I know it will cost a penny or two to help refugees but considering that almost half of all refugees are denied asylum and considered bogus (and I suspect over half are accepted for political reasons) Canadian tax payers paid out over $500 million just to hear 20,000 people tell cooked up persecution stories.
Here's the Toronto Star's James Travers on the issue:
Three majority governments and more than a decade in power were not enough to deconstruct a conundrum that pits this country's kindest intentions against the desperate tactics of poor people searching for a better life. In that contest, victory belongs to those able to abuse Canadian generosity.
Understanding the problem requires being clear about who those people are and, more significantly, what they are not. They are economic migrants hoping to improve their prospects, not political refugees fearing for their lives. By slipping through border policy fissures, they jump long queues waiting in the world's worst places. Once landed, they clog a layered bureaucracy with false claims and take advantage of not-today-maybe-tomorrow deportation practices to stay, sometimes forever.
Failure to square that circle is the root cause of this week's mini-crisis. For want of a better remedy, in the absence of overdue reform, Ottawa is insulting friends and damaging tourism, business and Canada's international reputation by arbitrarily decreeing that Mexican and Czech visitors must have visas.
Canada should return to a system where refugees are vetted abroad, not at ports of entry. These are the real refugees who languish in camps with little hope or means of escape. Those who are able to freely travel in their country, obtain official government documentation to board a plane while having the financial wherewithal to hop-scotch across the globe to make an asylum claim in Canada immediately invite suspicion. Any asylum claim made by anyone who arrived in Canada via a safe third country such as the United States or the EU should be turned away immediately and told to make their claim there.
Canada does have a commitment to refugees but real ones not bogus ones. By vetting refugees abroad Canada can eliminate the need for lawyers, consultants, Immigration and Refugee Board members, and rent-seeking advocacy groups thus saving Canadian tax payers money and making sure what money is spent goes to those who really need it.