A question to liberals: Will you give up living space in your home to house Haitian refugees? Of course you won't. Yet you will effectively expect others to do it, proving again that libs are exceptionally generous with everyone else's money. Only 55,000? Why not 255,000? You're not racist are you?
The same people who want an open-door policy for Haitians are the same people who have always wanted an open-door policy in general, and are taking advantage of yet another humanitarian crisis to force their worldview down the throats of others.
The Quebec government has taken it upon itself to extend the "right" of immigrants' families to "re-unite" with them to include extended families as well. One who is wise to these things may well predict that suddenly all Haitians in Canada will find themselves with a lot of "cousins", from a country where most family records are probably lost, if they ever existed in the first place.
The answer to the refugee crisis is, of course, to set up camps for refugees in Haiti itself, or even on Cuba. But then, the liberal agenda would not be served, would it?
If Canada must take in another 55,000 Haitians - and who believes they will limit themselves to this number? - they could at least give priority to women and children. For as we know the bulk of immigrants are always the physically stronger younger males, the ones who find it easiest to travel long distances and fight their way to the front of any queue.
IN A SENSE, the debate over whether Canada should loosen its immigration criteria to allow more Haitians into the country is moot.
The Quebec government has already decided it will. It plans to invoke its "power of selection" clause in a 1991 immigration deal with Ottawa. Since 90 per cent of Canada’s 100,000-strong Haitian community lives in Quebec, the die is cast.
Under the federal family reunification program, the immediate family of a Canadian sponsor — spouses, parents, grandparents, adoptive children and brothers and sisters — can be admitted on a temporary or permanent basis. But extended families — nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles — cannot. In response to the humanitarian catastrophe in Haiti, as well as to pressure from the local Haitian community, Quebec will extend sponsorship eligibility to the latter category.
The federal government has already fast-tracked applications for thousands in the first group and expedited the adoption process for 150 orphans, some of whom arrived over the weekend. Sensibly, federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is also permitting 1,000 temporary Haitian residents to remain in Canada a while longer, rather than repatriating them to a disaster zone.
But Mr. Kenney has been taking heat from the Liberals and NDP, who want him to make an exception for extended families, given the magnitude of the homelessness problem in Haiti and the inability of the Haitian government to cope with the crisis.
They point out the rules have been bent in the past, most notably for Vietnamese boat people. On the other hand, they weren’t for victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.
So should Mr. Kenney go the extra mile in this case? Apart from the fact that Quebec has, in large part, taken the decision out of his hands, we agree with Mr. Kenney’s more cautious approach.
No one can accuse Canada of failing Haiti — the prime minister even hosted an international conference on rebuilding Haiti on Monday — but Ottawa’s first responsibility is towards Canadians. And rubber-stamping as many Haitian applications as possible is not in the best interests of Canadians, nor of applicants from other parts of the world who will remain stuck in the queue as a result.
Even the Quebec government, which talks up the importance of being flexible in times of crisis, concedes it will limit the influx. Quebec Immigration Minister Yolande James says that even with increased Haitian immigration, the province is not prepared to exceed this year’s total target of up to 55,000 new immigrants. "We have to be able to respect our capacity to integrate and to welcome Haitians here," she said.
She also said there’ll be delays. "I understand the frustration that a lot of people can feel … (But) in terms of security (and) in terms of health checks, there are some things that need to be looked at — we don’t want to create another problem."
Ultimately, Ottawa has struck the right balance here. While welcoming helpless Haitians, it is still exercising due diligence on behalf of Canadians.