Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ignatieff uses immigration policy to muscle in on Haiti publicity

The leader of the opposition Liberals, Michael Ignatieff, apparently could not resist the opportunity provided by the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Haiti to make political points. About a week ago, Ignatieff, while referring to Haiti, said he wanted “to put the politics aside.” Yesterday, politics was back in action with the chief Grit calling for exceptional immigration measures for the Caribbean nation.

According to the Web site, if Ignatieff had his way our government would:

  • Enlarge the concept of family for those directly and personally impacted by the earthquake to allow Canadians with relatives in Haiti to sponsor their their adult siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews for immigration;
  • Allow Temporary Resident (visitor) Visas on a case by case basis so relatives can be brought to Canada by family temporarily while their applications are processed;
  • Allow sponsorship to begin on the spot in Haiti, rather than forcing Canadians to first return home to Canada to start the paperwork; and,
  • Provide additional federal resources for a new settlement services agreement with the Government Quebec, as the home to 95% of Canada’s Haitian community.

Haiti is the hot issue of the past week, so to come across as relevant, the Leader of the Opposition has to throw these ill-conceived notions out to capitalize on the situation. For decades, Canada has led all nations in its generosity when it comes to accommodating refugees. But surely there is a limit.

For one thing, do we really want to promote de-population of Haiti? And if we open our doors so wide to immigration from that nation, what about other nations where day-to-day life is about as miserable as it can get? Darfur comes to mind, as does Burundi, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo—do we extend similar immigration policies to them?

Rather than a policy to de-populate, I believe we should concentrate on providing on-the-ground food, medicine and shelter and on rebuilding the country. And, yes, that’s pretty much what our government is doing.

We are on the right track in Haiti, let’s not get sidetracked by spurious policy suggestions from the almost irrelevant Michael Ignatieff.

Relax Mr. Ignatieff, PM Stephen Harper has this one covered.

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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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  1. Your arguments for not helping Haiti is weak!

  2. I have to wonder how this sudden love for all things Haitian from Ignatieff is playing with other immigrant communities in Canada where people have been trying to go through the regular immigration system to bring their relatives here.

    I do understand that this is a massive disaster in Haiti, but as Kenney said yesterday, if we make this a "special case", then what do we do in the face of the next disaster.

    Anyone who lived in the UK in the 1970s has some idea of the effect of mass immigration from a Third World country on the general population. During Idi Amin's rule in Uganda, 75,000 Ugandans of Indian extraction were expelled without being allowed to take their assets with them. Since they mostly all had British passports, the UK had no option but to take them in. However, the strain this imposed on the country led to the rules regarding entitlement to a British passport being changed.

  3. Looks like Iggy is going to over-play a weak hand again.

  4. The last thing Haiti needs is for their best citizens to leave.
    And it is their best that would want to leave, and would be accepted.

    Canada is doing it right.
    Mr Iffy is clueless, having never held a ministerial position nor been in any government in any country he has lived in,
    he does not understand how these things work.

    So I don't think Mr Iffy is using a disaster for political purposes,
    he just doesn't know any better.
    Not qualified.

  5. Olivia Chow and the NDP were doing this before Iggy even noticed.
    The government should play it up with the NDP instead, just to piss off the Liberal media hacks.

  6. It is predictable the Liberals will play a race card, dividing Canadians is S.O.P. for them.

    How do you bend the rules for just one disaster?

    What about those other "natural disasters" in countries that have similar problems?

    Do we become the only country that allow natural disasters to bypass our immigration system for exploitation of short term political points ?

    The best thing is to help, train, teach, Haitians to rebuild their society.

    We can offer our expertise and our support without taking the best and brighest away.

  7. Mr. Iffy doesn`t really believe what he`s saying. He`s wanting to get ahead politically and is throwing this new ball to the media expecting that they will be more than willing to carry it forward for him.
    And he`s right.
    After all, the media has advertising to sell.
    Expect all the politainment shows to carry this ball down the field over the next couple of weeks until it runs out of steam and a new ball is thrown their way.

  8. Because of circumstances the government is allowing family members (spouses, children , grandparents, parents, siblings under 18) in WITHOUT the usual criminal checks or health checks.

    There are thousands of criminals running free in Haiti and this island also has the highest incidence of AIDS in the Western Hemisphere- which is why there were already so many orphans.

    There are already huge social problems in Quebec with Haitian gangs and that country is virtually run by corrupt drug dealers who already use Canada as a springboard.

    So- hey Iggy and friends - just throw open the doors - everybody come on in?? It is NOT callous to try to put the future of our country first is it? While at the same time helping Haitians IN their own country?