Thursday, 31 December 2009

'Ah, Plenty More Where That Came From': Immigrant Labourers Dead After Scaffolding Mishap.

I held off on this until more details about the tragedy were known.

We learned that four men died and one remains in critical condition after a scaffolding mishap occurred on Christmas eve at a public housing development in Toronto's north west end. Initial reports said that the men were migrant workers but one of them did have a valid Ontario drivers license so details were not certain about the men's legal status in Canada.

We now know that two of them were "refugee" claimants, one from the ever oppressive, tyrannical, and anti-democratic state of Israel, a literal hell on earth, and another from Ukraine. I don't know exactly what alleged persecution these men were facing in Israel or Ukraine but my nonsense detector immediately tells me these men lied to get into the country, likely coached along the way by unscrupulous immigration lawyers and consultants.

The only survivor was from Uzbekistan and he has no family in Canada. According to the reports we can assume that one of the four dead was also an immigrant from Uzbekistan. Undoubtedly both were refugee claimants as well.

Now they are dead with one fighting for his life. Ironically, if Canada had a tough and sensible refugee determination system none of these men would have been allowed into the country as refugees and would probably be alive today. But other men would have been in their place.

Canada is not short of labour despite the whining that comes out of the business community. Canada is short of labourers who will work for low pay and/or in unsafe working conditions. Instead of sweetening the pot by raising wages, salaries, and offering benefits to attract workers the business community has successfully lobbied to keep immigration numbers high to flood the labour market with cheap and disposable labour. The result is predictable: downward pressure on wages and salaries and the weakening of labour standards. That being the case what Canadian would be attracted to jobs like that? By over supplying the labour market you create situations were people are desperate enough to take anything irrespective of pay and safety.

The media are just a culpable in my opinion. Instead of focusing on how immigration is disrupting the labour market and discouraging Canadians from taking certain jobs we hear heroic tails of immigrants toiling in jobs "Canadians won't do" to create a better life for their children.

Canada's unions are of no help either. Effectively non-existent in the private sector the only unions Canada really has are public sector unions and they too are silent on the negative forces of mass immigration even though it threatens to undermine union strength in the nation.

Who is really standing up for Canada's working class?

From the Toronto Star report linked above we learn that the company in question was ordered to halt work by the province over safety concerns. Work orders were also issued to ensure work place safety. But the men died anyway and it begs one to wonder how serious these work orders were taken.

Temporary workers and migrant workers, indeed mass immigration including the refugee stream which is more about immigration than asylum, are not only undermining Canadian living standards by forcing downward pressure on incomes but also undermine work place safety standards. The immigration system is not a weapon to attack Canada's working population nor are immigrant workers cheap and disposable cogs in a machine. We are talking about people's lives and livelihoods.

As for the title of this post, back in the day I used to watch The Simpsons when it was funny enough to make time for. But since it jumped the shark a long time ago I don't watch it all. However, there was one episode where an aunt of Marge's and her sisters' died and extolled Marge's two celibate twin sisters in a video will to have children. Feeling the mothering impulse one of them decides to take two of Marge's children, Bart and Lisa, to the beer themed amusement park Duff Gardens. On the way into the park Lisa reads from a pamphlet some points of interests about the Duff Gardens "Beeramid". She reads aloud that fourteen migrant workers died in its construction to which the aunt responded "Ah, plenty more where that came from." It's not so funny when it actually happens in real life.

Monday, 28 December 2009

If The Children's Aid Society Gets Its Way Expect Canada To Be A Dumping Ground For The World's 'Abandoned' Children.

As if Canada doesn't have enough holes in its border it appears the CAS (Children's Aid Society) is working to create another one.

Here is a story about a child called Kasim (not his real name). He was sent to Canada on a one way ticket from St. Lucia. His parents claim that he will have better education and employment opportunities in Canada than in St. Lucia. And since he has no parents or guardians in Canada the child will become a ward of the state. In other words they want Canadian taxpayers to raise their child for them.

Kasim isn't the only child they sent here. An older brother was residing in Canada illegally and to whom Kasim was sent to live with. However that older sibling has been detected and has been sent back to St. Lucia.

Though ordered deported Kasim still remains in Canada thanks to the meddling of the CAS. Claiming to be acting in the best interests of the child the CAS has delayed his deportation and want the government to grant Kasim immigration status even though he is in no danger if returned to St. Lucia to live with his mother and aunt.

If the CAS is successful then this will be a precedent setting case, paving a legal argument for others to send their children to Canada to be raised by the state. Undoubtedly these "unwanted" children will then be used for immigration purposes if not as a remittance paying ex-patriot. Ironically, the CAS will only encourage others to "abandon" their children by sending them to Canada. Is this what is meant by acting in the best interests of the child?

Canada's immigration system is already a money losing investment. We cannot afford to be the caregivers of the world's "unwanted" children. It is the responsibility of the child's parents to provide for his or her welfare not Canadian tax payers. Nor is it the place of arrogant, meddling, social workers at the CAS to tell others how to raise their kids, assuming they even know what is best for them.

The CAS is doing more harm than good by delaying Kasim's deportation. They will make things worse for Canada if they get their way. They are wrong and should let the child go which reminds me of a joke I once heard about the CAS. What is the difference between the CAS and a pit bull? The pit bull eventually lets go of the child. Ain't that the truth.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

So Long Green Belt, We Hardly Knew Ya.

Here is another article out of the allegedly environmentally conscious Toronto Star. You can read it if you wish but the story is a familiar one. It is one of a key figure in developing strategies to protect southern Ontario's prime farm land warning of the pending environmental disaster if certain profit maximizing entities' proposed business ventures (euphemistically referred to as "employment zones") come to fruition on prime agricultural land.
A damning memo from Ontario's senior planner paints a stark picture of unsustainable sprawl, congestion and skyrocketing infrastructure costs if the province proceeds with a controversial strategy to urbanize large swaths of Simcoe County north of the Greenbelt.

The warning by Victor Doyle, a key architect of the groundbreaking Greenbelt plan, focuses on the combined impact of lightning-speed growth in Barrie and proposals to create two massive employment zones along pastoral Highway 400 in Bradford West Gwillimbury and Innisfil.

"The cumulative effect will be to open up a new linear pattern of urban sprawl along Highway 400 running virtually from the Holland Marsh to north of Barrie," Doyle wrote in the September letter directed at Ontario's Growth Secretariat and obtained by the Star.

What happens in Simcoe may determine whether a bold attempt to curb sprawl in the GTA ultimately succeeds or fails.

It is wishful thinking on the part of anyone if they believe the Ontario government (it doesn't matter who is in power) is serious about containing the seemingly unstoppable urban sprawl spreading out from Toronto into the surrounding region and beyond. It is wishful thinking on the part of anyone if they think the rapid population growth infecting southern Ontario, thanks almost in whole to mass immigration, can be accommodated by "smart growth" planning. It is also naive for anyone to believe that the Toronto Star is actually serious about the environment.

Think about it. More immigrants means more citizens which, fingers crossed, translates into votes for the party in power. More immigrants means more surplus labour to work for low wages and benefits in "employment zones". More immigrants means more demand for the "better life" which means a large two door garage house, an SUV for each port, which means more urban sprawl and frequent shopping trips to outlet malls and shopping centres (that's what Canada means to immigrants anyways), and a carbon footprint that helps make Canada one of the worst offenders in the world. And, more immigrants means more Toronto Star readers that can be sold to advertisers.

More immigrants means more cars on the road, which means more congestion, which means more idling cars, which means more pollution which is the cause of an estimated 10,000 deaths in Ontario. More cars so that they can get to their urban sprawl homes, which was developed on prime farm land, which means leas arable land, which will be needed if and when peak oil hits.

I think you get the picture.

Mass immigration is what is fueling urban sprawl and its associated consequences. Perhaps if Canada's environmentalists spent most of their energy pressuring the government at the provincial and national levels to cut immigration numbers then they might actually accomplish something for once and help preserve Canada's environment. They do have the facts on their side this time and Canada is, after all, bringing in too many immigrants this country needs or the citizens care for. Instead, like chickens with their heads cut off, they run around screaming "they sky is falling" over what is turning out to be a global warming hoax.

Priorities people. Get them straight.

Monday, 14 December 2009

If American Culture Impovrishes Us Then Why Does Multiculturalism Enrich Us?

I came across this commentary in the Toronto Star. It's about the current state of Canadian broadcasting and its reliance on "cheap" imported U.S. programming and how this reliance "impoverishes" Canadian culture. It's an interesting read but the article can be summed up by this single paragraph:
Can Canadian culture survive when the primary instrument of communication of the age concentrates most of its effort on the importation of the culture of another country?

It is a question worth pondering and one that should be applied to multiculturalism and its fuel, mass immigration. If American culture "impoverishes" Canadian culture then why does South Asian culture or Chinese culture, etc., enrich us?

