Chris Selley: There’s a treatment for Quebec’s  linguistic paranoia, but Ottawa is thwarting it

Of note (and given the recent StatsCan report, Unemployment and job vacancies by education, 2016 to 2022, highlighting the disconnect between immigration policy, which favours university-educated immigrants, and immigrant employment, which favours lower-skilled immigrants, not as effective as presented):

Considering every federal party essentially believes in giving Quebec whatever it wants, and considering the Quebec government’s concern over the French language surviving under the federal Liberals’ increased immigration targets, a recent report from the Institut du Québec (IDQ) paints a frustrating picture of a longstanding grievance between the provincial and federal capitals.

The Coalition Avenir Québec government wants more foreign students, especially francophones — it’s spending millions on various overseas-recruitment programs, and encouraging foreign graduates to stay in the province — but the federal immigration department is in many cases unwilling to grant them visas. “Nearly half of foreign students accepted by a Quebec university and (who satisfy) Quebec’s conditions are still refused a student visa by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC),” IDQ director-general Emna Braham and chief economist Daye Diallo report.

The refusal rate for applications from African nations — a major source of francophone students — is a whopping 72 per cent, compared to a 19-per-cent refusal rate for Asians and 11 per cent for Europeans. For no good apparent reason, the refusal rate is lower across the board for Ontario-bound foreign students — fully 20 points lower than Quebec’s for African applicants.

IRCC explained to the IDQ its reasoning: It’s afraid the foreigners won’t leave after they graduate.

But … Quebec doesn’t want them to leave, and the rest of Canada shouldn’t want that either. A prosperous, confident and confidently francophone Quebec is something we all want, and given the province’s lacklustre birthrate and unique skepticism of bilingualism, francophone immigration might be the only way that’s likely to happen.

“There is a real need to clarify the objectives and to put in place procedures that will ensure that the right hand talks to the left hand,” the IDQ’s Braham told The Canadian Press. Too right: The CAQ government and the IRCC are essentially playing different sports on the same pitch. A ministerial directive to the IRCC bureaucracy could be as simple as, “for heaven’s sake stop rejecting so many Africans.”

Alas, the IRCC bureaucracy is not well known for taking orders. It’s not well known for much except saying “no” to people in the most Kafkaesque ways imaginable. And it should come as no surprise that African applicants to Quebec — and therefore francophone applicants — are taking it on the chin. IRCC is internationally notorious for denying visas to tenured professors from African nations wishing to attend conferences in Canada. Why would it be any less suspicious of their students?

Still, it’s exasperating to see Ottawa block an avenue toward real progress in Quebec — a route out of the anti-religious and linguistic paranoias that have come to dominate nationalist politics over the past 15 years. Those paranoias have combined to create a sort of demographic gridlock: The CAQ government wants all future immigrants to speak French before they arrive, for example, but there are only so many francophones who want to emigrate to Quebec, and many of them are very religious. Many, though certainly not all, are Muslims. Few will want to jettison their faith and culture en route to Canada like an oversized bottle of shampoo.

That will always rankle the miserable arch-paranoiacs who currently drive this agenda — the ultra-nationalist voices who dominate Quebec City talk radio and the Quebecor newspapers’ comment pages. “They want immigrants and their children to think and dream in French. And even that isn’t enough,” Quebec journalist Christopher Curtis tweeted very eloquently this week. “They want them to make a show of loyalty, to remove their hijabs and turbans, to hate Trudeau like they do, to feel antipathy towards Ottawa the way they do.”

Sidelining those paranoiacs is a generational project that, polls suggest, Quebec’s younger generations will embrace. (It’s certainly not just immigrants that annoy the nationalist miserabilists. They also can’t stand the way most young white Quebecers speak French, or the way they vote, and to the great extent the youth aspire to bilingualism, the way they dream.) Accepting more young francophone immigrants — as many as possible — can only help.

It’s already happening, despite IRCC. “A growing number of foreign students settle in Quebec once they have obtained their degree,” Braham and Diallo note. “The number of post-graduation work permit holders tripled between 2015 and 2022. … The number of new permanent residents who graduated from a Canadian institution also tripled. … And these new permanent residents are integrating into the labour market better than before, the result (in part) of prior experience on Quebec soil.”

Good news. But in the meantime, other things are happening. Profoundly stupid things.

On Thursday, Montreal and other Quebec municipalities posted new rules prescribed by Bill 96, the pointless anti-Anglo crackdown law that only a couple of Quebec Liberal MPs could find the gonads to oppose.

In order legally to browse your garbage-pickup calendar or adult-swimming schedule in the language of Wolfe, you must now tacitly attest to being an “individual with whom (the municipality) communicated solely in English prior to May 13, 2021”; or a person “declared eligible” by the Ministry of Education to attend public school in English — excluding “children of foreign nationals living temporarily in Quebec,” naturally; or an Indigenous person; or an immigrant, but only one having arrived within the previous six months.

You know what won’t help Quebec move on from this unfortunate paranoid period? That laughingstock idiocy. Nowhere else in the world is like this. Quebec needn’t be like this. If Ottawa won’t push back, it could at least force IRCC out of the bloody way.


Black immigrants are growing in numbers, but in the U.S. many often feel invisible

Of interest:

How you describe Hadley Park might depend on where you stand.

If you enter from the southeast corner, you’ll see a sweeping, tree-lined expanse — verdant in the summer, golden in the fall. Look northwest, and there’s the campus of Tennessee State University — a century-old historically Black university. Turn around, and you’ll see I-40, one of the highways separating North Nashville (traditionally, Black Nashville) from the rest of the city. Look down, and you’ll see ground that used to grow crops, back when Hadley Park was a plantation. Ground that used to stage tanks, during the Vietnam War. Ground where now, every summer, bare feet dance and libations spill out during the annual African Street Festival.

“This space is representative of Black Nashville in a lot of ways,” says Learotha Williams, as he walks through the fields. Williams, a public historian at TSU, says the park has meant many different things to different communities. Recently, there have been discussions about what to call it, since the park was likely named for John Hadley, the man who once owned the land and the people who worked on it. So, Williams says, “It’s a space of contested memories. A space that is transformative in many ways and is still undergoing a transformation.”

As is Nashville more broadly. All around the city, there are grand old buildings that were once plantation houses, overlooking fields where Black people tended cattle, milled grain, grew tobacco.

