Ruminations

Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Friday, January 22, 2010

Canadian Immigration Responses, Haiti

Canada's opposition parties, because they are not the government and can therefore recommend anything that appeals to them at any given moment, and because they are not responsible, since they are not the sitting government, are pressing for the government to open its immigration to all Haitians with sponsors who wish to enter Canada and become landed immigrants. It's the compassionate thing to do.

For Haitians today, for any other national group tomorrow which suffers tragically from war or natural disasters; the list is potentially endless. One can conceive of some difficulties resulting from such a wholesale welcome to the indigent deprived and humanitarially assaulted. Someone will inherit it, no doubt about that. Actually, the entire country will, and the immigrants' struggle will become the country's struggle in ways none might have imagined.

Straining resources and capabilities and setting the country back on its economic and social heels for some time to come. Wait; forever, if this becomes standard policy. In a spirit of humanitarian compassion welcome all and sundry. Forget about security checks, health problems, ability to integrate into Canadian society and public treasury affordability in terms of settlement, training, financial support, strains on social welfare.

Oops, it's a no-go? Apparently. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, as reasonable and capable a minister in that particular portfolio as Canada has ever had, has characterized the opposition parties and their demands as "totally irresponsible". Take that. He will not consider sponsorship eligibility to be extended to aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews and cousins of Canadian Haitians.

On the grounds that to do such a thing would represent an unprecedented occurrence, and be patently unfair to other countries. Mind, the government has accelerated procedures for completion of adoptions of 150 Haitian orphans and they will be airlifted to their Canadian adoptive parents as speedily as possible; a week perhaps.

As it is, new fast-tracking will permit roughly five thousand Haitians to arrive in Canada under family sponsorships, representing those who are "directly and significantly affected by the earthquake in Haiti". Those eligible are spouses, dependent or adoptive children, parents, grandparents and orphaned children under 18 who are siblings, nieces, nephews or grandchildren of a sponsor.

Generous. To a fault.

Canada has many obligations, as do many other developed countries which have pledged assistance to Haiti. Chief among them in the short term is to aid and assist as many of those afflicted by the catastrophic earthquake as humanly possible. Following that, long-term commitments to guide the Haitian government and its people toward sustainable, long-term advance as a stable country must be addressed.

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