October, 2004 (#168)
Proudly Scraping The Bottom Of The Barrel
The United Nations in Jakarta has said most of the migrants have had their cases heard three times and will no longer consider their appeals. ‘We will not reconsider their cases because they are on hunger strike,’ said UNHCR spokesman, Stephane Jaquemet. ‘It is extremely sad that they resort to this kind of pressure because they are putting their own life and possibly the lives of their family at risk.’ There are about 150 Afghan asylum seekers in Indonesia. Some have been granted refugee status, though many are stuck here living in cheap hostels paid for by the United Nations. Most have made unsuccessful attempts to travel by boat to nearby Australia. Canberra has intercepted scores of asylum seekers and sent them back to Indonesia or to offshore detention centres while their refugee claims are considered. Last year, three Afghans living in a hotel in central Indonesia sewed up their lips in a similar protest against being denied refugee status. They stopped their protest after being hospitalized. Most of the asylum seekers have paid thousands of dollars to people smugglers to leave Afghanistan.” (Toronto Star, August 11, 2004) A sad commentary when the UNHCR talks a tougher game than any Immigration Canada official would.
Now that you know a little something about Tyson family values, ask yourself where a company like that heads when it’s on federal probation? Meet Lakeside Packers of Brooks Alberta. Parent company, Tyson Foods. Lakeside has accomplished the same old demographic switcheroo in Brooks, but Canada’s loosey-goosey immigration law has made the illegal smuggling sideline an unnecessary business write off: “About one-fifth of the population of Brooks is comprised of recent African immigrants and refugees [mostly Sudanese], drawn to the town of 12,500 to work for Lakeside Packers [where] health officials are confronting rising rates of HIV infection. Many of those who test positive for the virus are so concerned about maintaining their anonymity that they do not want to go in person to the nearest HIV clinic, in Medicine Hat. Counsellor Bettie Christie ends up sending them bus tickets in the mail so they can seek treatment at a clinic in Calgary. … One-third of her 22 clients at the HIV/AIDS Network of South Eastern Alberta are African immigrants. … Ms. Christie would like more funding to hire translators and develop programs tailored to the cultural needs of newcomers.” (Globe and Mail, October 2, 2004) Wow, how did they know Canadians were clamouring for HIV-positive slaughter house workers? And it didn’t take long before we found a recall of “ground beef products produced at the Lakeside facility in Brooks, Alberta on March 01, 2001 because they may contain Escherichia coli 0157:H7 bacteria.” (Canadian Food Inspection Agency, April 22, 2001)
An August 11 story in the Calgary Herald notes other complications: “40 mostly Sudanese employees lost their jobs when they protested the firing of at least three cleaners not directly employed by Lakeside … working conditions and alleged racism at the plant. … They say they can’t find work and have been forced to live hand to mouth or are in danger of depleting savings to sponsor relatives to come to Canada. … [According to Tyson, the workers were fired because they left their jobs ‘even after being warned of the potential consequences.’ Sure enough,] when the Lakeside employees applied for EI benefits to tide them over while they looked for work, almost all of them were denied … because Lakeside’s official reason for dismissal was misconduct. Seven of the first eight workers to appeal the employment insurance board’s decision won their appeals.” The benefits of a Tyson operation in Canada don’t end there either. If you’ll forgive a bad pun, Lakeside is accused of making a killing on the back of the mad cow crisis, “allowing mega-multinational packers to almost triple their profits with none of the rest of us any further ahead. With stateside slaughterhouses shut to us, two American-owned packers, Cargill at High River and Lakeside at Brooks, are really the only places the local cattle crowd can sell their live animals. The packers slaughter and then ship here and to the States where boxed beef under 30 months old can be sold. Buy low, sell high and we cover the casualties with our cash.” (Calgary Sun, August 5, 2004)
But Tyson always seems to have an ace up its sleeve: Some farm groups “want major meat packers outlawed from owning cattle, a controversial practice many say helps packers manipulate prices. Proponents of the idea accuse the meat plants of using their cattle supply to control what they pay to ranchers, by slaughtering packer-owned animals when prices are high, and buying and killing rancher-owned cattle when prices dip again. … Cattle ownership by meat processors also allowed dominant players Cargill and Lakeside to get about $45 million of the $400 million in Alberta mad cow compensation funds. … In 2003, Alberta meat packers directly owned 13.4 per cent of all feedlot cattle, either on their own feedlots or on custom feedlots, according to industry analyst firm CanFax. In 2002, packer-owned fat cattle accounted for nearly 18 per cent of the provincial total.” (Edmonton Journal, August 8, 2004) Given that the price of beef never has dropped, maybe Canadians should insist on paying that little more if we can be assured that it means a decent wage for Canadian workers processing Canadian beef in Canadian facilities.