Nowadays, people don’t like to point that out all the time, says Williams. When you visit some of those former plantations, the presence of enslaved people “has been all but erased, to the point where they don’t even define them as being ‘slaves’ anymore. They call them servants.”

Williams describes this dynamic as a sort of “collective amnesia.” He understands there are people who may not want to dwell on the most painful parts of Nashville’s history. But skipping over that history is unhealthy, he says, “because the past gives you some identity. It connects you to a group, or to an event that can give you some idea about where you are currently, or how you get down and why you get down the way you get down.”

Williams has spent his career taking note of histories that are at risk of being buried — in Florida, where he’s from; in Georgia, where he’s worked; and now in Tennessee, his home for many years. Like with those plantation houses. If you look closely at the bricks they’re built from, you’ll see indentations that look suspiciously like fingerprints. “Because that’s what they are,” Williams says. “Fingerprints of the guys that made the bricks and laid them.” Reminders, almost imperceptible, that Black people were there — they lived, they toiled, they created and they survived.

In the generations since, Black people have continued to come to Nashville in waves. They came in search of freedom during the Civil War, when troops erected a Union stronghold at Fort Negley. Then again during the Great Migration, when folks from Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi sought work a bit farther north. And during the Civil Rights Movement, when young people saw the city as a battleground in the fight for integration.

More recently, a different cohort of Black folks have made Nashville, and other parts of Tennessee, their home — people who are emigrating. People from Somalia to Rwanda, Sudan to Ethiopia, Nigeria to Haiti have put down roots in Nashville. In total, 12% of the city is made up of immigrants, a large proportion of whom moved to the city after the year 2000.

But like previous generations of Black Tennesseans, Black immigrants sometimes have to fight to make their presence recognized.

Feeling invisible

Black immigrants all over the country have been referred to as “invisible immigrants.” Their numbers throughout the United States are growing significantly — today, 20% of all Black Americans are either immigrants or the children of immigrants. But they are rarely centered in national conversations around immigration policy. And even in smaller interactions, many Black immigrants talk about the ways that their cultures, identities and histories are sometimes rendered invisible — or worse.

Layla Ahmed is a political organizer and recent college graduate who grew up in Nashville; her family emigrated from Somalia. She says she enjoys asking people what they know about Somali culture but is disheartened, time and again, to hear people’s answers. Pirates, they usually say. “And maybe hunger. War. Terrorism.”

Duretti Ahmad is also from the Nashville area. She was born in the U.S., but her family is Ethiopian, and ethnically Oromo. She grew up connected to a sizable East African community, but as a student at Vanderbilt University, she said she’s sometimes made to feel like she’s alone. In most of her classes, she says, she rarely expects to see someone who shares her background: “Maybe [there will be] a Black person, but for it to be a Black Muslim woman? It’s like, wow, that’s a stretch.”

Maranjely Zapata lives in Knoxville, on the east side of Tennessee. She moved there from Honduras about eight years ago, when she was a teenager. Recently, she says, she had a conversation with someone who asked her where she was from. Her answer shocked him. “He was like, ‘There are Black people in Honduras?’ And my jaw just dropped. I was like, there are Black people everywhere. But some people really don’t know that.”

Interactions like that make Zapata want to talk about her identity even more — to educate people about Garifuna culture, and about Blackness more generally. But not everyone feels empowered to do that.

Niyokwizigigwa Athumani is a high school student living on the other side of the state, in Memphis. He was born in Rwanda and came to the U.S. as a young child. When he told other kids that he was African, he was bullied for it. “So I don’t really know what my cultural identity is,” he says. To try and fit in socially, he had to minimize that part of himself — to the point that he lost a part of himself: “I know I’m African and everything, but I want to be more.”

“I was hiding from my story”

Claude Gatebuke is also from Rwanda, but he came to Nashville three decades ago. Like others, he’s had plenty of experiences with his identity being dismissed, ignored or minimized.

Gatebuke was 16 when he started school in the U.S. Back then, he says, many of his friends had no idea he was Rwandan. “I mean, they knew I was from another country,” he says, “but they didn’t know which country I was from.”

And he wasn’t exactly rushing to correct the record. Gatebuke and his family had just been forced to flee the violence overtaking their home. So if his new friends weren’t asking questions about his past, he says, “I was OK with that. Because I was hiding from my story.”

Gatebuke had grown up a pretty carefree kid. Then, the war started. He remembers the night in April of 1994, when his mom got a call telling her that the president’s plane had been shot down. “And my response was, oh my God, I hope the president didn’t die, because if he died, we’re not going to be able to finish [my] soccer tournament.”

Soon, Kigali erupted in chaos. Gatebuke says panic swept through the city — and with it, violence. “Rwanda is a beautiful country — blue skies and everything. But during that time, the sky was covered with a big dark mushroom. And the stench, the mix of smoke, and decomposing human flesh made you want to throw up. I mean, I want to throw up now, thinking about it.”

Eventually, like more than a million others, Gatebuke and his family made the decision to flee from the genocide. That journey was its own trauma. At one checkpoint, Gatebuke says he was separated from his group and told to dig his own grave. By some miracle, Gatebuke made it through, eventually. The journey continued. Eventually, Gatebuke’s family reached Congo. Then, Kenya. Later, they made it to Nashville, where Gatebuke’s father was living as a student.

So there was good reason Claude wasn’t bringing up his past every day in the high school cafeteria. But that decision to stay quiet was complicated. He wasn’t just avoiding painful memories. He was also worried about the reaction he might get. He remembers once trying to share his story with a high school English teacher. It didn’t go well. Gatebuke says the teacher’s response was “‘I’ve never heard this before — this isn’t the official narrative.’ He said, ‘No, this can’t be true.'”

At the time, Gatebuke didn’t understand why he was being shut down. He thought it might be partly because his English was “really bad” back then. And partly because, back in 1996, information about the Rwandan genocide was not as widely available as it would be in years to come. But looking back, he says, he thinks his race was a factor. “Because I’m just not sure that somebody from Ukraine today would come and tell a story and somebody would say, ‘This isn’t what’s happening.'”

Gatebuke says that after almost three decades of experiencing life in the U.S. as a Black man, he finds himself better able to connect the dots between that moment and a broader social dynamic.

“For many years, [African Americans have] talked about things like police brutality, racial profiling, you know. All of those things that I experienced, that I lived through, and that are traumatic. And America didn’t believe it until phone cameras came along, and then America acted like, ‘Oh, this is bad. This just started.’ But the only thing that started was filming it.”

