Friday, 31 July 2009

Let's Bring The EU Into The Safe Third Country Agreement.

On July 25th Canada effectively closed its door to alleged asylum seekers if they landed in the United States first. Read about it here.

Effective today, Canada will stop letting in asylum seekers from some of the world's most volatile and dangerous countries if the would-be refugees first landed in the United States.

Refugee claimants from Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe – countries that have so-called temporary suspension of removal (TSR) status due to their volatile political conditions – will no longer be able to come to Canada from the United States and then seek asylum, unless they have family already here.

Until now, an exemption had been allowed under the bilateral Safe Third Country Agreement that bans people from making asylum claims in both countries.

This move is in accordance with the UN convention on refugees and Canada had this right all along. To prevent what is called asylum shopping refugee receiving countries could turn away asylum seekers if they arrived via a safe third country especially if that nation is a signatory nation to the convention of which the United States is. And so are many of the countries that make up the European Union which is why the EU should be part of the Safe Third Country Agreement.

This is not a call to relieve Canada of its commitment to refugees. It is a call to shield Canada from bogus ones. This is why Canada should return to a system of vetting refugees abroad.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Doing The Math: Cost To Shelter And Protect A Single Asylum Claim At $29,000 + An Acceptance Rate Of Around 55% Is About...

...$1,152,618,181. It cost Canadian taxpayers over $1.1 billion to service the refugee system alone in 2008. And this does not include additional costs that would accrue such as medical services, social services, language training, etc. refugees (bogus and legitimate) may use. That's over $1.1 billion for a mere 40,000 people. With so much money at stake it should be no wonder that a whole industry has grown out of the immigration system which includes refugee advocacy.

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.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Getting To The Root Of The Problem: Instead Of Visas Let's Revisit The Singh Decision.

In the wake of the recent visa restrictions Canada placed on Mexico and the Czech Republic and the spotlight it placed on the nation's mess of a refugee system I was going to write about the refugee system itself and why it is the problem and not bogus asylum claims. Well, it appears the Globe and Mail did the work for me. Read it here.

In 1996, there was a surge of phony refugee claimants to Canada from the Chilean port of Valparaiso. Word had got around in a poor neighbourhood that Canada was an easy mark. These obviously economic migrants were told: Apply for refugee status in Canada, get into the multilayered refugee-determination system and melt into Canadian society. And the chances of getting caught, or being deported, are next to nil.

This is an all too familiar story found around the world. This is what happened in Sri Lanka, Somalia, China, India, Mexico, and elsewhere. Once word got back at the ease at which one got into Canada via the refugee system and the attendant benefits (social assistance, socialized medicine, all the rights of a Canadian citizen except the right vote) that come with it a flood of applicants typically follows.

And why is Canada considered an easy mark?

It's a situation linked to a 20-year-old Supreme Court ruling (the Singh case) that led to amnesties, administrative chaos, bureaucracy, huge financial costs and, eventually, to the existing refugee-determination system.

Under it, Canada has to process anybody and everybody who comes to this country and claims refugee status, bogus or otherwise. To try to stem the flow, we impose visa requirements.

The Singh decision was the result of a lawyer representing six Gyuanese Sikhs whose failed bid at asylum led to a Charter challenge in which they won leaving Canada with the financially burdensome and bureaucratically chaotic hole in Canada's border that is the refugee stream. To my understanding the government can reverse the decision by way of the notwithstanding clause contained in the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and plug the hole but curiously it does not.

Instead of imposing visa restrictions Canada needs to revisit the Singh decision. It is the very root of the problem. To cure any illness you need to treat the cause of it, not concern yourself solely with tending to the symptoms.

As for some solutions the Globe piece has this to say:

Canada should be able - although this would be hard and controversial, and draw the ire of all the refugee advocates in Canada - to post an annual list of countries where, based on extensive research, we do not consider individuals to be threatened with persecution or torture or discrimination, and are unable to seek redress from local courts and authorities.

[...]

The list of countries would obviously be updated to take account of changed political circumstances abroad. And to ensure that Canada remains a country that welcomes genuine refugees, we could increase the number brought here from United Nations refugee camps, where we know people truly are refugees. (The Harper government, to its credit, recently resettled refugees from northern Thailand, and is bringing in 1,000 Bhutanese refugees a year for five years.)

