January 4, 2005 : Should We Move Tsunami And Other Disaster Victims To Canada or Assist Them In Their Own Countries?


For the time being, Canada’s federal government should keep its focus on providing help to tsunami victims inside the tsunami-afflicted countries.
It is treading into dangerous territory when it seeks to solve the effects of natural disasters through the Department of Immigration. It should also be suspicious of groups that are using the tsunami disaster to pressure the federal immigration department into actions that may turn into an immigration tsunami for Canada.

Scarborough Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis recently announced that he, on behalf of constituents, was requesting that tsunami victims have their applications to come to Canada fast-tracked. According to Mr. Karygiannis, some of these people are already in the immigration or visa line-up. Mr.
Karygiannis’ riding consists of significant numbers of recently-arrived South-East Asians.

Canadian media report that there has been a great outpouring of generosity from many Canadians. The media also report that most Canadians heartily approve of the $80 million contribution the federal government has announced for tsunami victims.

However, there are two big questions that Ottawa and MP Karygiannis have to answer about disasters in the world:

(1) Should Canada’s policy be to move disaster-victims to Canada?

(2) Or should Canada try to assist as much as possible by giving help to victims inside their own countries?

Recent media coverage has warned Canadians to be careful about individuals or organizations that are attempting to profit from the tsunami disaster.

” Canada’s federal government and all Canadians also have to be warned about groups in Canada who are trying to use sensitive times to their advantage. In the past, some of these groups have widely abused Canada’s immigration and refugee systems. Their abuse has cost the federal government literally billions of dollars through fraudulent claims. That money could have done an enormous amount of good if Canada had used it to abide by its committment to give .7% of its annual GDP to foreign aid,”
says Dan Murray of Immigration Watch Canada.

“Several million people have been affected by the tsunami. But, as critics have pointed out, far greater numbers have been affected by the AIDS crisis in Africa. Should Ottawa accept pressure to bring large numbers of AIDS victims to Canada? Most Canadians would say that Canada can do much more good for the tsunami, AIDS and other victims by using Canadian money in the areas where the disasters have occurred. Regular, annual contributions from Canada and other developed countries can help with current disasters and help to prevent future ones. Adding an enormous weight to Canada’s social safety net spending would create more problems than it would solve.”

“Canada is already not looking after very large numbers of its own people.
Currently, Canada has about 1.4 million officially unemployed, but when those who have given up on seeking employment are added, the number rises above 2 million.”