Monday, September 24, 2007

letters to the editor

Letters to the editor are great fun. Here's one I submitted today:

Last week, a letter in the Star attacked the Canadian Medical Association’s proposed changes to the Canadian Health care system, explaining that vested interests shouldn’t be allowed to overhaul the Canadian health care system in the name of profit.

There are plenty of letters like this – “Peoples' lives and well-being shouldn’t depend on their income or anything else!” letters always seem to proclaim, and no system could be beneficial if it is concerned primarily with money.

But this week, letters about Mexican immigrants are all the rage. Unlike the Canadian health care system, though, money is what it’s all about.

We can’t afford these immigrants! Ship them back and all of our problems will be solved. Will they be impoverished? Will they starve? Not our problem! Unless you’re from Canada or you have your paper work in order, all the human rights we claim to believe in go flying out the window.

That’s what we’ve fought for all these years, after all: a country free from discrimination based on anything other than country of origin and completeness of paperwork.

The worst part is that Canadians are so afraid of change that we won’t consider real solutions to either of these problems, and we’ll look the other way when our values become completely inconsistent.

We’ll try to guarantee ourselves a better life by stopping the poor and hungry from coming here the way our ancestors did… but don’t mess with our universal health care!

Talk about a double standard.

12 comments:

Raphael Alexander said...

Ship them back and all of our problems will be solved. Will they be impoverished? Will they starve? Not our problem!

But what you write sarcastically is actually true.

Can you not see the contradiction between your position on welfare and your position on refugees?

Jay Jardine said...

raphael,

There is no contradiction between opposing the welfare state and supporting open borders. It's entirely consistent in fact.

No one owes anyone else a living and no one has the right to interfere in the peaceful business of people who happen to have been born on the opposite sides of a line on a map.

Frank Hilliard said...

How can you defend our freedoms -- and your freedom as a woman -- and at the same time say the state has no right to limit immigration? That's like saying you, as a child, like living in your parent's home but your parents have no right to stop tens, hundreds, or thousands of other people living there as well. How many snacks could you get out of the refrigerator if there were a 100 other people standing in the kitchen?

I see you also belong to Liberal and NDP blogrolls. Are you by any chance an agent provocateur? You must be.

Incidentally, I agree with you about sailing. I used to crew on the Rainbow class (keel boat day sail) as well as the Lightening class (ugly brutes).

Raphael Alexander said...

No one owes anyone else a living and no one has the right to interfere in the peaceful business of people who happen to have been born on the opposite sides of a line on a map.

Jay, the welfare state and immigration go hand in hand, particularly illegal immigrants or refugees who are not legally entitled to work, and so rely on government handouts.

I support limited, legal immigration. Socialism is based on the concept of the international union, and supporting open borders is strangely in conflict with a capitalist society because you cannot have one without hurting the other.

Janet said...

raphael - There would only be a contradiction between my position on welfare and my position on immigration if I was advocating paying immigrants who can't get a job to come here, like we do now, which I'm not. I think people should be able to move freely, and I don't think they would be coming here without a job if they didn't know that we would pay them regardless. (I also think anyone should be able to get a job anywhere, regardless of citizenship.)

I'm not sure why you think open borders are in contradiction to capitalism - free movement of labour is a natural part of a free market. Open borders are only unsustainable with socialism - the fact that you choose to pay some people to leave unsustainable lives must either be biased or unsustainable because you either have to pick and choose who you pay or you'll run out of money when everyone comes looking for a handout. In this case, it's biased by racism, and call me crazy, but I don't think race makes one human being worth less than another.

If you're in favour of welfare, then it's up to you to explain why other people aren't entitled to it. If you don't think that people are entitled to welfare because of where they were born or what religion they follow, that's fine for you, but I'm not sure what you would call making a decision like that if you're not going to call it bigotry.

Janet said...

frank - I didn't say that we should be giving up our private property rights - in fact, I said that they are one thing that has to be protected no matter what. So no, opening borders is in no way like a child whose parents let everyone into the house - they own the house and with ownership comes exclusivity.

But I'm not sure how my freedom as a woman, or just as a person, has anything to do with immigration, other than it's restricted by current immigration policies.

As I've said, we need to protect personal and property rights regardless of who is in a country through a constitution. As I've said in other comments, I disagree with the welfare state - I think people should be free to come to or go from Canada as they pleased, knowing that there aren't any snacks in the fridge up for grabs.

Janet said...

By the way, where does anyone see that I'm on the Liberal or NDP blogrolls?

Jay Jardine said...

Actually, native-born Canadians had plenty to do with the development (and perpetuation) of the welfare state. I suppose if you acknowledge that JS Woodsworth, Tommy Douglas, Lester Pearson and a slew of others were the descendants of undocumented immigrants then I can sort of see your point.

"Socialism is based on the concept of the international union"

...and in its more virulent strains the concept that society's wishes trump those of private property owners, meaning anything from whether you can hire a Mexican to shovel your driveway or open a restaurant with a smoking section is rightfully any of the government's business.

zolton said...

And as it should. One man's flash in the pan existence should not overwrite the Awesome continuation of it. For if someone tried to legitimize the position of the individual above the continuation of existance first and foremost then they really do not like life.
TBONTB

NB taxpayer said...

It's a tough call, janet. Your position on refugees is solid, however, that does not solve the place of origin arguement.

Many who entered Canada in the past came from a so-called "safe third". (i.e. the United States, Britain, etc.)

Though many would claim the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement to be unconstitutional wherein it breaches international law, I see it as a better way to manage the flow of refugee claimants at the shared land border. In other words, it allows us to better manage those who enter Canada first and make a refugee claim.

We shouldn't be in charge of cleanup duty for other countries.

Janet said...

nbt:
I think the ideal solution would be to eliminate "refugee" status because we'd just let anyone who wants to live and work in Canada do so and eliminate the cost problems that would create by greatly reducing or eliminating the welfare system.
I don't think we need to manage where people live any more than we need to manage, for instance, what they have for breakfast, and if a welfare system is standing in the way of that, then the welfare system is the problem... but that seemed like it would be too much to explain in a 300-word letter at the time and it's hardly a step incremental enough to be taken any time soon.

Unless I misunderstand what you mean by "clean-up duty," then I think the above would probably solve those problems. (If we have to pay for everyone coming into the country from other safe countries, obviously it can seem like we are cleaning up after them for their problems.)

NB taxpayer said...

I think the ideal solution would be to eliminate "refugee" status because we'd just let anyone who wants to live and work in Canada do so and eliminate the cost problems that would create by greatly reducing or eliminating the welfare system.

I don't follow? are u suggesting that all immigrants come into the country under one umbrella with different claims? Wouldn't that be a bureaucratic nightmare?