Friday, July 17, 2009

The More the Merrier

The message emerging from the Harper government seems to be goods, yes; people no. I think it is philosophically strange, if not inconsistent, to have a free trade deal with a country, say Mexico, and require a visa for their citizens to visit. We're happy to trade with you as long as you don't deliver the goods yourself? My default position on immigration is to throw the gates wide. After all, this country would be a lot easier to govern and do business in if there were more people in it. Therefore, to my mind, the problem here isn't that are refugee system is inefficient and slightly defective but that our regular immigration system isn't keeping up with demand. If people in the Czech Republic or Mexico thought they could get in as regular immigrants without having to wait around for years, they'd be less likely to be trying to use the refugee system as a backdoor. A wider front door might make it easier to figure out who's at the back door without requiring a visa of some of our closest allies. We are spending billions more than we have, and none of it can go to fix the backlog at immigration? This is a situation where more money for more immigration officers and more integration programs in Canada (ESL, credential issues etc.) will mean fewer problems in the long run.

However that is not the only issue at play here. There is the possibility, a strong one in my view, that there are legitimate Roma refugee claimants from the Czech Republic. Likewise, given the unfortunate spike in drug-related violence in Mexico, there may be Mexican citizens who fear for their lives if they stay in Mexico. No one understands that better than the Mexican government. We've angered our allies by telling them that we don't trust them enough to come here on vacation. I suspect we would have angered them less by saying yes, in spite of your best efforts, there are people in your country who have legitimate refugee claims and we're going to let them in.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just throw the doors wide open?

Are you naturally that stupid or did it take a lot of practice?

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