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European refugee crisis? Nope.

‘We didn’t start calling it a “crisis” until people began arriving in Europe,’ Scott Gilmore writes


 
ROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images

ROBERT ATANASOVSKI/AFP/Getty Images

There is a refugee crisis. Just not in Europe.

According to the United Nations, there are now 60 million refugees globally. This stunning number, equivalent to the entire population of Italy, hasn’t been seen since the Second World War.

The total refugee population has been above 40 million since 2007, driven by fighting in Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. But we didn’t start calling it a “crisis” until some of them began arriving in Europe.

Photos of crowded boats and people crawling through barbed wire do give the impression that Europe is being overrun. This year, Germany alone expects 800,000, and the total European number could surpass one million.

That’s still less than two per cent of the global head count. The total number of refugees in Europe is 3.1 million, not even one per cent of its population. Turkey hosts more than three times as many per capita. In the U.S., the total number of illegal migrants is 11.3 million; proportionally, several times greater than in Europe.

Nonetheless, European leaders believe it’s a crisis. Hungary is building a wall on its border with Serbia. Likewise, Bulgaria is raising barriers on its Turkish frontier, and the United Kingdom has installed taller fences at the Eurotunnel entrance. There is a call to establish reception centres in southern Europe and, on Sept. 14, European interior ministers are convening an emergency meeting to determine additional measures.

Why the alarm? It would be easy to blame racism. There’s no denying that many Europeans are deeply worried that Third World migrants threaten their culture. The plot of a 1973 novel, Le Camp des saints by French author Jean Raspail, is often cited as emblematic of this fear: Due to overpopulation, a flotilla of several million South Asian migrants arrive in France. Motivated by liberal guilt, Europeans allow them in. The new arrivals, refusing to assimilate, then destroy Western civilization. As outlandish as the plot seems, the book returned to the bestseller list only a few years ago.

It’s true: Immigration has changed the face of Europe. In London now, only 44 per cent of the population is both white and British. In Birmingham and Leicester, the majority are visible minorities. Newspapers across the continent are filled with daily stories of immigration problems, Roma crime rates, and welfare fraud by new arrivals. But, in most cases, the macro data suggest Europe has reaped immense economic benefits from migration.

The continent is also grappling with less obvious, but very serious, demographic problems. The population is both aging and shrinking. In other words, every year there are fewer taxpayers to support more retirees. The long-term viability of its welfare state is very much in question.

The contrasting use of the terms “migrant” and “refugee” is aggravating the debate. Politicians and the press tend to use the first term, implying that the new arrivals are being pulled toward Europe in search of economic opportunities. The United Nations insists that the vast majority of the new arrivals are in fact refugees, people who are being pushed from their homelands due to persecution or conflict. Those who say “refugee” know these people can’t possibly be turned away. Those who say “migrant” know a Europe suffering record jobless rates (youth unemployment is above 20 per cent) can’t possibly absorb more people.

In some ways, both sides are right. There can be no question that the vast majority of the people arriving on European shores are fleeing horrific conflict. Most are coming from Syria, where they were caught between violent rebel groups such as Islamic State and the Assad regime dropping barrel bombs from above.

But, once they arrive safely in Europe, there is also no question that most of them are turning into economic migrants. The men breaking into U.K.-bound transport trucks in Calais have passed through six or seven other European countries to get there. Likewise, the 800,000 people arriving in Germany this year travelled through a similar number of countries, any one of which could have provided safe haven.

There is also the fact that the term “refugee” implies someone who has been displaced, but intends to return home when he or she can. It is hard to believe those arriving in Europe right now are only passing through.

Can Canada play a role? Possibly. According to the UNHCR, we are currently hosting 165,000 refugees, a number that could be increased several fold before anyone noticed. And although the Conservative government just promised to double its earlier pledge of resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees, that pledge only meets a fraction of a fraction of the overall need. It has also been virtually impossible to learn how we are doing against that goal.