The incident in high school was just one moment in a long, painful tradition, he says. “The dismissing of a story because the person just happens to be from a background that isn’t associated with credibility? That is a thing in America.”

Williams, the historian, echoed the sentiment. He said that Black people have been speaking out about violence they’ve experienced at the hands of police and the state, from Frederick Douglass to Fred Hampton to Freddie Gray. The violence, he says, “is not an aberration. It’s a feature of our society. Just the same way that the denial that it has occurred is a feature.”

So, Williams says, Black communities “have been residents of the city since its founding. But oftentimes it feels like we are some of its most unwelcomed residents. At times, some of its most despised residents.”

And, he says, “In many ways, we’re still kind of invisible.”

Connecting through storytelling

But many Black Tennesseans are finding ways to feel seen — if not by the broader society, then at least by each other. One of the most powerful tools for that has been storytelling.

Nkechinyelum Chioneso is an assistant professor of psychology at Florida A&M University. She says that when people with related histories share their experiences with each other, “it allows private pain to come out into the public domain. And when it’s in the public domain, you then develop the ability to have a more critical lens about what it is you’re experiencing. And you begin to see that it’s not just me — it’s not my deficiency.” That understanding, she says, is an opening to look at the broader external dynamics that have shaped a group’s experiences — and to begin to reshape them.

Chioneso, who has written about how storytelling can lead to community healing, argues that forming connections and resisting oppression are both critical elements of resisting racial trauma.

And they’re both methods that some Black immigrants in Tennessee have started leaning toward organically.

Like Layla Ahmed. As a college student, she decided to do a project on the trope of the Somali pirate. In doing that research, she learned more about her own culture and identity, and the forces that push certain communities into certain roles. She’s since used that knowledge to start telling a different story about Somali people. “I wouldn’t say I’m confrontational,” she says, “but I like talking with people and dismantling their beliefs that they already have.”

After graduating from college, Ahmed began working at the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition. There, she digs deep into the resistance part — her work is largely about organizing voters to resist discriminatory immigration policies.

Storytelling — and resistance — have also transformed Gatebuke’s life. When he was in college in the late 1990s, Gatebuke says he was still mostly ignoring his feelings — “I was a lost, broken Black boy.”

But one day, he stumbled upon a children’s biography of Frederick Douglass. That story changed the way Gatebuke thought about his own. He says he was fascinated by Douglass’ story, but it also made him ashamed. Someone with so little had used his words to fight against slavery. Meanwhile, Gatebuke felt like he was often just floating through life without engaging too deeply.

So he decided, slowly, to change that. By sharing his story more publicly — with some friends, then at local campus events — Gatebuke thought he might be able to help people better understand how war upends people’s lives — children’s lives. Talking was terrifying at first.

But the more he opened up, the more he met people who connected with what he was saying. Maybe they were from a different background, but they had stories, too.

And that storytelling has ballooned into something even greater. Gatebuke now runs the African Great Lakes Action Network, an organization founded on the idea that sharing testimony is crucial in the fight for justice. And he recently co-edited a book called Survivors Uncensored, where he and more than a hundred other Rwandans shared their testimony. He hopes that even more people will share their stories.

“Their story doesn’t have to be like mine,” he says. “But there are many of us who have healed by sharing and by sharing our stories … and the price of not doing it is so much heavier than the pain of actually getting it done. And why carry the burden?

Source: Black immigrants are growing in numbers, but in the U.S. many often feel invisible

Canucks deeply divided over one-click citizenship oath, feds told

Good summary of the comments received. Will be reviewing them in more detail to assess factors behind the degree of support/opposition such as citizen/applicant, individual/anonymous, English/French comment that I can derive from the comments.
One of the irritants that I encountered when looking at the comments is that one can only see 5 per page whereas other government sites allow more to allow for easier analysis (the search function is not helpful in overall assessment). Also interesting that Gazette allows anonymous comments which I inherently distrust and see little justification for except in exceptional circumstances (e.g., if the government would set up a foreign agency registry, one could reasonably expect that members of diaspora communities would need anonymity):
Allowing new Canadians to take the Oath of Citizenship by clicking a box online is a disgusting idea that will cheapen the process and open the door to fraud or a forward-thinking notion that will help decrease a backlog of citizenship applications, depending on who you ask.
That’s according to the hundreds of comments the government received about the idea over the last few months.

Others pointed out that longer wait times can delay delivery of new Canadian passports needed for travel.

“I loved my ceremony and the opportunity to mark the occasion, but it was tight getting my new passport to travel when I needed it, so the opportunity to reduce waiting times is great,” one person said.

“I have heard of many people who suffered because they had to wait for a long time to get their passports,” another said.

Critics said government backlogs and a lack of available in-person ceremonies were a poor reason to threaten the tradition.

“The objective should be trying to process the backlogs by providing more ceremony opportunities, instead of cheapening the experience by making it a self-administered click,” one wrote.

Others still worry about the possibility of fraud, though the government plans to use a secure web portal for the one-click oaths.

If approved, the changes to the citizenship regulations would come into effect as early as this month at a cost of about $5 million over 10 years.

Source: Canucks deeply divided over one-click citizenship oath, feds told

Patrick Luciani: You don’t have to be a conservative to be anti-woke

Provocative but needed reminder of the importance of class, rather than just identity and intersectionality. My experience with analysing and discussing birth tourism indicates that many academics and activists have forgotten the importance of class with respect to birth tourists who are among the more affluent given the travel, medical and related costs of being a birth tourist:

When philosopher Susan Neiman decided to write Left Is Not Woke, friends warned her to avoid the word “Woke” in the title. They were concerned it might be taken as a move to the political Right and push her into the camp of Ron DeSantis, Rishi Sunak, or even Eric Zemmour in France. I suspect they were more worried that any attack on wokeness might mean banishment or cancellation by a political movement with all the characteristics of a religious cult. Neiman agonized over the title but stressed in the book that she was still a card-carrying socialist with all the proper credentials. But even that would not have spared her grief and ostracization if she were teaching at a North American university. She is safe for the time being teaching in Germany. 