I happen to agree that American cultural influence in Canada is a concern but it is one shared by many countries. And it shouldn't stop with the U.S.

Indian films are becoming commonplace in select theaters in major Canadian cities. Indeed, the Indian film industry, in its attempt to market its brand of mediocre film fare internationally, will hold its nomadic film awards in Toronto in 2011, the first city in North America to do so. The fact is there is no market in Canada for Indian films outside of Canada's South Asian colonies. Chinese films have tried to find a market in North America and has found little mainstream success even though Chinese films have more appeal then the characteristically silly Bollywood tripe.

American films already dominate Canadian screens and competing with American films is hard enough. Now Canadian filmmakers, thanks in whole to Canada's burgeoning Indian and Chinese colonies, have to compete with imported Indian and Chinese films for Canadian screens as well.

It doesn't stop there. Companies like Rogers and Bell, in an effort to attract subscription dollars from Canada's growing immigrant communities, offer packages that will deliver television content from non North American sources.

The CBC is of little use. If it isn't making shows about the cultural hobbies and sensibilities of its Toronto-centric producers (Little Mosque On The Prairie), its making shows about themselves or their friends (Sophie, Being Erica). In other words shows no one wants to watch.

The truth is given the choice Canadians will choose American culture over multiculturalism any day. It's because American culture is so a part of Canada. It's a part of Canadians' daily lives. We see it when we turn on the T.V., when we listen to the radio, when we wear their clothes. That's just how it is because we are so much like them (or if you wish we are so like each other). There are differences but there are many similarities and there's nothing terribly wrong with that. We should be cautious (and suspicious at times) when dealing with the U.S. (NAFTA was a mistake for one thing and we should get out of it) but the United States is a great country and the American people are wonderful. There is a lot we can learn from them but likewise there is much they can learn from us.

We may feel slighted that we know more about the United States and its people than they do about us. And that we, as the people who know the Americans best are given little thought by them we too have to consider that we, as Canadians, give little thought of anyone, anywhere outside of North America north of the Rio Grande. Quick, who is the current president of Mexico (yes Mexico does have a president)?

Multiculturalism on the other hand is completely irrelevant for the majority Canadians. It means nothing to them. They simply don't care about it because it is not present in their daily lives. They may eat at an ethnic themed restaurant every now and then but those are simply cultural indulgences where the cultural habit is the generic act of going out to eat. They may see a sari here or there, a turban or a hijab, but the most they will do is acknowledge that a people and a culture not of North American origin (and thus not North American) resides within the borders of their nation. If anything multiculturalism is viewed as a rejection of Canadian culture and thus an insult.

So, if the survival of a Canadian culture, a unique Canadian voice, is desperate against American cultural influences then how is it to be heard in a multicultural society? To me it's the same thing. If American culture is impoverishing then so is multiculturalism. Both doom Canada to a state of cultural mediocrity.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Immigration Watch Canada.org Has A Forum.

Check it out here.

Of Points And Credentials: Canada Is Awash With Some Skilled Labour So Why Do We Still Let Them In?

I read this commentary in the Toronto Star and it seems it was lifted, some of it anyways, from my last blog post. As much as I'd like to think so I doubt that is the case. It's good to see that some sobering thoughts are printed in the Toronto Star on occasion instead of the usual irresponsible cheer leading that graces its pages.
There is no doubt that the initiative by federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Human Resources Minister Diane Finley to speed up the recognition of foreign credentials for new immigrants is a step in the right direction. But this initiative addresses the effect of the problem, not the cause. It addresses the issue of what to do when they are in Canada, not the question of why we have let them immigrate to Canada if their credentials are not recognized by the provinces and whether the provinces really need new immigrants with those credentials.

Our immigration system is allowing people with high academic credentials into Canada and helping them find jobs that don't exist while, simultaneously, disregarding the requests of industries that need different manpower and survive only thanks to the work done by illegal workers who can't be in this country legally because of an unfair point system.

Those requests for manpower are requests for cheap and plentiful labour.

The commentary points out that Ontario is flooded with imported skilled labour it never needed and doesn't need.

When we talk about foreign credentials, we automatically think about doctors who come from abroad and drive taxis in Toronto. But the reality is different. Only 200 doctors arrive every year. Rather, according to numbers from Ontario's immigration ministry that are only 2 years old, our province is flooded by engineers, accountants, lab technicians, IT experts and teachers we don't necessarily need.

As former Ontario immigration minister Mike Colle pointed out, we have 10,000 to 15,000 engineers arriving in Canada from abroad every year. At the same time, every year we have 4,000 to 5,000 new engineers graduating from our universities and the workforce can barely accommodate them.

One of the problems, according to the commentary, is the points system. As I have stated on this blog the system is outdated and arbitrary. It is also subject to meddling from non citizens as was the case when Canada tried to increase the score necessary for immigration as a means to control to the inflow of unnecessary skilled immigration. When the government made public its intentions to do this Ottawa was threatened with lawsuits from potential immigrants who passed on the lower score but failed at the higher score. Ottawa back down and the score remains at its low of 67.
Immigration policy for skilled workers should start before we let them into Canada, not when they are already here because of the point system – and when we don't know what to do with them.

Sound familiar? This was the sentiment I expressed in my previous post. We shouldn't be importing skilled immigrants if their credentials are not going to be recognized. And it may very well be that their skills do not meet Canadian standards. These complications facing immigrants should be settled before coming to Canada. If they fail the skills assessment then they should not allowed to land regardless of their application score.

The commentary focuses its criticisms for Ontario but it is a problem for all of the country. Too many is too many and Canada needs to cut back on the inflow of immigrants and rethink its selection criteria.

Monday, 7 December 2009

As A Requirement For Entry An Immigrant's Skills Should Be Accessed Prior To Landing.

Recently the government of Canada has acted to quicken recognition of foreign credentials as if that will miraculously create jobs for immigrants that didn't exist in the first place. The National Post has the news here.

Foreign-trained architects, nurses and engineers are among new immigrants who will get first crack at having their credentials recognized within one year under a new federal-provincial accord being announced Monday.

Canwest News Service has learned the agreement will be implemented in two stages, and that by the end of 2012 a total of 15 occupations will have access to a fast-track system of foreign-credential recognition.

[...]

This means foreign-trained workers who submit an application after that date to be licensed or registered in those fields should be advised within one year whether their credentials will be recognized.

Canada is accessing the skills of immigrants after they have landed and that is the root of the problem. Their skills should be accessed before they are allowed to immigrate and satisfying the assessment should be a requirement for entry. Not only will this save Canadian tax payers money but it will negate the need for more layers of bureaucracy and the adding of more laws to an already convoluted immigration system. Also, it will save immigrants' time, money, and grief. Currently immigrants are lawfully permitted to come to Canada after successfully completing a dated and arbitrary points based application where recognition of their credentials is not an issue.

The federal budget earlier this year earmarked $50-million over the next two years to make the process of assessing and recognizing foreign credentials more efficient. The work involves pressing many of the 440 professional licensing and regulatory bodies across the country to participate in streamlining their systems for foreign-credential recognition.

The House of Commons immigration committee released a report last week calling on the federal government to step up efforts to improve recognition of newcomers' education, skills and training as a way of alleviating the poverty, unemployment and underemployment that, it said, too many are forced to endure.

Among other things, the all-party committee called on the federal government to consider providing such financial incentives as tax credits and wage subsidies to employers who provide short-term "work-experience" opportunities to newcomers in their areas of expertise.

The simplest explanation for why highly educated immigrants are driving cabs in Toronto is that the jobs they intended to take upon arrival in Canada never existed. The lack of recognition of immigrants' credentials and the nonsensical "Canadian experience" excuse is just smoke and mirrors. When Fortune 500 companies like Intel and Microsoft have outsourced skilled work to India and China you have to ask if "Canadian experience" and non-recognition of credentials really have anything to do with it.

The tax dollars to be funneled to assist immigrants who shouldn't even be in the country is money wasted. Why are Canadian tax dollars to be spent to subsidize the education of immigrants to upgrade their skills when so many Canadians are currently out of work or underemployed? Shouldn't that money be spent on them instead? Is Canada importing immigrants so that Canadians can invest tax dollars in skills upgrading for immigrants so that these immigrants can then compete with Canadians in the labour market?

And how odd it is that Canadian businesses need to be bribed with tax payer funded incentives to hire the immigrants Canadian businesses say they need in order to stay competitive.

The existence of affirmative action programs, equal opportunity employment, government sponsored incentives to businesses to hire immigrants, and the Maytree Foundation's "DiverseCity" program (a hypocritical program advocating discriminatory hiring practices that favour racial minorities) are all proofs that jobs for skilled immigrants do not exist and that Canada is taking in more immigrants than it needs.

