Lack of immigration progress testing patience

I am a Canadian citizen – albeit an immigrant Canadian citizen.

I am a Canadian citizen – albeit an immigrant Canadian citizen.

Canada is currently mired in a number of fiercely-debated issues involving immigration policies, illegal refugees and, let’s face it, the basis of all of it – the active practice of multiculturalism in this country. I have to think there are too many vested interests in many of these issues.

The federal Conservative government is currently under attack for its seemingly inconsistent immigration stances. There have been numerous studies, reviews and proposals suggesting how the government might make better “use” of immigration.

Prime minister Stephen Harper has been quoted as favouring higher immigration levels to aid in economic recovery in this country.

A total of more than 280,600 immigrants came to Canada in 2010, the highest number in 57 years.

At the same time, criticism has been levelled at government for its perceived reduction of financial support for agencies which provide services to help new immigrants integrate successfully into communities. (Well, make that larger communities such as Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto.)

Bearing in mind, however, the cost of caring for large groups of illegal immigrants that off-load from rust-bucket freighters like the MV Sun Sea on our West Coast, I can understand there is only so much money available to help immigrants and genuine refugees. The “refugees,” it appears, paid human smugglers as much as $20,000 to $40,00 on average for passage, not from Sri Lanka, but from Thailand. Bears thinking about, doesn’t it?

The economic crisis faced by Canada is only exacerbated by these situations. That one group of Sri Lankan refugees, it has been claimed, (no, I can’t prove it) has already consumed more than $30 million of taxpayer money and cases are still being heard at snail’s pace, while many other illegal refugees find their way to Canada.

I still believe Immigration minister Jason Kenney’s claim that polls show Canadians are still highly favourable to multiculturalism may be an exaggeration, or an out and out misinterpretation of Canadians feelings as a whole. Polls often ask questions designed to achieve specific results.

There’s no doubt as the race and religion-based debates rage on the carrying of kirpans for example, that issues like exemptions for turbans instead of hardhats, the use of face-covering veils in elections, the requests to permit parents to withdraw children from regular school activities such as music and phys-ed and other integration issues still make headlines across Canada.

I am certainly not in agreement that Canada has been able to make significantly more of a success of multiracial immigration through multiculturalism. Numerous European countries have found themselves forced to abandon principles of multiculturalism and have declared their systems failures resulting in isolated ghetto-like communities that are disinterested in the ways and mores of their adopted countries and continue to make preferential demands in terms of religion and schooling.

Often our courts appear to be complicit, based on current Canadian law.

Much of this becomes even more critical when cultural values – such as the subjugation of women – are imported to Canada where our credo is simply, equality.

Hey, I simply don’t have many answers. Just many concerns and an opinion that suggests not enough is being done to resolve the issues that fester and swell.

The fact is Canadians, including many non-Canadian born citizens, are clearly losing patience with the sluggish rate of progress achieved by lawmakers who need to deal firmly and fairly and much more promptly with abuses of our immigration and refugee systems.

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