Posts Tagged ‘citizens’

Here is a portion of an email I sent to my local Member of Parliament, in response to increased media attention of the use of temporary foreign workers in Canada, including this April 8, 2014 CBC.ca article.

I simply ask, why are we bringing in any foreign temporary workers to fill “unskilled labour” positions? By that, I mean positions requiring little to no training, with specific reference to front-line jobs at companies like McDonald’s and Tim Horton’s, as examples.

It is true that there are many positions that can’t be filled by Canadian citizens and permanent residents, but only at a particular wage, which is minimum wage or slightly higher, and not that they can’t be filled for the right price.

I fully understand the purpose of bringing in skilled workers to temporarily fill positions, since qualified candidates cannot be found for some positions among citizens and residents at any price, but to bring in any foreign workers for unskilled labour is to say that businesses have a right to be able to fill those positions for a particular price, instead of letting the market determine it.

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Flags of North America

That is the message the Canadian government has sent with its plans to rely on U.S. law enforcement officials to conduct law enforcement operations in Canada, starting in 2012.

Embattled U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, announced the plan on September 14, 2011.

Given the population disparity of nine times the number of Americans to Canadians, it’s pretty evident which country will be more reliant on the others’ law enforcement in this interoperability scheme.

This isn’t the case of co-operating to defend against a common existential threat of intercontinental ballistic missiles, as is the case with NORAD; It is a fundamental responsibility of every sovereign country to defend its own borders.

Despite the spin of it being necessary to have such a collaborative approach, as Holder describes, the reality is that the governments of both countries are telling their citizens that they aren’t capable of defending their borders.

As a Canadian myself, I ask the question of other Canadians: do you accept the notion that we are incapable of defending our own borders? If we’re incapable of defending our own borders, then what other fundamental responsibilities of our government are we incapable of fulfilling?

And to my American neighbours and friends, I ask: are you also incapable of defending your own borders?

For more on the Canadian and American governments’ lack of confidence in their own citizens’ abilities, see my article¬†North American Unionization: U.S. and Canadian law enforcement interoperability.

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When Canada’s long-gun registry was introduced in 1995, it was estimated that it would cost $119 million. By 2004, the actual cost was reported to be $2 billion — a 1680% underestimation.

On the September 9, 2010 episode of TVO’s The Agenda, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair made his unsurprising pitch for the registry.

You may remember him as the police chief who despicably misled his fellow citizens into believing they were required to produce identification within five metres of the security perimeter set up for the 2010 G20 summit, in violation of their Charter rights, with the justification that he “was trying to keep the criminals out.”

In his defence of the registry, he said there were an average of 12,000 checks of the registry per day, and he touted a recent resolution by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, which came out in support of Canada’s system of gun controls.

However, as the other panelists had a chance to speak, the following rebuttals were made, which were never factually challenged by the police chief.

  • The resolution was in support of Canada’s system of gun controls, not the long-gun registry, specifically.
  • There has been a handgun registry since 1934, and despite that, most gun crimes in Toronto are committed using handguns.
  • Most checks are computer-initiated.
  • 9000 of the 12,000 average daily checks are name checks for licensing, not gun registration.
  • Registered firearms can be legally stored at someone else’s residence, so police can mistakenly approach a residence where the registry says there are no firearms there.
  • Police chiefs of other major metropolitan areas in Canada such as Calgary have called for a repeal of the registry, showing how it’s not simply an urban-rural split.
  • The governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have called for a repeal of the registry.

Despite all that, the usual suspects who excuse government waste and unjustified intrusion into the lives of the overwhelming majority of citizens who are law abiding, continue to get away with it.

That, however, may end this month, with a scheduled vote on a private member’s bill that would repeal the registration of most long-guns.

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On a visit to Rome this month, at the airport:

  • They immediately stamped my Canadian passport, and I could stay for up to 90 days without a tourist visa
  • No questioning
  • They didn’t mention anything about liquids
  • No full body scan
  • Customs declaration appears to work on the honour system

Returning to Canada through the U.S., at JFK airport:

  • Required to take off my shoes
  • Required to separately x-ray my laptop
  • Required to put 100 mL or less of liquids in a plastic re-sealable bag
  • Questioned for a minute about customs and what my intentions were
  • Passport stamped for connecting flight only

This, despite Canada and the U.S. sharing the longest undefended land border in the world, and being parties to NAFTA, the largest trade union in the world as of 2010, and most Canadians being exempt from US-VISIT fingerprinting and photographing procedures, unlike U.S. green card holders.

Indeed, the U.S. was attacked on 9/11 and Italy and Canada weren’t. However, the disparity in security checks for Canadians at the airport in Italy’s largest city versus the United States is vast.

This, despite Italy having been a member of the Iraq War coalition, all three countries with troops in Afghanistan, and Italy’s longest-serving and current Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, having been the most pro-Bush foreign leader aside from UK prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

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