Today, out of morbid curiosity, I picked up the February edition of Canadian Immigrant , a ‘free’ magazine offered alongside real estate glossies and sketchy used car pamphlets in a big metal box outside Burger King. It’s completely ‘free’, meaning that I’ve probably already paid for the issue unknowingly via government grants or public funding or bank fees of some sort, so I figured I’d better have a look. You could say it caught my eye, the front cover featuring Mohamad Fakih and extolling his “Growing Middle Eastern food empire”. Mohamad’s smile is strangely wide and unsettling, his gleaming eyes are as black and unreadable as the ocean. The use of the word Empire stirs feelings of unease in me, but this could be just troubling childhood Star Wars associations. 
I proceed to thumb through the issue, and am unsurprised by the agenda suffused rubbish I immediately encounter. For example, I first stumble across an article entitled Express Entry not working for employers, says Chamber. The article discusses how Canada is losing its competitive edge in attracting “skilled international talent”, according to The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, at least.
The Express Entry System is just “not aligned with business needs”, the temporary worker program is deficient due to restrictions, and it’s “hurting high-value sectors” like financial services—from high tech to academic research. Canada needs “highly skilled international talent”, and we just aren’t getting it apparently. The Chamber of Commerce has conceived of some improvements that ought to be “rapidly put in place” if Express Entry is going to once more become efficient for immigrants.
The complaint with the program, although never outlined in the article, is that it allows too few immigrants into Canada, and too slowly. Although “more than 112,700 people applied for permanent residency in Canada under the highly touted Express Entry System Ottawa introduced in January, only 844 permanent resident visas were issued” which basically amounted to about one in 10 applicants succeeding. And only about half of these actually used their visas to become permanent citizens. 
Excuse me, but I think we all know that the temporary foreign worker program is, in actuality, a terrible lie, and that Express Entry is a fast-track for supplanting potential skilled Canadian workers with immigrants who shouldn’t be here in the first place… at ever faster rates. Rather than allowing competition and the free market within Canada to naturally build a skilled labour workforce, the go-to solution seems to be to “compete on a global stage for talent”, like an exotic dancer looking to turn a trick.  Rather than putting money into the growth of the skilled trades and building Canada from our own Canadian workforce, the federal government would rather farm the jobs out to “the world”. But I forget myself, if we have learned anything from the Syrian debacle it’s that everybody is Canadian… like the old ‘80’s aid jingle proclaimed, “we are the world”. 
The temporary foreign worker program is a ploy designed to bring unskilled (not skilled) labour into the country to fuel the quick service industry at the expense of all Canadians. The same Canadians who unwittingly have been turned into debt slaves and the playthings of public sector civil servants. Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate has jumped to 7.2% as of January 2016 . But more migrant skilled labour is the answer, according to this magazine, and faster.
Anyway, the article goes on to say that Canadian Immigrant recently interviewed John McCallum, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship who said he’s been too swamped with the Syrian refugee farce to be able to give proper consideration to problems facing the Express Entry System. He’s far to busy fast tracking Syrians into Canada at an unsustainable rate, apparently, but will be “delving into Express Entry soon”. Let us remember that this was the same man that recently vowed to completely reverse the Conservative’s “severe cuts” to the refugee health program, which drastically reduced medical insurance to privately sponsored refugees and to those who make a refugee medical claim immediately upon entering Canada.  The Devil’s work is never done, and certainly never fast enough to suit some. I grit my teeth and persist with reading Canadian Immigrant.
The next thing I notice while riffling through the magazine is a couple of arbitrary blurbs discussing current events. One is called Year of the Monkey is here. 2016 is the Year of the Monkey, did you know? The article doesn’t elaborate on what this means, instead diverging into a discourse on Chinese New Year and a monster named Nian.
I also notice a piece on the Maple Leaf entitled Flag appreciation, reminding immigrants that Feb 15th is National Flag Day. I’ve always had mixed feelings about the flag myself, despite the fact that “Canada is the only country with a maple leaf on its flag, and it’s often sited as one of the world’s most beautiful.” Isn’t that a pip? Don’t get me started. If you’re curious as to my stance on the flag, have a squint at my article Why Fly The Ensign? 
Moving right along then, it’s on to page 21 of Canadian Immigrant, where I come across the centerpiece of the magazine, the coup de foudre, so to speak. It’s an article called More compassion to come, and the use of the word “compassion” tips me off instantly that this is another piece with a high likelihood of making me angry… and it does not disappoint.
