Thursday, May 11, 2006

Even More Mid-Week Musings

1. It's a very complex blog.

2. BBG calls it "whack a Liberal day". First we get news that the Tories plan to sue the Liberals. I may be the only person in the Liberal Party who isn't a lawyer so I don't want to comment but I have a very hard time seeing how this lawsuit could possibly be successful. I guess if it keeps Adscam in the news, it certainly is a smart political move for the CPC (although one wonders about the timing, given this).

There's also a leaked copy of the AG's report on the gun registry floating around which has Sheila Fraser mad as hell. And, from my memory, Sheila Fraser is right up there with Bruce Banner, as people you wouldn't like when they're angry.

As for the report itself, it's certainly going to make the Liberals look bad. No denying that. But, at the same time, it's going to say that the program costs are now under control which should make it harder for Harper to kill the registry. Good.

3. I wouldn't put a lot of stock in polls right now, but after his incredible election night predictions, Nick Nanos has earned a few free links. The poll numbers pretty much show everyone right where'd you'd expect them to be.

4. Although it physically pains me to praise Joe Volpe and knock Monte Solberg, I was disappointed to see Monte talk about lowering Canada's immigration targets. There's a good article in the Globe today about declining birth rates and Canada's shifting demographics. With an aging population, dramatically increasing Canada's immigration totals should be a top priority for any government thinking about the long run.


  • Haven't the courts already ruled that a political party can't be sued? For some strange reason a church can be held liable for things that happened a long time ago, but a political party can't be held responsible for anything. Going after individuals might be more a more viable option, but who has the missing millions?

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 7:57 p.m.  

  • Holy crap, it's pink.

    (I'll read the rest of your entry now. But. Pink!)

    By Blogger Mike Gillis, at 8:08 p.m.  

  • And that Globe & Mail article is full of misinformation on the subject, as usual.

    By Blogger George, at 8:29 p.m.  

  • While I'm all for immigration, and think it is great for Canada, I don't feel worried about scrapping the 300,000/year goal.

    Two reasons for this:

    1. We have a backlog of 800,000 would-be immigrants who we should really, in the interest of fairness, get their appliocations processed and allow into the country. Some of these people have been waiting for years.

    2. Monte is not talking about restricting, or scaling back immigration - merely doing away with a fictional figure that we have never managed to hit.

    By Blogger Andrew, at 9:51 p.m.  

  • Wouldn't allowing some of those 800,000 count as part of the total? If we let in 200,000 new ones and 100,000 from the "waiting list", doesn't that still mean 300,000 a year?

    My personal preference would be to go above the 300,000 a year total. People have talked about a 1% target for a long time and I don't see any reason Canada can't hit. We have an aging population, and a labour shortage. I think the Canadian economy and society could easily handle 300,000 a year.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:20 p.m.  

  • Is that Draft Belinda Blog more or less of a joke than that Draft Diamond one that was floating around a few months back?

    I personaly would take Diamond over Belinda any day of the week.

    By Blogger polarslam, at 10:27 p.m.  

  • Hey, I started a Draft Belinda movement months ago! That jerk stole my idea!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:35 p.m.  

  • Re immigration.
    We before-long-to-be-boomer-retirees need a vibrant energetic workforce.
    But, and this will generate some controversy, at the expense of Canada becoming a branch office of China, Ethiopia, Croatia or Iran?
    When the demographics of the population change, will this still be the same country? When the constitution and Charter are tossed in favour of the laws of another land, will this still be Canada? When cricket is more popular than hockey?
    I don't know the answer. I think most new Canadians have integrated a little or a lot into our tolerant, moderate, peaceful, cold weather sport society. But what happens when these fatures are no longer the majority.
    I have sat through international sports games against foreign countries, in Canada, where Canada is booed and Croatia, Greece and Italy are cheered.

    By Blogger Lemon, at 11:01 p.m.  