Most attacks on woke ideology usually come from the defenders of classical liberalism, such as Francis Fukuyama, who stresses free speech, the evils of cancel culture, and policies that relentlessly push the trinity of diversity, inclusiveness, and equity. Professor Neiman now confronts wokeness from the Left and how it has broken with traditional socialist ideals of universality, justice, and progress. Neiman isn’t willing to accept the suggestion that you aren’t Left if you’re not woke.

Her first concern is that wokeism has gone off the rails by abandoning the universal principle of worker solidarity. That concept was too general for today’s politically sensitive crowd. Wokeness pushed the idea that unfair treatment of minorities and the powerless had to be fought at the micro level of society. Throw in the concept of intersectionality and political oppression is now supercharged. It is no longer a question of traditional domination of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie. The hierarchy of power dynamics now includes men oppressing women, straight over gays, Whites dominating Blacks, White women over women of colour, the abled over disabled people, ad infinitum. A few years ago, American Black students at Cornell University demanded preferential treatment over foreign Black students since the latter represented a higher proportion of spots on campus. Any group or tribe can claim a special status regarding policies on compensation for past discrimination and grievances. The only groups that don’t qualify in this hierarchy of oppression are Jews, Asians, and rich men who are White. 

Woke thinking compartmentalizes groups according to their identity rather than class oppression. Wokism breaks this connection by moving us into tribes disconnected from each other. And since everyone can claim membership to one group or another, most can claim victimhood. 

Second, Neiman condemns woke attacks on enlightenment thinking. The Enlightenment wasn’t a Eurocentric invention of White men to oppress and justify the subjugation of other nations but a way to use reason to move away from religious and superstitious beliefs that held humans from their full potential. Enlightenment thinkers were some of the harshest critics of colonialism and slavery, including Rousseau, Diderot, and Immanuel Kant. Kant’s teaching was universal when he said that humans should never be treated as a means to an end. The Black scholar Olúfẹ́mi Táíwò—no apologist for the Enlightenment—insists we put Enlightenment ideas in their proper historical context. As he says, ideas must be historicized, not racialized. He even refers to the prominent anti-colonialist Frantz Fanon, who wrote, “The elements for the solution to the major problems of humanity existed at one time, or another in European thought.”

Her final objection to wokeism is the movement’s influence by the work of Michel Foucault and his concepts of power, progress, and truth. Foucault, considered the godfather of wokeism, promoted that power is the defining force between all human interactions and that truth is a naïve conviction of no value. Foucault had a profound contempt for reason and the notion that there was any improvement or progress in social interactions, an idea contrary to socialist thought. Even Noam Chomsky believed that Foucault was thoroughly amoral in his thinking. That isn’t hard to believe, knowing that Foucault endorsed sex between children and adults. For the Left, reason and freedom would liberate humans from superstition, prejudice, poverty, and fear. Foucault had no such faith. 

Professor Neiman has written a brave book against a philosophy cutting through our cultural institutions. And she is right in her criticism. Finding a government, university, or major corporation that doesn’t follow a hiring policy dictated by woke protocol is almost impossible.  

Liberalism was about centring the individual with freedom in personal affairs and commerce. Socialism added rights and entitlement to housing, education, health care, and a decent wage. Wokeness is about victims and victimhood with claims on society’s resources for past and present injustices. Who determines the injustices and compensation? Those are questions we aren’t allowed to ask. But the pushback is out there, and not just from Florida. 

Source: Patrick Luciani: You don’t have to be a conservative to be anti-woke

How AI is helping Canada keep some people out of the country. And why there are those who say it’s a problem

Well, that’s what filtering, whether human or AI-based does. With high levels, AI needed to maintain applicant service. Yes, more transparency and accountability needed, but this applies to both human and artificial intelligence and decision-making:

Artificial intelligence is helping authorities keep some people out of Canada.

“Project Quantum,” as it’s been dubbed, is a largely unknown AI-assisted pilot project that’s been undertaken by the Canada Border Services Agency.

It essentially screens air travellers before they take off for Canada. In thousands of cases in recent years, it has led the CBSA to recommend a traveller be stopped before even getting on their flight.

Authorities say the program is meant to flag people who could be a threat to this country.

But just who the government is stopping at international airports — and the criteria used to select them — isn’t clear. That has led critics to question how we know the AI-assisted program is targeting the right people, and that discrimination isn’t somehow baked into its process.

Language on the CBSA’s website also says the program is meant to address the issue of irregular migration. Some are concerned it’s having the effect of making asylum — already restricted under Canada’s Safe Third Country Agreement with the U.S.— even harder to gain in this country.

Officials say the pre-departure risk-assessment matches passengers’ personal information from commercial air carriers with pre-established indicators of risk identification models that are designed by border officials.

The risk identification models have been developed, they say, based on passenger information sent from commercial carriers to CBSA.

Between its inception in 2019 and the end of last year, Project Quantum referred 13,863 travellers to its overseas liaison officers for further assessments. In total, CBSA recommended to air carriers that they refuse boarding 6,182 travellers on flights to Canada.

The program comes against the backdrop of increasing constraints on irregular migration to Canada. Earlier this year, Ottawa and Washington expanded a bilateral agreement to deny foreign nationals access to asylum across the entire Canada-U.S. border — not just at the official ports of entry. As a result, the number of irregular migrants to Canada has plummeted.

Given Canada’s unique geography and how it is buffered by the U.S., the new interdiction tool against air travellers further limits asylum seekers’ options.

“The objective of this strategy is to push the border out as far as possible, ideally outside of Canada, to where a person lives,” contends University of New Brunswick law professor Benjamin Perryman, who represents two Hungarian Roma families in fighting the CBSA cancellation of their electronic travel authorizations.

“This new technology comes with substantial risks of human rights violations. We’ve seen that in other areas. When we don’t have transparency and oversight in place, it raises some pretty big concerns.”

The CBSA, established in 2003 as the immigration enforcement arm, is the only public safety department without an outside civilian oversight body, despite the border officers’ power to carry firearms, arrest and detain — authorities similar to those of police officers.

Since being elected in 2015, the Liberal government has promised to establish a watchdog for the CBSA, but a bill has yet to be passed to set up such an infrastructure for accountability.

In an email to the Star, CBSA spokesperson Jacqueline Roby said the pilot program seeks to “detect illicit migration concerns” for air travellers at the earliest point.

“It is a targeting approach, i.e. an operational practice, that supports and guides the CBSA officers to identify high-risk and potential illegal activity,” Roby explained.

Those activities, she added, include terrorism or terror-related crimes, human-smuggling or trafficking and other serious transnational crimes.

