CHANGE THE THINGS YOU CAN : IF THE IRAQ WAR IS AMERICA'S BUDGET FIASCO, HIGH IMMIGRATION IS CANADA'S
For the past two weeks, Canada's Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, has been travelling through parts of Asia. His stop in the Punjab was long overdue. That area is the source of a very large amount of immigration fraud which should be a major embarrassment to any Canadian government that has been forced to put up with it. Mr. Kenney was correct in trying to get the Punjab government to assist Canada in putting an end to the fraud. Time will tell if the endemic corruption there (which is a real source of shame for the Punjab's honest people) will be held in check.
However, Mr. Kenney's subsequent visit to Pakistan and his announcement there that Canada would need large numbers of Pakistani workers have left many Canadians wondering whether Mr. Kenney (and his bosses in Ottawa) experienced brain malfunctions. Lately, even the most naive Canadians, who hear almost daily of more layoffs here, are concluding that this is not the time to be bringing in large numbers of immigrants. So if MP's are fulfilling their responsibility to Canadians, how can they not advocate immigration reduction? Not doing so clearly demonstrates irresponsibility on the part of any MP, whatever party he/she belongs to.
As Canada prepares for a re-opening of Parliament next week, and as the numbers of unemployed continue to grow, Canada should be doing what one Dominion Institute advocate has recently recommended : CHANGE THE THINGS YOU CAN. In other words, although Canada must recognize that it cannot do much about some global forces, it also must admit that there are things within its power that it can change. Moreover, Canada's MP's have to acknowledge that they are morally obligated to change these things, not next year, or in three years, but now. Period !!!
As forecasts about Canada's 2009-2010 deficit balloon to the $34 Billion range, all MP's have to think seriously about unnecessary expenditures. All MP's have to admit that immigration costs Canada many more billions than the Department of Immigration admits. As we have pointed out before, according to Professor Herb Grubel's study, the 1990 to 2002 immigrant group alone have done so poorly that in 2002, Ottawa spent more on them ($18.3 Billion) than it spent on health care in all of Canada. The data in a recent Ontario Food Bank study supports the conclusions of Grubel's work. This situation has probably not changed much in the past 6 years. If the war in Iraq is America's fiasco, high immigration is Canada's fiasco. High immigration levels are a completely unnecessary expenditure and if MP's are truly interested in doing something about Canada's impending deficit budget and its rising unemployment, Canada's high immigration levels have to end.
Canada does not need 250,000 regular immigrants per year. And it doesn't need 200,000 Temporary Foreign Workers every year. Canada has to do what is right and slash these numbers. That is the most important issue and that is where our Parliament has to start.
And while Canada is at it, it has to clean up the rest of the immigration mess. Here are a few other things which Canada can do :
(1) Eliminate the Business Group of immigrants. This group includes three types: investors, entrepreneurs, and self-employed. According to Martin Collacott's thorough study,”Canada's Immigration Policy : The Need For Major Reform”, “Business immigrants…have been of dubious value to say the least. ”
For example, re entrepreneurs, “…in the course of a five year period, of more than 7,000 persons in this category, 40 percent…failed to open a business during the 2-year period when they were obliged to do so, but fewer than 10 were deported. This included thousands who simply disappeared, as well as hundreds who used fake documents to create the illusion they were opening a business” (reported by Clark, 1999). While recent changes have attempted to tighten up the procedures, the question remains as to whether the program is necessary at all. Ten years ago an Economic Council of Canada study noted in this regard that the rationale on which the program was basedi.e. that it created jobswas without foundation. It also concluded that there was no shortage of resident entrepreneurs in the first place, and therefore no gap in the labour force that needed to be filled through immigration (Economic Council of Canada, 1991b, p.10). ”
About 20 years ago, each entrepreneur was expected to create 5 jobs. That number was soon reduced to 1 job. That job often went to a family member or relative. This turn of events defeated the entire purpose of the programme, but the programme still exists today.
Re investors, Mr. Collacott states that the Economic Council of Canada “also expressed doubts about the need for the investor program (the other principal component of the business program) given the existence of excellent national and international markets for capital that can provide whatever is needed, as well as the fact that the influx of money brought by the immigrants benefits them rather than the host country (Economic and Social Impacts of Immigration, p. 34). Further to this, a senior forensic accountant from the World Bank who carried out an audit in 1999 described the program as a massive sham, riddled with fraud (Mitrovica, 1999). Canadian taxpayers were hoodwinked and a lot of people made a lot of money, mostly lawyers and immigration consultants who set up these bogus investments. The auditor stated that the claims made by Immigration Canada about the programs success were a gross exaggeration, and that in many cases there was either no investment or the amount of the investment was grossly inflated.”
