One obvious solution would be to distribute enough temporary work visas for the farmers to be able to hire the workers they need legally. The positive aspects of the Bracero program should be revived, while eschewing its mistakes. This would not solve all of the country's illegal immigration problems. But it would certainly be better than the further militarization of the US-Mexico border.
Living abroad is one thing -- planning a wedding from abroad is a whole other story. A very complicated, internet driven, blog obsessed story that involves checking your email 24/7 and a secret love affair with Pinterest. So from one traveller/amateur bride-to-be to another, here are my "Five Great Expectations" leading up to your big day.
The refugee health cuts must be reversed, but we must also look at the underlying disease of which these cuts are a symptom. The refugee health cuts are but one more policy decision in an increasingly regressive immigration system, and refugees are just one more group being denied health care because of their immigration status.
When I see the photo of the Sikhs on the decks of the Komagata Maru, I think of the ones trying so desperately to pry that door open on land. The ones who raised money that they did not have for legal fees, and who rowed out to feed the men aboard with food they scarcely earned. Their story, and reasons for helping those barred from entry is as old as our nation itself.
The CBC reports that the Canadian Border Services Agency raided an employer paying temporary foreign workers next to nothing to work at mall kiosks in 2011. Yet for three years, that employer was permitted to continue hiring foreign workers -- his permits were never pulled, his name was never put on the employer blacklist, and he never faced criminal charges.
PM Harper, Kenney and his crew have been careful not speak publicly on immigration matters. But Kenney slipped up while unrolling the red carpet for the Irish, not long after he cancelled 300,000 patiently-waiting skilled workers' applications. "The employers in Canada are increasingly identifying Ireland as a great source of talent, hard-working, highly-educated folks who are culturally compatible," Kenney said.
Canada's temporary foreign worker policy is at odds with Canadian values, and frankly, this is getting a bit awkward. If you're like me, you're beginning to want to apologize to the people who serve us fast food. And maybe we should apologize, though it's not our fault. If I could send a message to the Minister of Immigration I would tell him to be more pragmatic about the foreign worker problem. Not only is this easy to fix, it's imperative. It can make you look good, it's good for Canada, and you can turn this problem into a lot of new Canadian voters who'll love you.
The use of incorrect statistics and skewed economic arguments to demand the exclusion of Temporary Foreign Workers by people all along the political spectrum hearkens to a lengthy history of exclusion of immigrants from Canada. While in the past racist headlines read "Immigrants are taking Canadian jobs," now they insist "Foreign workers are taking Canadian jobs." What's the difference? There is more afoot here, its xenophobia and it must be challenged. It is important that we do not repeat the injustices of the past. Full immigration status for all, full rights for all workers is the only way forward. Resist attempts to divide unemployed, migrant, and poor people.
Of course it's romantic to have sunset ceremony with a senorita on the Costa del Sol. But before you start picking out wedding invitations and planning on bringing your sweetheart back to Canada, there is a lot of wisdom in getting the facts about your legal obligations if you to want to marry someone from a foreign country and sponsor them to come to Canada.
We must face the reality of people like Kenroy and Denville who are punished as a result of laws that do not recognize the situation on the ground. We must address the unfair conditions under which we bring people over for this program, and provide them the services they are due. Canada set out to have a universal healthcare system that covers everybody, and it's about time that we did just that.
The new citizenship and immigration minister, Chris Alexander, delivered a speech last week, the day before International Women's Day. The surprising part was just short of the end, when Alexander paused, stared down at the podium. He was crying. But Alexander and his government created a fast refugee system, not a fair one.
Since Canada's government announced that it was axing the Immigrant Investor Program, there has been plenty of speculation about what that means for the second-most unaffordable property market in the world, where a dumpy bungalow can have almost triple the asking price as a castle on the other side of the country. The average price of a detached home in greater Vancouver? $1,259,775.
Toronto is facing a political problem that it hasn't asked for. That problem has threatened both the trust Torontonians place in their government and how the world sees this city. We can strengthen our city. We can empower our immigrant communities, create jobs, and create a safe environment. But in order to do so, next year we have to stay focused on policy, not politics.