But even if Canada (and Europe) threw the doors wide open, the only real solution is to end the conflicts that created this unprecedented flow of humanity. Sadly, there are few, if any, reasons to be hopeful about that.


 

European refugee crisis? Nope.

  1. Somebody should send Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama the cheque for the cost of taking care of the refugees from all of Obama’s wars, in Libya, in Syria, from pretty much everywhere, where Obama has overtly or covertly gone to war.

    The Drone Emperor’s legacy is chaos and deprivation everywhere.

    • You’re not entitled to your own convenient “facts”. Please explain how Syria is “Obama’s war”? And, just to put matters in perspective, the lingering mess in Iraq, resulting the current ISIS threat, was originally fomented by Bush and his bungling war hawk enablers on a completely fraudulent pretext. His militaristic ventures in the region did more than anything else to destabilize that part of the world.

      • NeuroticDog has a point.

        I’ve always believed we should have left Saddam in power; simply because he was such a barbarian. He had no qualms about levelling a village to take out the Islamic nutcases.

        It sucked if you were an Iraqi….but do you really think ISIS would be an entity today if he was still the dictator to fear? He may be a sonofabitch…but he was OUR sonofabitch.

        Oh..and he would have kept Iran in place too.

        Saddam should never have tried to take out George Bush Senior. That ticked junior off to no end.

      • The CIA (under Obama and Hilary) funded, trained, and organized the Syrian opposition, including training much of ISIS’s forces before ISIS expanded their targets from not only Assad, but the Shiite Iraq government. Poor Obama. When your supposed mercenaries have their own agenda.

        • …and Putin steadfastly supports, abets, and supplies Assad. So, by your convoluted process of assigning guilt, that would make the Syrian war PUTIN’S, not Obama’s. Obama’s error arose from trying to assist Syrians in defending themselves against their own despot (ditto, Libya). In that sense, misguided as it may have turned out to be, his motivation was honorable. Can’t say the same for Bush’s revenge (and oil rapacious) motives for inserting ground troops into Iraq.

  2. There are 60M refugees in the world right now apparently, and no it isn’t just Europe.

    OTOH Canada is 90% empty.

    • Sounds similar to the percentage of empty space between your ears, emily.

      • Calling me names won’t stop them

        • Emily,

          I only point out what most people here think; but are too polite to write. I suffer no such hesitations.

          • Again…..calling others names is neither a comment nor a solution.

          • Anyone who resorts to name-calling is just proving that they have no class, no manners and most important of all, no real argument. I often disagree with Emily, but I’ve never felt the need to name-call her in a comment.

          • I wasn’t trying to SOLVE anything. I was just pointing out the obvious.

            The only solution to the hoardes swarming Europe is to start sinking boats before they fill up with migrants. The EU has already considered this, and as the crisis escalates…it may come up again.

            Of failing that……..the EU better start thinking about getting some boots on the ground in Iraq and syria and ending that atrocity now.

            those are their only choices unless they want a million immigrants from backward cultures taking over their cities and welfare roles.

          • Kay noted:

            “Anyone who resorts to name-calling is just proving that they have no class, no manners and most important of all, no real argument. I often disagree with Emily, but I’ve never felt the need to name-call her in a comment.”

            Fortunately, I am not bound by your sense of fairness.

          • You have no arguments….that’s why you name-call.

            Now I see you’re calling for genocide

            Haven’t you got anything else to do today?

          • Emily,

            Clearly you don’t know what genocide means. Please show any post I have ever made calling for the wholesale slaughter of innocent people?

            I was just repeating what the EU was considering already. They wanted to sink the boats owned by the human trafficers BEFORE they filled up with immigrants.

            In that sense, I was calling for “boat-acide”

            Learn to read dippy.

          • Advocating letting all those people die is genocide, James.

            And no, Europe never considered sinking all their boats

    • Are you suggesting sending all the refugees to the far north because I can assure you most will pick Toronto.