However, advocates are concerned that the risk indicators of these models could be rife with unintended biases and that they are being used to detect and interdict undesirable travellers, including prospective asylum seekers in search of protection in Canada.

‘Based on quantum referral’

Gabor Lukacs, founder and president of Air Passenger Rights, an advocacy group for travellers, says there’s been very little public information about the pilot program. He only came across Project Quantum through a recent court case involving two Roma travellers who were refused boarding an Air Transat flight in London.

Immigration documents showed the couple were flagged “based on quantum referral.”

The two were to visit a family member in Canada, who arrived previously and sought asylum and who is now a permanent resident. Both travellers had their valid electronic travel authorization — an entry requirement for visa-exempt visitors — cancelled as a result.

The case raises questions, in Lukacs view, of whether an ethnic name, such as the Roma’s, or information about connections to a former refugee in Canada, were among the indicators used by the program to flag passengers. The CBSA declined to answer questions about these concerns, saying to do so could compromise the program’s integrity.

“The problem with AI is it has very high potential of unintended racial and ethnic biases. It’s far from clear to me if there’s a proper distinction in the training of this software between refugee claimants and criminals,” he noted.

Lukacs’s concern is partly based on a written presentation in 2017 by the immigration department about the application of advanced and predictive analytics to identify patterns that enable prediction of future behaviours, and how combinations of applicant characteristics correlate with application approvals, refusals and frauds.

“In the future, we aim to predict undesirable behaviours (e.g. criminality or refugee claims),” said the document released in response to an access-to-information request by Perryman.

The border agency would not say whether potential refugees are flagged, but it said Project Quantum is part of its National Targeting Program, which identifies people and goods bound for Canada that may pose a threat to the country’s security and safety.

Assisted by human intelligence, it uses automated advance information sources from carriers and importers to identify those risks.

The number of quantum referrals for assessments has grown with the number of “flights” tested with the modelling — from 18 in 2019 to 32 by February 2022. The border agency would not say if the “flight” refers to route or participating air carrier, but said the pilot project is “ongoing.”

The National Targeting Centre will alert the relevant CBSA liaison officer abroad to assess the referral if a traveller matches the criteria set out in the risk identification models. The officer, if warranted, engages with the air carrier and/or traveller before making a “board” or “no-board” recommendation.

Opened in Ottawa 2012, the targeting centre, among other responsibilities, runs the liaison officer network, which started with more than 60 officers in 40 countries.

Roby declined to reveal how the flights or routes were selected, in what regions the modelling assessment was deployed or what indicators travellers were measured against, saying that “would compromise the integrity of the program.”

Critics call the lack of information and transparency troubling, given the complaints of alleged ethnic profiling against CBSA in recent years, including an ongoing court case by a Hungarian couple, who were denied boarding to visit family members who were former refugees.

“If CBSA considers association with refugees an indicator of the person allegedly intending to do something nefarious like overstaying or worse, that’s in and of itself a problem,” said Lukacs.

“The bigger issue is what data sets and indicators have been used for teaching and training the algorithms to decide who to flag.”

Roby of the CBSA says the agency takes these concerns seriously in developing a new targeting tool to ensure compliance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“The Agency works to eliminate any systemic racism or unconscious bias in its operations, its work and policies, which includes addressing instances where racialized Canadians and newcomers have faced additional barriers, and ensuring that minority communities are not subject to unfair treatment,” she said.

Officials must follow strict guidelines to protect the privacy of passengers and crew members and the data is stored in a secure system accessible only by authorized personnel, she added. The use of this data is subject to an audit process and users are liable for any misuse.

However, Project Quantum is not governed by the federal oversight required under the directive on automated decision-making.

The Treasury Board’s “Algorithmic Impact Assessment (AIA) would not apply here. The CBSA relies on the knowledge, training, expertise, and experience of border officers to make the final determination on what or who should be targeted,” Roby explained in an email.

“The CBSA provides advice to an air carrier, however, it is then up to the air carrier to decide whether or not to follow the recommendation.”

The initiative also raises legal questions about Canadian officials’ authority to engage in extraterritorial enforcement and their compliance with the Charter of Rights and international human rights law, said Perryman.

Perryman said he’s open to claims by law enforcement that certain aspects of the CBSA investigation techniques need to be kept confidential to be effective but said there needs to be sufficient transparency and oversight.

“This claim of racial profiling as a legitimate technique is something that we’ve seen police rely on initially in Canada. And when the full spectrum of that racial profiling became public, we decided as a society that it was not a legitimate law enforcement tool,” he said.

“We’ve taken steps to end that type of racial profiling domestically. I’m not completely hostile to that argument, but I think it’s one that has to be approached with some degree of scrutiny and care.”

The border agency said travellers who are refused boarding may file a complaint in writing using the CBSA web form or by mail to its recourse directorate.

Source: How AI is helping Canada keep some people out of the country. And why there are those who say it’s a problem

New Canadian babies born via birth tourism less than one per cent of all births

More on birth tourism based upon the Alberta study, Canadian doctors say birth tourism is on the rise. It could hurt the health care system, with data from Guelph (not a centre).

Reference to Richmond only refers to 2022, rather than pre-pandemic years when Richmond General was the epicentre of birth tourism in Canada, with almost one-quarter being birth tourism, supported by a cottage industry of birth tourism hostels:

“Birth tourists being specifically people who are coming in specifically to have a birth then go back to their original country,” said Colin Birch, a Calgary obstetrician gynecologist.

They probably come to give birth for the advantage of birthright citizenship for future gains whether it be for themselves or their family, said Birch. “There are still immense advantages of living in a place like Canada,” he said.

“Is it a big problem? Well if you look at the numbers, absolutely not. It’s small.”

“Is it big enough to be a problem? I actually think it is,” he said.

FROM OUR ARCHIVES: Birth Tourism: Rhetoric Ahead of Evidence [my opinion has changed since writing this in 2014]

Reason being Canada is in a healthcare crunch, “every bed is sacred,” said Birch.

As a healthcare system we are suffering from a capacity point of view and the expectation is to do more with less, he said.

“Canada is not really set up because of its socialized healthcare system for private pay patients and the demands that come with private pay patients,” said Birch.

The expectations from paying patients to patients covered by provincial health care are different.

“Not saying their care is different. Care is care,” he said. 

