Reception for refugees ranks low
Newcomers' job skills deemed more important than immigrants' status, poll of Canadians finds
Jun 09, 2008 04:30 AM
Lesley Ciarula Taylor
Canadians' vision of themselves as hospitable to people fleeing persecution elsewhere doesn't entirely hold up, a poll for a prestigious think-tank says.
If these people are fleeing persecution then why do so many of them return to their lands of alleged persecution? I would like to see a study that investigates how many refugees return to their homelands after they make a refugee claim. To give an example, the Sri Lankan Tamil community in Canada, the largest outside of Sri Lanka, has a penchant for going back to Sri Lanka after they make a refugee claim. This should beg questions causing us to consider if these people are real refugees at all.
While Canadians champion the idea of allowing skilled workers or separated family members into the country, they are less enthusiastic about refugees, concludes the poll by Nanos Research in Policy Options magazine, published by the Montreal-based Institute for Research on Public Policy.
The poll asked people whether three factors should be important when selecting immigrants. Across Canada, 68.2 per cent chose job skills, 58.8 per cent said family reunification and only 40.1 per cent picked refugee status. The numbers in Ontario were 71.1 per cent, 58.6 per cent and 40.2 per cent.
Because of the Singh Decision of 1985 a refugee is given all the rights of Canadian citizenship except the right to vote. That's why Canada is a favourite target for refugee claimants. They become de facto Canadian citizens just by saying the magic word at the border.
I don't think this is right. They should have protections but not be granted every privelege a Canadian citizen has. Indeed, I don't think landed immigrants should be given every privilege before they have taken their citizenship oath. The automatic granting of these privileges just cheapens Canadian citizenship and makes the oath taking ceremony a perfunctory act all the while cultivating an attitude of entitlement.
I also believe Canada should have a repatriation program. Refugees are not immigrants which is why job skills and language skills are not stressed for these individuals. They are fleeing danger until the coast is clear and when it is it should be expectant upon them to willfully return. Refugees may apply as landed immigrants but this means they will have to get in line like everybody else. But to use the refugee system as an avenue for immigration does this country a disservice and is unfair to all those who apply to come to Canada as landed immigrants. I know the critics will say that this will make refugees second class citizens in which case a solution may be temporary citizenship which they will lose when repatriated.
Also, I don't believe refugees should be allowed to sponsor the importation of family members outside of spouse and dependents. If they claim their family is in danger as well then they can make a refugee claim themselves and let Canada decide that. Right now, not only is the refugee system being abused to get an economic migrant posing as a bogus refugee into a first world nation but it is also being further exploited to get this individual's extended family into the country as well via the family reunification stream. These individuals, like the original refugee claimant, need no pertinent language or job skills. This is why poverty rates are so high within refugee communities like the Sri Lankan Tamil and Somali communities.
Here are the poll results concerning Canadian attitudes towards dual citizenship.
The poll also sought opinions on dual citizenship. Nanos found the majority support it – 51.3 per cent overall and 54.2 per cent in Ontario – surprising, but also a reflection of modern Canada.
"It reflects our multicultural mix," he said. "Most Canadians still believe it is possible to balance being a proud Canadian and holding on to your heritage."
To me that figure of 51.3 per cent is a slim, or bare, majority. Put another way 49.7 per cent oppose dual citizenship. Considering the fact that 20 per cent of Canadians were not born in the country, a people who many live with dual loyalties, that 51.3 per cent figure is arguably influenced by that fact. So we may reasonably say that the majority of Canadians oppose dual citizenship.
I haven't completely made up my mind about dual citizenship even though 50,000 "Canadians" were residing in Lebanon at one time, the largest contingent of foreign nationals for that country which is strange since Canada has no history with Lebanon. Also 250,000 "Canadians" living in Hong Kong is off putting. I think we can still manage a dual citizenship regime but we need to close the loop holes in our tax laws for these individuals.