“I know a girl, she’s a party girl.” — U2
The unwelcome but not unexpected arrival of 500 Tamil boat people is actually a fraction of the more than 40,000 refugee claims that will be made in Canada this year. Our country, along with Western Europe, the U.S., and Australia, have signed on to the UN Convention on Refugees Agreement whereby anyone with a well-founded fear of persecution can come in and claim citizenship, grab a passport and go home whenever they feel like it. That pretty well covers most people on the planet. Witness the 40,000 Lebanese Canadians having their holidays in the old country disrupted by the 2007 Israeli invasion and the revelation that of the last bunch of Tamils granted citizenship, over half had gone back to the supposed war zone. Weren’t they supposed to be fleeing something?
Images of RCMP officers holding umbrellas over the migrants’ heads while they were coming down the gangplank and news of an entire ward at Victoria General Hospital suddenly opening up strictly for the arrivals isn’t going down well with us right wing bigots. Have the RCMP no real crime to fight and have wait-lists for surgery mysteriously cleared up? Is Ottawa more concerned about illegals than taxpayers? It sure looks that way.
Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon and once known as the pearl of the Indian Ocean, is a natural paradise if it wasn’t for the locals who can’t seem to get along with each other. They should take a look at Hawaii where people of all ethnic mixes work, live and play together. If these migrants actually came up with $50,000 to get here, one would think with that kind of bankroll, they’d move to neighbouring, booming India rather than recession-bound Canada. Apparently, the welcome mat is much nicer here.
This brings us to another question polite people aren’t supposed to ask. Do we really need immigrants anymore? The landscape appears settled. Most newcomers head to the big cities which already have traffic gridlock, straining infrastructure, plenty of so-called diversity and ongoing money problems amidst the highest national unemployment rate in decades. The oft-cited $22 million to settle the latest boatload is coming from somewhere and some of it seems to be from my paycheque.
The socialist Australians are, as usual, more pragmatic than us. Julia Gillard announced shortly before the election in Australia that any boat person would be sent to a processing camp not located in Australia, then quickly flown home. As a leftie politician, this received little comment. If Stephen Harper had the gonads to say this, he would be roundly castigated by the “compassionate crowd” and likely be hauled off to Human Rights Kangaroo Court for being insensitive or whatever.
In this world of instant communication and access to information, any rational person would hope that human interconnectedness would seek answers from countries that are moderately successful and apply that knowledge on a local level rather than sail halfway around the world to a country where we locals are supposed to embrace the newcomers because of their courage, if not their gall.