January 1, 2003
Ms. L. Haeber
CBC Radio One
Here are some comments about an item that was broadcast on “Sounds Like Canada”. The implied message from the “Sounds Like Canada” crew is similar to the implied message that Vancouverites receive from the crews of the local Vancouver programmes. The reply I have written for Ms. Rogers and company applies to the local Vancouver CBC programmes.
(1) “Sounds Like Canada” broadcast two items featuring Rohinton Mistry.
(A) One was his account of a number of “random security checks” (his
ironic use of words) made on him at different Canadian airports. At the time of the checks, Mr. Mistry was making a Canadian book tour. He cut short his tour because he felt that he was being humiliated in those checks. He commented that he had the luxury of staying home but that many other people of Middle Eastern or Southern Asian appearance were travelling out of necessity and being regularly humiliated by these checks.
(B) The second was a reading from his latest book. The passage Mr. Mistry focussed on was an immigration interview which had occurred in India. The two characters in the passage were an Indian man applying to enter Canada, and a Canadian immigration officer who came from either a Japanese-Canadian or Chinese-Canadian background. The immigration officer asked the Indian man a number of questions about Canada, many of them about hockey. The Indian man believed he was being humiliated and called the immigration officer a rude character who seemed to have forgotten the treatment people in his ethnic group had received earlier in Canadian history. As in (A), a major theme in (B),the book passage, was undignified and unfair treatment.
(2) Re the treatment Mr. Mistry received at Canadian airports: The Host of Sounds Like Canada, like many of her CBC colleagues, is particularly good at finding immigrant/refugee victims, especially at finding Canada’s victimizing effects on these people.
However, they are less than observant at seeing the negative effects of these two groups (recently) on Canada. For example, how many CBC stories have Canadians heard about the effects of flooding the Greater Vancouver area with over a half million immigrants/refugees? How many CBC stories have Canadians heard about the effects of flooding the Greater Toronto/Southern Ontario area with between one and two million of these people?
Have Canadians heard CBC reporters make connections between this unprecedented flood and things such as increased air pollution; traffic congestion/gridlock; loss of green space; loss of farmland to housing; pressure on remaining greenspace and farmland; the added costs to healthcare; the added tax burden to long-time residents; the added costs to education. In general, have CBC reporters/hosts/producers ever made any connections between the
unprecedented flood and the present and future liveability of our major urban areas?
In any basic conversation about liveability with many of these people, many of them will say that the liveability of the areas they came from had been destroyed by too large a population. Do CBC employees think that places such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are immune from the fate of many cities in the world? Are CBC people so locked into adolescent obsessions with “bigness” and “world classness” that they will continue to cheerlead the madness that cloaks itself in Canada’s present immigration/refugee policies?
Once again, put aside Mr. Mistry’s complaints about the effects of Canada on him. What about the effects of the recent
enormous unjustified flood of immigrants/refugees on Canada?
(3) Re the passage read by Mr. Mistry: The mistake that Mr. Mistry’s character makes is in assuming that there is near unanimity in thinking between long-term Canadian residents, for example, of East Indian or Chinese-Canadian backgrounds and new East Indian or Chinese immigrants. Many of these long-term residents feel the same way towards the flood of new immigrants/refugees that long-term Canadians do. In other words, as “Ethnic Canadians”, they feel that there are environmental and cultural limits to the number of new people who can or should be put into any area.
Consider the physical capabilities of your own houses. There are limits to the number of people who can live in a house. Most Canadians can identify a number beyond which they do not want to go. There are also limits to the number of newcomers a family will take before they begin to feel culturally overwhelmed by the newcomers. Again, most Canadians can identify a number beyond which they do not want to go.
Yet, most CBC reporters (pushed on by fawning hosts and producers) seem unable to grasp this idea of limits. The CBC has company on this attitude, but most Canadians would not consider the company to be particularly good. The company consists of a large number of politicians at all levels who are either unable to grasp this idea or have fawned for the newcomer vote for so long that they are incapable of normal human behaviour.
(4) In conclusion, the CBC’s use of well-known figures such as Mr. Mistry to propagandize for Canada’s immigration industry is a mis-use of CBC time. Canada’s present immigration policies are extremely foolish from an environmental, cultural, economic, demographic–in fact, any–point of view and have to end. That will happen. All of Canada will be the better for a quick ending.
Happy New Year!!