Our bad


 

The Prime Minister gives Mexico the It’s-Not-You-It’s-Me treatment.

“This is not the fault of the government of Mexico – let me be very clear about this,” Mr. Harper told reporters, explaining his mid-July decision to clamp down on soaring bogus refugee claims from Mexico by requiring Mexicans to obtain visas before entering Canada. “This is a problem in Canadian refugee law which encourages bogus claims.”


 

Our bad

  1. If only Stephen Harper were Prime Minister, he could bloody well change the law instead of royally irking our NAFTA partners.

    • Your version was much more succinct than mine!

      • LOL. Yours, however, will not engender a whole thread about how "this guy is so ignorant he thinks Stephen Harper isn't Prime Minister of Canada."

        Seriously, though, if the CPC — in government, with as big a minority as it's likely to get — can't act on the refugee backlog, who will ever be able to? Or, alternately, why can't the LPC or NDP stand up and make a case for reform? Why is every issue framed as all-or-nothing Right-vs.-Left? Why won't our Opposition oppose the government?

        • I suspect that the Conservatives and the Liberals both shun the subject of immigration reform because it's such a hot-button issue (and one that can't really be framed in the tired old left-right spectrum, as you said). There's nothing to gain politically by making it an issue, so nobody talks about it. Yet our immigration and refugee system is a joke compared to the relatively fair and efficient systems of some other Western democracies.

        • I suspect that the Conservatives and the Liberals both shun the subject of immigration reform because it's such a hot-button issue (and one that can't really be framed in the tired old left-right spectrum, as you said). There's nothing to gain politically by making it an issue, so nobody talks about it. It's too bad, because our immigration and refugee system is a joke compared to the relatively fair and efficient systems of some other Western democracies.

          • I agree it's a major hot-button issue, but for the life of me I don't grasp why. For instance, why would recent immigrants be more in favour of accepting more refugees than born-in-Canada Canadians? Why would former refugees — say, those who have been in Canada for 10 years — be in favour of it? Once they're citizens, their families already stand a good chance of being reunited in Canada; and future refugees, particularly in large numbers, are more likely to compete for the jobs of former refugees than for the jobs of born-in-Canada Canadians. So I don't follow why either recent immigrants or former refugees would be especially suspicious of reform.

            That leaves, of course, leftish-leaning Canadians who might be in favour of accepting as many refugees as possible (or more). These would include both those who in principle are in favour of accepting more refugees, and also those who suspect that any refugee-reforming by the CPC would necessarily be motivated by sinister racism. (I suspect the latter category is larger, but what do I know?) But I wonder if "ordinary Canadians" (of whatever political stamp) really care one way or the other. I guess that's the familiar bottom line.

          • Why do we not fix our refugee system ?——because clear-thinking intelligent Canadians allow themselves to be painted into the Guilt and Pity corner because we are such a compassionate people, we`ll allow false refugee groups and the lawyer driven immigration industry to abuse our generosity.

            You know damn well that as soon as PM Harper introduces a motion to improve our refugee system you and Kinsella and the LIb crowd would be screaming Racist Reformatory.

            Why don`t you folks quit wringing your hands and grow a pair and work with whoever is in Ottawa to assure them that constructive change will not be met with partisan roadblocks ?

          • Why don't you get a life? I was asking a serious question and all you can do is rant in the worst partisan style.

          • You are exactly on point William – and in the measntime guess what one of the most rapidly increasing sources of employment is ? Lawyers corporate and immigration = no kidding. Our present system is absurd to the point where the gov't of the day has little or no power over what it manages as the courts keeps knee capping them – all of our pol parties are responsible and all of them need to get their stuff together and no doubt about it. Harper is spot on this issue and i for one hope he starts carrot and sticking it to the oppostion parties – who knows there might be an opportunity here.

          • Ideally, immigration would not be a hot-button issue, immigration reform would be debated in a nonpartisan way in Parliament, and we'd have free votes in the House of Commons on this issue.

            The cynic in me thinks that this is unlikely to happen, simply because (as you suggested, Jack) it would only be a matter of time before accusations of sinister racism poisoned the debate. Meanwhile, ordinary Canadians read about bogus refugee claims and systemic problems in the news, but there isn't much public outcry.

          • I agree it's a major hot-button issue, but for the life of me I don't grasp why. For instance, why would recent immigrants be more in favour of accepting more refugees than born-in-Canada Canadians? Why would former refugees — say, those who have been in Canada for 10 years — be in favour of it? Once their citizens, their families already stand a good chance of being reunited in Canada; and future refugees, particularly in large numbers, are more likely to compete for the jobs of former refugees than for the jobs of born-in-Canada Canadians. So I don't follow why either recent immigrants or former refugees would be especially suspicious of reform.

            That leaves, of course, leftish-leaning Canadians who might be in favour of accepting as many refugees as possible (or more). These would include both those who in principle are in favour of accepting more refugees, and also those who suspect that any refugee-reforming by the CPC would necessarily be motivated by sinister racism. (I suspect the latter category is larger, but what do I know?) But I wonder if "ordinary Canadians" (of whatever political stamp) really care one way or the other. I guess that's the familiar bottom line.

          • Agreed that immigration reform is probably a hot-button issue that both major parties are a bit gun-shy about.