The Toronto Star reviewed this latest Conservative government initiative to buy immigrant votes in an editorial. Aside from misstating that the immigration systems is "is skewed to benefit skilled professionals" it gets a couple things right.

When foreign-trained doctors apply for accreditation to work in Ontario, they generally wait four to six weeks to get an answer. Pharmacists wait about two weeks and engineers six weeks for decisions from their professional regulatory bodies on whether their foreign credentials will be recognized here.

So how, then, will a requirement to give applicants an answer within one year "speed up foreign credential recognition for newcomers to Canada," as Ottawa claimed this week under a much-ballyhooed framework agreement with provinces.

And most importantly this:

The real problem is not how fast the paperwork is processed. Rather, it is lack of access to the necessary training and skills upgrading programs, as well as unreasonable requirements imposed by professional bodies, which have little incentive to let in newcomers.

Exactly. Canada's professionals have put up barriers by way of their professional bodies to protect their incomes from the negative effects of mass immigration. This is a luxury denied most Canadians, especially Canada's poor, who have no one defending them. The labour unions have proven themselves too cowardly to demand less immigration to not only protect working Canadians but also to safeguard their futures since mass immigration will undermine their influence and strength by creating a surplus of desperate labour.

Jason Kenney went so far as to accuse physicians' groups with putting up discouraging hurdles to prevent foreign trained doctors from practicing in Canada.
"It's no secret that a lot of foreign-trained medical professionals have significant hurdles in getting their credentials recognized," he said. "It's a huge opportunity cost that's lost to us, to encourage foreign-trained medical doctors to come to Canada and have them end up cleaning hotel rooms."

[...]

"There are some of the major professional agencies, let's make no bones about this, who are less willing to collaborate, less willing to streamline the process and cut the red tape," Kenney said.

"Some of them appear to be acting in a way to keep closed labour markets and to keep closed the doors of opportunity for foreign-trained professions, and that is a shame."

The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons claim to have made improvements in this area but this came about only after political pressure.

I know, not all standards are created equal, that there is document fraud, and there may be some validity to denying many foreign trained professionals the opportunity to practice in Canada. But when immigrants educated in western nations have to jump through hoops just to get licensed to practice in their fields then you can't help but get suspicious.

These problems can be avoided if an immigrant's skills and credentials were accessed before they are allowed to come to Canada. If they don't pass an assessment then they should be denied entry regardless of how well they scored on the points based application. Doesn't that make much more sense?

As a side note I wonder how many politicians pushing for credential recognition will have an Indian trained doctor as a physician or go under the knife of a Pakistani trained surgeon? I wonder indeed.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Creating Better Immigrants Through Tougher Citizenship Laws.

Anything obtained easily is taken for granted and is not as appreciated as something that is obtained through determination and hard work. Indeed, it is perceived as an entitlement, as something that no one can deny you. This is the current state of Canadian citizenship. It is too easily granted and too quickly given out like discount coupons are for a store's "one day only sale" to everyone who passes through its doors. Canada needs to toughen its citizenship laws. By doing so we would be making better citizens of immigrants.

Andrew Cohen writes about this in the Ottawa Citizen. While commenting on the new citizenship guide he has this to say:

There is much to be done. Generally speaking, we should make citizenship harder, not easier, to obtain. To this end, make the citizenship test mandatory for those under 65, not 55. Test aggressively on language, ensuring that applicants have a working knowledge of English or French. Many do not now.

Appoint citizenship judges who are serious about citizenship, not political hacks. Extend the residency requirement for new Canadians from three to six years.

Rewrite the citizenship oath to reflect obligation and duty. Draft a charter of responsibilities. Tax Canadians living abroad after they have been away a number of years. Reconsider dual citizenship.

None of this is easy. Some of the more contentious questions might go to a royal commission.

I don't know if I agree with him on all points but I do feel that three years residency is too short a time for citizenship. In fact I think this is the shortest residency time any country in the world expects of its immigrants before it grants them citizenship. And not by coincidence is it short enough to quickly produce voters for the next election, expectedly for the Liberal party. Similarly, it is absolutely ridiculous that Canada grants landed immigrant status to live in caregivers after a mere two years of baby sitting. That we grant landed immigrant status to live in caregivers is ridiculous in itself.

I don't think the refugee stream should be another avenue to citizenship. Technically refugees are not immigrants. They are supposed to be temporary residents with the intent of returning to their country once it is safe.

I also don't think citizenship should be granted to anyone who is born on Canadian soil. This should be a right of citizenship not to people just passing through. This would curtail the incidence of anchor babies or "passport babies". Earlier this year an 8 1/2 month pregnant Ugandan woman gave birth to a child in Canadian air space as she traveled to the U.S. from Denmark ostensibly driven by the motive to give her child U.S. citizenship by having it born in U.S. territory (why else would she be traveling so late in her pregnancy?). But the child was born in Canadian air space and the Canadian government, without precedent, gave the child citizenship. Canada or the U.S., to the Ugandan woman I doubt it made any difference. Many other temporary residents, be it on travel visas or work visas, intentionally get pregnant here if not pregnant already for the same reason. We shouldn't encourage or reward this behaviour.

Adding another point, any immigrants who have lived abroad for an extended amount of time should have their citizenship brought under review with the possibility of it being revoked. Leaving Canada for an indefinite amount of time after obtaining citizenship doesn't sound like someone who is committed to the country like the 50,000 "Canadians" in Lebanon or the some 250,000+ "Canadians" living in Hong Kong. If they are not going to be taxed on their foreign incomes then what good are they to the country? Why should the benefits of Canadian citizenship be readily available to them when their commitment to the country they chose to immigrate to is lacking? For native born Canadians citizenship is their birthright but to move to Canada, stick around long enough to get citizenship, then take off again is something other. Longer residency requirements would address this issue.

Immigrants today, irrespective of their complaints and whining, have never had it easier at becoming a citizen. Post WWII immigrants had to work for it like those who preceded them. They had to live in the country longer, they didn't have free language training, nor an army of social workers and social programs at their service. It was baptism by fire. They didn't have the internet or satellite T.V. to keep them in touch with the home country or cheap air travel to make frequent and extended trips to their native lands. They came to Canada with the intent of staying here for good. And they were better for it. They became Canadians wanting to become "more Canadian than Canadian". And they appreciated Canada more for it. Sadly, this is lost with recent cohorts of the past several years, perhaps decades, for whom Canadian citizenship is an insurance policy and a list of entitlements and benefits, nothing more.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

No More Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees Please (enough is enough).

I've said all I have to say about Sri Lanka's Tamil refugees but I write this post to reinforce my position that I think most Sri Lankan Tamil refugees to Canada were bogus and continue to be. They got into the country by capitalizing on Canadian ignorance and gullibility and abused the asylum system for the purposes of immigrating. Occam's razor best explains why Canada has the largest Sri Lankan Tamil population in the world outside Sri Lanka: once word got back to Sri Lanka about the ease and success a Tamil refugee had in Canada, rewarded by eventual citizenship, then the flood came.

Here is Martin Collacott writing in the National Post about Sri Lankan Tamil refugees particularly the 76 that landed in B.C. aboard a boat called the Ocean Lady. He is one to pay attention to regarding this issue because he was once Canada's high commissioner to Sri Lanka during the initial break out of Sri Lanka's civil war.

The arrival of 76 Sri Lankan Tamils aboard a vessel that some experts believe may be owned by the Tamil Tigers has raised a number of troubling questions. Unlike the 599 Chinese who appeared off the coast of British Columbia 10 years ago, there is every indication the latest arrivals intend to try to stay in Canada permanently.

The Chinese boat people had quite different objectives.
They were being smuggled into Canada in order to be smuggled in turn into the United States -- where they planned to work in menial jobs in order to pay off those who had brought them here illegally. It was not in their game plan to get caught by the Canadian authorities. They knew nothing about claiming refugee status when they arrived here and had to be coached by their Canadian lawyers on how to put together tales about how they had been persecuted in China in order to stand a chance of being accepted as refugees.

The 76 new arrivals will need no such instruction. They have almost certainly brought with them carefully prepared stories of how they have suffered, because they are Tamils, at the hands of the mainly Sinhalese government of Sri Lanka. While such claimants have been quite successful at gaining asylum in Canada until now, this group may find the task somewhat more daunting.

He points out that Sri Lankan Tamil refugee claims should be more difficult to make now because the fighting has stopped in Sri Lanka. Poverty and crime are not grounds for making refugee claims. Undoubtedly we are going to hear more tired tales of persecution irrespective of the reality that today Sri Lanka's Tamils are one of the more privileged minority groups in a country in the world. They were nowhere close to suffering the kind of persecution and genocide black Christians and Muslims were, and are, experiencing in Darfur at the hands of an armed Arab militia backed by the Sudanese government. To make any parallels between the two is an insult to those real refugees in Darfur.
The suggestion that Tamils are being persecuted as a people in Sri Lanka, however, is nonsense and is a myth propagated by Tamil extremists. The Tigers have, in fact, tried to systematically assassinate moderate leaders in their own community who do not agree with the goal of creating a completely independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka by violent means. The latest victim of their ruthless campaign was the foreign minister of Sri Lanka, Lakshman Kadirgamar, an ethnic Tamil, who was murdered in 2005.

