In a highly competitive world, is diversity Canada’s advantage? Momani and Stirk

Op-ed by Bessma Momani and Jill Stirk on their research supported by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation on the business benefits of multiculturalism or pluralism (disclosure: I have been discussing with them how some of my data from my research and book Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote could assist their work):

Research shows that diverse organizations make better decisions, and companies with diverse leadership see rewards in their bottom line. A 2015 study by McKinsey and Co., for example, shows that “companies in the top quartile for gender, racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians.” A recent study by the Peterson Institute found that 22,000 companies whose executive management was gender-diverse realized 6-per-cent higher corporate earnings.

Business leaders, both at home and abroad, tell us that the country’s diverse work force makes Canada an attractive partner for investment and trade. As one executive of a high-tech company noted, “I want my team to be diverse, and I know I can get that in Canada.” Research from the Conference Board of Canada shows that businesses operated by immigrant entrepreneurs are twice as likely to export outside Canada and the United States, and not necessarily to their country or region of origin.

But despite all this anecdote and evidence, it’s not clear that business leaders, even in today’s knowledge-based economy, truly embrace diversity of thought, experience, gender and ethno-cultural background as a key input into an innovative service or product. They understand that they must invest in science and technology, and generate ideas to create value. But is Canada taking full advantage of its rich diversity? Are we leveraging our globally connected citizens to the same extent as India, Australia or Britain?

Even though it’s increasingly clear that pluralistic societies are a magnet for talent and investment, governments too often focus on reinforcing borders or on protecting local monopolies, while businesses fail to see the opportunities that come with diverse international experience. Going forward, a national strategy to realize the benefits of diversity must involve a closer look at policies on labour mobility, taxation, fast-track visas for specialized needs, international research collaboration, foreign credential recognition and bridging, and ways to expand young Canadians’ opportunities to study and work abroad so they can gain vital international experience and build global connections.

With support from the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, we are taking an in-depth look at the links between pluralism and economic prosperity. Together with our partners, we are generating new academic research and consulting with business leaders, industry associations, universities and civic organizations to compile a comprehensive study of how diversity can be leveraged for greater economic advantage. We are documenting how Canadians are contributing to and benefiting from global connections, and how the growing Canadian diaspora – three million people living and working abroad – contribute to our role in an interconnected global economy.

Now, more than ever, as the discussion of global migration and diversity are increasingly polarized and scrutinized, it’s time to demonstrate the economic value of having a pluralist society. A diverse work force could be the comparative advantage for us to capitalize on in a highly competitive but slow-growing global economy.

Source: In a highly competitive world, is diversity Canada’s advantage? – The Globe and Mail

Why won’t the Liberals act on Harper’s overreach on appointments? Baar and Russell

Valid points by Carl Baar and Peter Russell (a former and excellent professor of mine):

One of the lingering excesses of the Stephen Harper government has remained largely unaddressed: awarding appointments for positions that would not be vacant until after the Oct. 19, 2015, federal election.

To the astonishment of many of our colleagues in political science and law, 49 order-in-council appointments were adopted by the Conservative cabinet from Nov. 27, 2014, to July 28, 2015 – all before the dissolution of Parliament – even though the effective dates of the orders were after Oct. 19, 2015, and in one case not until Jan. 1, 2019.

Of these, 48 were reappointments of existing members of agencies, boards and commissions, typically for fixed terms of two to five years, paying salaries as high as $200,000 a year or more.

The one new appointment was to the National Energy Board, for a seven-year term that began on Nov. 23, 2015 – a month after the election was over, and continues until Nov. 22, 2022.

We know of no constitutional principle that allows a government to fill vacancies that do not exist until after the end of its mandate – in this instance, when those vacancies occur after an election has been held.

The search for comparable events has been instructive if not troublesome. Last fall, elections in Poland led to the defeat of its previous government. The new government rescinded five appointments made by its predecessor to the country’s Constitutional Tribunal. That tribunal subsequently ordered three of those appointees reinstated, but declined to reinstate the other two because their positions were not vacant until after the new government came into power.

