Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Anti-Immigrant Conservatives Continue With Their Not-so-secret Agenda

Looking at this story coming out of the committee rooms on Parliament today, it becomes pretty clear that the Conservatives are continuing in the same anti-immigrant bent they began as Reformers and the Alliance.

The immigration minister HAD to admit today that, "In terms of dealing with the backlog, the first thing we have to do is limit the intake before we can reduce it." That statement alone still makes it sound like they're focused on reducing the backlog - as long as you don't talk about the "limit" on the intake. When you take into account the following facts, it becomes even more certain just what the Conservatives are attempting to do:

"In 2006, the Conservative government admitted 10,500 fewer permanent residents than the previous Liberal government, and 25,500 fewer in 2007 when only 236,689 permanent residents came to Canada. The Conservative government has actually cut the total number of permanent residents that would have been admitted to Canada over the last two years by 36,000.

However, in an attempt to cover up these facts, the Minister misled the House of Commons on March 14, 2008, when she stated during Question Period that "this Conservative government welcomed more immigrants to Canada than has been done in almost 100 years."

The Minister went on to mislead the House of Commons again on April 4, 2008, when she claimed: "That is why we were able to welcome 430,000 new Canadians last year to this country, the highest in over 100 years."

In fact, when testifying before the House of Commons Finance Committee on April 28, 2008, the Minister admitted her government is “deliberately blurring the line between permanent and temporary so as to meet the needs of our economy.” (LPC Newsfeed)

The facts speak for themselves. These Conservatives are being extremely conservative (as usual) in their approach to immigration. Facts like these will find their way into the ethnic media. Good on Minister Findlay for actually being honest about something. It took an appearance before a Parliamentary Committee before she did it, but she did come clean.


Koby said...

The facts have done everything but speak for themselves. As Guidy Mamann of the immigration law firm Mamann & Associates notes the Conservative “reforms” are largely redundant.

“Our current legislation states that the federal cabinet ‘may make any regulation ... relating to classes of permanent residents or foreign nationals’ including ‘selection criteria, the weight, if any to be given to all or some of those criteria, the procedures to be followed in evaluating all or some of those criteria… the number of applications to be processed or approved in a year’ etc. In fact, in the case of Vaziri v. The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the Federal Court held in September 2006 that our current legislation ‘authorize[s] the Minister to set target levels and to prioritize certain classes of PR applicants’ without even a regulation being passed. Accordingly, Finley has more than enough power under our current legislation to make virtually any changes that she wants subject to the Charter.”

Which begs the question why all the hoopla? One theory is that the Conservatives deliberately tired to force the Liberals into an election by stirring up various immigrant groups. The theory I favor though is that the Conservatives look to be trying to solve a problem that they made worse by initially cutting staff at embassies and consulates. Of course, these theories are not mutually exclusive either.

Then there is the issue of the non existent 926,000 long waiting list. There is not one long waiting list; there are several long waiting lists and many short ones. After all, how long someone takes to get processed does not depend upon how many people are applying to immigrant to Canada world wide but how many are applying at a particular location. It may take someone in Warsaw 1.8 years to be processed, but someone in Bogotá over 16 years.

The one issue of any significance is precisely the one that has garnered the least attention from the Liberals and media, viz., the issue of guest workers. Listening to the Tories you would think that their main concern is to fast track the number of doctors, but forget skilled workers, what the Conservatives are most interested in is allowing enough unskilled or semiskilled guest workers in to do such things as undermine a burgeoning labour movement in the oil sands. In so doing they aim to payoff another constituency – business big and small. This involves above all allowing letting the provinces --- particularly Alberta --- have a larger say in the direction immigration is taking in this country. Alberta wants to use immigrants to fill the following positions and the Conservatives want to make that possible: Front desk clerk, short order cook, baker, maid, assembly line worker, server, buser, bellhop, valet, cafeteria worker, laundry attendant, pet groomer, general labourer, and hair dresser. One need only score 4 out 24 on the language proficiency to get any these kinds of jobs. Of course, neither the Tories nor the Alberta government particularly wants these kinds of workers to stay around forever. Given how successful Europe’s guest worker programs have been in creating an underclass and fostering xenophobia and racism, such a “blurring to the lines” between “temporary workers” and permanent residents is a recipe of disaster.

Lizt. said...

I think the backlog has to be fixed first. but we need to carefully screen applicants. We do take in more than any other country, but we should carefully take in more. There is a big problem with well-educated people running taxis, etc., not able to get jobs, who may have been better off if they stayed home.
We have to take care of those first.