Sunday, April 24, 2011

Elections Canada: In Contempt of Immigrants













I spent the last few weeks cramming to make an informed decision on who to vote for when I go to the polls on May 2. I must admit that I had been busy following the latest news in the Philippines and failed to keep up with Canadian politics. You see, it will be my first time to vote after being sworn in as a Canadian citizen last year.


From what I gathered from Wikipedia about Elections Canada 2011,  "the writs of election were issued by Governor General David Johnston on March 26, at the request of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose Conservative government was defeated in the House of Commons on a motion of non-confidence which declared the government to be in contempt of Parliament."

It sounds like a lot of parliamentary jargon, isn't it. I assure you that it has less to do with English being our second language. It is just a lot to process with the Conservatives, the Liberals, and the NDPs each promising a lot of things to get our votes. Unfortunately, it is our duty to figure out the lesser evil. That is if we want to protect our say in the government.

First of all, let us begin with the ruling party. What are the Conservatives of Canada up to?  I guess up to no good considering that they were in contempt for not meeting Opposition requests for details of proposed bills and their cost estimates, an issue which had been dragging on since the fall of 2010. For instance, they say that Stephen Harper deliberately misled Parliament and deceived Canadians about the true cost of the F-35 stealth fighter jets and prison expansions. (commonground.ca) 

Now, may I ask why are the Conservatives still leading in polls, even gaining support from a majority of immigrants? The curious cat that I am, I did my own survey by asking my friends. They believe that our economy survived the global recession because of Mr. Harper's leadership. Well, you cannot blame them. In a matter of simple deduction, it really looks that way.  Little do they know that the Conservatives managed to "blow through a $13-billion surplus" and still do not have a sound plan to eliminate the newly accumulated $40-billion deficit. (Edmonton Journal, April 2011)

Besides, my friend who teaches Economics in college explained that it was the Liberal's banking regulations and former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin's blocking of proposed bank mergers that actually sheltered Canada from the worst effects of the recession. 

In my opinion, immigrants are not informed of what the Conservatives are really doing in the background. I cannot help but notice the scene in front of me. The lower class and depressed neighborhoods in Toronto are composed mostly of immigrants who normally maintain two or three jobs. You see them crowding the lower priced grocery shops like No Frills and Price Choppers. The pricier Loblaws and Whole Foods are only visited by nannies who shop for their employers.

Little is being done to help immigrants integrate into their professional fields where they belong because of regulations that do not recognize foreign credentials except those from developed nations.

Seriously, the Conservatives have done more to hurt immigrants. For sure nobody noticed their unpublicized cut this year of the national immigration quota. It has deeply hurt efforts to reunify families. For instance, some of my friends are still waiting for their brothers and sisters who submitted their applications over five years ago.

Most of all, nobody saw the sneaky immigration laws that Conservatives recently introduced that deny permanent residence to immigrant families? If passed, spouses who have been in a relationship with their Canadian sponsor for two years or less will be denied access to permanent residence for two or more years after their arrival in Canada.

Anti-violence against women activists and immigrant rights advocates already anticipate problems with this law. It will force immigrant women to remain in abusive relationships with their spouses as a prerequisite for gaining permanent status. (toronto.nooneisillegal.org, March 2011)

Well, what do I know?  With the Tories leading in polls this morning, Elections Canada 2011 continues to be in contempt of immigrants. That is unless we go out, vote, and change leadership.

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