An attempt by Punjabi parents to use the murder of their daughter to enable them to stay in Canada should again indicate to Citizenship and Immigration Canada that it has to take strong action to defend Canada against immigration abuse. Subsequent Punjabi calls for government assistance to deal with spousal abuse in their group should also show C and I that it has to make it clear to immigrant groups that they cannot make unlimited demands on Canada.
The parents in question are Dilbag Singh Gill and his wife (whose name is unavailable). Their daughter, Navreet Kaur, was stabbed to death by her husband. The parents, who have temporary custody of Ms. Kaur's four month old son, are saying they want to stay in order to look after the child. The parents arrived here from India to attend their daughter's funeral. Ms. Kaur's husband, who was arrested at the crime scene, is in police custody.
Ms. Kaur was one of three Sikh women who have been violently attacked in the past month in B.C. A second woman, Manjit Panghali, was also murdered. Ms. Panghali was a young Surrey teacher whose burned body was found over a week ago. A third woman, Gurjeet Kaur Ghuman, was shot in the face by her estranged husband and remains in critical condition in hospital. Her husband shot and killed himself. No suspect has yet been arrested in the case of Manjit Panghali.
Ms. Kaur's death has been followed by acknowledgements among Sikhs that wife abuse is a big problem in their ethnic group. At a public meeting attended by about 1500 people last week, a number of Punjabi women described the violence they suffered from husbands. Many people called for government help in dealing with the domestic violence issue.
Here are some suggestions on what to do about the issues that arise from these acts of violence:
(1) Citizenship and Immigration Canada should remove Ms. Kaur's parents from Canada. They are clearly abusing Canada's generosity by asking to stay here. If they are serious about taking care of their grandson, they are perfectly aware that a four-month old child can be as easily cared for in the Punjab as in Canada. In this and other family re-unification cases, Canada should switch to a balance principle. If the majority of the family resides outside of Canada, then the family should be re-unified there, not in Canada. In this case, if other close relatives already live in Canada, those relatives can adopt the child.
(2) Ms. Kaur's parents are undoubtedly grieving the death of their daughter. But they have obviously been coached (by others who have abused Canada's immigration system) into believing that Citizenship and Immigration Canada and our federal government can be bullied and intimidated into doing what the Kaur parents want. The opening of a new immigration office in Chandrighar (in the Punjab) not long ago is clear evidence that Sikhs could get what they wanted from the Chretien or Martin governments if they delivered Liberal votes in the right quantities. That new office was opened despite the existence of Canada's largest immigration office in the world in nearby Delhi. Chandrighar and other South Asian offices are the source of most of Canada's Family Class immigrants, a category which serves immigrants but not necessarily Canada.
If allowed to continue, the Chandrighar office may ensure a stream of new voters for the Liberal Party. However, it is a continued corrupt reminder of political use of immigration to serve party interests rather than Canada's interests. Rather than try to outbid the Liberals for votes, our new government has to send a firm message to the Sikhs that immigration policy exists to serve Canada, not different ethnic groups such as the Sikhs and others who have indulged in a chain migration strategy to bring in endless numbers of relatives. The Sikhs and other ethnic groups also have to be told clearly that immigration policy is not about ethnic catch-up to the host population. Such a policy amounts to colonization. Canada does not exist to be a colony of the Punjab or any other immigrant source country.
(3) Ms. Kaur's parents are aware that a significant number of Sikhs, as well as other immigrants from India and other parts of South Asia, continue to obtain spouses from their countries of origin. Their own daughter came to Canada only two years ago. Some of these marriages are genuine and work out.
However, in a significant number of cases, these marriages are an organized crime: the partner in Canada is paid a sum of money by the family of the future “spouse” from South Asia. Soon after the partner arrives from South Asia, the marriage ends and the male and female go their separate ways: one with a pocket full of cash and the other with Permanent Residence status in Canada and also with the future power of chain sponsoring large numbers of “relatives”.
Also, in a significant number of other cases, these marriages are abused by the overseas spouses who “use” their partners in Canada to obtain status in Canada, and then desert the trusting Canadian spouse. In a number of cases, these overseas spouses have become so emboldened by Canadian naivete that they sue the Canadian partner for half of that person's estate. Some of these overseas spouses have actually been awarded judgements, despite the evidence that they had abused the immigration system. The practice of importing spouses, especially by some ethnic groups with large numbers already in Canada, encourages ghettoization, cultural incompatibility, human trafficking and immigration abuse. It also retards the adjustment of immigrants to Canada because it permits the entry into Canada of people who are superfluous to the marriage needs of large ethnic groups and who are completely unfamiliar with this country. It has to be discouraged and dramatically curtailed.
The very large number of spouses who have participated in sham marriages and those who have “used” their Canadian partners to get into Canada have clearly abused Canadian immigration law. They should be summarily rounded up and removed. The numbers involved are not small. A very strong message has to be sent immediately.
(4) The calls for government assistance to end spousal abuse have to be taken with a measure of salt. It is undoubtedly true that spousal abuse is not confined to immigrant groups and that Canadians sympathize with the plight of these women. But, as a number of South Asians have recently pointed out, the attitude that wives are merely nannies, baby incubators, or inferiors to their male counterparts, fluorishes widely in some of these cultures. This attitude has been brought to Canada. These people have to be clearly told that this attitude and a number of common practices in these groups have to be parked permanently in the countries where these people originate. There are limits to what Canada should be asked to cure for them. They have to deal with many of their own problems. A large number of these people already depend heavily on Canadian social services. They have to be told bluntly that they cannot continue to make demands on Canada's social service system.
Citizenship and Immigration and governments at all three levels can do much to stop the latest abuse of Canada's immigration system. This means showing some backbone, not capitulating to absurd demands of different ethnic groups in order to get their votes. It also means showing the majority of Canadians that the good of Canada is being placed first on the agenda–a revolutionary move which will be welcomed by most Canadians.
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