Saturday, August 05, 2017

Taxing Accommodation

"The request we have for the federal [government] is to accelerate the treatment of cases to the maximum so that we can quickly know if their [asylum] request is accepted or not so we can better share expenses."
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard

"We want migration to Canada to be done in an orderly fashion; there's border checkpoints and border controls that we need to make sure are respected."
"The people coming now irregularly will still have to go through all the proper processes."
"We are ensuring that the capacity to deal with these refugees is in place and our immigration system remains strong and robust."
"The core strength of Canada is that it's not governments that are open to immigration, it's Canadians themselves who are open to immigration."
"One of the reasons Canadians are open to immigration is because we know it has contributed to the growth of this country. Protecting Canadians' confidence in the integrity of our system allows us to continue to be open, and that's exactly what I plan to continue to do."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau


Canada has for decades maintained an immigration intake roughly equal to a quarter-million new immigrants taken in to the country as landed immigrants annually, eventually to become citizens of the country. Traditionally, and by heritage, Canada can be viewed as a nation of immigrants, a country whose base has been built on the migration of people from across the globe entering the country to forge a new life for themselves. It is done in an orderly fashion, with would-be emigrants applying abroad in their own countries for permission to immigrate to Canada.

Canada began as a vast land inhabited by its original settlers thousands of years ago, the indigenous natives now referred to as First Nations: Indians and Inuit. Colonial Britain and France sent their own settlers to populate the land with Europeans, and for a hundred years it was mostly Europeans of Caucasian stock that Canada welcomed. Chinese, Japanese, Jews and other Europeans were accepted in limited numbers and often as labourers with few rights. Post World War II immigration policies slowly changed.

Canada is now a kaleidoscope of languages, ethnic origins, religions, and backgrounds. At one time new immigrants made it an imperative of their own choosing to integrate themselves into the prevailing Canadian lifestyle, customs, traditions and values. Until the government of the day ushered in a new era, celebrating multiculturalism with few expectations that new immigrants need meld into the prevailing traditions.

What has ensued reflects some disequilibrium as ethnic and religious blocs bring traditional social and religious dysfunctions with them as baggage to their new home.

Canadians do celebrate their diversities and are generally quick to welcome newcomers. The world has erupted in a squall of disproportional groups of peoples displaced by conflict into refugee status. And from other sources where national dysfunction denies citizens their full potential, mass surges of migrants seeking economic and social stability have flooded Europe, fleeing poverty and conflict. Canada has absorbed a share of these refugees in an orderly manner, aware that with them come some level of threat reflecting Islamic 'militancy'.

The United States has struggled for many years with a vast influx of undocumented migrants from Mexico and South America, fleeing violence and poverty and social upheaval. A new government in America has declared itself prepared to deal with the millions of underground refugees representing generations of illegal entrants to the country by turning them out. Some of whom are now turning to Canada for haven. Bypassing legal means of entry to slip into the country beyond legal checkpoints.

Canadians' tolerance for welcoming newcomers, those who in their numbers seek entry through legally approved mechanisms is high. Tose who bypass the legalities and enter undocumented and underground, seeking support and the wherewithal to redraw the parameters of their lives risk rejection. The world is in a state of upheaval, where terrorist violence strikes now and again and nations seek to protect themselves from these violent forces by denying entry to refugees among whom may lurk those dedicated to terrorism.

The vast bulk of the refugees now bypassing normal entry requirements into Canada are people fleeing oppression and poverty. But their search for stability and a future is little different from those people who seek to enter as law-abiding, respecting would-be immigrants. Entering the country illegally, bypassing legal entry to declare themselves refugees does not necessarily endear their efforts to those who receive them. There is a danger that increasing numbers will be rejected, and deported.

Among the North Africans and those from the Middle East that have been entering Canada is a greater proportion by far of Haitians. For the most part these are Haitians who had sufficient personal wealth to fund their travel abroad in search of alternate haven in the wake of the 2010 natural disaster that struck Haiti; an earthquake and tsunami, and now a cholera epidemic. The truly poor and disadvantaged who might wish to seek haven elsewhere cannot; they are not refugees when they remain in Haiti.

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