Amphiist 5: Immigration

· Philosophy, Politics

Immigration is one of the most controversial issues of the day. And this applies worldwide. It is understandable why so many people have such strong feelings about this issue.

Justin Trudeau has come out heavily in favour of open borders and immigration, especially of refugees. He believes in diversity, because it strengths any nation which celebrates it, and practices it. I understand from his public speeches that he feels that the more Canadians experience other cultures, the richer we will be on multiple levels. They bring a spirit of entrepreneurship, family values, and a wide range of ideas from which all Canadians benefit. I cannot speak for Trudeau, obviously, but if he does feel this way, I completely agree with him.

However, there is another side to the issue. Many people fear that with increased immigration come increased security risks. Most sane people acknowledge that the percentage of Islamic terrorists compared to the entire Muslim population is extremely small. However, even if there are 1,000 (as a hypothetical) Muslims with terror in their hearts, that does represent an enormous risk to Canadians and to the Muslim community itself, as a lot of people will then afterward blame any terror attack on all Muslims, without considering the reality that it is individuals who engage in terrorism, not groups overall.

On the other hand, there is a strong argument to be made that if we welcome Muslims and other non-Canadians to Canada, we will benefit from additional security nationally, because we will not anger those who wish to destroy non-believers.

Take Trump’s Muslim ban. Groups like ISIS are going to become increasingly enraged that such discrimination exists against Muslims because of that man’s presidency, especially since it originates from the land of the supposed free. Trudeau, in a very emotionally intelligent way, upon Trump’s statement about the ban, reassured immigrants that they would always have a place in Canada. Perhaps it is unfair to compare Trump to Trudeau, of course. Trudeau’s father, after all, made into law the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and had many years of political experience, no doubt some of which he passed on to his son. Trump, on the other hand, comes from the world of capitalist business, where people do not matter as much as profits.

In Canada, immigration is based on a merit-based points program. Careful vetting occurs so as to ensure Canadians’ national security and the human rights of immigrants seeking a better life.

Trudeau has demonstrated his world view by withdrawing fighters from Yemen, offering humanitarian aid instead, and training. While still not ideal, it is much better than contributing weapons to the region. If violence were ever the answer, then the first time it occurred, there never would have been need for any additional violence.

We need to stop thinking in terms of Canadian rights, but instead focus on human rights and peacefully co-existing with all global stakeholders.

I would like to offer an analogy for my last point. Sometimes when people join a religion, they enthusiastically grab on to the doctrines of that religion with even more vigour than the people born into the religion, and brought up in it by their parents. I think this is what Trudeau was talking about (if indeed the quotation attributed to him is accurate) when he stated that sometimes immigrants who come to Canada are more Canadian than native Canadians. Sometimes an immigrant sees with new, appreciative eyes the practical implementation of laws like the collective Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, whereas native Canadians, through no fault of our own, but naturally, begin to take such rights for granted as we have always had them.

The answer seems to be to have as unlimited immigration as possible. Let’s learn about new cultures. Let others retain their cultures when they come here, so we can all learn from each other. Let’s show the world that Canadians understand what it means to be a post-national state, and instead a legitimate stakeholder in the global arena.

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