In Florida, the term of a member of its Supreme Court expired on Jan. 1, 1999, the same day governor-elect Jeb Bush was scheduled to take office to replace a Democratic incumbent. The situation was resolved when the two party leaders agreed on a single appointee to fill the vacancy.

Surely in Canada, with a system of government based on principles of responsible government and democratic accountability, this kind of overreach – making appointments that become effective beyond a government’s democratic mandate – is just as unacceptable as in other democracies.

….Our constitutional system is bulwarked by a set of “unwritten” principles or conventions to ensure that official conduct is consistent with the underlying spirit of our written Constitution.

One advantage of having unwritten conventions is that they can change and be adapted to new challenges to our constitutional order. However a disadvantage is that when unexpected abuses of power occur, there is no easily identified convention to apply.

Thus, for example, there is a caretaker convention that requires government to act with restraint between the time Parliament is dissolved and the newly elected parliament meets. Restraint means carrying on with the day-to-day governing of the country but without taking new policy initiatives or making important appointments.

The caretaker convention emerged in 1896 when Conservative prime minister Charles Tupper, after his defeat in the election but before the summoning of Parliament, presented the governor-general, Lord Aberdeen, with a long list of appointments. The governor-general refused to sign the more important appointments, including those to the Senate and the Supreme Court of Canada. When the House of Commons met after the election, the new prime minister, Wilfrid Laurier, supported the governor-general’s refusal and no member of Parliament supported Tupper.

What we need now, in 2016, is for a member of Parliament to challenge the Harper government’s overreach appointments, and get the same kind of support as Laurier received for challenging Tupper’s attempt to make unconstitutional appointments.

In that way, Canada will establish a constitutional convention that a government cannot make order-in-council appointments to positions that will not be open until after an election.

Source: Why won’t the Liberals act on Harper’s overreach on appointments? – The Globe and Mail

Canada’s tech startup sector wants easier access to hire top foreign talent

Yet some more expected tweaks to Express Entry:

After winning a big concession in the budget on taxing stock options, Canada’s tech startup sector is braced for its next battle: urging Ottawa to fix immigration rules that limit its ability to hire top foreign talent.

The Express Entry system brought in by the last government in 2015 “is fundamentally too rigid” and leaves employers waiting up to six months to discover if they can bring skilled foreign talent to Canada, said Tobi Lutke, CEO of Ottawa-based software firm Shopify Inc. “That puts us at a huge disadvantage for recruiting internationally.”

Under policy changes enacted by the Conservatives, employers now must validate a job offer by getting government approval for a “Labour Market Impact Assessment” – showing it couldn’t find Canadians to do the job. While that approach targeted abusers of the temporary foreign worker program, it meant fast-growing tech firms searching for the best employees globally had to submit to the same drawn-out process, only to be told in many cases by Ottawa that they should just hire a Canadian.

“It was a misguided approach,” said Sarah Anson-Cartwright, director of skills and immigration policy for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Immigration Minister John McCallum wasn’t available to comment. But a department spokesman said the government plans to review the Express Entry program “to see how it can be improved for potential immigrants such as top-level foreign executives. The review will include, likely among other things, the LMIA requirement.”

Tech startup leaders say the rules not only add delays but that the process lacks transparency and consistency, imposes needless bureaucracy and lacks an appeals process. In many cases, would-be recruits choose other offers rather than waiting. Foreign students awaiting government approval for their job offers sometimes must leave Canada when their study visas expire.

Six out of 10 employers surveyed by the Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC) last year said the immigration changes under the Tories had hindered their strategy planning and recruiting. One out of six opted to create the jobs abroad instead.

Curious to know the relative competitiveness of Canada vis-a-vis the US, given my understanding of the problems Silicon Valley has in hiring global talent.

