There is a flood of people fleeing war in the Middle East, and Canada is not doing enough to help.
This is the message some election candidates and eastern media are banging away on. Federal leaders are grandstanding during the election to gain political points, and major media outlets are stroking the Middle East migrant crisis very intensely. One wonders how much Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau have donated to the Red Cross for the migrants? How much of their paycheques have Globe and Mail reporters and editors donated to help migrants?
Before making a decision to allow hundreds or thousands of strangers into this country based on the strength of a photograph and the opinions of celebrities, one hopes calmer heads will prevail.
The government has a serious responsibility to develop and enact practical, logical and compassionate immigration laws, but all newcomers to the country must abide by those laws regardless of what Hollywood celebrities and federal election candidates say. Immigration laws exist because an open door policy is a recipe for disaster. Accepting hundreds or thousands of migrants fleeing North Africa or Syria seems compassionate, but the likelihood of criminals or terrorists hiding in the flood is not only possible, but likely. There is potential for a few or many of these migrants to be criminals who fervently wish to harm Canadians. If that occurs, the government would bear some responsibility because they invited these people into the country on a whim.
Murder and terrorist attacks aren’t the only reasons to take a breather, sit back and think things over before migrants are accepted. Canada is in a recession and sending more money overseas is stupid, as a fortune in taxpayer dollars is already earmarked for that. Economics are important to Albertans and Canadians, and this country already donates hundreds of millions of dollars per year to foreign governments, international organizations like the U.N. and international charities like the Red Cross which can do far more to help migrants than people from Leduc, Wetaskiwin and Millet can. According to a lobbyist website, in 2011-2012 alone Ottawa sent $6 billion to foreign countries. It’s obvious Albertans and Canadians are already doing a lot to help the less fortunate around the world.
Bringing in huge numbers of people who don’t speak our official languages and didn’t grow up in a democratic society also poses a serious problem. Most if not all of these migrants were born into societies very different from Canada’s, societies where religious offences can be punished with the death penalty, countries where women are treated as physical property not as citizens and societies where medieval practices such as female genital mutilation, for example, are embraced. These migrants have likely suffered severe trauma before fleeing their birth nations, as civil war, ethnic or religious cleansing and other atrocities have occurred. As well, most if not all of these societies were ruled as a military dictatorship and have been for decades. These migrants don’t understand a democratic society and may not necessarily have a respect for law; rather, they have been instilled with a fear of the dictator.
But all of the points above are moot. The migrant problem isn’t a problem, it’s a symptom. A symptom of the so-called Arab Spring.
According to the New York Times, this 2010 wave of uprisings was one of the most world-changing events of recent history, the toppling of military dictatorships in North Africa and ongoing efforts in Syria. Apparently, Arabs rose up in these countries in response to military dictators robbing from and killing their own people. Fair enough.
However, the Arab Spring, upon closer inspection, doesn’t seem to be as positive a thing for the Middle East as the New York Times claims. Tunisia, Libya and Egypt are all in turmoil, and their current regimes don’t seem much or any better than the ones they replaced. The uprising in Syria, which rather quickly became a civil war, gave rise to the Islamic State amateur army, which has been trying to carve out an Islamic kingdom that medieval princes would be proud of, along with beheading anyone who crosses their path. It’s no surprise the migrants want out of these countries; to stay would be insanity.
Two things will help ease or reverse the migrant problem. First, other nations in the Middle East which have the means to help, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Israel and Egypt, should be welcoming migrants into their own nations which have a much closer social context for migrants, and secondly the international community, not just the United States and Canada, have to put legitimate effort into stopping war in North Africa and Syria.