His family back home couldn’t care less about Canada’s federal election, the 32-year-old Brampton truck driver said, but were told by their local member of parliament in Punjab, Jander Singh, to support Parvinder Sandhu in [Mississauga-Brampton South], where 15 per cent of the population is South Asian [according to the 2001 census, immigrants actually comprised 53% of the riding’s population — three years ago]. … Harmail Kaur, an executive member of the Ontario Khalsa Darbar Sikh temple, said people have complained about receiving voice messages and hearing on Punjabi radio programs in Toronto — on CJMR 1320 and CIRV 88.9FM — Indian officials ‘implying their associations’ with Sandhu’s family, and saying that ‘they are good people.’ The officials, according to the complaints, included Punjab’s chief minister, Amrinder Singh, his officer Bikramjit Singh Sandhu, and a member of the legislative assembly, Ranjit Singh Talwandi. Although the phone messages did not explicitly tell people to vote for Sandhu, they referred to the voters’ relatives in India and Sandhu’s good reputation there. … Sandhu, 33, came to Canada as a teenager, and his family runs the largest immigration consulting company in Canada’s South Asian community, WWICS.” (Toronto Star, June 26, 2004) In any event, Navdeep Bains (the Liberal Sikh candidate) handily won the riding with 57.15%, to Sandhu’s (the Conservative Sikh candidate) 24.09%.
Maria Iadinardi of Immigration Canada, Kimberly Phillips of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Sgt. Gilles Deziel of the RCMP all regurgitated the same government public relations mantra when contacted by The Asian Pacific Post — We cannot confirm or deny any on-going investigation. ‘It is the line that is commonly used when Ottawa doesn’t want the public to know about a scandal,’ said Brian McAdam, a former Foreign Service officer who blew the whistle on another immigration corruption scandal involving China and Hong Kong.” ” The Asian Pacific Post has learned that the … ‘suspect would scan visa applications that had been previously given negative recommendations by Immigration Program Assistants, contact the applicants and fix a price [$10,000 to $20,000] that would overturn the negative recommendation and result in the issuing of visas,’ said the source. ‘He would select the ones from among those recommended for refusal that looked the most promising from the squeeze aspect and have them come in for an interview at the Immigration Office.
He would conduct the interview with no witnesses of course and show the subject his file where it was recommended for refusal before making his pitch. The applicants would then jump when they arrived in Canada, some claiming refugee status…. It is a good way to make money and lack of oversight makes it fairly safe as long as you don’t get greedy,’ said the source. It is not known how many individuals, students and bogus Chinese business delegations the suspect helped into Canada but the source indicated that it was ‘many dozens.’ [The source suggested] Ottawa needs to do an audit of visas over the last five years in Beijing to determine the scope of the scandal. [What for? It’s not like anyone ever answers for greasing their way in — Ottawa has asked us hundreds of times to commiserate with “these victims of unscrupulous renegades”]
A source familiar with fake student visa applications in China said nearly 50 per cent of them have bogus information on them. There are an estimated 130,000 foreign students in Canada, with the bulk of them coming from China. ‘There have been many memos to Ottawa about this scandal from last year where certain officers were turning a blind eye to high risk applicants in what were plain to see education scams,’ said an Immigration Canada officer based in Ottawa. ‘In many of the cases they lie about the amount of money they have but somehow either because of policy advice or some senior officer, they get the visas,’ he said. What is most worrisome for officials is that some of those who have gained entry into Canada with the help of insiders at the Canadian embassy in Beijing are spies, terrorists and gangsters. Chinese spies posing as business delegates is an old ruse used by China’s intelligence service. [A bit late to worry when we’re negotiating to sell them Noranda] Brian McAdam, who worked as an Immigration Control officer in Hong Kong in the nineties was among the first to alert Ottawa to insiders with high security access helping unqualified applicants enter Canada. ‘I am not surprised that this is still happening,’ said McAdam, who was commended for his work on identifying Triad members and Chinese spies entering Canada and later ostracized when he questioned mandarins in Ottawa about their lack of action.