Source: Canada’s tech startup sector wants easier access to hire top foreign talent – The Globe and Mail

Was Mother Teresa Really ‘Saintly’? – The Daily Beast

One of the counterpoints:

So Mother Teresa’s friendship was for sale—but that wasn’t the worst that could be said about her. Hitchens’s hostility to religion could cross over into hysteria, even idiocy: he once reproduced in print the urban legend that Orthodox Jews have sex through a hole in a sheet, so that their bodies don’t touch. But he got something essentially right about Mother Teresa’s theology when he noted that she wanted those in her care to suffer. Why else did she—despite the unaudited millions that her order brings in donations—provide her homes’ dying residents with thin cots, instead of proper hospital beds? Why did she deny them adequate narcotic pain relief? And why did she treat their pain as a beautiful thing? Because she believed that suffering brought the sick closer to Jesus Christ.

“The point,” Hitchens wrote, after adducing careful evidence, “is not the honest relief of suffering but the promulgation of a cult based on death and suffering and subjection. Mother Teresa (who herself, it should be noted, has checked into some of the finest and costliest clinics and hospitals in the West during her bouts with heart trouble and old age) once gave this game away in a filmed interview.” Describing a person in the last agonies of cancer, she “told the camera what she told this terminal patient: ‘You are suffering like Christ on the cross. So Jesus must be kissing you.’ Unconscious of the account to which this irony might be charged, she then told of the sufferer’s reply: ‘Then please tell him to stop kissing me.’”

The Catholic Church, of course, does not canonize people for their moral perfection. For Catholics, all human beings are fallen and sinful in nature; canonized saints are not perfect beings but simply people who led lives worthy enough to receive special recognition in their afterlives (as a technical matter, saints are those whose names can be invoked in the liturgy). So Mother Teresa could be as bad as Hitchens said she was, and yet in relevant ways good enough to deserve sainthood. And therein lies a problem. For while the Church never claimed that saints are necessarily super-human, our popular perception of saints requires them to be, and so we develop historical amnesia about who they really were.

Some of the Catholic saints, even some of the real biggies, were perfectly dreadful. For starters, a startling number were anti-Semites. “How dare Christians have the slightest intercourse with Jews, those most miserable of all men,” asked St. John Chrysostom, the fourth-century church father. In Jesus’ time, the Jews’ “evil ways corrupted the morals of the people,” according to St. Thomas Aquinas. “Jews are slayers of the Lord, murderers of the prophets,” said St. Gregory of Nyssa. If it seems bit unfair to hold men ancient and medieval to our modern ideals of toleration—after all, to be a European Christian was, once upon a time, to be taught do despise Jews—then consider all the saints who were bloody crusaders, or cruel catechizers of unwilling native peoples. One begins to see that there’s something unnerving about the whole category. 

Of course, Wolf, the philosopher, would immediately recognize that Catholic saints were not supposed to be moral saints, not as she understands the term. The Catholic Church has historically looked to canonize people of grandeur—institution builders, martyrs, self-flagellators, mystics, and of course miracle workers—but not always men and women of particular kindness or generosity. Contemporary Americans have tacked on a third expectation of saints, the Winfrey expectation, that they publicly perform warmth and love, if possible after encountering, in their own lives, great suffering. By brushing against evil—Mother Teresa in the Calcutta slums, Wiesel in the Holocaust, Winfrey and Angelou in their own childhood abuse—and then emerging as beacons of love and optimism, they shore up our wishes for the perfectibility of the world.

It is our shortsighted, and very modern error, that we want Mother Teresa to be a saint by all these definitions. She was a shrewd operator, one of the great institution builders of our time. And she was a kind of witness to depravity. But she wasn’t always kind, and only by suspending our honest judgment could we find her easy to love. 

Source: Was Mother Teresa Really ‘Saintly’? – The Daily Beast

ICYMI – Douglas Todd: The dangers of a ‘postnational’ Canada

Douglas Todd wades into the post-nationalist debate and framing Canada in terms of common values, as does PM Trudeau, rather than on an ethnic basis.

