Why has the spotlight not been on immigration during this federal election?

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Pradip Rodrigues

If the simmering issue of slavery sparked the American Civil War that almost tore that country apart in 1861, immigration or rather illegal immigration could well be the issue that could one day lead to a civil or uncivil war in the US and Canada.

While the US has been plagued for decades with the issue of illegal immigrants streaming across their southern border, in Canada that red light began flashing in 2017 when thousands of asylum seekers began to stream across our borders.

Many polls have shown that a growing number of Canadians are beginning to have second thoughts about immigration which they would not have had if it hadn’t been for the left-leaning media and political parties conflating the issue of illegal immigrants with legal immigration. Asylum seekers, many of whom are economic migrants are referred to as “irregular migrants” as if that is a legitimate category of immigrants.

Dealing with such large numbers of mostly economic migrants is costing Canada hundreds of millions of dollars, straining our infrastructure and draining away crucial support from Canadians for the very idea of immigration and yet, there has been very little discussion about such a crucial file in this federal election. Over 50,000 people have crossed into Canada illegally since 2017, around 60 asylum seekers cross the border each day and the media want Canadians to believe that it is such a small problem that only right wingers and racists take issue with it.

The only politician who has talked or rather complained bitterly about immigration has been People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier who has little or no credibility and in fact by ceding that space to him has forced all leaders to avoid delving too deeply into the issue lest they get tarred with the same brush. Had it not been for Bernier, there is a fair chance, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer would mine the issue of immigration reform and illegal immigration to his party’s advantage. The danger of making immigration a central issue would have exposed Scheer to comparisons with Bernier. Bad enough Scheer has been struggling to get out of Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s dark shadow.

It was only last week that Scheer boldly visited Roxham Road, in southern Quebec, the entry point for thousands of mostly Nigerian asylum seekers and vowed that if elected, he’d close the loophole which allows illegal immigrants to skirt the official borders and walk into Canada illegally and seek asylum. The liberal-leaning media mostly downplayed, ignored or panned the idea.

The media has been successful in deflecting the spotlight on the issue of illegal asylum seekers and Scheer’s plan to close loopholes. By not pushing the issue, leaders of the other left-leaning parties can avoid having to talk about immigration and continue to soothe the fears millennials have about the world ending in 12 years as a result of climate change.

The problem in Canada today is that two issues of real importance have been hijacked by extremists- climate change and immigration. There is little middle ground in Canadian politics forcing people to chose extreme positions that can go too far. Unfortunately, immigration is a sensitive issue that touches communities and demographic changes that happen too fast can unsettle people into becoming anti-immigrant.

It is a pity real meaningful debate on immigration did not receive the kind of attention that would allow all Canadians to express themselves without being called names. -CINEWS

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