So, a foreign minister of Sri Lanka was an ethnic Tamil (and assassinated by the LTTE no less). Indeed, I believe there are at most four active Tamil political parties operating in Sri Lankan politics under the banner of the Tamil National Alliance. With sitting MPs in Colombo it is like Canada's Bloc Quebecois Party. Persecution? Save it for an ignorant Immigration and Refugee Board member and there are plenty of those going around.

There can be no doubt that Canada has been more than generous to Sri Lankan Tamils seeking asylum. Between 1989 and 2004, for example, we gave refugee status to more than 37,000 such claimants -- far more than to the nationals of any other country. Our largesse is also impressive by international standards; in 2003 we accepted 50% more claims from this source than did all the other countries of the world combined.

Did they deserve it? No.

Here's one indication of Canadian generosity, and even laxity, in our treatment of refugee claimants. In order to be successful, the claimants have to be able to make the case that they fled their countries of origin because it was not safe to remain there. Yet, in one year alone, 8,600 Sri Lankans with refugee claims pending in Canada applied to the Sri Lankan High Commission in Ottawa for travel documents so they could go back to Sri Lanka for visits.

This is also mentioned in the recommended book Who Gets In? by Daniel Stoffman. If they are fleeing for their lives then why are they returning to the land of their alleged persecution with such frequency?
A further indication that Sri Lanka is not quite as dangerous a place for Tamil refugee claimants as their supporters try to make out is to be found in an internal Citizenship and Immigration Canada communication (obtained through an access to information request by Vancouver lawyer Richard Kurland) which noted that "returnees (to Sri Lanka) are dealt with professionally and, unless there are outstanding criminal warrants, deportees and other returnees are simply returned to the community on arrival after brief and professionally conducted interviews."

The report went on to state that "other countries have successfully returned large numbers of failed asylum seekers, and Sri Lanka is a safe destination for unsuccessful refugee applicants." In the same vein, at an Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) hearing in 2006, it was pointed out that more than 100 Sri Lankans (failed refugee claimants, and presumably all Tamil) had been sent back to their homeland and none had been mistreated as their lawyers had claimed they would be.

It's a farce and the joke is on Canada. Martin Collacott points out Canada's ridiculous refugee acceptance rate for Sri Lanka's Tamil refugee claims that characteristically hovers between 80% and 90%. Last year "Canada rejected 2.6% of their applications while other countries had an average rejection rate of 50%." Why has Canada shown Sri Lanka's Tamils such preferential treatment in the asylum system when no other country did or does? Are we missing something or just plain stupid? No. Everyone else is wrong. That's it. That's always it.

With the largest Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in the world Canada should be weary about more refugees from Sri Lanka. The war is over and there is no excuse they should be making refugee claims abroad. If anything they are internally displaced. Their tales of systemic persecution are often over exaggerated if not outright fabrications to gain international sympathy for political advantage in Sri Lanka and to keep immigration avenues open via the asylum system. They have much to gain by lying.

Most importantly sovereignty movements don't die out. They go into exile and Canada is the most likely place where LTTE members and fighters will regroup to re-stage a war for independence in Sri Lanka while escaping prosecution. Babbar Khalsa is kept alive within diaspora Sikh communities particularly in the U.K. and Canada, the two countries with the largest Sikh populations outside of India. The result: the largest mass murder in Canadian history.

If Sri Lanka's Tamil population want to come to Canada they can apply to immigrate. But to use the refugee system to immigrate is downright shameful. And it is embarrassing for us as a nation. Our refugee system is a joke making Canada the choice target for bogus refugee claims around the world. Let's bring some credibility and integrity to the system.

New Citizenship Guidebook And Test For The Likes Of Suaad Hagi Mohamud.

I'm sure you've already heard or read about the new citizenship guidebook the Conservative government developed for immigrants to acquaint themselves with the country they chose to move to and the history of its people they chose to live, well, amongst (I was going to say with but we know better). If not you can read the guidebook for yourself here.

To my understanding the guide book is to replace the water-downed version the previous Liberal government put together. Of course it should be of no surprise the Liberal party would lower the expectations of being a Canadian citizen. Immigration to them has more to do with importing votes, not "new Canadians". It is by no coincidence that an immigrant can become a citizen in as little as three years, the lowest amount of time in the world I believe, and Canadian elections are typically held every four to five years when the government is not a minority.

It seems the guidebook is for immigrants like Suaad Hagi Mohamud. She was the Somali woman with Canadian citizenship accused of being an impostor when she tried to return to Canada from Kenya. The Canadian representative in Kenya didn't believe her claimed identity due in large part to her incredible ignorance of the country and city she lived in for ten years. Assuming the woman really was Ms. Mohamud I find her almost complete ignorance of Canada unsurprising. And she is not alone.

Many immigrants are shamefully ignorant of Canada even though they may call this country home and call themselves Canadians. This is not wholly their fault. Canada has lowered its expectations of its immigrants thanks in part to a multicultural domestic policy that emphasizes and celebrates their "otherness" while at the same time saying they are as Canadian as maple syrup. Our sensibilities tells us otherwise. Of course they should bear some of the blame. Being a Canadian is a choice and many of them are choosing not to be Canadian thinking that their occasional trip to the shopping mall is what being Canadian is all about (and what Canada truly means to them). Sadly some of their Canadian born children are doing the same.

Will this guidebook really make any impression on the minds of immigrants and compel them to assimilate? I doubt it. Knowing a few historical facts about a nation's history doesn't make one a national. Anyways, many immigrants are not interested in being Canadians. They just want what Canadians have and citizenship is their ticket to ride. Being Canadian is more than citizenship and a shared set of values.

Yet for some it is still troublesome that immigrants should bear greater responsibility when immigrating to Canada. Here is a complaint from someone in the immigration industry.

A move by the federal government to have newcomers know more about Canada’s military and political history if they want to become Canadian citizens could be unfair, says a supervisor who works with local refugees.

“It’s too much to know,’’ said Mira Malidzanovic, program director of the Reception Centre in Kitchener. The centre currently has 15 government-sponsored refugees in its David Street house. In a year, the centre serves about 280 refugees, she said.

Malidzanovic said it’s important to know Canadian history, including the significance of Remembrance Day, as well as Canada’s political history and that of First Nations.

“But is it important to know this right away,’’ she asked. “Do we want to make life more difficult? We need to think about what is the priority when it comes to settlement and integration.’’

Malidzanovic said many of the government-sponsored refugees apply for citizenship after being in Canada for three years.
I guess Canadian citizenship is a right and anything that stand in the way of obtaining it is tantamount to a human rights violation.

Here is Colby Cosh writing about the vindication of Hérouxville, Quebec.

I have probably already written more than one piece with a phrase like “Hérouxville wins” in it, but word of a newer, thicker citizenship guide has my fingers wandering toward the same old keys. Hérouxville wins again. In 2007, when the Quebec town of about 1,300 entered the “reasonable accommodation” debate by adopting a code of “norms de vie” for new immigrants (even though it hadn’t seen hide nor hair of one in living memory), it was criticized for being backward, intolerant, xenophobic. Yet there was little or nothing specific to object to in Hérouxville’s definition of Canadian values; its insistence on gender equality, and the right of women and girls to an independent social and economic identity, was the opposite of “backward.”

It was the idea of stating “Canadian values” and insisting on their primacy that bothered people. And it still bothers some of them, as federal citizenship minister Jason Kenney rolls out a new guide which goes into some Hérouxille-esque detail left out of the minimalist prior versions of the document — which had been reduced to a recitation of economic and political factoids, containing nothing scarily normative that could provoke controversy or protest.

[...]

The main reason for requiring immigrants to pass a citizenship test at all is that there are indispensable facts of basic civics and the constitution of which immigrants must be apprised before they vote and pay taxes. The new test appears to be predicated on the view that there are also historical truths and social expectations worth spelling out to people from dramatically different cultures, and that this is probably more important to their well-being and ours, on the whole, than knowing which provinces produce uranium and what the capital of New Brunswick is called. A tougher test will also, other things being equal, do more to filter out education-resistant immigration candidates and ones with poor language skills. I hope I may be pardoned for thinking of this as a feature, not a bug.

You can join the discussion about this topic at freedominion.ca by going here.

My prediction: too many immigrants for comfort will fail the test but they will be pardoned and get citizenship anyway leading to the tests eventual demise, replaced by one of lower expectations. This is Canada after all.

