The CBC published a story about a Syrian refugee family in Nova Scotia who found success and self sufficiency one year on after arriving in the province. They did so by starting a small family run chocolatier business in the community of Antigonish that now employs ten people. It’s a Syrian refugee “success story” that attracted the attention of Justin Trudeau who referenced their entrepreneurship at the UN as an example of Canada’s welcoming spirit and the rewards refugees and immigrants bring to the country. It’s an awesome feel good story. So what about the other 39,499 Syrian refugees?
This is an example of cherry picking. It’s a logical fallacy where favourable examples are given particular attention to support one’s argument but those that invalidate it are conveniently ignored and swept under the rug.
It’s one of the more common logical fallacies one encounters in debates and comment sections of internet articles. When one employs this fallacy they typically do so by stating “My neighbour from India…” or “I work with someone from China…” or “My doctor is a Muslim…” or statements of that nature. Not only are their debate points anecdotal but are also isolated cherry picked examples that can’t be used to argue the successes or failings of the immigration and refugee systems. If all it takes is one positive story to show “the system works” then I guess the Toronto Police Services most wanted page irrefutably shows that it doesn’t.
One Syrian refugee family finding success in Canada is not a validation that the government’s approach to the Syrian refugee crisis was the correct one (or proof that our refugee system in general is not a lax mess of a system that doesn’t help legitimate refugees for the most part and is of little benefit to the country). It’s just a story of a Syrian family who came to Canada as refugees and started a small business in Nova Scotia. And that’s it!
Cherry picking is a cheap and easy debate tactic. It’s meant to lead one to agree to a preconceived conclusion based on a select sample size. In this case the CBC and Justin Trudeau want us to believe that because this Syrian refugee family found success all immigrants and refugees will do so as well by implication. It’s just a matter of time. But though this one Syrian refugee family found success in the country it’s realistic to assume others probably won’t. Indeed, perhaps hundreds if not thousands of Syrian refugees will not find an adequate foothold in the country at all, lingering in economic limbo contributing to Canada’s ever growing immigrant underclass like the tens of thousands of immigrants and refugees who came before them.
By the way, rumour has it the Liberal Party of Canada is the chocolate factory's biggest customer. If that's true then this "success story" was paid for by the LPC.