Monday, April 07, 2008

Immigration Debate

I expect blogging to be light over the next couple of weeks as I complete the last remaining assignments and exams standing between me and a bachelors degree. However, I felt obliged to post something on the ongoing immigration debate. First and foremost I think we have to appreciate what a joy it is, that this is the immigration debate we are having. There are very few countries around the world that have such an enlightened on immigration. There are no credible political parties in Canada that want to shut the door to immigrants. A vast majority of Canadians support immigration. That is something we should be proud of as Canadians. I thought the cartoon from The Star at left was a cute illustration of the immigrant experience. However, that does not mean we don't have challenges surrounding immigration.

Frankly, if I were immigration minister this wouldn't be my priority. I am not saying that the waiting list isn't a problem, it is. It's just that I'd try to make the immigrant experience better in Canada first. Now, the two things may not be mutually exclusive, but the Harper government has shown little support (beyond a couple of millions of dollars in their first budget I believe) to helping immigrants integrate into Canadian life. So if you are only going to do one thing on the immigration file it should be helping immigrants who are already here. We need more support for our communities and provinces to finance more extensive ESL programs. We need money for more translation services for new immigrants that have not yet broken through the language barrier. We need to work harder with our professional associations and our universities to make sure that immigrants can find work in the fields they are already trained to work in.

Now, for the issue at hand. Canadians expect there government services to be free from corruption. The best way to prevent political corruption is to separate as much as possible the politicians from the day-to-day operations of the bureaucracy. If there is a backlog in applications, the solution is not to give the minister more power. The solution is to hire more people so that applications can be processed more quickly. Harper has shown no aversion to spending money in his time in office. This is a great way to spend money. It is good for the Canadian economy and more importantly it is good for Canada as a whole. Mr. Harper has correctly identified a problem. He has failed miserably in finding a solution.


Johnathon said...
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Andy said...

There is a lot of space between "shutting the door on immigrants" and maintaining our current levels. I suspect that most Canadians would like to see something in between those two extremes.

In any event, good luck with your exams and papers. No doubt there will be more degrees to come after this one.

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