Doesn't sound like a bad idea to me.

If the government doesn't plug the hole that is the Singh decision then Canada will continue to be financially burdened by bogus refugee claims for years to come.

Poll: Majority Polled Support Visa Restrictions, Think Government Is Mishandling Immigration.

The Toronto Star along with polling firm Angus Reid conducted a survey that found that a strong majority of Canadians polled not only agree with the visa restrictions placed on Mexico and the Czech Republic but also think the government is mishandling immigration. You can read about it here.

The Toronto Star/Angus Reid survey found 69 per cent agree with the visa requirements announced Monday, including 39 per cent who voiced strong agreement.

[...]

The poll also found that 68 per cent of Canadians think it would be fair of Mexico's government to impose similar visa requirements on Canadians entering their country.

[...]

The survey also indicated 64 per cent of respondents believe the federal government is doing a poor job of handling Canada's immigration programs.

These numbers, for what they are worth, tell us that a strong majority of Canadians, not just a majority of Canadians, think the government has mismanaged the immigration system. We are told, mostly by journalists and politicians, that Canada "welcomes" 260,000+ immigrants a year and that Canadians are "proud" of the nation's "multicultural mosaic" however it seems these latest poll numbers tell us otherwise.

Some may disagree with the new visa restrictions and they do inconvenience a lot of innocent people but what is newsworthy, more so than the restrictions themselves, is the Canadian response to them. Most Canadians, as the poll suggests, support the restrictions even if it means visa restrictions being placed on Canada.

I think this is so becuase it shows that the government is doing something about an immigration system that the majority of Canadians disagree with. After years of being sold the alleged merits of multiculturalism and the ethnic, racial, and religious diversity the immigration system is bringing to the nation it seems most Canadians are not buying into the "new Canada". Perhaps this is becuase there was nothing wrong with the "old Canada" now was there?

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

'Canadian Experience': Protecting The Incomes Of Canada's Professional Class From The Negative Effects Of Mass Immigration.

Here is a Toronto Star piece on an Ontario law that will fine foreign trained accountants if they advertise their foreign credentials in the promotion of their businesses.

For more than a decade, Martin Saxton, an accountant originally from Scotland who now has a Toronto business, has printed the professional credentials he earned in the U.K. on his business cards and resumés.

[...]

But now he, like other foreign-trained accountants, fears he will be penalized under a recent Ontario law. Under Bill 158, Saxton says he will have to stop using his U.K. professional designation in promoting his business, or face a fine of up to $10,000.

The fear is the law will target two internationally recognized accouting credentials: Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and the U.K.-based Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

They say that the law will create a barrier to working here. Well that is the point. Only Canada's working class is supposed to suffer the costs of mass immigration not Canada's professional classes like lawyers, doctors, engineers, and accountants and even journalists and politicians.

It is bizarre and discriminatory that immigrants who have received training in advanced western countries like the U.K., the U.S., Australia, and elsewhere have been denied the opportunity to work their professions simply because they don't have the right letters after their name or some petty Canadian professional association hasn't given them permission.

It's a farce. Indeed, the entire "Canadian experience" reason is an absolute joke. I know not all immigrants with foreign credentials meet Canadian standards but can that be said of immigrants trained in the U.K. or the U.S. for that matter? How is working as an engineer in France any different than working as an engineer in Canada? What does "Canadian experience" even mean?

Canada's professional classes need these kinds of laws to protect their incomes from the downward pressure a job market flooded with immigrant labour will have on them and apparently the government is there to protect this preferred segment of the population. No such protection exists for the working class.

Doing The Math: The Cost To Shelter And Protect A Single Asylum Seeker Is About $29,000.

Here is a story from the Toronto Star about an alleged "backlash" from Mexicans and Czechs about the new visa restrictions as if Canadians even care what Mexicans and Czechs think about it. I'm not interested in any of the story except for this part:

It costs Canada about $29,000 to shelter and care for a single asylum seeker. More than 12,000 Czech and Mexican refugee claimants have arrived in Canada since late 2007 and the vast majority of the files have been ruled to be illegitimate, making the financial toll untenable, Kenney said.