      • We have lots of cities….and the North. They can go wherever they like. In fact they will. We can’t force them intto one place.

        • We could “force” them onto an island refugee state, that is without boats.

          • No, we could not.

    • Populated areas? Nice fry, are you going to pay to build immigrant city? Didn’t think so.
      Do u know the horror of the war that’s been going on for years & these people are who we should be taking.
      They aren’t fighting against cowards who abandon their posts at first sign of battle, these men,children, boys in many cases have organized a vast army out of necessity & sheer will, & are using it to wage all out civil war.
      They have found thousands of fake Syrian ID’s at refugee centers, so yes let’s please take them
      If you are about to flee because of danger of political persecution, etc. especially with intent of migrating, you hang on to2 things. Your loved ones & your documents. This is proof all migrants are properly vetted before given slightest chance of setting foot in Canada

  3. One would have to ask why those trying to escape the fanatics in Iraq and Syria don’t try to reach Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, or Iran.

    Oh wait….why flee one group of islamic fanatics, simply to end up with another group of Islamic fanatics.

    • Where do they come from?

      The largest migrant group by nationality in 2015 is Syrians, as people flee the country’s brutal civil war.

      Afghans and Eritreans come next. They are often also fleeing poverty and human rights abuses.

      People from Nigeria and Kosovo also make up large groups. Poor, marginalised Roma account for many of the migrants from Kosovo.

      http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-24583286

      • The problem of course, is that many of these people bring their inferior and barbaric cultural attitudes with them.

        • Oh, you mean the ones you use every day? You on your KKK kick again?

          • Actually, Emily….you have more in common with the KKK than most on this board. I believe the folks who make up the KKK have the exact same views about our Jewish bretheren as do you.

            The difference of course, is that they come right out and say so……you try to couch your views in terms of palestinian rights.

        • When you use the phrase “inferior and barbaric cultural attitudes” you prove that you have no rational argument and also the depth of your ignorance.

          • Kay wrote:
            “When you use the phrase “inferior and barbaric cultural attitudes” you prove that you have no rational argument and also the depth of your ignorance.”

            Actually, Kay…you have it backwards. I have been paying attention to what people from these regions believe; that’s why I am correct in pointing this out.

            You on the other hand; as a Liberal………..refuse to admit the obvious. I’m sure you have the exact same views…but you simply don’t want anyone to know about it.

            Honour killing, beheadings, lopping off hands, throwing gays from rooftops, or crushing them under a falling wall…etc..e.tc….

            Please tell me how the cultures are the equivalent?

          • Jameshalifax defends himself from accusations of bigotry and stereotyping:

            ” I have been paying attention to what people from these regions believe”

            Hahahaha!

            But seriously, you can’t judge entire nations and ethnic groups by the conduct of those groups’ conservatives. Imagine if people judged Canadians by the 25% of the voting population that constitutes Harper’s base?

          • Guess what the first thing most mosques repeat? Death to Jews,Infidels, & virtually all those that follow other religions or none at all is the basic ideals expressed.
            You know what the so called “Moderate Muslims” say when confronted with quotes from the Quran? Oh well only extremists follow it word for word!
            So yes, lets increase their numbers, & in turn increase the number of dead soldiers killed on our own soil!

        • LOL I knew you’d drag the Jews into it sooner or later. You have an fetish with them.

          Sorry Jimmy, I have no views on Jews….they aren’t a race, a nationality or a color….it’s just a belief…..iike being Presbyterian

          • Emily,

            I didn’t drag the Jews into anything. I simply pointed out that you seem to be opposed to any action that would allow the Jews to defend themselves, while defending those folks who make it their lifes work to drive them into the sea.

            And yes, being a Jew is a matter of religion and they come in all different colours and nationalities……but you seem to enjoy denigrating them regardless. I wonder why?

          • James, Sorry, but no one on here, including me, has ever been anti-semitic

            I don’t even think you know what that means.