  • I'm all for brining in more immigrants, because, obviously, this is a nation of immigrants, but with all its attendent costs both here and to the countries we recruit our immigrants from, why not put equal endorsments toward encouraging Canadians to have more kids.

    Basically, if the government is going to be in the business of trying counter-act certain birth and demographic trends, why not support increasing the Canadian birth-rate?

    By Blogger Matthew, at 11:15 p.m.  

  • Wells here. Geez, every time a blogger stops allowing anonymous comments it takes me 10 minutes to remember what my Blogger username and password are.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say Bart's writing really well these days. Just words writing. Fun to read.

    By Blogger Paul, at 11:17 p.m.  

  • More importantly: why don't we use our resources and efforts FIRST to integrate those already here?

    I am thinking of:

    - stepping up efforts to improve immigrants' language skills

    - fixing that whole foreign credentials mess

    - drawing immigrants into mainstream Canada and away from their groups and "ghettos"

    By Blogger George, at 11:18 p.m.  

  • I understand three things about the current immigration system:
    a. it is strapped of resources,
    b. it is often unfair because of its lack of resources,
    c. the 300,000 year target can't be processed because of a lack of resources.

    There are two conclusions:
    1. 300,000 is a hollow number; sort of like national daycare, it only existed as a Liberal promise, always about to be delivered.
    2. As a matter of resource allocation, we can:
    i. process less and throw the gates open to meet 300,000,
    ii. continue the status quo,
    iii. reduce present entries and operate a fair system (i.e. an APPEAL BOARD!!)?

    Now, I like option iii. And it's only if we expect the government to be honest with us that it would result in the Minister speaking of a lowered target.

    There's also the issue Solberg alluded to, that while Canada en gros may be able to handle an influx of 300,000/yr, the combined populations of Vancouver and Toronto - Montreal to a lesser extent - cannot handle that influx. I don't know anything about that, but prima facie it sounds as reasonable as does the assertion that Canada can handle the 300,000 number.

    I'd also note that Paul Wells notes that the budget discussion paper hints at the feds swinging a stick to get provinces in line regarding recognition of foreign/extra-prov professional credentials. Which is a HUGE immigration issue the Liberals always sensibly promised, and incomprehensibily never acted upon. Here's hoping Harper is paying more than lip service to the idea.

    Regardless, my soap box is establishing an appeal mechanism for immigration and refugee claims. I have faith that a professional civil service will maintain appropriate influx levels.

    P.S. You can easily sue the Libs for Adscam, insofar as there's a "scam", i.e. fraud. It's criminal activity (i.e. criminal knowledge and intent rather than mere inadvertence) that is targeted, as opposed to policy decisions.

    By Blogger matt, at 11:21 p.m.  

  • matt; I'm far from an expert on immigration but is there a way to "direct" new immigrants to places other than Toronto or Vancouver? Could we, for instance, encourage them to settle in the Maritimes? Or in Alberta where they need workers?

    For the lawsuit, can you actually sue a party if it's only certain individuals in the party commiting fraud? If I found a crooked Tory riding President, I presume the entire CPC couldn't be sued. How widespread does something have to be to actually sue an entire party over it?

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:14 a.m.  

  • I think - and I am no legal expert here - that they're suing the organization because they would, or at least should, have records of where the money went. The Liberal Party also benefited from this money, knowingly or not.

    I'd imagine that by suing the Liberal Party, the government will have access to these records and be able to track the money down. At this point, no one know exactly how much money is stolen.

    Should this suit prove successful and the government gets money from the Liberals, then the Liberals could sue the individuals if a) they're willing to keep this issue in the public's eye or b) they can even afford to if a huge amount of money was stolen.

    But I'm no legal expert.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:27 a.m.  

  • Since party is like any corporation, the whole party can be held liable for the actions of its officers. Simple as that. Look at Enron - the whole company was put out of its sorry existence.

    By Blogger George, at 1:16 a.m.  

