The ratio of working-age Canadians to seniors was narrowing, and the inevitable outcome would be a shrunken tax base and acute labour shortages. Over the next decade, a million jobs risk going unfilled. And yet, only around one in 10 Canadians agrees that Canada currently admits too few immigrants. The annual (and sometimes multi-year) public consultations held by the Federal Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration on levels of newcomers do not seem to have yielded much success in changing this attitude.
Differences are what enrich our lives and make Toronto the fabulous, unique, successful city it is. Xenophobia (a fear or hatred of strangers and foreigners) has no place in a city built upon these differences. It threatens the very core of who we as Torontonians are. It is also what motivated the horrific and unacceptable attack in which a woman was beaten and robbed by two young men. They tore off her hijab and told her to "Go back to your country."
Stop with the ignorant posts, people. Think about it before you blindly share some meme, or post that's not even accurate. You sound stupid. We share this planet with 7 billion other people -- some estimates suggest that 2.2 billion of them are Muslim. Enough with the "If we went to your country, we'd have to live by your rules." Stop. Muslim is not a country. I'm sorry if pointing out your religious intolerance has offended you, but it was the same type of ignorance and vitriol that eventually caused the slaughter of millions of Jews in the Second World War. Before you're too quick to defend your hate speech, marinate in that for a minute and think about if you want to contribute to that kind of hate.
When we no longer have confidence in collective action, why would we even bother to ask something of our anemic government? By not taking firm steps to deal with the Syrian civil war and refugee crisis from the beginning, we have allowed a ticking time bomb of humanity to destabilize the Middle East and give comfort to vocal xenophobic factions in Europe.
My family came here with only the belongings they could carry with them to give themselves and their children an opportunity to have a better life. Within one generation, I achieved a law degree. I have contributed, and continue to contribute, to the Canadian community. I am but one example of thousands, evidence that should easily persuade you to conclude that assistance to refugees is a solid investment in the future of our nation, and not simply an act of charity.
Just before the end of the year, Lucia Vega Jiminez took her own life while in immigration detention at the Vancouver airport. That a young woman in good health would take her own life is deeply unsettling, and an inconsolable loss to those who loved her. Beyond this, there are at least four things seriously troubling about this story that all Canadians should be concerned about.
During a brief vacation away with my Greek immigrant parents in sunny Florida, I had the serenity to engage them in several wonderful lengthy chats about their past (always a favourite topic of mine) and to quietly observe them. These are the additional gems that I have gained from my parents' experiences.
A common misconception by most Canadians is that all immigrants (regardless of country of origin, religious background, ethnicity) face a common set of experiences (opportunities and challenges) as a group. There-in lies the basis of misunderstanding of the immigrant phenomenon by most Canadian-born residents.
On Monday, Cabinet Minister Joe Oliver made a federal funding announcement at Toronto General Hospital. However, within minutes of Minister Oliver taking the podium, something truly exceptional occurred; emergency room doctor Chris Keefer walked boldly up to the front of the room. Despite attempts by a hospital administrator to shut down Keefer's interruption, he nonetheless persisted.
To many individuals and families around the world, Canada is rightfully regarded as a resettlement destination that offers immigrants and new Canadians a range of freedom. Why then, is there a legal obligation for individuals to take a solemn oath of allegiance to faithfully serve the Queen, her heirs and successors in order to gain full access to the democratic protections of Canadian citizenship?
If Bill C-31, "Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act," passes in parliament, Canada will lose its reputation for fairness and human rights and, more importantly, hundreds if not thousands of people's lives will be adversely affected. Refugees would be ineligible to sponsor any immediate family members and these refugees would be second-class people in Canada.