They’re making plans to “change” Canada again Would you like to (finally) have some say on immigration issues? .

UN estimates the population will be 8.20-billion by 2050. Virtually all that growth will take place in the developing world. (For instance, sometime this year, Vietnam’s population will break 80,000,000. In the developed world, the 1998 rate, 1.18-billion, will very slightly drop by 2050, to 1.16-billion. Should we be penalized for practising responsible birth strategies? * In net migration, compare intake rates (per 1,000) of the 3 top immigrant-receiving nations: …..(3.1 per 1,000) – United States …..(3.12 per 1,000) – New Zealand …..(6.1 per 1,000) – Canada (figures: Central Intelligence Agency 1997 World Factbook) * Canada is NOT a country with “infinite space” – just 5 % of our land mass is arable (On April 1st, one-quarter of our land mass will be ceded to create an Inuit homeland) * Last year Immigration Minister Robillard “consulted” with various immigration pals’n’cronies * Ordinary Canadians & immigration reformers were excluded from the proceedings * She scrapped most recommendations of her own review committee (cost: $1.2-million) (notably dropping language requirements when ethnics began to demonstrate outside hearings) * But perhaps the issues are not as cut and dried as cynicism might suggest: Last year’s “consultations” must have indicated that simply giving up did not reflect the will of the majority of Canadians. Otherwise, why embark on these proceedings all over again?

Yet, when Lucienne Robillard met the press on January 6, she crowed that last year’s consultations “did not show any justification for a radical change in direction or a break from the success of Canada’s immigration policy.” Try not to laugh. These consultations, sold as “wide ranging” and “public debates” , were neither. Applications from parties not financially dependent on the masticating spines of relentless immigration were chased off with a stick. The really rather tame recommendations of Ms. Robillard’s own hand picked legislative review committee, were largely consigned to the Old Recommendations’ Home. (That the 172 recommendations cost taxpayers $1.2-million is some indication of the kind of money this department squanders with impunity). Now, a 60-page immigration white paper humorously misnamed, Building on a Strong Foundation for the 21st Century informs us, with great fanfare, that the feds want to do it all — all over again! Ms. Robillard assures us that her department has been poring over 2,200 written proposals (in addition to the 115 submitted at the Mad-Hatter’s consultations). Realistically, we have to assume that the vast majority of written submissions were likewise contributed by people who have a strong, humanitarian commitment to their paycheques. So, if you troubled to write, thank you indeed for standing up to an otherwise runaway steamroller. You’ll be delighted to know that a careful and (at least initially) less than optimistic reading of the white paper reveals that we have made inroads. Many of the guidelines we regularly criticized and lampooned (which were vigorously defended not so long ago) are suddenly, mysteriously, acknowledged policy failures. And don’t kid yourself about the source of this progress; immigration reform organizations are pretty thin on the ground in Canada. Remember, until very recently, only “racists” noticed “extremely rare” abuses of the system. How rare? So rare that the entire Act must be rewritten. But the same old mythologies persist: “Canadians have made choices about the nature of the society they want [Have we?] … Diversity is a source of collective strength [Is it?]” (p. 9) The document likes to refer to us as: “Canada’s human capital base.” (p. 30) The white paper’s guidelines for tougher measures are consistently vague and nebulous; geared perhaps, to prevent the peasants from saying unkind things. In marked contrast, plans to ease and relax existing restrictions are energetically outlined in crisp, concise point form. Still, the white paper contains a few home truths: “In human history, the movement of people across international borders has never been as extensive,” (p. 14). Immigration Canada greets the news by splashing a bit of perfume about. With just a few minor, liberalizing adjustments, it’s assumed that Canadians will be delighted with the new immigration policies that have been decided for them. This goes well beyond the usual arrogance; the department knows very well what the polls say, but seems to know equally well, that Canadians have largely been intimidated by barking, shrieking lobbies. This, as much as previous experience, suggests that without relentless and unflinching pressure, REAL REFORM will simply die on the vine. After all, it’s in the nature of bureaucracies to get away with as much as possible. In short: “Sure, we could drag along without the highest immigration intake rate in the developed world but why should we?” It’s the usual rush to judgement — your letters and submissions must be in by March 31, 1999. Even a brief letter will be more effective than the carte blanche of consenting silence. The first defence against any form of tyranny is information: ask to be added to the Immigration Department’s mailing list. This sends an unmistakable message: “ordinary” Canadians are beginning to take an interest and demand a share of the decision making process. If we get a new Immigration Act every 20 years, this blueprint will be setting policy for a very long time to come. Please bear in mind what the last 22 years have done for/to Canada.

The white paper has decided upon direction You are being consulted on mechanics and implementation, under the mistaken impression that the Canadian taxpayer is to be routinely excluded from the family of “stakeholders” and “interested parties”, even though it is the ordinary Canadian who suffers most whenever another unworkable immigration scheme is imposed on us. Nevertheless, the white paper stays up nights, obsessed with “fairness” and “accountability” — a commitment that is consistently exercised on behalf of people who ARE NOT (yet) Canadian citizens. There are recurring nightsweats over “injustices which cannot be remedied”, as though the issue were one of capital punishment, rather than pulling up stakes and settling in Canada.

As Ms. Robillard dog-paddles between leftish lost causes, lawyers, loonies, and lachrymose lobbyists, it’s horribly clear that she simply does not have what it takes to steer an intelligent course through treacherous waters. For God’s sake, somebody toss her a solution! Note the white paper’s very telling admission: “Canada has resisted the trend in other immigrant-receiving countries to restrict family immigration.” (p. 24) As you read, you begin to see why. Canada has decided to go all the way the other way, proposing “a possible reduction in the length of sponsorships for spouses and children. Currently, the duration of sponsorship is 10 years for all categories. In the province of Quebec, the duration is three years for spouses.” (p. 24) Are we actually talking about reducing the period of sponsorship to three years or less? Moreover, (in a climate where it is very nearly criminal to criticize any aspect of the “gay” lifestyle), he government means to redefine “spouse” to include same sex partners, (in a community notorious for finding new “life-partners” with some frequency) even while it relaxes the terms of obligation/responsibility for the sponsor.

