Sunday, August 9, 2009

Not changing mind about visa, Harper says

So just because there's an unexpected number of refugees (or persons who classify themselves as such) from Mexico and the Czech Republic, two countries with which Canada normally has very good relations, we need to impose visa restrictions on them? I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago but it is still maddening and perplexing; and no sign from Harper tonight that he's going to budge any.
Normally, doing something like this on such short notice would occur only if there was a serious terrorist threat. I acknowledge the drug wars in Mexico and the discrimination against some minorities in Europe, but don't both countries have civil processes for that? Do we really need to swing an axe at something that may only be a minor issue in the grand scheme of things?
Free trade should mean exactly that, the free movement of capital, goods, information, people and services with little to no scrutiny except where warranted. Having a visa requirement is, in my opinion, a form of guilty until proven innocent -- having to provide not just extensive documentation but in some cases criminal records checks. There may be reason to have visa restrictions on countries which are not entirely friendly to our interests, but fully fledged democracies?
Again, the European model of fully open borders in the West and Centre of the continent may not necessarily be appropriate (yet) for North America (and random checks still do exist, as well as temporary checkpoints during "special security" situations such as the Olympics or a world championship as well as for the most virulent border shoppers). But isn't there a better way to scrutinize possible fraudsters (or worse) while ensuring the right to travel for those who are law-abiding?

Harper and Co. just keep stigmatizing and singling out certain groups, and that is not acceptable. If the refugee processing system is as broken as Harper claims, then fix it from within Canada.

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Anonymous said...

Just in case we've forgotten about the Romas, now they're targets in Hungary as well. Likely a ploy on their part, dontcha know, to get refugee status somewhere.....

Anonymous said...

What is bizarre about the article you linked is the self-congratulatory handful of commenters with their "praise almighty Harper" comments, slapping each other on the back for the wisdom - and Harper's.

They somehow think the jihadists are coming through Mexico to get into Canada, and Harper is saving us from them.

Very strange. I can always tell when a cluster of party flamers have decided to game the comment boards. Nobody in real life "talks" like they do.