On Monday, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney announced that the federal government had started the process of revoking the citizenship of 3,100 people suspected of lying to immigration officials in a highly publicized press conference. An "important announcement about our government's efforts to protect the value of Canadian citizenship" were the words he used to open his alleging avowal. The conservative PR machine must have forgotten the blasting trumpet to match the hype about never-convicted Canadian citizens.
Kenney's carefully crafted message centered on "strengthening the value of Canadian citizenship," as opposed to scapegoating a microscopic percentage of newcomers. Following the announcement, the mainstream media reinforced and repeated the blissfully obvious catch phrases like parakeets, whist bypassing all critical thinking and forgetting to ask any of the right questions.
The Reform Party remnants in the Conservative Party of Canada started sinking their teeth into the immigration file with increasing recklessness a number of years ago. A significant step backwards, bill C-50, passed in 2008 with the soft support of the Opposition, despite objections from many cultural communities.
Kenney prefaced his harangue by reminding the audience that the Government of Canada launched the Citizen Action Plan three years ago. There is a supposed industry of scrupulous immigration agents defrauding the system in order to gain the valuable Canadian passport by creating fake documents and maintaining the illusion of residency. The RCMP and Canadian Border Services were called to prioritize these investigations.
In three years, two government departments found 3,100 suspected violations, none of which have been prosecuted in court. The Minister takes credit for the 1,800 withdrawn applications, without substantiating how many applications are withdrawn on an annual basis because proponents' socioeconomic situations have improved or they simply found asylum in a country that processes its applications in less than 60 months.
Kenney claims 5000 people are known to have been implicated in residence fraud, thus subject to "scrutiny," while he has "concerns" with 2,500 more. Perhaps these presumed villains have been convicted in the court of Conservative operatives.
A grand total of 600 permanent residents were removed or denied, 500 applications were denied and 600 applications were revoked.
For a country which welcomes approximately 250,000 immigrants per year, (248,660 permanent residents in 2011 alone) a phantom capture of 9,200 among 2.5 million newcomers over the past decade yields a fraud rate of less than half of one percent or 0.37 per cent.
In other words, 99.996 per cent of immigrants to Canada have been found to be beyond reproach.
Kenney won't say how much money was spent exerting two federal departments to look for the needles in haystacks. Fiscally conscious Canadians, who appreciate arithmetic, can see through this ideological contrivance designed to bolster a national conversation about a crime while demonizing immigrants-- the vast majority of whom have been and continue to be the lifeblood of our beloved country.
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