Basically, the article has to do with a judgement made by the Supreme Court of Canada on Dec. 10, 2015 called Kanthasamy v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) that nobody ever heard of. The article informs us that it’s the most “significant immigration judgement in almost 20 years”, leading me to suspect that the consequences cannot bode well for the health of Canada.
The article proceeds to explain the implications of the “Kanthasamy” ruling. Essentially it has to do with a loosening of the restrictions that constrain visa officers who process applications for permanent Canadian residence on “humanitarian and compassionate” (H & C) grounds. It tells us that this ruling is basically a slackening of standards in favour of saccharine sensitivity and fuzzy feelings.
It seems that visa officers used to have a benchmark for assessing sad-sackery that limited them to giving otherwise inadmissible applicants residence only if they were potential victims of “unusual and undeserved or disproportionate hardship”. In other words, if refusal of a candidate was likely to result in some sort of hardship to themselves or their children due to personal circumstances beyond their control, officers could allow them citizenship on ‘H & C’ grounds.
Well, good news! Things just got a whole lot more intangible and much less clearly defined. You see, now immigration officers have a new mandate to “analyze applications holistically to determine whether there are sufficient H & C considerations to warrant approval”. Gone are any rigid or strict criterion, and here to stay is an applicant who need only “show that he or she would likely be affected by adverse conditions back home.” This, of course, could mean practically anything, and can in almost no way be substantiated.
Furthermore, Kanthasamy says if the applicant is a member of some typically discriminated against group in their homeland, it’s safe to presume that they will face hardship if sent back, so “H & C considerations should be made.” And we mustn’t forget the children. The interests of the children must be “well identified and defined with a great deal of attention” during the charade. The test for officers assessing children is no longer hardship, but consideration of their “best interests”.
What does any of this even mean? Use of words like “holistic”, “potential discrimination” and “best interests” have taken an already gaping loophole in our immigration system, that of humanitarian and compassionate grounds, already built on dubious foundations, and transformed it into something completely nebulous. This means that almost all objective standards have been stripped away. Subjective control now lies in the hands of the assessing visa officer in charge, based on the weight of the applicant’s past hardships.
Essentially, immigrants who were otherwise ineligible for Canadian citizenship can now slip through the cracks of our almost non-existent immigration criterions… by way of hard luck stories. If a candidate has no business being in Canada for any reason and has been denied citizenship, he or she can now appeal to the visa officer’s sense of altruism by whispering the magic letters “H & C”, in order to receive “holistic” treatment.
So there we have it. The Canadian immigration system, if it were not already acting completely in favour of the weak, the infirmed and most substandard applicants, now allows visa officers to overrule any remaining objective grounds for applicant rejection under the premise of “H & C” exceptions. A quote by Ayn Rand comes immediately to mind.
It took us just one meeting to discover that we had become beggars—rotten, whining, sniveling beggars, all of us… so [each of us] had to beg in public for relief from his needs, like any lousy moocher, listing all his troubles and miseries, down to his patched drawers and his wife’s head colds, hoping that ‘the family’ would throw him the alms. He had to claim miseries, because it’s miseries, not work, that had become the coin of the realm—so it turned into a contest between six thousand panhandlers, each claiming that his need was worse than his brother’s. — Atlas Shrugged pp. 661-662 
When people begin to compete for benefits (or in this case citizenship) by means of their inability rather than ability, their sufferings rather than their successes, the foundations of society swiftly begin to erode and eventually collapse, believed Rand. We as a country seem to systematically keep opting in favour of the lowest common denominator, the least capable, and those with the most baggage.
It truly is a terrible day when the highest court in the country disregards Canadian best interests and begins using the socialist terminology of the left. Holistic? I had to look it up. According to Merriam-Webster it means: “relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts”.  In other words, the abandonment of quantitative methods of objective assessment based on individual worth. It’s now about the applicant’s ‘big picture’, how big a loser in life is the person? In how many ways is the person hated by people in his or her own country?
So I must ask myself, who is the target audience of this ghastly magazine? It’s certainly not those recently immigrated “Canadians” discussed in the above noted articles. It’s not our favourite charity group The Syrians, for they generally wouldn’t have the faintest idea what was being debated (nor likely be able to read it.)
With the exception of a fair amount of the advertising, which seems directed towards a small number of skilled migrant workers, Canadian Immigrant seems dedicated wholly to people employed within the immigration system. This is a magazine designed for federally employed monkeys (get it? Year of the Monkey?), therefore those with a vested interest in its perpetuation and expansion. It’s for those looking to see restrictions lifted and standards discarded. This is a magazine for those looking to see more immigrants brought into Canada with fewer delays, for people invested in Canada’s doom.