Ms. Lorna Haeber
CBC Radio One
Dear Ms. Haeber:
Here are a few bouquets and lemons about some recent CBC Radio immigration-related items:
(1) I give a bouquet to Mr. Rick Cluff, Host of Vancouver’s The Early Edition. He recently interviewed the sister of a middle-aged woman who was killed on a Vancouver street by a vehicle driven by one of two East Indian youths who were street racing. The sister was commenting on an immigration hearing which was to consider deporting the two drivers. As you know, the entire province was outraged by the house arrest sentence given to each of the youths. A few weeks ago, Mr. Cluff intimidated Mr. Chuck Cadman, a Surrey MP, who had suggested that the two youths should be subject to possible deportation regulations in Canada’s Immigration Act. To Mr. Cluff’s credit this time, he allowed the sister to speak her mind. She stated that the two youths should face the immigration hearing (and possible deportation). She also stated that one of the two youths had subsequently been caught speeding and that she had been sickened by the phoniness of the youth’s statement of remorse at the trial of the two youths. She added that the two youths showed clear disrespect for the culture that they were now living in.
As Mr. Cluff and other CBC people are very much aware, usually the CBC takes great pains to suppress such strong opinions. Almost always, the CBC’s attitude is that there are no legitimate criticisms to be made of immigrants or immigration and that Canadians should daily exult about the wonders of Canada’s immigration system and of multiculturalism. Very clearly, the sister showed that negative comments can be made about these two topics and that these comments are very legitimate.
(2) A CBC national item reported on comments made by Canada’s Auditor General, Ms. Sheila Fraser. Her department this week stated that 36,000 people who had been ordered deported by immigration officials had either disappeared or had ignored the orders. Congratulations to CBC National News for broadcasting this item. Such items are often downplayed on CBC with immigration industry commentary or ignored or suppressed. Ms. Fraser’s comments are another example of legitimate negative but true commentary that has to be made about Canada’s immigration system. Most of the 36,000 people are probably illegitimate refugee claimants. The report should have pointed out the much larger problem that refugee claimants are causing. Over 400,000 such people have made refugee claims since 1989. If Canada had a pre-screening system in place, a very large number of these claims would have been declared illegitimate and these claimants could have been sent on their way. Instead, Canada’s quasi-judicial system allows all of these claimants to stay and (thanks to the Singh Decision of 1986) to enjoy the benefits available to Canadian citizens. These people cost the Canadian system a bare minimum of $2 to 3 billion each year. When will the CBC give us the complete, legitimate big picture?
(3) On the weekend, CBC gave air time to a Toronto immigration lawyer who was protesting the fact that immigration board members were wearing face masks in interviews they were conducting with Chinese refugee claimants. According to the lawyer, these claimants had been in the country for several years and presented no danger to the board members who were fearful of contracting SARS. The lawyer may be correct, but the reporter should have pointed out that most of these claimants (in fact most Chinese immigrants) have established highly concentrated parallel communities in Canada and that transmission of SARS is a real danger within these Chinese communities. The reporter should also have pointed out that not only has the health care system in the Greater Toronto area been overburdened by the SARS issue but Canada’s entire judicial system is overburdened by these refugee claimants —as is evidenced by the lawyer’s statement that the claimants in question had been in Canada for 2 to 3 years. Many of these claims go on for many more years and the bill is paid by the Canadian taxpayer. Repeatedly, it has been shown that Canada’s refugee system is an alternate immigration route and that most of the people who use it are abusing its humanitarian intent.
I’m sure it will break your heart to hear that I won’t be sending you anything next week. But I’m sure you will recover and be even better prepared for the future.
Have a good day.