His memos and reports formed the basis for an investigation by the RCMP which eventually landed on the lap of Corporal Robert Read. The core allegations involved rich Chinese families trying to buy influence with members of the Canadian diplomatic corps, organized crime infiltration of immigration computers and the corrupt activities of an immigration consultant with strong connections who had brought in over 3,000 Chinese immigrants into Canada. The RCMP file languished for several years until Read took it over.
Frustrated at being stymied by bureaucrats and concerned that no one was addressing evidence of possible wrongdoing by mission employees, Read took his case to Vancouver Province news editor Fabian Dawson in August 1999. … As a result of Read‘s expose, the RCMP fired him. … Last year an RCMP oversight committee vindicated the officer for blowing the whistle [but] the RCMP has refused to reinstate Read.” You’re not the only one maddened by the alarming regularity of these stories. The Asian Pacific Post editorial of the same day: “Here we go again. … Judging by the track record of Immigration Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs, a witch hunt will probably be conducted to find out who leaked the information. That will likely be followed by a watered down blinkered investigation, probably by some outsider hired at great expense, which will conclude that the case is not as bad as it is made out to be. … Hiding behind privacy legislation, the basic message to Canadians is that anything of this sort is none of your business.”
Park Soo Mee, a Korean journalist, who researched birth-tours for a recent article in the Joong-Ang Daily newspaper says the phenomenon is also expanding to Taiwan and Hong Kong. In the case of Koreans, Canada is a preferred destination mainly because you do not need a visa when coming in as a tourist. … Canada does not see birth tours as illegal, even though the purpose stated at entry point is tourism. Others say they are attending short-term language courses to enter the country. Like the United States, Canada grants citizenship to anyone born on its soil. Britain and Australia repealed similar laws in the 1980s. … ‘Because birth tours are aimed at dodging military service, many females may try to identify the sex of their foetus before leaving the country,’ a Seoul police official told reporters. [It’s] illegal for any medical personnel in Korea to identify the sex of a foetus.
This law was originally passed to prevent parents, who generally prefer male children, from seeking an abortion on discovering their unborn child is a girl. … Kim Sung-hoon, a representative at a Korean travel agency specializing in birth tours told The Korea Times … ‘It is the mandatory military service system in the country that compels these parents to resort to such tours to give their children foreign citizenship. But more importantly, it is about education,’ Kim said. … Choi Jong-mi, has no regrets having her baby abroad, saying … the trip was for a ‘future investment,’ which will allow her daughter to receive a North American education for less money than if she were a Korean citizen.” (Asian Pacific Post, June 3, 2004) That cost-effective education will be subsidized — not by the scheming parents — but the credulous dupes actually living in Canada (don’t forget, refugees and visa students are now eligible for Ontario student loans).
Not long after this, 44 North Koreans poured over the compound wall while our Beijing embassy staff scratched their backsides. Why, when al Qaeda has not only fingered Canada as a “legitimate” target, but has a proven track record for atomizing Crusader legations? Breakaway Muslim Uigars have been a perpetual thorn in the side of their ethnic Chinese masters — and, with bombing campaigns in Beijing something of a speciality — how better to curry favour with the larger Jihadi movement? The demonstrable ease with which Canada’s so-called defences may be breached will not have gone unnoticed, but among Beijing’s embassies, Canada alone steadfastly resists all urgings to beef up security.
