Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Immigration and The Ghost of the Reform Party

Liberals trotted out the 1988 Reform Platform on immigration in attempt to tar the Conservatives.

So just what did the document say?

"Immigrants should possess the human capital necessary to adjust quickly and independently to the needs of Canadian society and the job market,"

The cruel irony of Canada’s immigration system is and has been for some time that while many immigrants have good enough educational and professional credentials get them admitted into the country in the first place, many professional bodies are much more discriminating. Canada’s immigrant communities are right to be mad about this. It is not unreasonable to believe that if someone is accepted into Canada because they are a doctor, say, that the path to them practicing medicine not be overly stringent and years in making. The government must to a better job of coordinating with various professional bodies.

"radically or suddenly alter the ethnic makeup of Canada, as it increasingly seems to be."

Oh yes the loathsome coded messages that Reform party used to send out.

"immigration should be essentially economic in nature."

Of course it should be. However, such is the fear of offending someone that no one, not even the Conservatives, dared point out the ridiculousness of Dalton McGuinty’s comments on immigration. No skills, no English or French, no money, no entry. It should be that simple and it is that simple for people applying as a skilled worker.

Alas far too much credence is given to “family unification” in Canada. Robert Dziekanski is a great case in point. Given that no body wants to speak ill of Dziekanski least it be misconstrued that they are saying that his death was anything other than tragic, the press has been loath to point out just how patently absurd it is that Robert Dziekanski was ever allowed to immigrant to Canada in the first place. Dziekanski had a violent criminal record, had spent time in jail, did not speak French or English, had a spotty job history, and had no accredited skills to speak of. It bad enough that in Canada one can sponsor one’s grandparents it mind blowing that one can sponsor a violent criminal.

Family unification process in Canada is political boondoggle and is something the Liberals should be embarrassed about.

All that being said, I do not think it fair to tar the Conservatives with the Reform brush. It is no longer 1988. However, the Conservatives have left themselves wide open to this line of attack and really deserve to take it on the chin. Allowing the Minister of Immigration to override the rules of game opens the system up to all kinds of abuse. Worse, it undermines what has made the whole points system such a success. Namely, the system allows would be immigrant to get a clear idea as to whether they qualify as a skilled immigrant and gives them confidence that should they score more than 67 points and pay their $550, a large amount a many countries, that they are in. Leaving open the possibility that they could meet all the necessary requirements, but still be denied is not going to help Canada attract the best of the best. These people have other options and are going to go where they are assured of getting in.

I should say this is in closing. Of course, it is all fine and dandy to say the Conservatives are anxious to let in people capable of filling various kinds of jobs. However, the fact that the Conservatives continue to cut the service and staff at Canadian embassies and consulates speaks louder. There needs to be a bigger presence in places such as Rio, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Cairo, Nairobi, Kiev, Mumbai etc. Furthermore, if Canada wants more nurses or oil workers or engineers, or what have you, it is going to have to go to the universities and training centers and go get them.


Ron said...

The problem with the huge backlog is unless we are willing to actually do something about it, it will not only never get better, it will continue to get worse. As usual, the usual suspects start hauling out every possible sky-is-falling scenario to discredit a valid attempt to address the problem. The most usless suggestion is one that involves having the Parliament study it, debate it, provide input, discuss it etc. This is the same recipe for doing nothing that has led to the current problem. Yes, the proposed solution may cause problems of its own (when was the last time any policy didn't cause problems) but we have got to stop this search for perfection and stop this constant string of studies and discussions and debates and JUST DO IT. (Sorry for yelling but I am so frustrated at governments of all stripes wasting so much time on doing nothing because whatever idea they propose is not perfect so must be destroyed)

WesternGrit said...

Ron, I think the key point here is (and I'm speaking from experience here) that there are backlogs alright, but they tend to be in South Asia, East Asia, and Africa (and to some extent South America).

"However, the fact that the Conservatives continue to cut the service and staff at Canadian embassies and consulates speaks louder. There needs to be a bigger presence in places such as Rio, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Cairo, Nairobi, Kiev, Mumbai etc."

There are no-where near the logjams in Europe. As a matter of fact, this is WHY a lot of new immigrants channel here via Europe. It's just easier to get to talk to an official at those consular offices. It's a systemic discrimination that is being exasperated by the Cons' cutting of funding.

We're all for clearing backlogs, but when we are discriminatory in the way we bring people in, that is pure wrong...