Sunday, October 31, 2010

Harper's Mixed Bag

In the international arena, the Harper government stands second to none in its support for Israel. Domestically, alas, its record of standing up for freedom and democracy is much spottier, writes Kathy Shaidle:
...One of the issues that [Salim] Mansur says Harper is trying to avoid is immigration reform. It has not escaped the average Canadian’s notice that Omar Khadr’s parents were immigrants, as were members of the Toronto 18 terrorist group and leaders of the lawfare campaigns targeting Levant and Steyn. Stories about Toronto’s “welfare harems” and Quebec’s proposed burqa ban also have been widely reported.
Yet bizarrely, just as voters and even the media have begun openly discussing this “third rail” of Canadian politics, the Conservative Party seems determined to ignore immigration reform. One exception did come late last year, when the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration unveiled a new guidebook for immigrants. At least in theory, all newcomers are required to read Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship, which advises them that “Canada’s openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, ‘honor killings,’ female genital mutilation, or other gender-based violence.” However, the ministry took some heat for appearing to tone down references to gay rights in the guide, presumably to avoid offending the same constituency being warned about honor killings.

David Harris, the director of the International and Terrorist Intelligence Program for INSIGNIS Strategic Research, seconded the need for immigration reform back in 2008, insisting that “immigration must be brought under immediate control. … Bringing over a quarter of a million people a year into Canada is unconscionable in this threat environment, and it should be no surprise that our few thousand security officials are overworked.”

It seems that Harris’ warnings have gone largely unheeded by the Conservative Party. He now observes, “Unfortunately, events of the last year or two point to a shifting of the Conservative government in favor of the promiscuous immigration approaches that place vote banks first, and safety and security a distant second.”

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