|Posted on February 28, 2017 at 8:00 PM|
There isn't any doubt that immigration policy has been a highlight of Canadian politics - and especially for conservative leadership hopefuls.
I am writing this as a daughter of immigrants. My parents and my two older brothers were born in Italy, and it's their love of their heritage which made me proud of my Italian roots and its culture today. But in our hearts, my family is staunchly Canadian. Happily identifying as an Italian-Canadian is not a heterodox.
Nor should it be radical to identify as a Persian-Canadian, Egyptian-Canadian or Somali-Canadian. All represent proud cultures that should always be welcome into our national fabric and, as importantly, into conservative political circles.
The important modifier is the word Canadian. I believe that Canada has something very valuable to offer the rest of the world. We are rightfully proud of the society we have built founded on acceptance, tolerance, justice and opportunity. There are very few other places in the world that have Canada's track record for immigration success.
It's an inescapable fact that immigrants have built Canada into one of the world's leading economic and political powers. We are not a nation of military power. It isn't guns and bullets that makes Canada so influential. We are persuasive because other nations want what we have - wealth, trade, and influence through peaceful co-existence.
So when Conservative Party of Canada leadership hopefuls demand screening of all immigrants for (yet to be determined) "Canadian Values," let's remember that it was immigrant-values that first made Canada the greatest nation on earth.
We have a sordid history of trying to instill "Canadian Values" into other cultures. For example, there was no darker episode in our nation's history than the episode of residential schools. After decades of abuse towards thousands of First Nations children, I was proud to see a Conservative Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, accept responsibility and solemnly apologize for Canada's role in this cultural genocide.
Although I am critical of the view points of certain conservative elites on immigration, I am in fact, much more concerned about the policies of our Liberal government when it comes to accepting refugees into Canada. I worry that the Trudeau government hasn't accepted any of the lessons learned from our residential school disgrace.
Unlike immigrants, who freely choose to re-locate to another part of the world, refugees didn't actually have a choice. If not for war, famine or other political unrest, these people would be living happy, fulfilled lives in their homeland. They only arrived here to seek safety from violence, persecution and hunger.
The scourge of Euro-imperialism scarred much of the world prior to World War I. In the name of King and Empire, Europeans would seize lands in Africa, Asia and the Americas, expropriate the wealth of these areas, and impose European laws and culture over all. At the time, it was believed imperialism was a good thing for the rest of the world, because it created trade and civilization. But 120 years later, we continue to live with the wars, underdevelopment and social unrest. Many nations have not recovered their own autonomy from their colonial overlords.
120 years ago, the Euro-imperialists were looking for land, gold, minerals, and other natural resources. But today we know that a country's greatest wealth lies within its people. And in today's refugee crisis, the Trudeau government has adopted an imperialist policy towards other nation's human resource.
Undoubtedly, Canada needs immigration to grow our economy. With an aging population and a falling birth rate, immigration is vitally important. Taking advantage of the refugee crisis, Trudeau sees a an opportunity to boost immigration inflow.
According to the United Nations, the Syrian refugees that have come to Canada do not come from the refugee camps. Generally, they were living in rented apartments. This suggests that they were wealthier and better educated than refugees who were living in the refugee camps. And in a National Post article today, it was revealed via documents obtained through FOI's that "most (refugees accepted by Canada) were “self-employed businessmen and tradesmen (welders, mechanic, jewelers) with moderate to high levels of wealth" and that those coming from Damascus had "government jobs and a post-secondary education." In fact, some refugee women had the means to travel back "to give birth." http://www.nationalpost.com/m/wp/news/canada/blog.html?b=news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/documents-reveal-why-canada-rejected-dozens-of-syrian-refugee-claimants
Effectively, what Trudeau has done is selected the very best class of Syrian society, lured them to Canada with the promise of one year's living expenses and with the hope that they will permanently settle in Canada, thereby putting their education and business acumen to use here for the benefit of our economy.
By taking the upper crust of Syrian society and seeking to settle them here, we are depriving their homeland of its best and brightest people. Trudeau's refugee policy is not unlike the Euro-imperialists of the early 20th century. Canada is taking from a foreign land.
If we truly are to be truly humane, we should welcome refugees with open arms - but with one proviso - a refugee shouldn't settle in Canada permanently. Once the crisis in their homeland has ended and it's safe to return, refugees should be required to go back and rebuild their homeland. Upon returning, they will bring with them Canadian values that will help restore and build their nation with the goals of democracy, freedom and economic prosperity, foundations that will help millions in Syria. Having lived in Canada for a time, these refugees will have experienced a nation where there is no class division, no discrimination allowed, and equal opportunity for everyone who works hard to achieve their goals. Canadians of different heritage live side-by-side in peaceful co-existence. Without conflict or strife, we trade and grow our wealth. These are the kinds of values we want these refugees to instill in their nations of origin upon returning.
To rebuild Syria - once its civil war has ended and peace has been restored - it will require the skills and education of the very same people that Trudeau has targeted in his predatory refugee policy. If Trudeau succeeds in permanently settling these refugees in Canada, instead of returning them to Syria once it's safe to do so, he will deprive Syria of what it needs to rebuild after the war.
Like a lot of Canadians, I am shocked to see the Trudeau government accepting refugees from places like Minnesota and Vermont. Why would anyone need asylum from there? Or is it expedient for the government because the American refugees are easier to settle and assimilate? Do we accept refugees from Minnesota and Vermont because they help us to achieve our immigration targets?
It's becoming clear Canadians would like real answers and solutions regarding Canada's future with immigration. There's too much political hyperbole and rhetoric going on amidst a real international crisis.