            However, I'm not at all as sure why refugee system reform has to also become a hot-button issue. Granted the two issues do bump against each other, but reasonable people (will) understand the difference. There are still a lot of reasonable people in Canada, no? And, as I mentioned elsewhere on this board, this is an issue that I believe that the CPC could use to their advantage if they played it correctly.

            But then, maybe there is a genuine deficit of reasonable people.

          • Don't denigrate the fact that this is just Harper, mr opposition-in-government, railing against the Wall for his base to see. While there are no doubt areas where refugee system is reformable and in need of reform, going to a foreign government/diplomat and saying, "sorry, but we're going to tighten the screws on your people because some of our people aren't doing what i'd like." isn't solving the problem.
            The trouble with Harper (and many of his supporters) is that he apparently doesn't have the cajones on any issue to stand up and state his case and then debate it like a democratically elected official. In his eyes, if it's not machevallian, it's crap.

    • "If only Stephen Harper were Prime Minister"

      The problem is that Cons are in office but not in power. There is a lot sound and fury coming from Cons but nothing much happens.

      The other problem is that there are many, many issues that are considered third rail and Cons are going along with the nonsense. Libs/libs have been masterful at making debate seem racist, sexist …. etc. if you don't take Lib/lib position and Cons are going along with it, to their discredit.

      • I see what you mean, and I agree they would be unfairly attacked if they tried to reform the refugee system, but I dunno, the notion that the Cons have an agenda — hidden, open, subconscious, whatever — seems to me something of a leap of faith on your part. When was the last time the Cons did anything that was meant to do more than just score a little point against the Liberals? If they were serious about governing in a small-c conservative way, I think they would have realised that the shortest distance from here to there on any particular file is never a straight line. NB I do not mean to suggest that the Liberals have much of an agenda right now either, but intellectual paralysis seems to be the order of the day all round.

  2. Harper and Kenney's first step in reforming the refugee decision will be to lay blame at the feet of Ignatieff for the latest Conservative debacle. Or some other Liberal, really anyone will do.

  3. Harper and Kenney's first step in reforming the refugee policy will be to lay blame at the feet of Ignatieff for the latest Conservative debacle. Or some other Liberal, really anyone will do.

    • Or toss out a comment about people with tinfoil hats, as Kenney did about 2 weeks ago.

  4. So if it's our fault, then fix it, damnit! Why do we have immigrants with Phds working as cashiers? Because our immigration system favours those who are bilingual and university educated, but not those who are skilled in the trades. There will soon be a HUGE demand for tradespeople in this country, and because my generation seems to view college and apprenticeships as a 'step-down' (Why? WHY? The most well-off people I know are a family of a contractor, and a social worker!) and we will have to look to immigrants to fill that gap. I say we turn over the country to the rule of the Maclean's commentators ;)

    • Hmmmmm, interesting, but no, count me out.

    • Hmmmmm, interesting, very interesting, but no, I'm not so sure about that (turn over the country to the rule of the Maclean's commentators)!!!

    • Hmmmmm, interesting, very interesting, but no, I'm not so sure about that (turn over the country to the rule of the Maclean's commentators).

    • Agreed we have to fix the immigration system too, but we can separate the refugee system from the immigration system, n'est pas?

  5. Sophia, I think (and hope) that the circumstances you describe will lead to greater pay for tradespeople and greater respect for those trades. What tradespeople do is typically hard to outsource, and what's more it will be a spur for universities to keep their tuitions (which tend to rise and rise outside Quebec) under control.

  6. How nice to see the Prime Minister repeating a truth universally acknowledged: "there is a problem in Canadian refugee law which encourages bogus claims".

    Now that he's acknowledged this truth, let's hear Harper's and Kenney's plan to deal with these systemic flaws. They are, after all, in government. It's their job to fix this sort of thing, yet they have utterly failed to do so. Maybe if our government had reformed the system (as promised) two years ago, we could have avoided this unpleasant diplomatic situation with the Mexicans.

    • I am curious. Do you know Diane Finley did while she was over at Immigration? She kept on talking about 'streamlining' and making it more efficient, but it sounds like she accomplished nothing close to what she was talking about.

  7. As I was reading the article, I was expecting Harper to blame the previous Liberal government. I was almost disappointed when he didn't.

  8. Once again, people, you're making the fundamental mistake of paying attention to what Harper has to say.

    Ignore what he has to say. He does.

  9. Aaron – I have to criticize you on your link "text"…
    What I read was yet another case of Harper Buck-passing – the "It's-me" – Ha! – tell me when he has taken responsibility for anything…
    In this case – he blamed previous governments and the Parliament of Canada – spreading it around well – so it's hard to challenge him.

  10. Stand up for Canada!

  11. I too want to manufacture crises that I can then answers the clamouring demands to "solve".

    This is embarassing – the point and click politics from my last Civ IV game were more realistic than this – and it the fantasy mod.

  12. Ah, the Blame Canada First crowd

  13. I strongly suspect these refugee system "failings" are in the same category as supposed failures of Human Rights Commissions, trumped up crap by non-credible sources. When even guys like Ibbitson start saying that Singh v. Immigration is somehow a bad case, we're out of the realm of informed debate and heading dangerously close to the Calgary School.

  14. 4 years in power and Harper is still trying to shift blame for issues that his government should have handled better. Seriously, does this not bother Cons supporters?

  15. It bothers me. See above.