The Gazette piece was written by an experienced immigration lawyer and former Immigration and Refugee Board member and she labels the immigration and refugee system as "dysfunctional". This is pertinent since this is the opinion of an insider who knows the immigration system well and whose income is dependent on it. This is rare in the immigration industry where self serving rhetoric and unchallenged assumptions rule the day.
My complaint about the piece is that it does not go into much detail about why the system is dysfunctional and how it got there. For this a must read is Charles M. Campbell's Betrayal & deceit: The politics of Canadian immigration.
But she does ask why Canada has the highest refugee acceptance rate in the world. Here are the numbers from the article:
Due to the broad interpretation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and efforts of refugee activists, Canada has the highest acceptance rates in the world. According to United Nations statistics, in 2003 acceptance rates were: Canada 49.6 per cent, U.S. 32 per cent, Italy 16.3 per cent, France 13.3 per cent, Denmark 12 per cent, Belgium 10.3 per cent, Spain 10 per cent and Finland 0.7 per cent.
I think Canada has the highest acceptance in the world for political reasons. It's a quota set to convince ourselves that we are a generous and compassionate people even though it is very possible the the majority of asylum claims are bogus. But that doesn't matter. It's a numbers game and bogus or not a refugee claim is as good as any immigration application since it means votes for the Liberal Party (or the NDP), surplus labour to be exploited, and most importantly work for immigration lawyers, immigration consultants, social workers and rent seeking advocacy groups. It has nothing to do with national interests, the concerns of the host majority population, or engendering a credibility refugee system. In the end the refugee stream is just another avenue to immigrate to Canada.
Canada has the most generous refugee system in the world that has unfortunately become a parallel immigration venue for those who are not qualified to immigrate, for economic migrants, criminals, even terrorists. The need for a total overhaul of the refugee determination system is urgent to serve the best interests of genuine refugees and Canadians in general.
Responding to the Crooked In Canada commentary I cannot wholly agree with the writer. The Liberal Party of Canada has benefited the most from an out of control immigration system in the form of votes but it did not get us to where we are today.
This is the fault of the Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney in the mid to late 1980s. It was his government that upped Canada's immigration intake by 100,000 in one fell swoop which is why Canada has a high immigrant intake today. It was also the Mulroney government that failed to challenge the Singh decision of 1985 leaving a hole in Canada's border that has been successfully exploited by many economic migrants for that past two decades at an incredible cost to Canadian tax payers. To the Liberal Party's defense it was the Trudeau Liberal's who decreased immigration intake numbers in response to the recession of the early 1980s. Today, the Conservative government's minister responsible for immigration, Jason Kenney is hesitant to decrease the number of temporary foreign workers entering Canada (at 250,000 per year) during an economic period that has been described as the worst since the Great Depression.
From this angle the Conservatives are mostly to blame not the Liberals. But the Conservatives can fix it if they only had the will.