According to Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Canada, investors have to have “a legally obtained net worth of at least $800,000 Canadian; and have invested $400,000 Canadian before receiving a visa”. One of the problems in this programme is that Immigration officers have had difficulty determining whether the money involved has been legally obtained. Furthermore, in the past, many investors borrowed the $400,000 (or part of this sum) from Canadian lending institutions, paid it back after they had received Canadian citizenship, and then closed their business. In other words, they thwarted the objectives of the programme, yet the Investor and his dependents obtained Canadian citizenship—at a fire-sale price with negligible, if any, benefit to Canada.
In spite of this evidence, Mr. Kenney was looking for more investors in his recent trip. Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland has uncovered the following very revealing facts about investors and courageously published them in his latest edition of “Lexbase”, Mr. Kurland's publication for immigration practitioners.
For the 10 months ending on October 31, 2008, a total of 3348 Investors had been accepted in Canada from all countries. When investors and their dependents are combined, the total accepted in this immigration group was 12,461. The country responsible for the greatest increase in Investor applicants is India. Investor applicants from New Delhi have increased dramatically from 10 in 2006 to 235 in the first 10 months of 2008. When combined with their dependents, the total entering Canada from India under the Investor group was 926. According to Lexbase, the increase from New Delhi occurred because the Government of India modified their exchange control policy in 2007. As a result, Indians were allowed to transfer Indian Rupees overseas. An Indian investor tsunami may be in the making. Immigration to Canada may be a benefit to Indians and investors from other countries, but the litmus test is whether it is of benefit to Canadians.
According to Mr. Kurland, the largest number (778) of Investors come from Damascus. Immigration officers in Damascus say the following about the Investor applicants they interview: “documents are not always reliable, applicants come totally unprepared for their interviews, they submit information that is impossible to verify or are unable to submit documentation related to their business”. Like the skilled workers from Damascus, investors there probably view immigration to Canada as a “safety net”—-just as Lebanese Canadians did a few years ago when they demanded to be evacuated from Lebanon in a crisis there.
In addition, Canadian immigration officers warn, “The business (immigrant) caseload (in Beijing) is typically comprised of wealthy applicants claiming to have made very large sums of money during a period in China's economic development when this would have been an extremely rare accomplishment. Even rarer is the verifiable paper trail that would establish their wealth was legally obtained. It has proven very difficult under those circumstances to differentiate between the legitimate businessman and those who obtained their wealth illegally.”
(2) Dramatically lower Temporary Foreign Worker levels so as to reduce the corruption that Canadian officers see in Canada's Immigration Processing Centre in Beijing. According to officers in Beijing, there is a “high level of organized fraud”. According to Mr. Kurland, the fraud that is occurring is document fraud, including fraudulent work experience documentation. Furthermore, officers say “Applicants…are paying fees in excess of $10,000 to unscrupulous recruiters who market temporary employment opportunities as a means of obtaining permanent residence in Canada.”
(3) Treat immigration and visa applications from certain areas with even more extreme skepticism and put into place summary deportation procedures. For example, practice the old proverb, “Once bitten, twice shy” at the Canadian Immigration Processing Centre In New Delhi. In India, Canada has been bitten hundreds of thousands of times, so we're overdue for a display of shyness. Visa officers there have repeatedly sounded the alarm. Here is the latest : “Visa officers processing 'Temporary Resident Visa' applications have to carefully consider questions of bona fides (honesty). Indian nationals are one of the top five sources of asylum claimants from within Canada. Canada Border Services Agency intelligence reports 706 refugee claims being made at inland offices after entry to Canada on a Temporary Resident Visa. Further, in 2006, Indian nationals ranked first in improperly documented persons seeking to fly to Canada (271 improperly documented and 461 interceptions).”
So, Mr. Kenney, Mr. Harper and all MP's, how about CHANGING THE THINGS YOU CAN ? Curtailing immigration could substantially reduce Canada's projected budget deficit for 2009-2010 and for many years to come. Let's see some action.