February 04, 2005

Politics: The Yellow Peril is Coming!

One of the most devestating play reviews I have ever seen consists of a single line: "The frocks were lovely."

The Province newspaper has a decent sports section. But don't think I'm going to stop there.

A couple of days ago, they ran a huge, screaming headline warning of an impending crisis: boat people were coming over from China. Now, to anyone who has bothered to look, this is hardly a new phenomenon. In fact, the US has criticised Canada for decades about the supposed ease of people getting refugee status. It simply isn't as easy as the critics claim (take a closer look at former Immigration Minister Judy Sgro's supposed "Strippergate" nonsense).

So why the hullaballoo? Because there were around 700 that landed on Vancouver Island in 1999. They ended up being put in an empty prison just so they wouldn't jump bail before their hearings. Illegal immigrants are a huge flight risk, and the people who roam China promising people there a new "Gold Mountain" (San Franciscos Chinese nickname) across the sea end up with indentured slaves until the immigrants debt is paid off. These "snakeheads" charge as much as $50,000, which means that the folks coming over need a long time to work that off. More to the point, the snakeheads have a vested interest in the newcomers staying out of the immigration system: anyone that can get away from the courts or the police will be hidden by triad (usually) connections.

Having 700 people show up all at once in a couple rusty tankers from across the ocean is a very dramatic event; so naturally, the population here panicked. The most voiciferous were those Chinese who reached Canada through legitimate means, but a lot of the howlers were simply people who thought we didn't need any more of "them folk" stealing "our" jobs, so they could go drown for all they cared. Of course, the fact that immigrants tend to take crap jobs never seems to occur to people making this argument, but I digress.

There were huge complaints that people in Canada, even if they aren't citizens, have rights. There were trials and immigration hearings set up, which folks complained about, then as they got expelled, people complained as they were flown back to China. No middle ground here, apparently.

What has been either missed or ignored is that 700 people trying to claim refugee status, or even just trying to "run the border" (to use an expression from the US-Mexico line) simply isn't all that much. The year before (1998), over 6,300 would-be immigrants were stopped, mostly at airports. As for the thought of them "jumping the queue" is also bogus because there is no queue for these people to jump! They are moderately wealthy in China, but don't have the money, marketable skills, or immediate family to enter Canada legally, so this is their only chance.

And frankly, when you consider where they're leaving, wouldn't you do what you could to get your self and your family the heck out of there?


posted by Thursday at 12:54 pm


Blogger Kruppe said...

Ahh the good ole Province. Spouting entertaining headlines for as long as I can remember! Nothing like a little melodrama to increase the readership, eh? You're right about the sports section, though.

4:44 pm  

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