Monday, 2 November 2009

More Fraud From Punjab: Close Canada's Diplomatic Mission In Chandigarh Now!

The Toronto Star reports on a fake Canadian visa scam cracked by Indian police. The fraudsters operated out of New Delhi and (surprise, surprise) Chandigarh, the capital city of India's Punjab state. It should be noted that Punjab is home to the majority of India's Sikhs.
Indian police say they have cracked a ring of criminals who conspired to operate one of the biggest fake visa scams in years involving Canada.

The alleged crooks lurked on the leafy streets outside Canada's diplomatic mission in New Delhi, as well as in the office of a bogus travel and tourism company in Punjab, a state in northwestern India.

[...]

The fake visa service charged Indians as much as $21,000 to obtain bogus visas, police said, adding they believe the ring operated through a company called Kaavi Tour and Travels in Chandigarh, Punjab's capital city.

Documents and files seized by police indicate the ring, allegedly headed by a man named Anil Kumar - who has at least three aliases - may have cheated victims out of more than $650,000. That would make it one of the biggest visa fraud operations police here have exposed in years.

[...]

Canadian High Commission staff say privately that immigration consultants such as Kumar continue to be a vexing problem. Immigration agents are not regulated and the business has become huge, particularly in Chandigarh, where Canada is the only foreign country with a visa-granting office.

Canadian diplomatic missions around the world are subject to fraud so there is nothing new here. Besides, this is India. We should expect it.

What is of particular interest in this case is Canada's diplomatic mission in Chandigarh, Punjab, India. As stated in the article it is the only foreign mission operating in the state and, I should add, at a cost to taxpayers of $25 million a year. It was opened by the Liberal party of Canada to reward Indo-Canadian voters (meaning Sikhs) for their loyalty and continued support. This was done while ignoring warnings that the city is rife with fraud and opening a mission would expose Canada to it more so. Looks like the critics were right.

This isn't the first reported case of fraud from Punjab. Read here, here, and here for more.

Canada should close its mission in Chandigarh. It is a waste of money. It only functions to serve the needs of Canada's Sikh community and the need for the Liberal Party of Canada to import more supporters. It doesn't serve Canada's interests. In this post we learn that the refusal rate for temporary visas at the Chandigarh mission is 50%. That's what the government officially admits despite protests that the refusal rate is 90%. Martin Collacott writes in this National Post article that "our consulate in the Indian state of Punjab has had to reject up to 80% of applications".
High levels of fraud on the part of people attempting to come to Canada are by no means limited to people from Somalia and other countries in the region. Fraudulent application rates of more than 50% are common in some parts of China, while our consulate in the Indian state of Punjab has had to reject up to 80% of applications, in many cases for similar reasons (compared to a rejection rate of only 19% at our visa office in Delhi).

If the rejection rate is so high then why do we need a diplomatic mission there at all? It appears we don't need so many immigrants from the Punjab to warrant a mission there. If anything it is only facilitating the importation of relatives into Canada, and immigrants who enter Canada as a family class immigrant do not need any job skills or language skills. Canada does not need these people.

The Sikh community is a particularly pandered to community by Canada's political parties. According to this Wikipedia entry, citing StatsCan, Sikhs compose 50% of the Indo-Canadian community even though they are only 2% of India's population (there are more Christians in India than Sikhs). They are the Indo-Canadian community! They are politically active and can deliver decisive block votes in electoral ridings where you either vote with them or you don't vote at all. That's why I have little hope that the mission will be closed. Canada's immigration system has more to do with politics than serving the real needs of the nation.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Importing Poverty: Study States One Third Of Toronto's Homeless Are Immigrants.

According to a study reported on in the Toronto Star one-third of Toronto's homeless are immigrants.
More than a third of Toronto's homeless are immigrants, many falling through the cracks due to a lack of jobs and housing, says a new study, the first in Canada to look at immigration status and homelessness.

The study, led by St. Michael's Hospital, surveyed 1,189 individuals in shelters and on meal programs across the city and found that 32 per cent were immigrants; some 10 per cent had been here less than a decade. The numbers did not include refugees, undocumented migrants or those who did not speak English.

I wonder what the number would be if they did include the latter three groups.

A common characteristic of Toronto's homeless is that many of them are stricken by mental health issues as well as alcohol and drug abuse but Toronto's immigrant homeless stand out in one interesting regard.
A majority of Canadian-born homeless people in the study had high school education or less, but many homeless immigrants have vocational training, college or university education, said the article, "The Health of Homeless Immigrants," published in the November issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

"Immigrants who are homeless are very different in many ways from others who became homeless," said study co-author Dr. Stephen Hwang of St. Michael's Hospital, an associate professor at the University of Toronto.

"The prevalence of alcohol and drug problems was dramatically lower among homeless immigrants. Yet, I'm somewhat surprised by the high prevalence of mental health issues among them."

Attracting the best and the brightest? It doesn't look like it. Is Canada importing poverty? You bet. A lack of jobs is what drove them to homelessness, according to the study. That being the case then why is Canada bringing in so many immigrants when clearly the nation doesn't need them? There's a reason why Canada has the best educated cab drivers in the world.

Here is a regional breakdown from where Toronto's immigrant homeless come from.
Regions of birth:
USA: 12
Central and South America: 47
Caribbean and Bermuda: 114
Europe: 64
Africa: 84
Asia: 56


In related news Toronto is preparing for a $500 million fiscal shortfall for next year by making cuts. According to the Toronto Star "soaring welfare costs" are having a burdensome effect on the city.
Soaring welfare costs have put the City of Toronto in such "dire" financial straits that tax hikes and service reductions are virtually certain next year.

[...]

Welfare costs alone run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, and Mihevc said the number of welfare cases is expected to top 100,000 next year - at least 25% higher than in 2008.

How much has immigration contributed to Toronto's "soaring welfare costs" forcing a fiscal shortfall of $500 million? Are Torontonians to expect cuts to public services for the sake of an out of control mass immigration system? Where are the alleged benefits to Canadians such immigration is said to bring?

Also, traffic volume for the city is remarkably up.
Volumes during the middle of day "are now higher than peak volumes 15 or 20 years ago," says Mike Brady, manager of Toronto Transportation Services' traffic safety unit.

This has slowed traffic down. "Travel times have gone up."

Longer commute times translate into less recreational hours. This leads to a lower quality of life.

These social problems are easily foreseen but willingly ignored. Canada has been accepting too many immigrants for too long and the costs are becoming more apparent. As long as reason is surrendered to emotionally laden rhetoric about immigration and multiculturalism nothing is going to change for the better.

Canadians didn't want this but are forced to endure it nonetheless. The "social experiment" that our country has been turned into against our will never fail even when it clearly has.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Yet, Tamil Nadu Is So Much Closer.

A "mystery boat" called the Ocean Lady was located and intercepted by Canadian Forces and the RCMP off the northern coast of British Columbia. No visible numbers or flags were seen on the ship so it is likely a smuggling operation. Early news reports state that the ship carried 76 migrants. They are all male with some unconfirmed speculation that children may also be aboard.

Also unconfirmed is the ship's origin but Sri Lanka is the safe bet. Australia has seen its share of decrepit boats carrying illegal migrants to the county's shores and recently a boat carrying 260 Tamils from Sri Lanka was intercepted by Indonesia at Australia's request. You can read about it here.

The migrants being held in Indonesia were destined for Australia. The boat intercepted off the coast of B.C. is likely part of the same smuggling ring. The boat didn't get lost. The men aboard the ship admitted in interviews that their destination was Canada. So all in all, what we are looking at are Sri Lankan Tamils seeking to enter Canada illegally to make an asylum claim.

The fact that all of the migrants on board are men tells us that this is most likely a ploy to game the refugee system to get family and friends into the country. The successful asylum claim opens the door to seemingly endless chain migration where whole families have been transported to Canada out of one immigration application. The problem with this is that these immigrants do not need any pertinent job skills or language skills to immigrate to Canada. It is likely the 76 men on the Ocean Laddy do not have either as well.

Below is a quote made by a spokesperson for the Sri Lankan Tamils being held in Indonesia and reported by Australia's ABC news.

"Ask yourselves one question, if you had no home to go to, if you had no country to live in, if you had no place to go, if you had no country of your own - what would you do and how long would you stay in a boat before you were promised to enter a country that will give you asylum?" Alex said.

"How long will you go? How desperate will you be? Take a look at the picture today, look at my people, we're not only suffering back home, we're suffering here.

"We have no choice, we have no country to go back to, we cannot go back to Sri Lanka."

That statement is self serving. They are fishing for sympathy to gain quick and easy access to a wealthy western industrialized country like Australia or Canada without having to go through proper immigration channels which can be lengthy, costly, and no guarantee of success. The ABC report says that Australia was not their first choice. They say they chose Australia because it was the "cheapest and easiest place to get to, even if it means living in a Malaysian jungle for a month." Really? Cheaper and easier to get to then, say, Tamil Nadu?

