This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Justin Trudeau's Refugee Showpiece

"[The refugee determination system in Canada is] at a crossroads [ dealing with a surge of claimants it is ill-equipped to manage]."
"[The reforms leading to the Balanced Refugee Reform legislation meant to expedite bona fide claimants and remove those who did not qualify; a system that would be] fast, fair and final."
"[What now exists in the face of illegal entrants has become a refugee population which] significantly exceeds the funding capacity."
"Resourcing and prioritization of refugee removals are not fully at the level envisaged under the reforms [leading to a] failure of finality [creating a] pull [factor for asylum seekers in the belief a pathway will present to allow them to remain in Canada]."
"There is no contingency framework to increase capacity."
Neil Yeates, former deputy minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Asylum seekers line up to enter Olympic Stadium last August near Montreal.   Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Canada is hard put to manage the flood of Haitians and Nigerians whom word-of-mouth has informed the Canadian refugee system will offer no resistance to those entering the country illegally to claim refugee status. From the time that Justin Trudeau offered his smug one-upsmanship to President Trump's hostility to the presence of millions of undocumented illegal residents in the U.S. and his intention to return them to their countries of origin, to the present time where the Prime Minister's cabinet and his Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen, insist that Canada is meeting its UN-refugee convention obligations, economic migrants have strained capacity in this country.

Canada's two largest cities, Montreal and Toronto, on the trajectory of entry from New York State into Quebec, no longer have room to house these declared refugees coming from countries that do not normally produce refugees, thus negating their claims by and large. An estimated 90 percent of claimants when their applications are finally dealt with -- and that could conceivably take years -- will be denied, but until that time of denial and their removal back to their home countries (if they haven't gone underground), they will be taking advantage of Canada's generous social welfare programs in grim competition with Canadians in need of those services.

Europe is struggling to cope with the huge influx of Syrian refugees, others in an unending stream from across the Middle East and North Africa, declaring themselves in desperate need of haven as refugees. Many of them are, in fact, economic migrants who will risk their lives to escape unemployment, lack of opportunity, government mismanagement, oppression and the turmoil of conflict, and in so doing evoking compassion in Europeans unwilling to seem to be responsible for deaths in the Mediterranean by refusing to accommodate the entry to their countries of this human tide.

In Canada, Toronto and Montreal point out their financial expectations to the federal government which has unabashedly used the refugee intake as a uniquely Liberal decency to score Brownie points with the electorate, then left the provinces and their municipalities to struggle with the fallout in needing to house, provide welfare, educate and provide medical treatment to thousands beyond their obligations to their own indigent populations. Both cities, along with others in the provinces are pleading with the federal government to own their responsibility by funding these social services they've dumped on cities.

For the federal government, all their virtuous acts of a compassionate response to humanitarian needs ends with welcoming migrants and refugees into the country, including those entering illegally. Enquiries with government agencies respecting how many of the legitimate refugees brought into Canada fleeing conflict in Syria have settled into the country go unanswered. Countries like Sweden and Germany which have absorbed huge numbers of refugees, keep statistical track of their refugee/migrant populations and their adjustment to their new status in a strange country.

Prime Minister Trudeau enjoys playing with outward appearances, and tinkering with language to reflect his much-vaunted and selfied sunny disposition. Once in power he set about the personally vital task of renaming all government departments and agencies to better reflect his political agenda. The Immigration Department was retitled to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. But monitor how new refugees were settling into Canada? Not so much interested.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war, at Pearson airport. Nathan Denette / THE CANADIAN PRESS

So there are no statistics reflecting whether mostly Syrian Arabic-language refugees are learning to speak English, whether they are working or receiving social assistance. According to the federal auditor general, Ottawa is neglecting its responsibility to make certain that Syrian refugees "integrate into Canadian society". A one-time, years' end report on Syrian refugees two years ago indicated that half those refugees that were privately sponsored had employment, while the larger cohort of "government-assisted" refugees remained 90 percent unemployed, dependent on public welfare.

Updates? Nada. The federal government provided a full year of financial support to those they undertook to bring into Canada for a total of 50,000 Syrian refugees, both government and privately sponsored. Two years later no one can claim to know how those refugees are managing. Enquiries have produced nothing because there is nothing to produce "The Canada Child Benefit has been a godsend for most families", explained Maggie Hosgood, a co-ordinator for over 100 British Columbia United Church congregations which privately sponsored 65 families.

Most families arrived with an average of four children, some as many as ten. "Big families would be doing very well", she emphasized. Syrian parents with four children are able to claim up to $50,000 annually in a variety of taxpayer-funded social service benefits. The Canada Child Benefit provides $6,400 yearly for each child under six; $5,400 for those between six and 17, and provincial welfare can provide roughly $12,000 a year for each adult.

Moreover, many of the Syrian refugees are now beginning the process of sponsoring relatives to come to Canada. Counting on refugees to eventually pay their own way is a long game. Full entry into the workforce and becoming a taxpayer reaches the national average after a few decades have passed, according to European experience. Meanwhile, in Canada, the public is unable to judge how good -- or not -- a job their federal government is doing in creating effective programs of integration when there is no indication of what may be working and what is failing.

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