Twenty years later, in 2003, that number dropped to 53, according to the [Financial Post’s] FP500 index. The city’s own numbers show Toronto has added a paltry 100 jobs since 2000. … [In 2003, Calgary hosted 22 of Canada’s top corporate HQs — 5.0 per 100,000 people. It’s 3.7 per 100,000 in Toronto. Just now, Imperial Oil] is headquartered in a spectacular stone building on St. Clair Avenue, a towering modern edifice whose lobby is decorated with two gargantuan murals that evoke the kind of heady optimism, and unlimited economic potential, of Toronto in the 1950s. There is no word on what will become of the place.” (Financial Post, October 2, 2004)
Judging by the fate of other vacant buildings? It will be reinvented as an outreach facility for immigrant women, a Moslem resource centre, or gurdwara. Toronto’s decline stands in sharp contrast to rote government assurances: “Immigrants bring jobs and skills to bolster our economy.” Gosh, “according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (2003) … approximately 145,000 immigrants came to Calgary from 1982 – 2002.” (Community Strategies, City of Calgary, June 2003) Less than 150,000 over two decades? That’s pretty slim pickins weighed against Toronto’s annual immigrant bonanza: In context, it means that 4% of immigrants settle in Calgary while upward of 60% make a beeline for Toronto. Either the government is systematically lying to us, or Calgary’s immigrant shortfall means that Calgary, not Toronto, is verging on economic collapse.
But give it time: Since 1992, ESL enrolment in Calgary has tripled. And according to “University of Calgary professor Hetty Roessingh, who co-authored one of the country’s most detailed studies tracking ESL students between 1989 and 1997 … one Calgary high school pegged the dropout rate for ESL learners at 74 per cent (as opposed to 30 per cent for the general population of high-school students). Those findings have been echoed in other studies.” (Toronto Star, September 25, 2004) A pioneering spirit of spartan self-sufficiency makes Albertans unique within Canada. Will that survive mounting accusations of racism, name-calling, guilt-mongering, demands for employment equity, rights complaints, court cases and expanding hate squads parsing nuance while real crime skyrockets? Good luck Calgary, you’ll need it. Every other enriched municipality eventually succumbs to what Alexander Solzhenitsyn called the acquired mental habits of submission.
Is This How To Solve The AIDS Crisis?
When it was revealed that Ottawa admits 85% of those identified as HIV-positive, it sounded like a recipe for disaster. And guess what? “Immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean … now form the fourth largest group [of HIV positive people in Canada] In Ontario, they are the second-largest HIV group, fewer than gay men but more numerous than injection-drug users. [Predictably, no concern is squandered on unloved Canadians; the outrage is all narrow focus] governments have failed to protect some of the country’s most marginalized communities. … In the Palliser Health Region [where a large African community is employed at the Lakeside abattoir] officials worry the virus will spread without effective prevention programs. Yet, they also fear that the safe-sex campaign they plan to unveil will cause a backlash by linking HIV with immigrants in the public mind in a town besieged by racial tensions. [Just how many AIDS sufferers are there in the average small Alberta town?]
According to the Canada Communicable Disease Report, an estimated 3,700 to 5,700 people (7 to 10 per cent) of the 56,000 people in Canada living with HIV or AIDS at the end of 2002 were heterosexuals from African and Caribbean countries. … Early data suggests that in 2002 only 75 would-be immigrants were barred from Canada because of HIV. … Esther Tharao of Women’s Health in Women’s Hands, a Toronto community health centre … noted that mainstream organizations do not understand the sexual habits or attitudes of people from traditional cultures.
For example, some African and Caribbean cultures are homophobic, so men hide their gay relationships. Some women have undergone genital mutilation, making the use of female condoms impossible. Others engage in cleansing with herbs that can cause vaginal lacerations, making transmission of HIV more likely.” (Globe and Mail, October 2, 2004) If there were any point in saying so, we’d suggest that Canada select immigrants from cultures fully emerged into the present century. More to the point, the HIV excursion rate is an indefensible extravagance for a country that pays lip service to “sustainable” health care.