheHuman...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Two weeks ago, AHA's Maggie Ardiente and Roy Speckhardt traveled to Oxford, Engl...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

The United Coalition of Reason is a national non-profit organization that helps...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Is it really that "tragic and bizarre" to remove bibles from hotels rooms in ord...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Throwing some separation of church and state history at you!

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Why does the media usually portray atheists as pretentious, white men? Time to c...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Fields Medal has been awarded to up to four mathematicians every four years...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

The nature of the backlash to our recent legal case concerning pray in public sc...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Friday!

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Religious differences within the family unit can be difficult. How do you feel a...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Here is an update to our on-going Carroll County, Maryland case involving prayer...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Back to school time! Let's take a look at the most and least religious colleges...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Anyone need a laugh? I sure do! Warning: Language!

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

Should someone's religious belief allow them to do whatever they want? No! Get...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

In November, 2014, a new film is coming out about the life of Stephen Hawking. T...

8 days ago