Health care is expensive and when it comes to neonatal care it is astronomical if a baby needs to be in the ICU, he said. 

The unpaid bills of the hospitals are massive, he said.

Calgary has taken a different approach to hospital bills associated with birth tourism. Birch confirmed the Calgary system requires a $15,000 deposit.

“It’s a very honest and upfront system,” said Birch. “It doesn’t pay the hospital fees no. It’s a deposit which pays basically physician fees.”

From the deposit what doesn’t get spent goes back to the patient, he said.

“We wanted to discourage the practice because it was becoming a bigger burden in Calgary,” said Birch. “The potential problem with that is the patients will then start moving to practitioners who are outside the city limits.”

It isn’t a perfect process but it’s an attempt to implement some sort of order, he said.

Prior to the deposit process birth tourism had impacts on the capacity of the hospital and ability at times to care for Canadian patients, he said.

Canada and the U.S. are the only countries in the G7 to offer birthright citizenship according to

“What we need to debunk is the idea that all people who are not insured are not necessarily birth tourists,” said Birch.

“There’s a large undocumented population in the country,” he said. They are contributing members of society but are not documented, Birch said.

He wanted to make it clear undocumented folks who are uninsured are not birth tourists.

Birth tourism is not just a medical issue but a social issue that should be addressed, he said.

In the fiscal year of 2021 to 2022 Guelph General Hospital had a total of 1,707 deliveries, 11 were people from out of country. This breaks down to 0.6 per cent of deliveries were out of country.

Between April 2022 to February 2023 there were 1,543 deliveries and 18 were people from out of country who gave birth at the GGH. This is 1.2 per cent of the deliveries were out of country. 

At the other end of Canada in Vancouver much of the same occurred at Richmond Hospital, in 2022 there were 22 nonresident deliveries. This number accounts for 1.5 per cent of the total deliveries at the hospital.

“All maternity patients coming to Richmond get the care they require to deliver their child safely. Care is always triaged according to the safety of the mother and baby – it is never delayed based on residency,” stated in an email from Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH).

VCH also said it does not support marketing of maternity tourism. Births from nonresidents have not led to disruptions of maternity services, said in the email.

“VCH will never deny urgent and emergent care based on ability to pay or where a patient is from, but we do expect to be compensated as we are accountable to B.C. residents for hospital and health care services. We are committed to collecting compensation from non-residents who use our medical services,” said in the email.

Source: New Canadian babies born via birth tourism less than one per cent of all births

Australia: Federal multicultural review to examine diversity in the public service

Header focus more narrow than actual review:

The federal government will examine the effectiveness of federal diversity, equity and inclusion strategies in the public service, as part of a multicultural framework review announced on Friday night.

The review will, more broadly, look at whether existing Commonwealth institutional arrangements and policy settings support an inclusive multicultural society, and make recommendations.

Australian Multicultural Foundation executive director and company secretary Dr Bulent Hass Dellal AO will serve as chair.

Speaking at the launch event in Sydney, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Andrew Giles said the review was about “enhancing the capacity of government agencies and service providers to respond to the needs of our multicultural communities”.

Mr Giles said that work had already begun in the Department of Home Affairs to better respond to the needs of multicultural communities, noting that the Multicultural Affairs team had moved from the Countering Foreign Interference division and into the Immigration section.

“The change, though it may seem bureaucratic to some, is symbolic of the role of Multicultural Affairs under an Albanese Labor Government,” he said.

“A portfolio that, at its core, should be about embracing those who have settled in Australia, rather than focusing on who we want to keep out.”

Human rights advocate and former refugee Nyadol Nyuon OAM and Multicultural Australia chief executive officer Christine Castley will also co-author the review.

Panellist Ms Castley said she looked forward to taking part in the review, which falls 50 years after the first multiculturalism policy paper was published under the Whitlam government.

“I am genuinely excited to be a part in this once-in-a-generation opportunity to take an open and honest look at how we ensure genuine inclusion, tackle systemic barriers and engage in the robust conversations we need to have if we are to move forward as a stronger, better, fairer and more inclusive nation,” Ms Castley said.

The panel will be supported by a reference group, which includes former Australian rules footballer Bachar Houli, Multicultural Youth Advocacy national manager Rana Ebrahimi, and Tasmania Australian of the Year John Kamara.

Mr Giles accused the former Coalition government of promoting “fearmongering and division surrounding multicultural Australians”, and said the review was a “concrete step towards an inclusive country”.

“Under their watch, a fragmented and inconsistent approach to engaging with CALD communities saw failures to translate vital health information during the pandemic, and government support and grant programs inaccessible to emerging migrant groups,” he said, in a statement leading up to the review’s launch.

The review is due to deliver its final report with recommendations to the minister by March 2024.

Source: Federal multicultural review to examine diversity in the public service

The Economist: A new wave of mass migration has begun

In contrast to their earlier long-term prognosis (with a shout-out to Newfoundland and Labrador):

Last year 1.2m people moved to Britain—almost certainly the most ever. Net migration (ie, immigrants minus emigrants) to Australia is twice the rate before covid-19. Spain’s equivalent figure recently hit an all-time high. Nearly 1.4m people on net are expected to move to America this year, one-third more than before the pandemic. In 2022 net migration to Canada was more than double the previous record and in Germany it was even higher than during the “migration crisis” of 2015. Listen to this story.

The rich world is in the middle of an immigration boom, with its foreign-born population rising faster than at any point in history (see chart 1). What does this mean for the global economy? 

Not long ago it seemed as if many wealthy countries had turned decisively against mass migration. In 2016 Britons voted for Brexit and then Americans for Donald Trump, political projects with strong anti-migrant streaks. In the global wave of populism that followed, politicians from Australia to Hungary promised to crack down on migration. Then covid closed borders. Migration came to a standstill, or even went into reverse, as people decided to return home. Between 2019 and 2021 the populations of Kuwait and Singapore, countries that typically receive lots of migrants, fell by 4%. In 2021 the number of emigrants from Australia exceeded the number of immigrants to the country for the first time since the 1940s.

The surge in migration has brought back a sense of normality to some places. Singapore’s foreign workforce recently returned to its pre-pandemic level. In other places it feels like a drastic change. Consider Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada’s second-smallest province by population. Long home to people of Irish-Catholic descent—with accents to match—net migration to the province is running at more than 20 times the pre-pandemic norm. St John’s, the capital, feels more like Toronto every time you visit. Heart’s Delight, a small rural settlement, now has a Ukrainian bakery, Borsch. The provincial government is setting up an office in Bangalore to help recruit nurses. 

