Sunday, 24 January 2010

Reconstruction Not Resettlement: Giving Permanent Residency To Those Fleeing Temporary Natural Disasters Is Not A Good Idea.

I have to give credit to Jason Kenney for standing his ground (though I am disappointed he stubbornly refuses to reduce Canada's immigration targets). He is being pressured by the usual interest groups to relax Canada's immigration standards to provided permanent residency to Haitians as a means to escape their nation's natural disaster.

My problem with this is thus: Why should we give permanent residency, Canadian citizenship, to help people flee what is a temporary circumstance.

Canada has already agreed to expedite the adoption process for Haitian orphans and it has fast tracked those already in the family reunification queue. This is enough. Expanding the definitions of who qualifies for family reunification will effectively open the nation's doors to accept more people from Haiti and this is not a wise move.

Canada's immigration system is already in disarray due mostly to the unacceptable volume of immigrants Canada foolishly allows to settle in the country each year. Compounding this problem is that the majority of them come here with little to no pertinent job skills or language skills and those who do have a hard time finding employment if their fields of expertise. This tells us a lot about Canada's real need for these people and its ability to effectively absorb them. Haitians will not fair much better.

The disaster that struck Haiti is temporary. Reconstruction efforts are underway. Aid and funds are being collected to alleviate the suffering and many a celebrity, quasi-celebrity, and their parasite hanger-ons in entertainment "journalism" are already exploiting the situation to bring positive attention to themselves and their careers. Haiti is getting help but depopulating Haiti is no solution to its long lasting problems.

Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. It most likely will continue to be so once this crisis passes. Bringing Haiti's poor to Canada's shores will not make Haiti a wealthier nation. It just brings the poverty here with the attendant negative consequences.

Haiti's needs are great. It needs political stability and a healthy economy. Haitians need education and skills training and giving Canadian citizenship to select Haitians does not benefit Haiti as a whole.

What I am bothered by are certain groups within Canada who are exploiting the disaster in Haiti to satisfy their own agendas. This extends even to Canada's Haitian community who see this as an opportunity to swell their ranks within the country with an influx of Haitian immigrants. The most disgusting are the self serving newspaper editorials extolling Jason Kenney to import potential Haitian newspaper readers into to the country. Hiding behind the language of compassion they are not fooling the savvy.

The one I have in mind is this Toronto Star editorial. Since the Toronto Star is a profit maximizing entity, part of TorStar corporation, I will put my objection in terms it can understand.

Torstar is a publicly traded company listed on the TSX. It has shareholders seeking to make gains on their investment in the company. This means that officers in the corporation are under pressure to raise the value of the stock and increase dividends. Will Torstar shareholders approve a move by the company, through its mouthpiece the Toronto Star, to import and support Haitian immigrants even though projections say that they will be a drain on company coffers and any financial benefits the program will have is eaten up by the program itself? I think we can accurately see how they will react and which direction Torstar stock value will move. Why should they hypocritically expect Canada to behave differently?

The costs to immigration are socialized meaning it is the public who pays for it, not corporate entities like Torstar who enjoy a myriad of tax loopholes and breaks to make sure they don't. They also benefit from the abundance of cheap labour and in the case of the media an increase of audience numbers to sell to advertisers. With that said I find the compassion expressed by the Toronto Star editorial board to be insincere and self serving with more of an eye on their jobs and profits than with the real needs of Haitians.


Anonymous said...

"Canada has already agreed to expedite the adoption process for Haitian orphans and it has fast tracked those already in the family reunification queue."

Judging by the commentaries, this young Saskatchewan couple did NOT receive much support with their Haitian adoption.

PaxCanadiana said...

They are a young couple and I wonder why do they feel the impulse to adopt. Is the woman infertile, vain about her figure and stretch marks, too posh to push, or are they focused on their careers that they can't be bothered to have their own children, adoption being the most convenient.

I found myself uncomfortable with a lot of the comments which I found to be racist and borderline white supremacist. Be that as it may I also join them in questioning the couple's motives? Are these politically fashionable disaster babies to be paraded around like a new pair of Prada shoes?

That aside the point is Canada is doing enough. Giving people who have suffered through a natural disaster permanent residency rights within Canada in not the course to follow.