  • As ana immigrant myself I am all in favour of mantaining that 1% figure, and I think dealing with the backlog and 300,000 are two separate issues. You just need to hire lots of temp people to quickly process the backlog. But I also heard nowadays it takes upto 4 years for an application to be processed (such as for bringing a relative like parents, grandparents in).

    By Blogger mezba, at 6:50 a.m.  

  • I don't understand comlex files, and especially complex legal ones. My uneducated sense says that a suit will see an investigation into how much money is missing and where it all went and try to reclaim it. To be honest, I'm not convinced it's a petty suit - I must say, if there is really $40 000 000 missing, I'd of course like to see it paid back.

    But I can't claim a legal background, chickpeas!

    By Blogger Lois, at 9:10 a.m.  

  • I can claim a legal background. A very small legal background.

    1. Redirecting Immigrants. Ahem - Charter. (there are all sorts of "incentive" ideas that dance around the issue, but for a variety of reasons just aren't pragmatic).

    2. Suing a party because of a bad riding president. This all depends on how the party is structured. Long story short: if a crooked riding president takes cash he knows, or ought to know, is illegal and puts it in the riding's accounts or spends it on the ridings' affairs, you can sue the riding. Ibid for the national president of a national party, or the vice-president of the provincial wing of a national party....

    By Blogger matt, at 10:43 a.m.  

  • "have a very hard time seeing how this lawsuit could possibly be successful"

    Right-O, CG. The Liberal party deciding how much they owed and the Liberal gov't signing off is where the file should be left.

    "dramatically increasing Canada's immigration totals should be a top priority for any government thinking about the long run"

    Sounds like Kyoto. Another thing that any 'thinking' gov't would do that the Liberals didn't.

    I'll judge Solberg by the actual numbers which should be increased when the declining outcomes that littered Volpe's desk are dealt with.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:29 p.m.  

  • My wife immigrated to Canada. It took about 2 years from start to finish to get her into the country and an ohip card.

    Every situation is different though so if you're a stripper it might only take a few months and if you're a doctor it could take 10 years. Or maybe that was only when the Liberals were in power?

    If the LPC stole more than 1.14 million from us I think it is in the taxpayers interest to use every resource available to punish them and get it back. It will hopefully (although not likely) teach them a lesson along the way. Why do some Liberals still feel they were entitled to that money?

    By Blogger What_The_Puck?, at 1:32 p.m.  

  • I'll back you on pushing for an overall higher number of immigrants accepted if you back me that we should be mandating that newcomers head to areas of the country outside of the Big Three (T.O., Montreal and Van-City, with Calgary started to make an argument for Big Four).

    Our current immigration policies aren't helping as much as they should. I hate trying to tell someone where they can or cannot live, but at some point we've got to say that the smaller centers and rural Canada need people too.

    By Blogger The Hack, at 2:04 p.m.  

  • hack; Deal. Although as Matt points out, there might be legal difficulties with that. And a place that really needs immigrants is Quebec and you might run into a hostile government on that. Still, you'd think there should be some sort of way to provide incentives for immigrants to settle outside the big 3 or 4 cities.

    As for repaying the $$$, didn't the LPC repay the amount which the party actually received? I think the 40 million refers to cash which went to ad firms, etc.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 3:32 p.m.  

  • The Charter doesn't let you use disincentives: freedom of movement and no discrimination, remember.

    Bona fide immigrants these days are one of four categories:
    a. skilled (based on points derived from language, education, etc.),
    b. business people (i.e. do you have >~$1M),
    c. family reunification,
    d. refugees.

    Incentives aren't practical for the first two categories, because they'd have to be really really big to be effective. And the skilled immigrants/businesspeople we target won't have their desired impact outside major civic centres, so the point is moot.

    The third category speaks for itself.