Before digging further into the influences behind our over-heated housing markets, however, I’ll make a case for healthy nationalism.

Avoid extremes

The first thing to keep in mind is to not judge nationalism by its extremes.

As G.K. Chesterton once said, condemning nationalism because it can lead to war is like condemning love because it can lead to murder.

In recent years many regions have developed generally positive forms of nationalism, Scotland, the Czech Republic, the U.S., Argentina, Japan, Sweden to name a few.

Healthy nationalism encourages diverse people to cooperate.

“Patriotism is what makes us behave unselfishly. It is why we pay taxes to support strangers, why we accept election results when we voted for the loser, why we obey laws with which we disagree,” writes Daniel Hannan, author of Inventing Freedom.

“A functioning state requires broad consensus on what constitutes the first-person plural. Take that sense away, you get Syria or Iraq or Ukraine or — well, pretty much any war zone you can name.”

Though Canada’s particular style of nationalism is fluid and not simple to define, it’s part of what makes the country attractive to immigrants, who often arrive from dysfunctional regions torn by corruption and cynicism about national officials.

Many immigrants seem to realize that it’s not normally nationalism that foments catastrophic division, it’s religion, race or tribalism.

In contrast, some of the world’s most economically successful and egalitarian countries have a sense of mutual trust and appreciation for good government that is in part based on the glue of nationalism.

People in proud Nordic countries, for instance, often decorate even their birthday cakes with their national flags. At the same time Nordic nations are generous to their disadvantaged and in distributing foreign aid.

Michael McDonald, former head of the University of B.C.’s Centre for Applied Ethics, thinks Trudeau’s belief that Canada is the world’s first “postnational state” emerges out of his concern that it’s dangerous to “affirm a dominant culture that suppresses and marginalizes those outside the mainstream.”

But even though the ethics professor believes it’s important to protect minorities, he isn’t prepared to overlook the value of nationalism.

McDonald believes being Canadian is like being a member of a community, or a big family.

“Some are born into the family and others are adopted. There is a shared family history — interpreted in diverse ways,” McDonald says.

“Not everyone is happy being in the family. Some think being a family member is important and others do not. But we are shaped by our families, and we shape ourselves within and sometimes against our families. So also with our country.”

Transnationalist dangers

Embracing McDonald’s view that Canada is a giant, unruly but somewhat bonded family, I’d suggest Trudeau contradicts himself, or is at least being naive, when he argues Canada is a postnational state.

On one hand Trudeau claims Canada has no “core identity.” On the other hand he says the Canadian identity is quite coherent — we all share the values of “openness, respect, compassion, willingness to work hard, to be there for each other, to search for equality and justice.”

Can it be both ways?

Most Canadians don’t think so. Regardless of what Trudeau told the New York Times, a recent Angus Reid Institute poll confirmed what many Canadians judge to be common sense: 75 per cent of residents believe there is a “unique Canadian culture.”

Less a contradiction than a refinement of what is common to Canadians (imperfectly, of course).

Source: Douglas Todd: The dangers of a ‘postnational’ Canada

No longer buried: Rio’s slave past unearthed at Valongo Wharf during Olympic renovations

One of the likely enduring legacies of the Rio Olympics, a greater understanding of the past:

In an abandoned train depot near Rio de Janeiro’s derelict port area are stacked dozens of black plastic boxes. Two young researchers are sorting through their contents. Inside one box: a ceramic pipe. Inside another: a plate used in a traditional religious ceremony.

All of the objects belonged to former slaves and most of these finds wouldn’t have been discovered if it hadn’t been for work related to the Olympics.

In 2011, the city of Rio embarked on an extensive project to rejuvenate the long-neglected port area. Among the planned projects: the Museum of Tomorrow, an Olympic village for judges, light rail to carry the tourists expected during the Games, as well as better housing for the area’s residents.