Tamil Nadu is India's most southern state with a population of over 66 million people. Tamil is its official language, spoken by almost 90% of the population. Tamil Nadu is culturally, linguistically, and ethnically Tamil. It is also literally located across the street from Sri Lanka. So why spend a month in a Malaysian jungle to get to Australia when you can find safety in Tamil Nadu in less than a week?

India prides itself as being the largest democracy in the world. It's economy is growing with an emerging middle class. It may not be a super power (yet?) but it is a regional power and India is better placed than any other nation to accommodate Sri Lankan Tamils fleeing alleged persecution in Sri Lanka. So why are there more Sri Lankan Tamils in Canada than in India?

These people are not fleeing persecution. Their treatment in Sri Lanka is often over exaggerated. What persecuted people are allowed to have political parties hold seats in government or obtain passports to travel abroad? What persecuted people have official government documents printed in their native language? They may be fleeing poverty but that in of itself is not grounds for asylum. They want to immigrate but lack the attributes that will allow them to. Asylum seekers need nothing more than a good persecution story and a gullible ear. Sri Lanka's Tamils are not union members in Colombia.

Canada cannot allow any of the 76 men to successfully land as a refugee. They should be fed and given a health check then promptly returned to their country of origin. Rewarding this behaviour will encourage more of it. That's why there are over 250,000 Sri Lankan Tamils in Canada. Besides, how many LTTE members hiding among them? The LTTE have successfully set up a fund raising operation in Canada thanks to an abusable refugee system. Do we Canadians like being the land of trusting fools?

Here is the Toronto Star report on it.

To read why I think it was a mistake for Canada to accept so many Sri Lankan Tamil refugees read here.

Hungary Now Canada's Top Source Country For Refugee Claims (you won't need Visa restrictions if you rebuilt the levee, Mr. Kenney).

Hungary has become Canada's top source nation for refugee claims. Mexico and Czech Republic were at the top spots before visa restrictions were enacted against those countries with Hungary taking the third spot. Now that those restrictions have taken effect slowing refugee claims from Mexico and Czech Republic to a trickle, claims from Hungary have jumped. You can read it here at the Ottawa Citizen.

A sudden wave of refugee claimants has helped make Hungary Canada's top source of asylum-seekers, prompting the federal government to call on Budapest to take action -- possibly against organized crime elements, Canwest News Service has learned.

The government hasn't yet moved to impose visa restrictions on Hungary, as it did over the summer to deal with a flood of questionable claimants from Mexico and the Czech Republic.

But the federal government also hasn't ruled out that option after the number of asylum-seekers skyrocketed during the April-to-June period, making Hungary the third-highest source of claimants after Mexico and the Czech Republic in that period.

Now, with claims from those two countries falling to a trickle as a result of the summer decision, Citizenship and Immigration Canada figures show that Hungary has emerged as Canada's top refugee source country -- even though it is a member of the 27-nation European Union that champions itself as a bastion of human rights in the world.


This is from the Toronto Star.

The number of claims for refugee status from Hungarians rose to 1,353 to the end of September, compared with 285 for all of 2008 and just 24 the previous year.

While Canada does not break down claimants by ethnicity, immigration authorities anecdotally say the vast majority of recent Hungarian refugee claims have been made by Roma.

Kenney had previously denounced similar claims made by Czech nationals as bogus.

The usual suspects it seems.

Visa restrictions are like trying to plug the holes in a breaking levee. The levee is weak, it needs to be rebuilt.

Canada's refugee system is the problem. Thanks to the nation's Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and the infamous Singh decision anyone from anywhere can make a refugee claim in Canada. That's anyone from anywhere. This includes countries like the United States, Australia, the U.K., France, Denmark, Germany, indeed any country in the European Union of which Hungary is a member. We shouldn't be accepting refugees from these countries at all or any safe third country for that matter especially countries that are signatory nations to the UN convention on the status of refugees. They should be promptly returned from whence they arrived and make their asylum claims there. Believe it or not this is in accordance with the UN.

Canada shouldn't be entertaining any asylum claim made by an individual arriving from a European Union member state. This is an issue the EU can, and should, handle on its own.

Friday, 16 October 2009

And You Wonder Why I Doubt Sri Lankan Tamil Refugee Claims.

When I read this story in the U.K. journal the Daily Mail I chuckled.

Here's what happened. Like in Toronto several months back Sri Lanka Tamils in London were stagging similar protests in response to the plight of relatives living in Sri Lanka during the waning days of the nation's civil war. Like in Canada they wanted the British government to intervene.

At the center of the London protests was a 28 year old man on a hunger strike.
He was the hunger striker at the centre of one of the longest-running demonstrations ever mounted in Britain.

For weeks Parameswaran Subramaniyan lay in a tent outside the Houses of Parliament as Tamils protested about the plight of relatives under attack in Sri Lanka.

At one stage, his supporters claimed he was 'critically weak'.

The protest finally ended in June, but two revelations put it back in the spotlight yesterday.

First, police said it had left them with a £7.1million overtime bill.

Then it emerged that Mr Subramaniyan, 28, had eased his ordeal by secretly eating McDonald's burgers.

What a fraud! And it was conspiratorial since supporters were sneaking food to him.

I doubt many Sri Lankan Tamil refugee claims made in Canada were credible. I point this out so that credibility can be restored to the system to assist those who really need asylum, not grant quick and easy passage to those who want to immigrate to shopping mall Canada by filing bogus refugee claims. There is no reason beyond a concerted campaign to use Canada's refugee system to immigrate to the country to explain why Canada has the largest Sri Lankan Tamil population outside of Sri Lanka.

The story above just seemed, well, so typical to me.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Job Insecurity And The City Of 'Have And Have Nots'.

The Toronto Star published two op-ed pieces that have a mass immigration angle but of course is not addressed.

The first one can be read here. It's about the growing presence of "precarious work" in Canada's labour market.

This week, an international coalition of unions sounded the alarm: Precarious work has reached epidemic proportions.

Around the world – in developed and emerging nations – employers are replacing full-time workers with part-timers, contract staff and temporary personnel. These "non-standard" employees have no job security and no benefits. Their wages usually are low. Their bargaining power is negligible.

"While the impact may be different depending on each country's social and economic conditions, the goal of employers is the same: cheap, flexible labour that can be brought in and dropped at will," says the International Metalworkers' Federation, which is spearheading the global call for action. "This is everybody's problem – today's secure job could be tomorrow's temporary contract."

In Canada, 37 per cent of work is part-time, short-term or casual.[...]The proportion of non-standard workers has been inching up since the 1980s.[...]A decade ago, 68 per cent of working Canadians had jobs that produced a steady income and provided health and retirement benefits. Now it's down to 63 per cent.

And the real jolt is still to come, labour analysts say. Most of the full-time jobs lost in this recession won't come back. Most of the employees laid off in the past year won't find permanent work. When the statistics catch up to the reality, people will be forced to confront the new normal.

The article quotes one time NDP MP Peggy Nash who lost her Parkdale-High Park Toronto riding to Liberal Gerrard Kennedy in the last election. She is concerned about the rise of precarious work which "not only strips people of a decent living", the article states her pointing out, but "it undermines the country's social arrangements" like "pensions, employment insurance, drug coverage, dental care, maternal and other benefits".

She also tabled a private members bill that would have made immigration more open and easier for family members living over seas to immigrate to Canada. It didn't go anywhere, many private member's bills don't, but the fact she tabled it plus her union activism illustrates that the woman cannot connect the dots. It seems to her mass immigration, especially that of the family class kind which is the mass introduction of unskilled work into Canada, and the rise of precarious work are not related in any fashion whatsoever. I had the opportunity to talk to her about Canada's mass immigration system and I can assure you that, though she is sincere and she does care, she is as oblivious about the system as most politicians are, resorting to the easily defeated rhetoric to make her case.

Here's more for the record:

The trouble is, most of the new jobs are part-time, temporary or self-made.

Since the recession began, 485,000 Canadians have lost their livelihood and 155,000 have found work. But almost all the gains are in self-employment (which could mean anything from a laid-off bureaucrat becoming a consultant to a laid-off truck driver buying a rig and becoming an independent owner-operator.)

The editorial that appeared opposite the op-ed quoted above is noteworthy. It is a piece of mass immigration apologetics disguising the paper's true purpose of keeping attitudes soft on immigration so Canada will continue to import more Toronto Star readers that can be sold to advertisers. It's a defense of foreign workers in which we read:
Nor do the benefits all flow one way. "Contrary to commonly held beliefs, migrants typically boost economic output and give more than they take," the UN says. "Immigration generally increases employment in host communities, does not crowd out locals from the job market and improves rates of investment in new businesses and initiatives." Canada's experience confirms as much.

