Saturday, 11 October 2008

Private Member's Bill C-362 Is An Attack on Old Age Security and Canada's Seniors.

Here is a Toronto Star "pity piece" concerning the financial plight of immigrant seniors. These are not immigrants to Canada who became seniors while living and working in Canada. These are people Canada imported when they were at or above the age or retirement.

Many immigrant seniors `penniless'

10-year wait for benefits leaves them vulnerable and isolated, report says
Oct 09, 2008 04:30 AM
Nicholas Keung

At 73, Balkar Singh Bajwa cares for his two grandsons, taking them to school, parks and doctors' appointments.

At times, the Brampton man, a retired principal from India, gets calls to work as a certified Punjabi translator. The little money he makes is his sole income.

"Many of us, immigrant seniors, are penniless. If you need money, you have to put your hands out and ask your children for money," sighed Bajwa, who came here in 1999 under his son's sponsorship and is a naturalized citizen.

Doing the math this gentleman was allowed to come to Canada at the youthful age of 64. The question is why did Canada allow him to immigrate at such an old age when the nation has an aging population. According to the article, he was sponsored by his son who is legally obligated to met his father's needs. So why is the man needing to to ask his son for money when it is his son's obligation to do so? Did his son import his aged father to dump the financial obligations of caring for him, including publicly funded health care, onto the Canadian public? This Punjabi immigrant may feel embarrassed to extend his hand to his son for financial aid but he seems to have no problem extending his hand to the government.

Unlike their Canadian-born counterparts, most immigrant seniors are not entitled to government income supports, such as old age security or the guaranteed income supplement, until they have lived in Canada for 10 years.

In order to receive the maximum monthly benefits of $1,100, elderly immigrants must have lived in Canada for 40 years and arrived by the age of 18 to qualify.

That makes sense, so obvious in fact that I don't think I need to explain why.

Immigrant seniors from the 50 countries that have reciprocal agreements with Canada are not bound by the residency limit, but most of today's newcomers are from the developing world and lack any social safety net. About 2.3 per cent of Canada's annual 250,000 landed immigrants are seniors.

Doing the math again 2.3% of 250,000 is 5,750 a year. Over two years that's 11,500 seniors added to Canada's aging demographic by immigration. Over three years that's 17,250. In five years it's 28,750 extra seniors added. Rounding up, Canada adds an additional 30,000 seniors to its aging demographic every five years with an estimated 100,000 seniors waiting in the backlog. If our immigration system is supposed to combat Canada's aging population then why is it adding to it by importing 30,000 retirement age immigrants every five years?

This next part I consider an attack on old age security and Canadian senior citizens:

A private member's bill aimed at reducing the old age security residency requirement to three years died when Parliament was dissolved. It would have to be re-introduced under the new government.

The private member's bill mentioned above is Private Member's Bill C-362 and it was tabled by Liberal Party MP Ms. Colleen Beaumier. The riding she represented was Brampton West but with the dissolution of parliament Andrew Kania is the new Liberal Party nominee. Brampron Springdale is the eastern neighbour of Brampton West.

The city of Brampton resides within the Greater Toronto Area and has a significant immigrant Indian population particularly from the Punjab region of India, home to the majority of India's Sikhs. In Brampton, many of these Indian immigrants have settled in the relatively new urban-sprawl housing developments that make up the Brampton West and Brampton-Springdale ridings. The names of the directors of the Brampton West Liberal riding association are telling. The photo accompanying the Toronto Star article shows a Sikh gentleman in the picture.

I suspect political opportunism is at play here coupled with a sense of entitlement and not fairness to Canadian seniors. It seems some immigrants see Canada as a retirement plan, contributing little, if anything, to the country yet expecting to collect old age security and benefits. Also, some immigrants regrade Canada as a nursing home for their parents dumping the financial obligations onto the Canadian tax payers. We cannot afford this.

The apparent penniless state of immigrant seniors tells us of the sham that is the family reunification act. We are told immigrant communities, particularly South Asian cultures, value family above all else yet once their parents are imported it seems their obligation to them disappears and now their parents become burdens to the Canadian public. And now these seniors want access to Old Age Security after a mere three year residency. If given that will they demand the maximum benefits denied them becuase they did not immigrate here at the age of 18 and have resided in the country for 40 years? How will this affect Canadians seniors on a fixed income? Will we have to divert money out of other public services to fund immigrant seniors sense of entitlement?

It also shows how Canada's immigration system worsens the aging population problem while claiming to alleviate it. Furthermore, were are informed how the family reunification scheme has no real benefits for Canadian society if immigrants are importing their parents who then go on social assistance because their adult children reneged on their obligations to take care of them.

Regarding Private Member's Bill C-362 our sense of fairness tells us it is wrong and should be defeated. MPs representing ridings with significant immigrant populations may support it but that is due to political opportunism and not what is good and right with Canadians, especially Canadian seniors.

It seems many article commentators agree.

See Immigration Watch Canada here and here for more.


Anonymous said...

"Many of us, immigrant seniors, are penniless."

He doesn't say he is penniless, but does try his best at leaving that impression. Besides, the term "penniless" is rather archaic in today's inflationary world. But, I suppose if these shameless immigrants who feel entitled to un-earned benefits, what's wrong with a little hyperbole, eh?

Bajwa is also quoted as saying "The little money he makes (as an interpreter) is his sole income."

Once again, I have trouble believing that line. If Nick had any gumption as a reporter, (he's really a biased immigration supporter who masquerades as a reporter) he'd march down to the Brampton welfare office to check out the veracity of that unsupported statement.

adolfo said...

Critics would argue that those who enter Canada illegally should simply be kicked out. Lucky for them, they are not facing violence or oppression, imprisonment or death. When you get upset with those who are in the country illegally, ask yourself if you truly understand why they have come, and what you would do in their situation.

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PaxCanadiana said...

Lucky for them, they are not facing violence or oppression, imprisonment or death.

And lucky for most of the refugees to Canada who too "are not facing violence or oppression, imprisonment or death" but say so because it helps their refugee claim. Estimates put that number in the 70% and higher range. We need to stop bogus refugees not help them.

When you get upset with those who are in the country illegally, ask yourself if you truly understand why they have come, and what you would do in their situation.

And were we to turn a blind eye to every illegal immigrant then they would flood the country and eventually create here the conditions from which they were fleeing.

They best way to maximize benefits for all is to cause change in their homelands and work to erase those negative conditions. Fleeing to Canada does nothing for the hundreds of millions who are "facing violence or oppression, imprisonment or death" but it may affect negatively Canadians living here.

You're sentiment is superficially altruistic but beneath it lies a mechanism for globalizing poverty.

Anonymous said...

after three years person getting his citizenship ,after that he suppose to have all rights that all
people getting. what is reciprocal social agreement? why we need our parents with us because most of them only one who is going to take care of them in back home? here our salary is not good that we can afford day care. also if parents here we can save on daycare,we can take care of them.but if you giving them right of citizenship after three years have to give right for OAS. govt. also wasting money on refugy, i know they getting benifits from govt and doing job on cash . parents can take care of kids give them good lessons ,quality thoughts etc.., olders need for better and crime free society. have to give all rights after getting citizenship.