According to this table Canada resettled 21,860 refugees in 2008. If it does cost $29,000 to shelter and care for a single asylum seeker then the refugee system cost Canadian taxpayers approximately $634 million in 2008. But that's just the successful ones. If we include failed asylum claims then the number increases. I can't say by how much since I cannot find the total number of asylum claims in Canada for 2008 to make a calculation but I am sure the figure goes beyond the $800 million mark.

I post this because we don't know how much Canada's immigration system costs taxpayers because no official report on the costs exists. So we are left to make educated guesses. If it costs Canadians at least $634 million to resettle 21,860 people into the country how much more does it cost to service the immigration system as a whole?

Some may counter by saying immigrants pay more in taxes then we spend on immigration. But how do we know that if we don't know how much is spent on immigration? Remember, only 23% of immigrants to Canada are principal applicants which are immigrants selected based on their job and language skills. The rest are not. Also, immigrants remove up to $2 billion a year from the Canadian economy each year, money that could have been spent on goods and services, in the form of remittances sent back their home countries.

In the U.K., a nation experiencing similar waves of record immigration, a British House of Lords report concludes record levels of immigration has brought little or no economic benefit to Britain. And a Daily Mail article suggests immigration to Britain is more costly than it is worth. Is Canada different?

I strongly suspect the immigration system costs Canadian taxpayers more than it is worth and it seems Canadians are displeased with what they are paying for. Immigration isn't the problem. It is the current immigration system that is a mess that needs to be cleaned up. A good place to start is by lowering immigration targets.

A Question For The Good People At 'No One Is Illegal'.

I have a question and if anyone at no one is illegal can help me by answering it that will be great.

Were the first European settlers to Canada illegal?

Just asking is all.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Canada Imposes Visa Restrictions On Czech Republic And Mexico To Stem Rising Influx Of 'Bogus' Asylum Seekers.

And it seems most Canadian agree if the comments to this story and this story, both found at the Toronto Star, are any indication of popular opinion.

You can almost feel the breath of fresh air that sweeps at you from the comments to the stories. It seems Canadians are finally glad that something is being to done to control their nation's borders after years and years of unfettered mass immigration. They reaffirm that the national punditry, the elite opinion makers in the media, and waffling politicians are totally out of touch with national sentiment when it comes to immigration.

I will say, with boldness and assurance, that most of what I write here on this blog is shared by the majority of Canadians; that we are opposed to the societal, cultural, and demographic changes that mass immigration is bringing to the nation.

It may appear that there is little opposition to mass immigration in this country and it's partner in crime, multiculturalism, but that's because popular opinion has been excluded from the discussion and for good reason. When given the chance, when the plebes are allowed to speak, a whole other reality comes to the fore. But since our moral and intellectual superiors in the media and in politics know what is good for us it is best that we shut up, sit down, and leave all the big decisions to the grown ups because without their superior intellect and direction we little people will end up hurting ourselves now won't we?

As for the visa restrictions Jason Kenney felt the government had good reasons to impose them.

It is no different than what I do here on this blog. When I say certain refugee groups should be turned away at the border I offer up my reasons as to why Canada should do so. Some may disagree with what I say but I am entitled to my opinion as you are to yours.

Interestingly enough these restrictions were implemented when refugees from the Czech Republic had an 95 per cent approval rate as reported here.

More than 30 per cent of the refugee claims decided last year were from Mexico; 89 per cent of the 1,958 total were rejected. From the Czech Republic, however, 95 per cent of the 89 cases were approved, but most Roma withdraw their claims.

It seems the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. Why are Canada's sentinels at the borders granting asylum to individuals Canada's minister of immigration has concluded do not need it? Do the staffers at the Immigration and Refugee Board know what they are doing?

This Is Not An Anti-Tamil Blog!

I'm posting this so I can set the record straight. I need to make clear that I am not anti-Tamil. I don't even know what anti-Tamil means.

It may appear to some that I am picking on Sri Lankan Tamils but it is not my intention to single them out for particular attention. I am just as frustrated with Sri Lanka's Sinhalese as I am with the Tamils. I know how each blame the other for igniting Sri Lanka's civil war but I know that the conflict is not as black and white as Sinhalese and Tamils make it out to be, that there are no "good guys" or "bad guys" per se. I do accept that Sri Lanka's Tamil's have grievances and some may find it hard to believe but I do not accept all pro-Sinhalese propaganda.