The new arrivals in Newfoundland are a microcosm of those elsewhere in the rich world. Many hundreds of Ukrainians have arrived on the island—a tiny share of the millions who have left the country since Russia invaded. Indians and Nigerians also appear to be on the move in large numbers. Many speak English. And many already have family connections in richer countries, in particular Britain and Canada. 

Some of the surge in migration is because people are making up for lost time. Many migrants acquired visas in 2020 or 2021, but only made the trip once covid restrictions loosened. Yet the rich world’s foreign-born population—at well over 100m—is now above its pre-crisis trend, suggesting something else is going on. 

The nature of the post-pandemic economy is a big part of the explanation. Unemployment in the rich world, at 4.8%, has not been so low in decades. Bosses are desperate for staff, with vacancies near an all-time high. People from abroad thus have good reason to travel. Currency movements may be another factor. A British pound buys more than 100 Indian rupees, compared with 90 in 2019. Since the beginning of 2021 the average emerging-market currency has depreciated by about 4% against the dollar. This enables migrants to send more money home than before. 

Many governments are also trying to attract more people. Canada has a target to welcome 1.5m new residents in 2023-25. Germany and India recently signed an agreement to allow more Indians to work and study in Germany. Australia is increasing the time period some students can work for after graduating from two to four years. Britain has welcomed Hong Kongers fleeing Chinese oppression—well over 100,000 have arrived. Many countries have made it easy for Ukrainians to enter. Even those countries hitherto hostile to migration, including Japan and South Korea, are now looking more favourably on outsiders as they seek to counteract the impact of ageing populations.

Economies that welcome lots of migrants tend to benefit in the long run. Just look at America. Foreign folk bring new ideas with them. In America immigrants are about 80% likelier than native-born folk to found a firm, according to a recent paper by Pierre Azoulay of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and colleagues. Research suggests that migrants help to build trading and investment links between their home country and the receiving one. A slug of young workers also helps generate more tax revenue. 

Some economists hope that the wave of migration will have more immediate benefits. “High immigration is helpful for the Fed as it tries to cool down the labour market and slow down inflation,” says Torsten Slok of Apollo Global Management, an asset manager, expressing a common view. Such arguments may be a little too optimistic. Having more people does increase the supply of labour, which, all else being equal, reduces wage growth. But the effect is pretty small. There is little sign that the countries receiving the most migrants have the loosest labour markets. In Canada, for instance, pay is still rising by about 5% year on year (see chart 2). 

Your people shall be my people

Migrants also lift demand for goods and services, which can raise inflation. In Britain new arrivals appear to be pushing up rents in London, which already had a constrained supply of housing. A similar effect is apparent in Australia. Estimates by Goldman Sachs, a bank, imply that Australia’s current annualised net migration rate of 500,000 people is raising rents by around 5%. Higher rents feed into a higher overall consumer-price index. Demand from migrants may also explain why, despite higher mortgage rates, house prices in many rich countries have not fallen by much. 

Over the next year or so migration may come down a bit. The post-pandemic “catch-up” will end; rich-world labour markets are slowly loosening. In the very long term, a global slump in fertility rates means there may be a shortage of migrants. Yet there is reason to believe that high levels of new arrivals will remain raised for some time. More welcoming government policy is one factor. And migration today begets migration tomorrow, as new arrivals bring over children and partners. Before long the rich world’s anti-immigrant turn of the late 2010s will seem like an aberration. 

Source: A new wave of mass migration has begun

Globe editorial: Canada’s much-touted labour shortage is mostly a mirage

Good to see some serious (and belated) questioning by the Globe. Unlikely that the government will change its approach of appeasing business and other interests rather than focussing on medium- and longer-term impacts on productivity:

No one takes orders at the Burger King in the rest stop off of Ontario’s Highway 401 near Port Hope. Instead, there’s a large touch screen that customers use to select and pay for their Whoppers and fries.

That is just one small example of how companies are choosing to adapt to falling unemployment, rather than griping about a labour shortage that is in large part a mirage. Unfortunately, such innovation seems to be the exception, with many business groups preferring to press for increases in cheap labour, in the form of temporary foreign workers.

Basic economics says that the price of something should rise if it is in short supply. But wages – in the middle of what business groups tout as an unprecedented labour shortage – have not even kept pace with inflation, and fretting over a labour shortage has mounted. Average hourly earnings have fallen since January, 2020, once inflation is taken into account. Translation: Businesses may be moaning about a labour shortage, but they aren’t willing to put their money where their moans are.

Another clue that claims of a widespread labour shortages aren’t quite what they seem came in a Statistics Canada report last week that looked at job vacancies, which were 2½ times greater in 2022 than in 2016.

There were stark differences in the rates, depending on a job’s education requirement. For positions requiring at least a bachelor’s degree, there was no general labour shortage.

But there were a large number of vacancies for jobs that only required a high-school diploma, or less. For those lower-skilled jobs, there were many more vacancies than unemployed workers. Even if all those workers were instantly hired, there still would have been 131,000 vacancies in the fourth quarter of last year, for instance.

Despite that apparent shortage, wages are not rising in response. That could be explained in part by a lack of pricing power by some employers. They may not be able to increase their own prices enough to absorb the cost of higher wages.

The heart of the answer, however, is the rise in the number of temporary foreign workers who are willing to work for cut-rate wages and are not as able to shift jobs nearly as easily as Canadian residents. The number of such workers has exploded since the pandemic, jumping to 120,000 at the end of 2022 from 73,360 at the end of 2019.

Economist Jim Stanford thinks there could be deeper structural issues at play, including the ubiquitous use of job-hiring sites. It doesn’t cost much to post a job electronically, and automatic sorting reduces the administrative burden dramatically. Some of those vacancies may be placeholders.

Then there is the less-than-pleasant nature of some low-skilled workplaces, where low pay and high turnover go hand in hand. Mr. Stanford says some employers likely find it more advantageous to deal with high turnover than pay their staff enough to dissuade them from quitting.

Add those two factors together and that glut of job vacancies may in fact be illusory listings that anticipate gaps that will emerge from the next wave of quitters, rather than a sign of a genuine labour shortage.