    Now, providing a bunch of cash for refugees to settle in Biggar, Saskatchewan is an interesting prospect (n.b. Churches and like groups do that of their own accord presently). But, that brings us back to the resources issue. Refugee determinations are complex and lengthy and conducted in major centres. One incentive might be a shortcut to refugee status based on proof of one year of bona fide economic particiaption in i.e. Biggar Saskatchewan.

    I don't know how corporate recruiting works, i.e. Sudanese abbatoir workers in Brooks. I suspect it's along the lines of Filipina nannies and Romanian, ahem, dancers. You have a period of economic indentured servitude (probation) in your targeted field of menial labour for several years, and then immigration status is yours.

    I see three solutions to aid in dispersement and integration (note I don't advocate assimilation):
    a. more, easier intensive language training.
    b. coordination of recognition of foreign credentials
    c. more government/corporate partnerships for the recruitment of semi-skilled labour in more remote locations, i.e. the potash mines of Saskatchewan.

    Of course, I understand these initiatives are all ongoing - just going badly. Hence, a reallocation of resources might be in order.

    By Blogger matt, at 4:22 p.m.  

  • Two more comments:

    1. The TDH blog has a great immigration post.

    2. The LPC volunteered $1.14M. Because of the "scam" in "adscam" it's not like they can pull out the black book of fraudulently received funds and prove that was the only dirty money they received. Sort of like the Tories being unable to produce a policy book labelled "hidden agenda" and prove banning abortion isn't in it. There's some ironic symetry there. So, upshot is you sue to make sure there isn't more where the $1.14M came from.

    By Blogger matt, at 4:25 p.m.  

  • I'm surprised that we haven't heard any musings regarding the scrapping of the IRB[Immigrations Review Board]which spends over a billion dollars of taxpayers' money every year. This was a solid policy plank for the Canadian Alliance/Reform party as they only saw it as a quasi-judicial organization populated by liberals rewarded for their loyal partisanship. As well, they did not support the board's ability to overturn deportation orders. A large reason, they believe, why the Canadian government is still ignorant to the whereabouts of over 27,000 such deportees.

    But as of today, there has been no new appointments to the board or executive.

    Could this be a sign?

    By Blogger scott, at 8:44 p.m.  

  • As for repaying the $$$, didn't the LPC repay the amount which the party actually received?

    How do YOU know what the Liberal party recieved?
    Where is the cancelled cheque, for said re-payment?
    Who and How did they decide, how much was stolen by the liberals?

    Canadians want their money back and those responsible held to account...!

    By Blogger william, at 9:05 a.m.  

  • A short while ago I read a study about how those immigrants who decide to live out side the major cities tend to make about 20% more a year than their more urbane fellows.

    They should publicize the hell out of that.

    But on the other hand when i moved out west from eastern Canada I moved into a place with a fellow easterner I got a job from a fellow easterner, and almost all my friends were fellow easterners.

    Im not surprised that immigrants opperate in the same way... you go where your friends and family go.

    By Blogger davidt, at 11:09 a.m.  

  • "As for repaying the $$$, didn't the LPC repay the amount which the party actually received?"

    I think at this point the LPC has repaid any money it received in donations, but part of the fraud was moving tax-payers money to private businesses and then using the money to hire LPC members who would work for the LPC while being paid by the tax-payer. Has this money been repaid?

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 12:26 p.m.  

  • Wouldn't just suing the Liberals cost them millions in Legal fees?

    Would the purpose be not get the money back, but too deminish the party's finances with legal fees?

    By Blogger Liberal Fortunes, at 2:22 p.m.  

  • If the best argument the Liberals have against being held liable is that it would cost money for legal fees, then there is no hope for them.

    Tell you what... why don't the Liberals pass a law the next time they get in that makes it illegal for the Liberals to be sued because its a waste of money.

    Im sure lots of criminals would like to make the argument that they should not be held to account because taking them to court would cost the state money in legal fees.

    By Blogger davidt, at 3:40 p.m.  

  • By Blogger raybanoutlet001, at 11:44 p.m.  

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