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Editorial - July 2002- Small Minds in a Bigger World

New Canadian Immigrants to be forced to live in boondocks shock.
Immigration Minister Denis Coderre is demanding new immigrants to Canada live only in remote areas of the country where the populations are falling. As the population crashes in the Maritimes, the Prairies and northern BC soon they will be filled with shivering Koreans, Chinese, Hindus and assorted others.
A new five year 'virtual internment' for new immigrants is proposed and due to be phased in as soon as politicaly possible. A new card modelled on old South African 'passlaws' could be issued restricting them from going anywhere near the cities.

You used to think Canadians were such nice people. There used to be a welcome mat for newcomers. They used to advertise back in Europe ‘Give us your Doctors, Teachers, nurses and plumbers, send us your sheet metal workers and we’ll teach them to chop down trees. Better yet send us you advanced electronic engineers and biochemists…’

Photo Sam North.: There Shriners at a parade

Not anymore. Immigration Minister Coderre – clearly forgetting his own roots wants these skilled people dumped in Price Rupert or the empty townhouses in Kitimat or Quesnel. The French speaking political Mafia of Canada want to use immigration as a regional development tool but they aren’t offering any tax incentives to stay ‘out there’. It will be a privilege just to be in Canada, never mind the minus 40 temperatures and the lack of a Starbucks north of Whistler. (Not that they will be allowed within fifty miles of Whistler – no doubt snipers will be posted on the pass.)
You can come but you can’t enjoy it. It’s official government policy and if you are from North Korea or Tibet, you’ll think it pretty reasonable. Of course if you are relying on getting a job up North before you come, well that isn’t going to happen and guess what, you can’t come here without a job. Kafka would have no problem understanding this.
*I might add there are actually really nice places to live 'out there' and if you are lucky you might be allowed in, say,Yellowknife or WhiteHorse. There are Canadians and Inuits who love the frozen north and wouldn't live anywhere else.

However a place like Vancouver (which was built and developed by immigrants) exists as an economic entity simply because immigrants like it so much. Most of the new False Creek apartment buildings are for them, all the new schools, the new roads; the new suburbs, which connect to the job creating industries, are essentially created for and by new immigrants. Don’t believe me? Well check out downtown Vancouver, or Metrotown or Lougheed Mall or Surrey and starting counting the Chinese, Koreans, East Indians, Japanese, and Vietnamese. Try getting a house built without an East Indian being involved. So where are the Canadians? In the civil service jobs in Ottawa where they write new immigration laws like this.

Canada isn’t full (it currently has 30 million people –half that of the UK with many times the land mass.) The attractions of Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto are that they are vibrant cities with growth and sophistication. This is why people move here. Force a Doctor, or teacher or biochemist to spend five years in the wilderness and they will probably last just five weeks and leave. There’s a good reason no one lives in these places and none of them rhyme with sophisticated. Sure Prince George has a University but what if you aren’t interested in trees, snow or the nocturnal habits of bears? If you get there you might want to ask why they put pulp mills in the exact place where they can cause the most health hazards to the whole town. Yes the summers are hot but the mosquitos are huge. Believe me, one flew off with my cousin and we never saw her again.

The funny thing is, we aren’t talking about refugees. You could just about imagine they would tolerate the weather in the Maritimes if they had to. They could get jobs building the walls they’ll have to build to keep them there. What we are talking about are people with skills, badly needed by Canada. People with talent, some money usually, business enterprise, people used to working hard for a living and making a go of things. Not much of that is going to happen in the Arctic Circle. Pretty though the Northern Lights are.

Think again Ottawa. Australia and New Zealand are looking more attractive for immigrants and their welcome mat is open for business. The cost of living is lower and the wine is arguable better.
On Canada Day this July a whole bunch of new Canadian will be singing ‘O Canada’ and celebrating that they have become new citizens.
The next lot might well be singing quite a different tune.

PS: Minister Coderre might want to read up on the 1985 Sing decision in the Supreme Court that ruled that citizens and landed immigrants, even refugees had mobility and rights.

© Sam North July 2002 - Managing Editor

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