Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tamil Refugees (3)

I do want you to realize that I am not talking about refugees or refugee programmes in general. I am talking only about the specific case of the Tamil boat people that recently arrived on Canadian soil. Well, sort of.... Should Canada accept them or send them packing? And what should she do about any future such arrivals?

Canadians reacted differently to their arrival, all the way from a warm embrace to a cold “send them back.” What is the real reason behind that negative attitude that I, as you will have noticed from the last two blogs, share? To dismiss the negative response haughtily as tribalism as did Stephen Hume is nonsense. That explanation is cheap and, it seems to me, represents mere political correctness that refuses to face a tough issue. But Hume did force me to examine myself as to the reason for my negative attitude in this situation.

Before I read his column, I came to the same conclusion about myself and others as did Jon Ferry. It is disgust with the Canadian federal bureaucracy more than with our uninvited guests. Ferry said it well. “But what really seems to annoy many Canadians is the feeling they’re being played for suckers by slick immigration lawyers and coerced into paying millions in legal fees, welfare payments and health benefits to migrants who, at least by their home country’s standards, appear to be quite well off,” since they reportedly paid a handsome price for their journey.

Yes, all that largess to strangers, needy strangers to be sure, while the citizens complain about the resources they require for their ordinary needs are not available. The ordinary tax payer works hard but is given the run around when she “hits a rough patch.” The system has been bled dry, according to one writer. He does not identify the culprits, but, if I may insert my own two cents worth, they are not refugees so much as members of the bureaucracy that cow tow to all too many citizens with their culture of human rights and entitlement without a proper balance of human and citizen responsibility.

I live in Vancouver’s West End and meet, see and hear all too many people who are indeed sucking the system dry. When you see with your own eyes strong, tall young men with heavy backpacks strapped to their backs, pick up rent checks from some whimpy bureaucrat, then you know something is amiss. When people who regularly travel the entire world, ride our transit system with nearly free annual passes, you know we are bled. When people who annually traverse the continent by Amtrack but have their rent subsidized and pay no MSP, you wonder who approved the cozy arrangement. And now another 500 of these refugees forcing themselves upon the already emaciated system! When is this blood letting of the system going to end?

Ferry writes, “…the overall cynicism among Canadians about the system is now so great, it needs a complete overhaul.” There we have the real reason. If this blood letting of the system, its abuse by our own entitlement “citizens” were not so rife, the country would be more relaxed. And if our bureaucracy developed the necessary spine to stop this local blood letting, people, myself included, would not be so upset about our Sri Lankan guests. And, not the least, if our politicians dared to clamp down on these bureaucratic wimps and our entitlement champions with tougher legislation, we might even embrace them with open arms. But as it is, we are tired of it all. Hard working tax payers need a break. They want some accountability in quarters where it now seems totally lacking

And if the Toronto Sri Lankan community wants to retain its reputation and respect at all with the Canadian people, it should take the bull by the horns as I suggest in the previous blog. Put your money where your mouth is. Practice being responsible Canadians instead of a tribalistic enclave. Demonstrate that your citizenship certificate is genuine, not just one of convenience and entitlement.

One final logical comment: The logic of the Sri Lankan situation could lead to the demand that Canada take in the entire Tamil tribe. Isn’t the situation basically the same for all of them? Why stop at this boat load? Most of those left behind do not have the $45,000 our current crop paid for the passage and are thus in greater need. Yea, and while we’re at it, why not all southern Sudanese as well? We have the room! But perhaps there are other issues besides those of logic?

Tomorrow, I promise, I will broach another subject. Don't know yet what it will be, but the media will bring up something of interest, if not significance. Enjoy your day in God's Kingdom.

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