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Sunday, October 26, 2008

White noise

With the downturn in the economy in North America, public discussions of immigration issues and policies have taken on a decidedly edgy quality. Comments on almost any article now on the Star online are bombarded with uninformed opinions and acidic calls for immigrants to "go home" or "stay home."

Many are under the impression that sponsored immigrants are immediately on public assistance once in Canada - truth is that any assistance they get has to be repaid by their sponsor if they can't do it themselves.

Many lump all classes of immigrants in together - with no compassion for refugees, or skilled workers lured by the "streets paved with Loonies" picture painted by many immigration consultants and the CIC themselves at times (though they are much improved on this front).

It's sad to see economic fear bring out bigotry, bias and small-mindedness in otherwise very tolerant Canadians. The new immigrants always face the stigma of un-want, as history has shown time and time again. Never mind that those who "choose" a country other than the one of their birth are shown time and time again to become loyal citizens, and by the second generation, significant contributors to society.

Immigrant hopefuls: don't despair. The white noise generated by those who live in fear of you, who want to blame you for the problems Canada faces, who refuse to see you for who you are as individuals with your own unique stories - they will pass. Something else shiny-er than you will catch their attention and become the focus of their anger. Stay your course, follow your dreams, pursue the life you wish and remember that the best comeback is simply to contribute and to live a good life.

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