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Illegal asylum seekers and sponsorship of parents and grandparents divides Canadians

Pradip Rodrigues

There was plenty of outrage after the online application process to sponsor a family member through the 2019 Parent and Grandparent Program was closed in a mere 11 minutes having met the annual limit of 27,000. A whipping 100,000 applicants attempted to submit application forms.
Before World War II, health care in Canada was, for the most part, privately delivered and funded and if that was still the case in 2019, it is safe to say that very few Canadians would be in a hurry to bring in senior members of their families.
But because healthcare is free and sponsored seniors receive a pension after ten years without having contributed to the system, many new immigrants consider this to be a lottery worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is estimated that every senior can cost an average of $400,000 over the remainder of their lives in healthcare costs. Since healthcare is publicly funded, governments are torn between pandering to their vote banks and being fiscally responsible.
Many new immigrants seem to think that sponsoring their elderly parents and grandparents is a right rather than a privilege. This comes through in the kind of reaction from those seeking a swift re-unification of their family members, they remind the media and the government that they are taxpayers and some are even mulling legal action against the government!
If you ask most of those sponsoring their parents and grandparents to give you their top complaints about Canada, number one will be the high taxes followed by overcrowded hospitals. No one in government will dare remind the complainers that 40 cents of every tax dollar goes toward healthcare and that bringing in seniors is not in the national interest.
One fact that seems to be lost in this parents and grandparent sponsorship issue is the reason of such high levels of immigration- a looming demographic crisis is threatening Canada. Seniors could represent between 23% and 25% of the total population by 2036. The country needs a continuous army of working-age adults to offset the number of retirees and the growing healthcare costs, if half of all working age Canadian immigrants bring in their senior parents, instead of helping Canada they will actually be doing just the opposite.
If this is the case, then it would be better to simply import foreign workers to address labor shortages the way it is done in the Middle-East.

Outrage growing over asylum-seekers
When Canadians and new Canadians in particular who’ve played by the rules, worked hard to settle themselves and their families in the country with little or no government assistance see a steady stream of asylum-seekers entering the country and receiving government housing, free medicals and other help from the government, they are naturally outraged, especially when the illegal border-crossers are well-dressed and pull gleaming new suitcases, they aren’t the kind of people who look like they’re fleeing anything more dangerous than deer. Those new immigrants who harbour hopes of bringing their parents and grandparents and find it taking impossibly long are even more outraged.
Think about the staggering costs of hosting illegal asylum seekers. Last year the cost associated with illegal asylum seekers was $340 million and in 2019, that amount is expected to reach almost $400 million according to the federal budget watchdog. Over three years, border-crossing asylum-seekers will cost the country over a billion dollars.
Naturally it seems very unfair when parents and grandparents are admitted in a slow process that could take years while illegal border-crossers can simply waltz into the country and receive taxpayer assisted services.
We have mayors of Sanctuary Cities demanding millions of dollars to assist asylum seekers and provide shelter.
Few politicians like Ontario Premier Doug Ford have suggested that we need to take care of our own people first.
But then again, when politicians champion the cause of refugees and asylum seekers, they gain worldwide attention and publicity. There are probably more illegal border crossers and so-called refugees coming into Canada than the number of parents and grandparents admitted every year.
Naturally then new Canadians who have struggled to settle themselves in their new country feel short-changed when their tax dollars goes toward bogus refugee and asylum claimants while their parents and grandparents languish in the old countries counting their days on earth.

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