Confirms? I'd like to see how they support that assertion because I don't think that is entirely true. By taking jobs Canadians won't do foreign workers keep wages so low that it discourages Canadians from considering those jobs at all thus maintaining a low wage, low income regime which produces poverty. Also, the unemployment rate in Canada has been steadily increasing with increased immigration. We know poverty in Toronto hits immigrant communities the hardest and that immigrants are taking longer to get established, if at all, and meet their Canadian born counterparts economically. If the "Canadian experience confirms as much" it is that Canada is importing people for whom there are no jobs for outside of low wage, precarious ones which begs the question why are we bringing in so many at all?

This brings me to the next Toronto Star op-ed. It discusses the growing rich/poor divide in Toronto. You can read it here.

As the Vital Signs report shows, Toronto is doing quite well by many standards. It's safer, greener and cleaner than most major cities. It ranks 15th out of 215 cities in terms of quality of living. It's the second richest city in Canada, with an average household net worth of $562,000.

But for many immigrants, young people, the poor and elderly, Toronto is not a great city at all.

The signs are everywhere.

The city ranks 190th in the world and 29th in Canada in terms of housing affordability. Its elderly residents are among the poorest in Ontario. Young families are leaving the city because it's too costly.

Decent paying manufacturing jobs have largely gone. Youth unemployment tops 20 per cent, with many 25-year-olds never having had a paid job. Youth gangs have doubled in the last 10 years.

Most disturbing is the fact that Toronto is witnessing the disappearance of its middle class.

In 1970, some 66 per cent of Toronto neighbourhoods were considered middle-income. By 2005, it was just 29 per cent and it's still falling, mainly because of the explosive increase of poor and very poor neighbourhoods.

Also troubling is that the sense of belonging to our community is the second lowest in Canada, with the rate among second-generation immigrants plunging in the last year.

Rahul Bhardwaj, president of the Toronto Community Foundation, says these trends should concern all residents because, unless we act quickly, we could see our city become a city of haves and have-nots, leading possibly to increased crime and citizen disengagement.

In short, we could become seriously polarized.

According to the UN this shouldn't be happening in Toronto because "Immigration generally increases employment in host communities, does not crowd out locals from the job market and improves rates of investment in new businesses and initiatives." Indeed, Toronto alone attracts 110,000 immigrants each year. The city should be awash with jobs grown out of improved rates of investment in new businesses and initiatives all thanks to immigration. The Toronto Star says the Canadian experience confirms this.

Mass immigration has contributed to and is aiding the increase in precarious work in the Canadian labour market. It sustains it. If Toronto is steadily becoming a city of "haves and have nots" then mass immigration has allowed this to happen. The Toronto experience confirms this. Too many immigrants come to Canada each year, more than the nation can accommodate economically and culturally. Time to cut the numbers.

When Costs Outweigh Benefits: The Fraser Institute Reports On Mass Immigration.

The Fraser Institute released an insightful report on Canada's mass immigration system. The report's conclusions will be shocking to anyone whose only exposure to discussions related to mass immigration is the pablum forced fed to them by Canada's major media, who see immigrants as potential source of future profits and financial viability, and Canada's political parties who view immigrants as a growing source of urban votes. Their motives for framing and limiting the immigration debate is out of self interest. That's why there is no debate in Canada concerning mass immigration. They cannot allow it even though the effects of mass immigration may be negatively impacting the lives of Canadians.

Fortunately dissenting view points are still allowed to circulate in the country albeit under pressure from politically sensitive parties to "persuade" dissenters to either engage in self censorship or to just plainly shut up. Failing that one's opinions must be filtered through a Toronto-centric paradigm by the gate keepers of political and cultural thought for the entire country. If approved be prepared to have your opinions heavily edited and censored, be denounced as racist and/or "anti-Canadian", or be completely marginalized. Or all three. This is to produce the thought that one's opinions are in the minority and therefore not worthy of discussion when the opposite may be the fact. It is to encourage silence not a free exchange of ideas. Canada says it supports diversity, just not diversity of opinion.

Here is the introduction to the report. From the introduction:

Recent mass immigration has negatively affected Canadian living standards and is challenging the country’s existing national identity, culture, and social fabric, concludes a new book released today by the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading economic think tank.

[...]

“Since 1990, Canada’s annual rate of immigration has been the highest in the world, resulting in a population increase of 3.9 million people between 1990 and 2006. This mass immigration has had profound effects on Canada’s economic, demographic, social, and political conditions, affecting the well-being of all Canadians including past immigrants,” said Herbert Grubel, Fraser Institute senior fellow and co-editor of the book.

“Unfortunately, most Canadians are insufficiently aware of these effects partly because a code of political correctness tends to identify any examination of immigration policies with racism and partly because Canada’s electoral system rewards politicians who are in favor of the current high intake.”


You can read the publication here online for free or download it here. Or you can buy it here.

I'm not a fan of the Fraser Institute. It is a right leaning think tank I often find myself at odds with. For the record I consider myself apolitical because I cannot enslave my opinions to ideology. But I agree with them on the immigration issue completely. Canada does indeed accept too many immigrants and it has potentially harmful effects that are given almost no consideration when policy is discussed. Canadians' concerns are never entertained and only those who speak favourably of mass immigration are presented as though they speak for all. Canadians are in the dark to the financial costs of supporting the immigration and refugee systems because if known, I suspect, would cause a scandal and fuel a backlash. And it's not just in tax dollars that cost Canadians. The loss of Canadian cultural public spaces to ethnic enclaves and the loss of a strong, unique Canadian identity is being sacrificed to the god of multiculturalism (Canada's official state religion). Canadians are losing a lot relative to what they may gain, if anything.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

The Appeals Process Is About Creating Work For Lawyers At Taxpayer Expense.

Canada has a hard time deporting people thanks to lawyers. As soon as they became influential in shaping immigration policy they fashioned the system to reflect their best interests. Out of this came an absurd appeals process that thumbs its nose at enforcement mechanisms that the government can use to deport undesirables and police the nation's borders.

Here is a National Post report on a man found to be complicit in "crimes against humanity during the Rwandan genocide, and the murder of a neighbour for refusing to have sex with him". He entered the country as a refugee (don't they all!?) but was stripped of this status in 2006.
Henri Jean-Claude Seyoboka, 43, of Gatineau, Que., has already been told at least six times in official and judicial proceedings that he is excluded from refugee protection after investigations by the RCMP's War Crimes Unit, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Canada Border Services Agency.

Still in Canada and free from custody, he has again appealed to the Federal Court of Canada.

He has been told six times already that he is "excluded from refugee protection" by Canada's judicial system yet he has launched a seventh appeal. How many is enough?
Mr. Seyoboka came to Canada from Rwanda on Jan. 17, 1996, and claimed refugee protection two days later, which he was granted. He then applied for permanent residency status.

In both of his applications, however, he made no mention of his tenure in the Forces Armées Rwandaises (FAR), the Rwandan army, during the height of the genocide.

[...]

Then a witness in Rwanda told the ICTR that Mr. Seyoboka had killed a woman, a neighbour named Francine, after she refused to have sex with him.

[..]

In 2002, an indictment filed in the ICTR against another person spoke of "Second-Lieutenant Jean-Claude Seyoboka" manning a roadblock in Kigali on April 7, 1994, along with members of the Rwandan army and the Interahamwe, the Hutu militia. The group were later ordered to search nearby houses and kill any Tutsis they found and to kill any Tutsis trying to cross the roadblock, according to the indictment.

Henri Jean-Claude Seyoboka is considered a war criminal yet here he is in Canada free of custody and on his seventh appeal to stay in Canada. Is this about justice or just work for lawyers?

Here is a Toronto Star article on a man named Parminder Singh Saini. He was convicted of terrorism in his native land of India after he hijacked a plane and shot at some of its 270 passengers.
On July 5, 1984, when he was 21, he and four accomplices in the militant All India Sikh Students Federation boarded an Air India flight to Delhi from the northern city of Srinagar.

Twenty minutes after takeoff, he and another man stood up. They pushed aside a female attendant, walked to the front of the plane and Saini - in full view of passengers - raised a handgun to the head of a male attendant and fired.

“(The bullet) did not hit him,” the trial judge later wrote in a 184-page judgment, “but there is little doubt that the object of Parminder Singh (Saini).....was to intimidate and terrorize the crew members and the passengers.”

At the cockpit door, Saini fired two or three more shots - risking the plane’s destruction, the court judgment said. One bullet pierced the door, striking the flight engineer in the back, not seriously. Other hijackers beat and stabbed two other crew members with kirpan daggers.

The door opened and Saini seized control of the plane.

