Limiting Compassion Towards Haiti

Limiting compassion towards Haiti

The Toronto Sun
Last Updated: 22nd January 2010, 4:21pm

There needs to be a limit on Canadian compassion towards Haiti.

We reached it this week when Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and the NDPs Jack Layton called on the federal government to massively expand the definition of who can immigrate to Canada under the family reunification program.

This would fast-track thousands of immigrants into our country sponsored by members of Canadas 135,000-strong Haitian community.

Ignatieff said in light of the devastating earthquake and the exceptional humanitarian situation, he cant understand why the government doesnt seize the opportunity to show Canadian generosity and compassion.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney rejected the idea of loosening immigration rules. Hes right.

Massive resettlement is not a solution to natural disaster, Kenney warned. The solution is reconstruction … Exactly.

We cannot solve every global catastrophe by throwing open our doors to the victims.

Our immigration and refugee system is already a mess.

Weve lost track of tens of thousands of now-missing deportees.

People who arent deserving get into Canada all the time, while many who follow the rules wait for years to be admitted, if ever. Making things even worse isnt the answer.

Canada takes a back seat to no nation in what it is has done for Haiti, from the outpouring of generosity by its citizens in donating to the relief effort, to the deployment of our military and aid workers to deal with the emergency and plan for the difficult, long-term recovery.

Even before the earthquake, Canada had already earmarked $555 million in aid for Haiti from 2006 to 2011, second only to our spending in Afghanistan. International observers credit us with taking a leadership role in Haiti, not just over the last few days, but for years.

Looking forward, our government should commit to specific projects to help rebuild Haiti and oversee them to ensure they are completed, rather than started and forgotten as has occurred in other natural disasters.

The government has also said it will expedite the adoption of Haitian children who were already in the process of qualifying to come to Canada. Thats appropriate.

But throwing open our doors to the world every time theres a natural disaster is an impractical, foolish and ultimately dangerous idea.