Still, there’s no doubt some employers are struggling to find workers – and are pressing the federal government to boost the number of temporary foreign workers. Ottawa has bought into that narrative wholeheartedly: The immigration department referred to chronic labour shortages as the justification for revised rules rolled out on Wednesday.

That narrative obscures an uncomfortable reality in which the rapid increase in temporary foreign workers is little more than a subsidy that allows firms to avoid paying higher wages – and, just as bad, reduces the pressure to invest and innovate to adapt to the needs of today’s labour market. In turn, that dampens productivity growth.

Dramatic decreases in the ranks of temporary foreign workers would be disruptive, but Ottawa should start ratcheting down annual intakes. That transition would be smoother if the government took a page out of climate-change policy and allowed companies to trade permits for hiring temporary workers. Companies that were able to innovate and reduce their need for low-skilled labour would be able to sell their quotas, while those who did not would have to bear a cost for using temporary foreign workers.

The alternative is for Ottawa to continue with a policy that blunts wage growth, exploits foreign workers and, for good measure, depresses innovation and productivity.

Source: Canada’s much-touted labour shortage is mostly a mirage

FIRST READING: Canada’s massive (and easily fixed) birth tourism problem

Second article in the National Post in a week. Hopper forgot to mention that the Conservative government did make a push to end birth tourism in 2012 (see my What the previous government learned about birth tourism):

Last week, Macleans’ published an interview with Simrit Brar, a Calgary OB-GYN who is one of Canada’s few medical researchers to actually look into the issue of birth tourism.

It’s something that’s long been an accepted fact within Canadian birthing hospitals: Hundreds of non-resident women each year are coming to Canada in the final weeks of pregnancy, having their baby in a Canadian hospital and then immediately returning home. The purpose of the excursion being to ensure that the child has Canadian citizenship by virtue of the country’s jus soli laws.

There are companies openly advertising their services as “birth hotels.” Online forums include questions as to the “cheapest” Canadian hospital for a non-resident to give birth. In the last full year before the COVID-19 pandemic, a single hospital in Richmond, B.C. had 502 non-resident births — nearly one quarter of total babies born.

Figures from the Canadian Institute for Health Information show that Canada hosted a record 4,400 foreign births in 2019 — up from 1,354 just nine years prior.

Vancouver’s first baby of 2023, in fact, was born to a birth tourist: Mother Salma Gasser had only recently arrived from Cairo, Egypt, on her first-ever trip to Canada, and told local reporters she did it to secure a Canadian passport for her baby girl.

There’s nothing illegal about birth tourism and birth tourists are all paying handsomely for the service (it costs between $6,000 and $10,000 for an uninsured non-resident to give birth at a Canadian hospital). But for a Canadian health-care system that is constantly on the verge of crisis, the phenomenon is having an impact.

In a two-tier system like Australia, the U.K. or the U.S., an influx of non-residents seeking health-care beds could safely exist on the sidelines without affecting overall health-care access: The system could simply grow organically to accommodate the increased demand.

But Canada rations its supply of doctors and health-care workers, meaning that any extra patient is going to be adding to wait times.

“So even if a birth tourist does pay their bill, if we allow people who have the opportunity to pay to preferentially access beds … that displaces people here,” Brar told Maclean’s.

She added that birth tourism is a “social structure issue.” Ultimately, wealthy people from abroad are able to supplant scarce Canadian health-care resources, with negative results for “disadvantaged” Canadians.

“The system is too strained for us to ignore these questions,” she said.

Brar’s research examined 102 cases of birth tourists who had their babies in Calgary between July 2019 and November 2020. A plurality (24.5 per cent) were Nigerian and all told, the 102 paid $694,000 to Alberta Health Services in hospital fees.

Notably, most of Canada’s birth tourists are coming from countries that do not offer birthright citizenship. Almost all of North and South America grants automatic citizenship based on birthplace — a principle known as “jus soli,” or “right of the soil.”

In most of the rest of the world, citizenship is determined based on the nationality of one’s parents — known as “jus sanguinis,” or “right of the blood.” If a visiting tourist gave birth in Nigeria, for instance, that child would not be considered Nigerian unless they had a Nigerian parent or grandparent.

It would be remarkably easy for Canada to ban birth tourism, or at least make it less easy.

Provincial health-care systems could dramatically raise fees on “other country” birth services in order to discourage patients not insured under the Canadian system.

Some minor tweaks to the Citizenship Act could nullify instant citizenship if a baby is born to a parent temporarily visiting Canada on a tourist visa.

Refugees, asylum-seekers and other newcomers would still have guaranteed full, automatic citizenship for their Canadian-born children.

Or, Canada could simply begin denying visas to foreign nationals booking short trips to Canada at the tail end of a pregnancy. This is what the United States did in order to curb its own rising rates of birth tourism.

In early 2020, the U.S. Department of State issued an order to deny certain classes of recreational visas to foreign nationals if a consular official believed they were doing it just to give birth.

“The Department does not believe that visiting the United States for the primary purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship for a child, by giving birth in the United States — an activity commonly referred to as “birth tourism” — is a legitimate activity for pleasure or of a recreational nature,” reads a statement from the time.

U.S. officials have also prosecuted California-based “birthing houses” for counselling foreign nationals to misrepresent their intentions on visa forms in order to enter the U.S. for the purpose of giving birth. Similar charges are feasibly possible in Canada, given that it is illegal under Canadian law to misrepresent one’s intentions for visiting.

Although birth tourism is not addressed or even acknowledged at the federal level, it’s long been deeply controversial in the immigrant-heavy Vancouver communities where it’s most visible.

Jas Johal, MLA for Richmond, has repeatedly denounced birth tourism for turning local hospitals into “passport mills.” Longtime Richmond city councillor Chak Au has often gone on record saying that his constituency — the most Chinese-Canadian in Canada — supports a legislated end to birth tourism.

In 2018, Richmond’s Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido tabled a petition in the House of Commons calling birth tourism an “abuse of Canada’s immigration and citizenship system.”

“The government should say birth tourism is bad. Let’s quantify it and let’s fix it,” he said at the time.

As recently as 2016, Vancouver-area Conservative MPs Alice Wong and Kenny Chiu even led a drive to overturn Canada’s system of birthright citizenship altogether in order to combat birth tourism — although both had reversed course by 2019, when the Conservatives prepared for that year’s election with a platform that mostly side-stepped immigration policy.

Source: FIRST READING: Canada’s massive (and easily fixed) birth tourism problem