Weekly Bulletin – 2004, June 2

Buying The Votes Of Current and Future Immigrants

Dear Prime Minister Martin and Fellow MP's:

Most Canadians like to think that our country has evolved to the point where those running for political office do not have to pay voters to vote for them. And most ethical observers would say that Canadians are morally correct in thinking that vote-buying should not occur.

But as a recent front page article in The Vancouver Sun pointed out, vote- buying lives on in Canada. Mr. Raj Chahal, former Prime Minister Chretien's top adviser for Western Canada, commented on the Liberal government's $25 million decision to open a diplomatic mission in India's Punjab. “It was a political decision,” said Chahal who admitted that the decision was intended to appeal to Canada's Liberal-friendly Sikh community.

Mr. Chahal said all federal Liberal ministers (including Mr. Martin) endorsed establishment of the mission. He also said that both Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs opposed establishment of the mission in Chandigarh, one of five Indian cities with Canadian diplomatic offices.

Documents obtained through Access to Information reveal that officials asked questions such as,”Is this politically motivated so that the PM will attract the support of the Sikh community in Canada?”

Mr. Chahal said that the mission is justified because the Punjab is the source of a disproportionate number of Canadian immigrants from India, especially in the family re-unification category.

But if this is not an example of vote buying, what is? And if this is not a case of crassly using $25 million of Canadian taxpayers' money to get one group of past, current and future immigrants to vote for the Liberal government, what is?

All Canadians have to ask how much more money is being thrown away to get the votes of other immigrant groups. The Sikh voter-buying incident has to be corrected, but it is only one of hundreds of other immigrant voter- buying and immigration-related scandals. Public office holders at all three levels have to do something to clean up this mess.

What better time to start than now during this federal election campaign?

Best wishes,
Dan Murray,
Immigration Watch Canada