After the not-so-successful attempt to revive the corpse of the Liberal Party of Canada at its last week’s convention, its leadership tried to continue the process by spreading their own version of “change and hope” in meetings with the voters. One of those events was last night’s town hall meeting in Scarborough (that’s in Toronto).
It was supposed to deal with some juicy stuff – exposing the hidden agenda of the Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and the dark Harperite forces that stand behind him. To deal with the monumental task, the party mobilized four “top guns”, all members of the Canadian parliament – Jim Karygiannis, MP (Scarborough-Agincourt, ON), Kevin Lamoureux, MP (Winnipeg North, MB), John McKay, MP (Scarborough-Guildwood, ON), John McCallum, MP (Markham-Unionville, ON).
The funny thing was that of all available venues they chose to appear at NAMF (North American Muslim Foundation). That organization has been involved in many questionable activities like fighting the secularism in the Ontario public schools (by advocating Muslim prayers), hosting extremist preachers hostile to Jews and gays, etc.
The event was opened by Farouk Khan (a.k.a. Farook Khan), head of NAMF, who is known for his hypersensitivity to criticism of the Muslim extremism. He said in a radio interview last year that if people like Geert Wilders are allowed to speak in Canada, the Muslims would be eventually herded into concentration camps in Kingston (Ontario) – you can read more about that at BCF.
It may seem strange that the Liberals chose this particular place to host them, but that’s not a real surprise. Recently I wrote about an upcoming NAMF Gala, where Olivia Chow was advertized as a “guest of honour”. An NDP stooge accused me of lying in the comments. In a newspaper I picked there last night they mentioned that Olivia couldn’t make it due to “miscommunication of attendance”. However, Karygiannis attended and handed out prizes. That was quite a surprise – apparently NDP has more sense than the Liberals.
The first speaker, Kevin Lamoureux, the Liberal Party’s immigration critic, didn’t waste any time – he started by stating that Manitoba is far ahead from Canada in the field of immigration. The province’s immigration has increased from 3,500 per year to 13,000, which is over 1% of the population. To match that Canada must increase the levels to over 300,000 people a year, which would be over 1%.
(We can barely absorb the current immigrants, how can we do it with more and more coming?!)
Once he established the numbers, he raised the question about what type of immigration we need. Emphasizing only one group, like grandparents, would be a disaster, so we need a balance and the right mixture. Herein lies the difference between Liberals and Conservatives. The Liberals want the economic interests and the social responsibilities to be in balance (while the Conservatives don’t want that).
The date of November 4, 2011, was a traumatic one for Lamoureux. On that day Jason Kenney announced the freezing of the parents and grandparents immigration program for the next 2 years. Lamoureux saw this as a completely wrong move – many parents are still relatively young, often around 50 and they can still contribute to our economy. Besides, the grandparents can help their families by providing childcare.
(As usual, the Liberals fail to mention that many of those categories are much older and they more than offset the contributions of the “younger” parents by excessive reliance on our social services.)
The second event that took place that day was the introduction of the Super Visa for parents – a multiple-entry visa, which would be valid for 10 years. The latter was a sinister move by Kenney, who wanted to neutralize the effects of the freeze.
The confirmation came on December 1 when the rules for obtaining the Super Visa were announced. It turned out that the government required the families to have a sufficient income to apply for the visa. Lamoureux considered that unfair, because many of those families are not established yet. Even worse – the government also wanted the families to buy private health insurance for the applicants, which would cost from $800 to over $2,000 depending on the age.
The conclusion is that Jason Kenney has provided false hope.
(I am not sure if Lamoureux is really that ignorant or only pretends to be in order to get a few more immigrant votes. It is self-evident that a family, which doesn’t have enough money shouldn’t bring more relatives in. Otherwise, by taking more non-working dependents their income would drop even more and the taxpayers would have to foot the bill. And if there is no medical insurance, who is going to cover the older people’s health bills? If we drop the insurance requirement, it would be a matter of time before somebody files a Charter challenge that the “rights” of the visitors are violated because the government doesn’t provide the same “free” health care to them. And I don’t need to tell you how this challenge would end with our “progressive” lawyers and judges…)
The issue, according to the Liberals, must be revisited and obtaining visas made easier in order to increase the role of the family. The situation now shows a total lack of leadership and only a new Liberal government would be able to resolve those issues.
