Originally appeared in North Shore News – September 3, 2010
I have no respect for a country that has no respect for itself.
What do you call a country that knows queue-jumping alleged refugees are sailing toward it in a rusty ship and does nothing to stop it?
Whose bureaucrats boast of the superb readiness of five of its agencies to receive and deal with them, as if bureaucracy exists for its own sake?
Whose supreme unelected lawmakers, judges, long ago ruled that anyone who sets foot on its soil automatically receives the full rights of its citizens?
Whose richly rewarded immigration lawyers are masters of exploiting the system?
Whose government leaders privately hold opinions that they won’t dare publicly express because many of their members and future candidates fear offending the well-entrenched ethnic or other special-interest groups that, especially in big-city ridings favoured by immigrants, can elect or defeat a government, and make or unmake individual political careers?
Whose media also fear to lose their audience or customers by carefully “balancing” the views of their program hosts, columnists, opinion contributors and their on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand editorials that end up exquisitely advising squat — all under the “human rights” commissions’ Big Brother threat of honestly speaking their minds?
Whose liberal elites are more concerned about their country’s standing in some notional international league of opinion than the “conservative” views of their own taxpayers — who actually pay the full shot, who don’t have the higher incomes, tax write-offs, indexed pensions and similar privileges of the officially compassionate?
Whose governmental bank balances are deep in red ink — can’t afford to maintain all its commitments to its own sick, young, pensioned, unemployed, homeless etc. people, yet out of its great big heart spends scores of millions processing the claims of self-seeking foreigners arriving illegally on disgusting ships?
Whose rules reverse the usual onus of proof — the receiving country’s authorities must prove the refugee’s claim invalid?
Whose indignation is near zero (there are just too many things to be indignant about) when some such claimants are ruled ineligible after years of costly process, are served with deportation orders, and disappear into the woodwork by the tens of thousands?
And, finally, a country that for all its many successes still harbours an inferiority complex — doesn’t have the self-confidence and self-respect to defend its own borders from foreigners who can craft a plausibly poignant story?
What do you call that country?
Canada. Oh, you knew that.
The claim of the most recent self-described refugees — Tamils from Sri Lanka — that they are fleeing persecution in the wake of the civil war does not move this citizen’s head or heart.
The ships carrying such refugee claimants deserve nothing but the relatively low-cost remedy of a line of coast guard vessels and Canadian warships on easily arranged routine manoeuvres turning them away as they approach our waters. Any and all such ships, whatever their origin.
The queue starts elsewhere. Let the adventurers find it and get in the lineup. Millions have.
Instead Compassionate Canada allows them to land in a country where the eager bureaucracies spend money we don’t have on people we don’t need.
Martin Collacott, former Canadian high commissioner to Sri Lanka and an expert who closely follows events there, may agree with little in the above. But his Fraser Institute speech last week gave hard evidence of how we’re chumps.
For example, these Tamils could escape alleged persecution by fleeing to their 70 million fellow Tamils in India, 30 miles by water from Sri Lanka. So why choose distant Canada?
What a surprise — because Canada provides lavish “free” social benefits. And a confirmed safe haven for aggrieved, even terrorist ethnic groups to continue hot battles in their homelands that are of about as much interest to Canadians as Brazilian farm receipts in 1924.
“Perjury fatigue” is part of the job for refugee and immigration authorities. Collacott noted that 60 per cent of refugee claimants who say they lost their documents “miraculously found them” later when they were needed to apply for such benefits. In one period, 71 per cent of the supposedly fearful claimants went back to Sri Lanka for a visit. (As of last Friday, relatively prosperous Sri Lanka’s stock market was Asia’s best performer, with a rise of 64.9 per cent in 2010.)
Collacott also questions the supposed verity that “we have international obligations” under the United Nations convention. It’s outdated and needs revision to foil people-smugglers, he thinks. The government could also use the Charter of Rights “notwithstanding” clause to override hamstringing procedures and rulings that allow abuse of the refugee ideal.
(Collacott recalled that Liberal Paul Martin campaigned to scrap that clause. And it was the Liberal government that repeatedly rejected the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service’s urging that the Tamil Tigers, whose crimes, notably in Toronto, fund their Sri Lanka actions, be designated a terrorist organization. The Conservatives took CSIS’s advice.)
Inevitably such discussions move to the larger issue of current immigration. Based on StatsCan’s own figures, Prof. Herbert Grubel, a “Chicago school” economist and former member of Parliament, has pointed out that immigrant incomes since 1980 have gone into reverse and are now lower than the Canadian average.
We hardly need evidence — fresh proof arrives all too often, as it has in recent days — that some immigrants are a very bad fit with the Canadian constitutional ideal of “peace, order and good government.”
An enlightened government would scrutinize immigrants carefully at the gate for nasty proclivities and attitudes (notably toward women and, yes, members of their own ethnic group), firmly prosecute those who pass muster if they later commit crimes, or otherwise prove unworthy to live here, and speedily return them to their home countries. There are enough bad apples in our home-grown barrel to go around without importing more.
Of course there will be those who declare that the above smacks of racism. No, here’s racism — of the positive kind — that I’ll freely plead guilty to: Can anyone explain why it’s so very, very rare for Filipinos and ethnic Japanese to make trouble, commit crimes, and otherwise appear negatively in Canada’s media?
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Morally paralytic Canada, Part II: A Squamish Nation elder goes public about a noisy, troublemaking crack house on the reserve. His truck is trashed.
The good Squamish people are intimidated. Mounties called. Shrug. The Squamish will have to deal with it themselves, the cops declare. What a travesty.
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September arrives on schedule with all its autumnal gravity (crystallized in Walter Huston’s immortal version of “September Song”), and the start of the North Shore theatre season.
First out of the gate, it appears, is North Vancouver Community Players’ Barbecue Blues in The Theatre at Hendry Hall, opening Sept. 11.
And the Kay Meek Centre springs the surprise of Mickey Rooney, a fresh-faced 90, and wife Jan in Let’s Put on a Show! Sept. 14. Warning to interviewers: Don’t ask Mick about his teenage liaison with a lonely (Canadian-born) star twice his age that terrified their studio, box-office murder if it got out.
A sad casualty of the competition for an audience is Third Sunday at Three, at St. Francis-in-the-Wood Church. The West Vancouver neighbourhood never embraced it enough as its own.
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I never knew Whitgift School in England was so well known — until I misspelled it in my last piece. Thanks to Whitgift graduate Ron Wilson and my vacationing editor, Martin Millerchip, for correcting me.
© Trevor Lautens, 2010