To their surprise, they began unearthing hundreds of artifacts dating from the early 1800s.

“These objects prove the existence, the materialization of this terrible process in the human history — the history of the slave,” says Claudio Honorato, a historian with the New Blacks Institute for Research and Memory.

I meet Honorato at a spot rife with historical import: the Valongo Wharf, where close to half-a-million slaves were off-loaded during Brazil’s slave trade. It was built in 1811, then later buried, only to be unearthed again during a $2-billion excavation project.

Port Area Rennos-2

“The development work was really to be done faster but they had to stop the process,” Honorato says. “The Museum of Tomorrow and the Mauá Pier were expected to be opened in 2011 with a big party and were only opened now. When they came upon all the African-Brazilian materials — these archeological traces — the development work had to stop.”

That’s because developers have to comply with legislation passed in Rio relatively recently that says no development can go ahead on land where evidence of historical interest has been discovered, without doing further archeological research.

“This port area was a place where a lot of ships from Africa came, bringing 500,000 slaves,” says Ondemar Dias, with the Brazilian Archeological Institute. “The amount of materials related to these cultures demonstrates, along with other research, that it’s a very important place to tell the story of this culture that came to Brazil.”

….”We have lots of objects in the museums here that are, for instance, gifts of African embassies to our emperor, and even other objects that were conquered in wars in Africa,” Honorato says. “These, on the other hand, were objects built here. They are part of the culture of these individuals who lived in this society, who contributed to this society.

“I think this is a material that reveals the day-to-day life, the common life, in the places that these Africans lived, where they’ve worked, where they’ve celebrated. And that’s why we call this the ‘slavery paths in Rio de Janeiro.’ It reveals the aspects of this ‘Little Africa’ — what they were actually doing in their daily life.”

African history, he says, has rarely been valued in Brazil. At other sites of historical importance, discoveries have been quietly covered up to enable construction to continue. But now advocates are hoping to turn the area’s African history into an important tourist attraction.

“That’s why Brazil is requesting that this place go on the World Heritage list,” Dias says.

There are already tours incorporating the area’s African history, including an area where the bodies of dead slaves were dumped. Honorato says he hopes this will lead to a change in attitudes; that African history will no longer be buried, like the Valongo Wharf.

“[It’s important] to preserve this history, to preserve this culture, this memory,” he says. “And also ensure the memory of those who resisted, and are here, until the present moment.”

Source: No longer buried: Rio’s slave past unearthed at Valongo Wharf during Olympic renovations – World – CBC News

Where should we put Canada’s counter-radicalisation programme? Gurski

Phil Gurski is right on this one. Better to have this outside of Public Safety. Canadian Heritage, now that the Multiculturalism Program is back, is likely the better home (Economic and Social Development, while another alternative, is simply too large a department to provide effective oversight).

However, that being said, given that it is in Minister Goodale’s mandate letter rather than Mme. Joly’s, I don’t see this happening.

And Public Safety has funded a number of good research projects under the Kanishka Project (named after the Air India coming of 1985):

This move represents a significant shift in Canada’s CVE (Countering Violent Extremism) approach from the purely hardline emphasis of the Harper government to a more inclusive and more comprehensive one under the new regime (note that the previous government did have a soft CVE aspect, and one in which I worked, but did not fund it adequately and actually undermined it with stupid comments by public officials).  As I have said before, we will always need the hardline tool, but we need to do more in early intervention and counter radicalisation.

One question remains: where should this new office reside?  When I still worked for the federal government it was housed within Public Safety Canada, split between the National Security Policy branch and Citizen Engagement.  In some ways, it should stay there if for no other reason that that department has experienced and capable staff who were part of the amazing success of the shortened efforts under Harper.

But in other, more important ways, it should be moved to another department.  Let me try to explain why.