It's just that the Sri Lankan Tamil community, which is a segment of the Tamil community because not all Tamils are Sri Lankan, have exposed a weakness in the refugee system by their, I think anyways, targeting of Canada for immigration purposes via the refugee stream.

I have pointed out many times before that there are at least three other options Sri Lanka's Tamils should have pursued before considering Canada, all acceptable by the UN.

The first is called internal flight. This is the finding of refuge within Sri Lanka such as the capital city of Colombo or elsewhere, away from the fighting which was concentrated in the country's north east.

If the first option cannot be exercised then the second option would be to flee to the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu which is literally across the street from Sri Lanka. Tamil Nadu is culturally and linguistically Tamil. By fleeing to Tamil Nadu not only would Sri Lanka's Tamils be in their cultural and linguistic element they would also be a lot closer to friends and family still in Sri Lanka.

Failing to exercise either of the above options then the third would be to make an asylum claim in the first safe country of passage. This is stipulated by the UN to prevent what is called "asylum shopping". Since there are no direct links between Canada and Sri Lanka, for Tamils to finally reach Canada to make an asylum claim they would have to come from Europe or the United States or elsewhere. Indeed, if I recall correctly almost half of all Sri Lankan refugee claims are made at the U.S./Canada border. Since the passage of the Third Safe Country Agreement between Canada and the United States refugee claims from Sri Lanka have dropped significantly though the acceptance rate still remains relatively high and Sri Lanka is still, to date, in the top ten of refugee producing countries.

Now, after all of that I find it strange to know that Toronto is the largest Sri Lankan Tamil city in the world. There are more Sri Lankan Tamils living in Toronto than any major city in Sri Lanka including Jaffna. There are more Sri Lankan Tamils living in Toronto than all of Tamil Nadu. There are more Sri Lankan Tamils living in Toronto than in the United States or any individual European country. It is estimated that the expat Sri Lankan Tamil community world wide numbers at 800,000. If that figure is true, and if the estimated number of Sri Lankan Tamils in Canada is accurate, then over 1/4 of all expat Sri Lankan Tamils live in Canada.

Like I said I find this strange since Canada has no historical or cultural ties to the island nation. I'd say the vast majority of Canadians cannot find the country on the map. Before the protests few people in Canada knew who Sri Lankan Tamils were even though they have been in the country for two decades and in such a large number.

Sri Lankan Tamils are not evil. I'm sure most are decent hard working people. But abuse of the refugee system is abuse of the refugee system. I don't care how nice you are concocting a persecution story to lie your way into my country is shameful on you and an insult to me. I have no problem with Sri Lankan Tamils immigrating to Canada as principal applicants but I don't think that is the case with the Sri Lankan Tamil community. I think most are economic migrants who posed as refugees to get into Canada who were later followed by their relatives. If you think I don't know what I am talking about then think of how many Sri Lankan Tamils you know who have returned to visit Sri Lanka, the land of their persecution.

Sri Lankan Tamils are not alone in the exploitation of Canada's naive refugee system. Canada recently slapped Visa restrictions on Mexico and Czech Republic due to the large influx of refugee applications from both countries. Canada gets fraudulent claims from India, China, South Korea, Israel, and the United States.

You see, Canada's refugee system is to blame not Sri Lankan Tamils or anyone else. Canada's laws encourage abuse and too often rewards it. To point fingers at any one particular community for abusing the refugee system is disingenuous because the blame lies with Canada. Everyone in the world knows that if you are going to make an asylum claim Canada is the place to do it. When word gets out how easy it is to get into Canada then the rest follow. That is why Canada also has the largest expat Somali community in the world.

I may have given more attention to Sri Lankan Tamils but it really wasn't my intention. But in doing so I illustrate the easily abusable nature of Canada's refugee system in hopes of bringing some credibility back to it to serve those who lives are in real danger and not to fulfill some immigration lawyer's quota or some wannabe immigrant's dreams of living a western life of shopping malls, two door garage houses and socialized health care.