Open letter re Arthur Mitchell’s view on immigration:
Compassion is important in politicians, but at times it acts as a front for lack of solutions. Mitchell has let this emotion cloud his judgement in both his support for the unfortunate Philippine guest workers and his suggestions to Patrick Rouble.
It is yet another hint that maybe he will be as inadequate a premier as he is leader of the opposition.
I assume that Mitchell knows that the premier is responsible for the creation and enforcement of policy and law. If he does then he must know that we do not pass laws so that politicians can single-handedly decide who they apply to and who they do not. In this case, the two gentlemen clearly broke the immigration laws and policies that allowed them to enter Canada in the first place. I know from firsthand experience that almost every country that allows legal foreign workers expects strict compliance.
While working in Korea, I knew a few Canadians deported for moonlighting. If I were to quit my job I knew I would have to leave the country before I could reapply for another.
Canada’s expectations would have been laid out to these gentlemen and their compliance was expected.
This is not a case of bureaucratic tangle.
Each province and territory co-operates with the federal government to meet local labour needs. They are responsible for ensuring new Canadians remain in their jurisdiction to fill their specific needs. This is done so they stay in areas that do not traditionally attract immigrants.
Before the recession this was not a problem in Alberta.
The economic downturn has made Alberta a less attractive place to find a job. The Yukon on the other hand looks good. Jobs are plentiful here at the poverty wage level and there is a chance of gaining citizenship here (this is not the case in Alberta). Because of the freedom the territories and provinces have in these issues, it is expected that they strictly enforce their jurisdiction. Without this we could see a wave of quasi-legal immigrants leaving to where they wish to go and defeating the purpose of these programs.
It would also allow employers from other provinces to poach employees from within Canada. It would be much cheaper to go to an Edmonton Canadian Tire to hire your staff than going to a recruiter from Manila.
Mitchell also shows another example of being light on policy in his plea to Rouble.
Instead of proposing a permanent legislative solution to this problem he asks Rouble to intervene. A permanent fix would be co-operative agreements laid out in policy and law that would enable a transfer of labour visas between provinces. Another policy solution would be to allow application for the Yukon Nominee Program from within the country. Not one actual policy point was raised in his letter.
I know I am taking an unpopular point of view locally with this letter but I have seen the bigger picture. I have heard stories from immigrants about how long they waited to gain access to Canada and how they still have problems bringing family over. We let a limited amount of people into Canada and all of them worked hard to get here. For every person that cheats the system to stay in this country there are countless more that honestly wait in line. I feel very sorry for these men, but we must maintain a respect for the system, without it we will make the exceptions the rule.