Aside from getting a brand new start and being able to put the unfortunate mistakes of the previous government behind us, the biggest drawback to leaving Canada’s CVE strategy with Public Safety lies with the very nature of that ministry.  Public Safety Canada is the umbrella department for CSIS, the RCMP, Correctional Services Canada and the Canadian Border Services Agency.  All of these are staffed by dedicated and professional people but they have one underlying commonality: they are all enforcement/punitive agencies.  CVE needs to be seen as an opportunity to occur before people engage in activities that are the remit of CSIS and the RCMP in order to work.

We have seen in other places like the UK with its PREVENT programme that communities associate CVE with intelligence gathering and enforcement, whether or not that is what is happening.  Having a ministry responsible for the national spy and law enforcement agencies run CVE creates a stigma that can hamper even the best efforts.  If communities do not feel comfortable and have issues of trust with certain partners, they will not want to participate.

What if the government put the new office under the Heritage portfolio?  CVE is all about providing communities with the tools to foster Canadian citizenship and reject the empty and violent promises of groups like Islamic State. It is about being or becoming Canadian.  Another aspect is the debate over narratives.   I have long argued that we need to move away from “counter narratives” to “alternative narratives”.  Alternative narratives are an important part of CVE – what better place to locate them than within Heritage, the department that helps foster the Canadian narrative?  Our narrative is so superior to that of IS that if this were a boxing match the referee would have called the fight years ago.

Of course, those with lots of experience in CVE, especially the RCMP which has a longstanding and robust outreach programme, would be asked to lend its assistance and best practices.  Other partners could also contribute.  Canada is – or rather was – a world leader in CVE and many countries look to us for models on what to do.  We don’t need to reinvent it, we just need to tweak it to make it better.

At the end of the day it really doesn’t matter where the government decides to put CVE.  The important thing is that it cultivate good relations with the communities it hopes to work with, for the best answers to violent radicalisation and extremism are to be found there, not in a government policy brief.

Source: Borealis Threat & Risk Consulting

ICYMI: Stateless Prince George man one step closer to citizenship

No longer falling through the cracks:

Qia Gunster is one step closer to being Canadian.

The 20-year-old Prince George man has lived in B.C. since he was a baby, but has never been recognized by his country.

As a “stateless person,” Gunster has been unable to get government identification, which means he couldn’t legally work, drive a car or travel.

But this week, Citizenship and Immigration Canada granted Gunster permanent resident status and he will finally be able to get a driver’s licence. He will also be able to get a social insurance number, so he can work and pay taxes.

He won’t be able to apply for Canadian citizenship for another four years.

“It’s pretty awesome — my whole outlook on the future has changed,” Gunster said Thursday.

“It makes everything easier.”

Gunster was born in Arizona, but his mother didn’t register his birth and when he was 18 months old, she crossed the border into B.C. with him. She left her baby in McBride, east of Prince George, where he was raised by a friend of a friend.

Being without ID wasn’t a significant problem until he finished high school. With help from a large circle of supporters, Gunster was able to earn a living. He is partway through his apprenticeship as an electrician and has found employers willing to pay in cash.

But Gunster still faced many limitations. He needed a birth certificate even to begin the process of applying to the federal government for citizenship.

The school principal got involved, and his adoptive families tried to help. Even the local MP contacted Arizona government officials in an attempt to get Gunster a birth certificate.

Despite stacks of paperwork, and a DNA test proving he is the son of an Arizona resident, the state has refused to issue the document.

Late last year, Michelle Quigg, a lawyer with North Vancouver-based Access Pro Bono, got involved with Qia’s case. She succeeded in getting Gunster permanent residency status, but she intends to press the government to grant him citizenship sooner under a section of the Immigration Act that allows it for “exceptional circumstances.”

Gunster, meanwhile, is making plans. He is going to get his driver’s licence and apply for jobs as an electrical apprentice at any company who’s hiring. He can go to a bar and no longer worry about being asked to prove his age. He can apply for a credit card.