The hijackers eventually surrendered and Saini was convicted and sentenced to hang but had that conviction reduced to life imprisonment. After 10 years in prison he was released on the condition that he leave the country, a move by India to dump their problem elsewhere. And of course he chose Canada. No wonder "there are more Sikh extremists in Canada then in India."
Aside from hijacking a plane and shooting at several of his 270-plus hostages - wounding one in the back - Saini lied his way into Canada, has never gained landed-immigrant status, faces deportation and by ministerial order remains a national security threat.

[...]

On Jan. 21, 1995, he presented himself to Canadian customs as Balbir Singh carrying a fake Afghan passport.

He said he had no criminal record and no family in Canada, then went to live with his mother and brother in Brampton.
Eight months later, CSIS caught him and ordered him deported.

In two separate reviews, adjudicators declared him a threat. One noted an “almost total lack of credibility and trustworthiness” and “a continuing ability and willingness to engage in unlawful behaviour.”

He's been fighting deportation ever since with courts and tribunals declaring him for the past 15 years "a danger to the public and security in Canada and that he shouldn’t remain". But thanks to the appeals process he remains in Canada and has delayed his deportation for so long that he has been able to get an undergraduate degree and law degree in Canada. The man has no legal status in Canada yet we cannot remove him.

And who can forget Mahmoud Mohammad Issa Mohammad, the "poster boy" for the appeals process.

Lawyers ruin anything they get their hands on. They produce no wealth, no jobs, no art, no culture, and add value to nothing. The legal profession is parasitic in nature, attaching itself to a healthy host, bleeding it of anything of value, and undermining its ability to properly function.

Here is a good illustration of the legal profession at work. It's about the significant differences between car insurance rates in Toronto and its outer regions.
But the cost of assessing, treating and compensating the drivers was a world apart. One of the collisions took place in London, Ont., and the driver's claim cost his insurer $1,674. The second incident took place in Toronto and has cost a whopping $51,808 to date.

A major insurer supplied the Toronto Star with 10 sample case histories of comparable collisions, without revealing names, to illustrate the enormous differences in costs between the Toronto area and the rest of the province – differences that will result in major premium increases for GTA drivers if something is not done soon.

The reason is explained in the following:
"We know when lawyers get involved, they want lots of assessments because there you have a dispute. Lawyers are driving costs up in a way because they want to make the case that their client is suffering and they are going to get lots of opinions, and the insurer is going to do the opposite ..."

Cassidy concluded in a study of Saskatchewan's insurance system published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2000, and in subsequent published studies, that whiplash cases would go down, and be resolved many weeks sooner, if no lawyers were involved.

Lawyers make their living on disputes and that is what an appeal is. It is continuous work for lawyers. Canada's immigration system is a mess because of lawyer self interest. Conflict of interest should excluded them from immigration policy decisions yet they remain an influential "stake holder" in Canada's immigration industry. Canada will never be in a position to reform the immigration system as long as lawyers can shape the policy.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The Curious Case Of Suaad Hagi Mohamud.

When I first read about the Canadian government denying the re-entry of Suaad Hagi Mohamud, a Canadian citizen of Somali birth, I cringed. I knew the political left would jump all over it to castigate the current conservative minority government as racist. Also to race-bait the "red neck inbreds" and harangue them just to satisfy their sense of moral superiority. It would be more fodder to scare the government from making much needed reforms to the immigration system and to silence immigration critics.

However it looks like they leaped without looking because Ms. Mohamud has some explaining to do. According to new information first reported by the CBC Ms. Mohamud, when questioned, gave contradictory evidence. The Toronto Star reports on it here. According to the Star, migrant integrity officer Paul Jamieson says in an affidavit that he suspected the woman claiming to be Ms. Mohamud was really her sister.
First of all, the woman bore a family resemblance to Mohamud's passport photo, he said.

As well, a sister Jihan, younger by 10 months, appeared on Mohamud's Canadian immigration application years ago; the woman in Kenya knew Mohamud's basic biographical details, and finally; "in my experience it is common for imposters to be related to the rightful holder of the passport," he said.

Paul Jamieson interviewed the woman three times over a five day period while she was in Kenyan custody. According to Jamieson the woman claiming to be Ms. Mohamud said she was a student at Humber College and named Randy Jackson as one of her professors but he found no such professor listed on the college website. She also could not name the Canadian prime minister or Toronto's mayor and could not name teachers at her 12-year-old son's Toronto school. Also, according to Jamieson, a sample signature differed from the passport and immigration application signatures and the first name she variously spelled Suaad and Suad. She also could not tell what ATS, the courier company that employed her, stood for.

More curious is the woman's inability to name the lake the city of Toronto is located on or what TTC (Toronto Transit Commission, the city's public transit system) stood for even though she took it to work. This failure to name even basic facets of Toronto life after living in the city for ten years does raise flags but this ignorance isn't that uncommon in many of Toronto's insular immigrant communities. There are immigrants who have lived here for years who would be hard pressed to tell you what great lake the city resides on, that is if they can speak the language.

There are other oddities as well. She got her son's birthday wrong; she gave two separate years of her marriage, 1996 and 2006, and couldn't explain the contradiction; she was 6cm or 7cm shorter than what her driver's license states. And these are items Mr. Jamieson states in an affidavit.

The woman claiming to be Suaad Hagi Mohamud presented customer loyalty cards unique to Canada to support her claims that she is who she said she is but this was unconvicing to Mr. Jamieson.

"When an individual gives their passport to someone else to use, they often also provide a package of secondary identity documents," he says. "At the close of our interview, I addressed the person with whom I was speaking as Jihan, and advised her that I believed she was using her sister's passport," Jamieson says. "She smiled briefly, then looked away.

These bits of information were not reported when the Toronto Star first covered the story. The National Post takes the Toronto centric daily to task here. The Post's Jonathan Kay brings the Star's Christopher Hume back down to earth here.

Suaad Hagi Mohamud maintains that she was the one at the airport. But can she be trusted? She initially told the Toronto Star that she is a divorced single mother but now we learn that she is in fact married to a Somali man living in Kenyan who she wed in 2007. She also said that she went to Kenya to visit her mother but now she states that she went to Kenya to visit her husband as well. Oh, and Suaad's husband and mother each want a piece of that $2.6 million lawsuit she filed to the tune of $100,000 each.

Now we come to the part I wanted to get at in the first place. Assuming that Suaad Hagi Mohamud tried to smuggle an imposter into Canada by lending her passport, how common is this practice? Who else is doing it? How do they get their passports back? From what I can extrapolate from Mr. Jamieson's comments this behaviour may be more common than we know. What does it say about these immigrants who have taken a citizenship oath? What does this tell us about how they view Canada? Are we truly the land of trusting fools?

From what we now know let me reconstruct the "crime scene" so to speak. The real Suaad Hagi Mohamud went to Kenya and indeed visited her mother and her husband. She also met her siblings with one of whom she planned to sneak into Canada. This is the one who appeared at the airport and got caught. She was detained for five days by Kenyan officials and interviewed by Canadian officials. They concluded she was an imposter. With passport confiscated she was released to linger in Kenya for three months. The Toronto Star picked up the story and ran with it, eventually relinquishing control of it to ideology, agenda, and editorial bias, pointing an accusing finger at the big bad racist conservative government. Political pressure mounted to get a DNA test from the woman and to bring her back to Canada. This is when the real Suaad Hagi Mohamud appeared. Recall that she was in Kenya for three months. She wasn't in custody all that time. That's why the DNA test was 99.9% in the affirmative.

Seeing an easy and lucrative paycheck an opportunistic lawyer contacted her and took up her case. They filed a $2.6 million lawsuit against the government. However, I suspect, her lawyer was as ignorant of the finer details of her story as was everyone else, going by what he read in the Toronto Star. Now he is in the unanticipated role of playing spin doctor.

The above is all speculative. I don't know how this will play out or what actually happened in Kenya. It may very well be that Suaad Hagi Mohamud was mistaken for an imposter and her lawsuit justified. Her almost complete ignorance of Canada and the Canadian city she lived in for ten years is, sadly, too common a characteristic of many so called "new Canadians", an unsurprising outcome of multiculturalism and the insularity of ethnic enclaves. But it's fun to speculate and assume things, facts be damned. Anyone at the Toronto Star editorial board will tell you the same thing.

Now the Toronto Star has brought in photo experts to salvage what they can from a story that took an unwanted turn. According to them the woman in the photos presented to prove Suaad's identity are the same woman. So, we are now to believe photo experts far removed from the situation instead of the KLM employees who first suspected her, the Kenyan officials who concurred with the suspicion, and the Canadian officials who interviewed her and arrived at the same conclusions. We are to believe Suaad Hagi Mohamud and her husband, two people with incentives to lie, and photo experts living in Canada instead of the evidence provided in affidavits from a man who was actually there, on location, and met the woman, and talked to her.