            It’s just a religion

      • Fleeing poverty does not make a refugee, but an economic migrant seeking asylum.

        • Yeah, they should stay there and starve.

  4. Do any of you actually see what is going on in Europe? It is utter chaos. Study the news, not just the main stream news. Inform yourself.

    • What utter chaos?

      The actual news, or the Daily Mail?

  5. Well we are bringing in 10,000 Syrians…..and I wish we ccould get this guy outta Sweden.

    “I didn’t come to Sweden for the welfare. I didn’t come to Sweden to ask for a hand-out,” said Mahad Mohammed Musse, a 27-year-old anaesthesiologist fluent in Arabic, Somali, English and Russian, who has only found temporary work at Stockholm’s tax free airport shops since arriving nearly two years ago.

    http://gizmodo.com/nasa-teams-up-with-hoverboard-company-to-build-a-magnet-1728136893

    • The gov’t SAYS we’re going to accept 10K Syrian refugees, but the number who have actually been accepted is now where near that. From what I’ve heard/read if we’ve taken in even a thousand that would be a generous estimate.

      • Well if he wants immigrant votes, he’d better move his butt…..cuz they all talk to each other.

        • And often,

          they also hate each other and bring their hatreds and violence with them.

          • Indeed. Who can forget Toronto’s awful Kurdish – Turk war of 2005?
            *shudder*

      • Kay,

        Before we start letting thousands of people into Canada, you need to screen them to keep out the bad guys. Documents have been found indicating that the folks of ISIS and Al Queda have plans to smuggle their islamic operatives into Western nations using just this method. I’m sure many have already made it into Europe; we’ll just have to see what they do.

        • And how do you propose that we “screen them to keep out the bad guys”? Or is this code for ‘another excuse to do nothing’?

          • We do a lot of screening at the intake….but it mostly for healthcare reasons….some have diseases such as TB that are treatment resistant and need immediate care, which we provide.

          • A UNHCR organized remote refugee state (Wore elsewhere).

      • That is because charities such as church organizations deal with settling in refugees in Canada. Volunteers to hard work to provide them with places to live, health care, welfare, etc. Unlike warm countries, we cannot set up refugee camps and put people in tents…although there was a tent city in Edmonton at one point during the boom.

    • Could use an anesthesiologist in my town…

  6. Yes it is a European crisis. You are correct to point out it is far from the only crisis in the world at the moment. Please don’t compare the American hype about their numbers of illegal immigrants to the crisis in Europe. Yes, somewhere around 3% of the American population are ‘illegals’ but that 3% has accumulated over the last 50 or more years. Many of them are working, perhaps married to American citizens, with American children and grandchildren, and most of them will speak either English, or the unofficial American language, Spanish. Contrast that with Germany expecting to settle refugees totalling 1% of its population in a single year, and likely very few will speak any European language well.
    Meanwhile Canada is dragging its bureaucratic heels and can’t even offer visitor visas to relatives trying to escape ISIS. Heck, commandeer a cruise ship to pick up a few refugee boats floating on the Mediterranean and deal with the paperwork after they get safely to Canadian shore. Put them up in one of Alberta’s construction camps (must be empty ones with the current oil price) if you must until they are ‘processed’ (And as much as I am a feminist, in this case I will ask for ‘women and children first’)

  7. In order to bring in 100,000 or more refugees into Canada, there must be an equal amount of jobs available to them.

    We cannot just place all of them on social assistance for an indefinite period of time.

    Currently, the unemployment rate for Canada is 7% and rising. We can barely find enough jobs for our own citizens; how are we going to find enough jobs for all this refugees?

    So the question I ask everyone is how many immigrants do we let into Canada? 10 million, 60 million or 100 million?

    • Answer: Legal immigrants with resident visas, 100,000 (Perhaps).
      Refugees and illegal economic asylum seekers, none (They will be directed to a UNHCR-organized remote refugee state for examination and processing).

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