“When you’re stateless, the options are so limited — you can’t work unless you know the right people,” he said.

“Basically I was stuck in a black hole that I couldn’t get out of, and now I have a world of opportunities.”

ICYMI: Canadian and U.S. right not that different | Supriya Dwivedi 

Interesting to see this kind of commentary in The Sun:

The Canadian right also seems to be just as allergic to the term political correctness as their American counterparts. When former Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the election was underway, he made an overt reference to political correctness, stating, “now is not the time for political correctness”.

Several commentators noted it was an odd remark to make at the onset of the election, but as the campaign started to unfold it became clear why Harper made the reference. As much as conservative pundits might opine that those on the left are merely afraid of being anything other than politically correct, I’m not sure that the repudiation of things like the Barbaric Cultural Practices Tip Line, reference to “old-stock” Canadians and obsession with what Muslim women are allowed to wear during a citizenship ceremony was the embracing of political correctness as much as it was the rejection of veiled xenophobia.

More recently, in an interview with Embassy News Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu (Sarnia-Lambton) stated that Trump’s rhetoric has been positive for free speech advocates: “The only bright light is that he has sort of restored freedom of speech to America”. Gladu went on to assert that many people in Canada are fearful of saying what they think out of fear of being accused of “breeding hatred and fear”.

It’s worth asking where Gladu thinks she lives, considering Canada is still indeed a free state, and people are free to think, believe and say what they choose. Similarly, people with opposing viewpoints are free to say they disagree. That is what freedom of speech is. Evidently, confusing freedom of speech and freedom from consequences of that speech is something that Conservatives and Republicans have in common.

The Conservatives were not completely off-base in trying to appeal to nativist politics. The support is there. It just won’t win you a majority anymore. Canadians may not be as comfortable in the overt displays of racism as our American brethren, but we are inclined to dabble in our homegrown brand of racism that tends to be framed in a more palatable manner. It’s coded, it’s often implicit, but it’s there.

Perhaps we’re not the enlightened, toque-wearing citizenry that we like to make ourselves out to be, eh?

Source: Canadian and U.S. right not that different | DWIVEDI | Columnists | Opinion | To

ICYMI: Deportations to Jamaica, Honduras could hurt Canada

The possible longer-term impact of the populist policy to deport criminals:

Experts in Canada and Jamaica told the researchers that the ability of deportees to obtain jobs, housing, education and health care heavily influenced their ability to reintegrate and whether criminals would continue to take part in illicit activity upon their return.

“The great difficulty with properly reintegrating criminal deportees has ultimately contributed to deportee-related problems with unemployment, homelessness, inadequate housing, property crime, mental health and addiction,” one study says.

Jamaica has returned to prominence as a major shipment point for cocaine originating in South America, posing concerns for Canadian police, the researchers add. The organized-crime landscape has also expanded beyond drugs to lucrative lottery scams that directly target Canadians.

It’s one thing to deport someone with no real connection to Canada, but quite another to return a person who has grown up in Canada, said Toronto immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman.

“It’s completely unacceptable that we’re dumping our social problems back in Jamaica,” Waldman said.

“I think the time has come for our government to really reassess this policy.”

Deportees to Honduras return to a country that is facing urgent humanitarian problems, a proliferation of street gangs and organized groups involved in the hemispheric drug trade, the other study says. The extremely challenging economic conditions, social stigma and threat of violence make it difficult to build a new life.

A number of Honduran organizations offer social services to deportees, but they lack resources and cannot keep up with the massive flow of returnees, particularly from the United States, the study says. “Canada can play an important role in international efforts to support deportees and the Honduran authorities, while pushing for broader security and justice reform in Honduras.”

The studies also point out that privacy law limits the information about returnees the Canada Border Services Agency can share with officials in other countries, potentially hampering reintegration. However, they add the RCMP may be better placed to pass along information through its international channels.

Source: Deportations to Jamaica, Honduras could hurt Canada – The Globe and Mail