Stop Catering to Our Worst Impulses

The arrival of the MV Sun Sea carrying @400 potential Tamil refugees has given our media an opportunity to start fanning the flames of our worst natures. This is a symptom visible across the political spectrum. Please let me give a considered rant for a moment.


From the "Right":

  • Immigrant/illegal/refugee/economic refugee – we want immigrants. The rest can screw off.
  • These queue jumpers!
  • Want to suck on the public teat
  • Taking money and jobs away from Canadians
  • Send them back immediately!
  • Confiscate or destroy the ship
  • Damn Trudeau
  • Damned CBC makes us sound like Nazis
  • $80k to process each one. Damn that federal government.


From the "Left":

  • Immigrant/illegal/refugee/economic refugee – if you even dare to make an nuanced argument, you are a RACIST!!!!!
  • Poor brown babies, it must be all our fault
  • We owe them so much for having been lucky enough to be borne in a better country
  • Canada is a land of refugees. Oops, meant immigrants. No, perhaps I mean refugees.
  • When the following words start to appear, scream RACIST!!! and describe the effort it took for them to get to Canada
    • Economic, rather than political refugee
    • Should be immigrant, rather than refugee
    • Not the level of immigrant Canada wants
    • Why is Canada paying for all this
    • Immediate access to Canada's services

There are, of course, many more but you get the idea.

I tend to be a bit more pragmatic. As I listen to the above silliness, I tend to classify:

"Right" – Knee jerk, sloganeering morons

"Left" – Louder knee jerk, sloganeering morons

Some pragmatic observations (if you find them moronic, please feel free to address in the comments section below):

  • Of course, the boat is full of Tamils looking to leverage the Canadian system. Even if they don't qualify, they are our of the post war Sri Lankan cesspool
  • It is too late for the government to change the law to address these folks. But change the law they shouldl
    • Both electable parties (with the agreement of the NDP) have spent years pursuing immigrant votes
    • Both are terrified to change the law in any way which might offend even one voter
  • As usual, for politicians, the best plan is to prattle on now knowing no significant change is coming
    • They know that in two weeks, most will not remember where the boat landed or the exact nationality of the passengers
  • We need immigrants. Refugees are not immigrants.
  • We need to be generous and assist some refugees. Some people really do live under the kind of threat we would consider unacceptable in Canada.
    • While we try to be nice about accepting the cultures of people from other lands, we tend to agree that refugees would not be such unless their countries were horrific.
    • If their countries are not horrific, then get thee back whence thee came
    • We are not animals, if you are under threat we want to help
  • Common sense is often wrong
    • $80K sounds like a lot to process these possible refugees. It really is not.
      • We demand of our civil service that they be correct in their assessment.
      • We demand that they eliminate or minimize risk.
      • We excoriate them if proven wrong
    • It costs extra to minimize risk. Is it worth it? Up to you.
  • There are obviously terrorists amongst them.
    • There likely are. There, I wrote it. I expect there are Tigers in that group.
    • Best efforts to identify the terrorists are expensive and not guaranteed to be 100% certain.
      • 100% certainty does not exist
    • A balance of risk should be found in the range from
      • They are all terrorists and criminals. Send them all home!
      • They traveled so far from such a bad place, let them stay.
    • The process can be made better but it does allow that a balance can be struck, finding as many of the bad guys as possible


This is a complex issue, badly suited to slogans. It requires a philosophical foundation and the courage to implement it. And yet, in Canada (and most of the western world) the politicians are too cowed to take anything away.