This, when international law enforcement agencies join CSIS and our own Senate in criticizing Canada’s record of admitting criminals and terrorists under already lax regulations. The feds also intend to relax the age ceiling on dependent children. An innocuous sounding idea, but read on: “For the purposes of the family class, a dependent child is currently defined as a son or daughter who is: less than 19 years of age and unmarried; or in full-time attendance at an educational institution and financially supported by the parents since reaching age 19; or suffering from a physical or mental disability and who is wholly or substantially supported by the parents. [They’re looking at] increasing the current age limit for a dependent child from less than 19 years to under age 22, and maintaining a provision to include older children still in full-time studies and financially dependent on their parents, or dependent because they are suffering from a physical or mental disability.” (p. 23) Again, aside from crime and security considerations, it hardly matters whether “child” or “spouse” is wholly dependent on the sponsor, if the sponsorship period is drastically reduced or simply abrogated. Enforcing sponsorship has become such a thorn in the side that: “the government proposes to expand Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s power to undertake collection action against defaulting sponsors and to share proceeds with the provinces.” (p. 26) Delightful.

There’s a monotonous regularity to the mind-numbing range of abuses that Immigration Canada has yet to sort out. Very belatedly, the government is considering: “removing current restrictions on prosecuting people who aid and abet illegal migration … [Creating] a new offence for people who alter or counterfeit any immigration document … Authorizing Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicators to continue hearings in the absence of the person concerned where proper notice of the hearing has been given … Authority to exchange information with other countries on criminality and security issues [through] agreements with other states to permit information sharing. … Stiffer penalties for inadmissible people who repeatedly return to Canada without authorization … A provision whereby failed refugee claimants who return to Canada after 90 days and submit another protection claim would not have access to [another] protection hearing … Claimants may also apply, at any time and as often as desired, for permanent residence on humanitarian or compassionate grounds. … As refugee claimants without documents have the same access to Canada’s determination system as claimants with documents, there is currently no incentive to cooperate in establishing identity … Refugee claimants who refuse to cooperate in establishing their identity could be detained because of security concerns.” Can you imagine petitioning for “asylum” as you actively hinder and obstruct your new benefactor? Indulging such impudence and arrogance (at such an early stage in the determination process) does not bode well for Canada. Another previously unsuspected abuse is “the Family Business Job Offer” (p. 29). Mercifully, it appears to be on the way out, but additional points accrued to the hopeful immigrant if a relative (who happens to be a Canadian citizen) offered him a job with the family business. No one has explained how this might “help” unemployed Canadians. Presumably, legislation regarding the scandal-plagued “buy your way in” programmes is not meant to be humorous. However, the Immigration department is focusing now on “proven risk takers” (p. 30) — as opposed to crooks.

Several telling admissions seem to run counter to the reams of propaganda that have been choking us for years: “Recent research indicates that over the past decade, immigrants have not been as successful. Data reveal that new immigrants are starting from further behind than earlier immigrants, and that they are catching up more slowly. (p. 28) … 95 per cent of the successful skilled workers applicants are assessed as having some official language skills . About half of the entrepreneur immigrants and two-thirds of investor immigrants have no official language skills. (p. 29) … Refugees from abroad [that is, the ones we actually select] are selected with the expectation that they will be able to become self-sufficient within a year of their arrival in Canada. In this decade, most refugees have needed a longer period before they could successfully resettle in Canada.” (p. 41) This link will take you directly to the Department of Immigration’s new white paper. We’d urge you to read it carefully. It’s our feeling that the “changes” outlined are mostly cosmetic. It’s so Canadian: give everyone what they want – don’t give offense. What it does give, is the uneasy impression that without significant resistance, the country will simply throw the gates open even wider. Note, as you read, that while much space is devoted to theoretically tightening up the system, the means to accomplish this are sketchy and vague.

In marked contrast, proposals meant to “streamline”, “facilitate entry” and generally loosen and relax already promiscuous standards are outlined in very specific, concise terms. For instance, the stated intention to “redefine” spousal relationships to “reflect” same-sex “non-traditional families” — while relaxing the sponsorship period a spouse remains responsible for that person. This, at a time when the Americans are already pointing to Canada’s lax immigrant and refugee system as a “conduit for terrorists”. Since the first line of defense against any tyranny is an educated people, we urge everyone to sign up for Immigration Canada’s wealth of mailers and updates. We’d like to further urge everyone to apply to speak at the consultations, submit a written proposal, and, at the very least, send your comments via e-mail through this link. Believe it or not, it’s still your country. In the wake of last year’s sham “consultations” (by the immigration lobby, for the immigration lobby, of the immigration lobby) Ms. Robillard presumed to say that last year’s consultations “did not show any justification for a radical change in direction or a break from the success of Canada’s immigration policy.” Ain’t croneyism great? Please, take this opportunity and explain that the silent majority is tired of suffering in silence. Bear in mind, comments must be submitted before March 31, 1999

Our advice is: WRITE regardless. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy document with footnotes; make your feelings known, concisely and without slurs. Make copies of your letter and spread them around (Note on the bottom where copies are going. That makes it harder to throw in the trash) Remember, any letter to Parliament or your MP is postage-free. We recommend that you write (and don’t forget to ask to be added to the department’s mailing list) to: your MP as well as to

Remember: it’s hopeless the moment people stop resisting.

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