On Tuesday, the new Liberal Immigration Minister John McCallum, speaking in Brampton, Ontario, announced that this year the government would seek to bring from 280, 000 to 305, 000 new permanent residents into Canada by the end of the year. This, an increase of over seven percent from last year, is the highest number at which the government’s immigration target has ever been set. With current rate of unemployment being 7.2%, only slightly lower than the percentage by which the immigration target has been increased, this causes one to question whether or not the Liberals are deliberately trying to add insult to the injury they are perpetrating upon our country and her citizens.
If so, it would be well in keeping with the precedent the Liberals set during the premiership of the first Prime Minister Trudeau. That the present generation of Trudeau Liberals are looking to their antecedents for inspiration is evident in McCallum’s announcement which also declared that the government would be focusing on “family reunification” and the settlement of refugees.
“Family reunification”, is one of those phrases, an endless stock of which seems to be available to liberals of both the small and big l varieties, that are designed to sound nice and pleasing to the ear while concealing something rather nasty and vicious. “Family reunification” suggests the idea that in the processing of immigration applications, the government ought to give priority to those from would-be immigrants with close relatives already living in Canada. Few people, I think, would object to that idea, per se, and it is hardly new, having been part of government immigration policy in one form or another since the early twentieth century. It came into play especially after large conflicts like the World Wars in which we sent our young men to fight overseas, where many of them married “war brides” for whom an expedited immigration application process was then required. While the words “family reunification” are intended to evoke this concept, they actually mean something quite different, something introduced by the Liberals upon Pierre Trudeau’s assumption of the reins of power, and enshrined in law as a major objective of the government’s immigration policy in the Immigration Act of 1976.
If “family reunification” meant what most people think it means, then how do we explain the case of Norman Stacey, as related by the award winning journalist and columnist Doug Collins at the beginning of his book Immigration: The Destruction of English Canada
, which to this day remains the best, most honest and most daring, book length treatment of the subject ever written. Norman Stacey was the son of a Canadian woman who had married a New Zealander and had returned to Canada following her divorce to take care of her terminally ill mother but then, having come down with health problems of her own, asked her son to come and help her. Stacey applied to the Canadian High Commission in London, which turned down his request, telling him that it was in his own interest to do so. (1) This was in the summer of the year that the Trudeau government passed the Immigration Act in which “family reunification” played so important a role, and as Collins, who cited many more such instances noted “the Stacey case is by no means an isolated one”. (2)
If “family reunification” meant what it is assumed to mean then someone like Stacey ought to have had his application speedily accepted. Instead he ran into a wall. The true nature of “family reunification” was hinted at by an officer at the London High Commission who quietly advised him that he would have better luck if he applied from Nairobi.
The Liberal Party prides itself on having given Canada a fair, non-racist, immigration policy when it introduced the points system in 1967 and frequently condemns the old policy, practised by all governments and supported by all parties, for the first century after Confederation, of giving preference to prospective immigrants from traditional sources such as the UK, other Commonwealth countries, the USA and Europe, as “racist”. The Liberals are wrong on both counts. It is not racist to love your country and to want your children and grandchildren to grow up in a Canada that has not been radically transformed from the country you grew up in and it is this, not an irrational fear or hatred of other peoples, that was the sentiment behind the old policy supported by Conservatives and Liberals alike, including the Liberal Party’s longest serving Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King (3). Furthermore, although there was nothing wrong with the old policy, it was not the Liberals who changed it.
It was the Conservative government of John Diefenbaker, that in the 1962 Immigration Act, declared that Canada would no longer give preference to immigration applications from traditional source countries but would process applications from everywhere in the world on the merits of the individual making the application. This change did not, in itself, radically alter the nature of immigration to Canada, nor was it intended or expected to do so. Four years after this bill was passed, almost ninety percent of the immigrants to Canada were still traditional immigrants. In 1970, however, three years after the Pearson Liberals introduced the points system, and two years after Pierre Trudeau took over as Prime Minister of Canada, half of Canada’s immigrants came from non-traditional sources, as would the majority of new immigrants thereafter. (4)
It was, again, not the introduction of a racially and ethnically neutral policy under Diefenbaker that brought about this change, but rather two changes introduced by the Liberals who succeeded Diefenbaker. The first, was the introduction of a new system of racial and country-of-origin preferences that was the exact opposite of the original, favouring immigrants from Africa (except white Rhodesians and Afrikaners), Asia, and Latin America over immigrants from the UK and Europe. This new preferential system was informal, of course, as the Liberals, having already latched onto the reprehensible and dishonest trick of castigating the pre-1963 Canada and their Conservative opponents as being “racist” could hardly put down in writing that “we will accept so many immigrants from Africa, so many from Asia, and a handful from Britain.” Rather, they accomplished it, by a campaign of actively and aggressively recruiting immigrants in the Third World which was paid for by the Canadian taxpayers they thereby sought to replace, the relocation of the visa officers charged with the task of processing immigration applications abroad from traditional source countries to our embassies and consulates in the Third World, and by taking a much more relaxed approach to the requirements of the points system in processing applications from the Third World while strictly enforcing these requirements for applicants from Britain and Europe.
The second change reinforced the first by making this double standard for the Third World and traditional sources of immigration possible. The 1967 Immigration Act had created three classes of immigrants: independents, whose applications would be processed on the basis of the new points system; the sponsored, who were immediate relatives; and the nominated, which included much more distant relatives. (5) There were more requirements for immigrants of the nominated than of the sponsored class, but it still made it easier for someone whose fifth cousin, twice removed had just arrived in Canada to get in, than someone who otherwise had the same credentials but no relatives in Canada. Since immediate families in the Third World are much larger than their counterparts in traditional source countries, thanks to the modernization and liberalism that has reduced family size in the latter, and, large extended families are much more closely knit together there, for the same reason, these new rules essentially created a large back-door to the points system, one which was fully exploited by the Liberals during the Trudeau years to radically alter the composition of Canadian immigration.
This is what “family reunification” in the language of Trudeau Liberalism is really all about – making it easier for someone from the Third World to bring his entire village over to Canada than for someone from Britain or Europe to be accepted on his own merits under the points system. This would radically change Canada from the country one reads about in the history books, the stories and novels of Stephen Leacock, Mazo de la Roche, L. M. Montgomery and Robertson Davies, or may even have experienced on a smaller scale if, like this writer, one was fortunate enough to grow up in rural Canada. This was not a change Canadians either asked for or wanted and by it, Pierre Trudeau demonstrated his utter and absolute contempt for the old Canada and for the Canadians who liked their country the way it was.
What John McCallum has just announced, therefore, is that in this new Trudeau era, we can expect much more of the same. Doesn’t that just thrill you?
(1) Doug Collins, Immigration: The Destruction of English Canada
, (Richmond Hill, Ontario: BMG Publishing Ltd., 1979) pp. 1-2. Stacey came to Canada as a tourist, and applied to be allowed to stay on compassionate grounds because his mother needed him, but the Ministry initially denied this as well, relenting only after Collins hounded them mercilessly in his column over it.
(2) Ibid., p. 3.
(3) MacKenzie King declared on May 1st, 1947 that “The people of Canada do not wish as a result of mass immigration to make a fundamental alteration in the character of our population…The government, therefore, has no thought of making any change in immigration regulations which would have consequences of the kind.”
(5) The 1976 Immigration Act, which came into effect in 1978, rolled the sponsored and nominated into a single family class and created a new third humanitarian class, i.e., refugees.