Another issue are the refugees – Canada has a moral and legal obligation to accept them. That may require more money. Many of them come from conflict countries with different cultures and need – a young girl who has come from a place without elevators would need more time and effort to adapt to Canada. That’s why we need leadership, which the Conservatives cannot provide.
(Since when Canada is the only country with such an obligation? The same UN conventions have been signed by almost all other countries. Why don’t countries like China, Russia, Japan, Saudi Arabia or Kuwait accept refugees? There is nothing moral when our country is exploited by unscrupulous welfare-cheque-chasing individuals, who on top of that have no intention of adapting to our culture.)
Similar issues exist with the provincial nominee program – it is widely used in Manitoba, but it is only now developed in Ontario. It matches specific jobs with qualified individuals from abroad.
During his talk Lamoureux mentioned several times a “green sheet” published by the Conservatives. It turned out it was a collection of facts on the immigration success of Harper’s government, which was handed out at the door to the people who showed up. After reading a copy, I wasn’t that exited – they wrote that the large backlog was created during the Liberal rule, but Harper and Kenney were not only clearing it, they also managed to bring in more immigrant and refugees. It seems that the Conservatives are not going to fix that immigration mess either…
During the event they passed around a petition (initiated by Lamoureux) against the $100,000 health insurance and the freezing of the grandparents program for 2 years.
Frankly, the whole presentation was quite boring and it definitely failed to create enthusiasm for the Liberal Party. Things livened up during the Q&A period.
Many people asked questions about their personal immigration problems. After one of those questions, Karygiannis didn’t miss the opportunity to take a cheap shot at the Conservatives. He asked a man if he had notified his MP about the problem. The guy mentioned the MP’s name and Karygiannis shot back:
“So your MP is Conservative?”
“Say again, what is he, Conservative?” (laughter)
“You mean he is Conservative?”
Truly a superb grade-two joke.
A revolutionary NDP girl was concerned that the provincial nominee program may make easier the exploitation of those workers. After dispersing her fears, Karygiannis didn’t miss the opportunity to add: “If in 2005 your party didn’t go against us, we wouldn’t have those problems today.”
Then came the big question that allowed the MPs present to earn their popularity among Muslims (at least in their Liberal minds). A Muslim guy (whose wife was wearing a niqab, she was the only veiled woman in the audience) asked about the ban of niqab during the citizenship ceremony.
Karygiannis shot at Kenney right away – the regulation was stupid, because there are many ways to identify such a person. For example, a female officer can do that before the ceremony. Another MP added that such a regulation is a blatant violation of the Charter and the Muslims should challenge it in court. A third even went further by saying that such violations of the Charter are part of Harper’s ideology. Lamoureux added that Kenney had ulterior motives to make an issue out of the niqab – his purpose was to speak to the ugly side of politics. Harper and Kenney did the same when they appeared in Vancouver to intimidate the boat with Tamil refugees.
Surprisingly, that passionate defence of Muslim fanaticism didn’t get much of a reaction from the audience, although a very large part of it was Muslim. Could it be because most people don’t care about the issue and the Liberals have chosen the wrong cause again?
But the bitter taste of the statements of those MPs remained – obviously, you can’t trust the Liberals to defend the Canadian values. They sincerely believe that that the weird Muslim fanatics speak for every other Muslim or immigrant.
Then there was the Indian engineer who complained about the degrees that are not recognized. He was also disappointed with the policies of the Liberals on the immigration issues and said he now votes for the Conservatives.
Lamoureux replied that they are working on the new policies. The degree recognition doesn’t depend on the government – it’s the professional associations that are the problem. The Liberals plan to create a commission, which will pressure the associations into accepting those degrees.
(What a stupid idea – why don’t they investigate the degrees before the people come here? The universities that grant reliable degrees are well known, so the validity of the degrees could be verified before the immigrants are approved. That’s much easier than creating a new layer of bureaucracy.)
The Liberals are a pathetic bunch – I don’t think they won any new supporters. All the MPs did was to promise new spending without an explanation about who is going to provide the money. I suppose even the recent immigrants were able to grasp that.
Obviously, the Liberal Party’s new claim to power and influence is premature. It would be good if it spends a few more years in the intensive care unit.
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