Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Friday, January 13, 2006

Debate on Immigration Continued - 5 Things I Noticed

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The commentary I posted last night being incomplete, here's more.

  • The Bloc likes Folco on immigration. On several occasions last night, Bloquiste Meili Faille lauded Liberal Raymonde Folco's work. Folco, for her part, thanked Faille and returned the compliment. Odd.
  • Folco is muddled. On a number of questions, Raymonde Folco criticized the state of our immigration process, which can keep families separate for a decade, is loaded with interminable paperwork and so on. This non-partisanship was nice. When asked if she supported her party's policy on immigration, however, she answered yes, saying that immigration is a complex issue, where "les choses ne sont pas noires ou blanches, mais plutot grisatres." Further on still, she said one is either a refugee or one isn't.
  • The Green and NDP candidates were ignorant. While the Green party candidate recognized that he didn't know how technical the debate was going to be (Conservative Neil Drabkin, Folco, and Faille, are immigration-law experts and the questions were hyper-specific), the NDP candidate hobbled on till the end of the debate. From the start he was stuttering and unsure of himself, and stuttered continually. His sole contribution of note was pointing out that his Liberal rival Lucienne Robillard appointed many immigration board judges now being investigated for fraud.
  • The Green candidate was eloquent. Though he was out of his league (it feels to me like the Greens are a one-issue party), Claude William Genest was eloquent. The Green VP for Quebec had some snappy quotations, and he sounded good. Notably, he quoted Einstein (who was on the event's ads ... way to know your audience): "Clever people propose solutions; wise people avoid the problem," and affirmed that the Green weren't "des politiciens interesses a prendre le pouvoir, mais des citoyens interesses a prendre leur responsabilites." Nice populist message.
  • Drabkin wants productive immigrants. The CPC candidate for Mount Royal welcomes immigrants willing to work hard and abide by our laws. He pointed to Algerian immigrants he helped as an example. Criminals can stay out, where he's concerned. It was in closing these remarks that he asked Raymonde Folco about her criticizing her party. In another controversial remark, the NDP candidate rebutted he didn't see why a criminal record should stop someone from immigrating to Canada. Could it be because we don't want criminals in our country? On the other hand, he seemed to be emphasizing that they might be tortured for their crimes abroad, which is also a valid point.
Tomorrow I'll post my notes on the debate, and secondary thing of interest, so those who couldn't attend will be able to read up on what they missed. I'm also waiting on an email from the event's official cameraman, a gentleman by the name of Ignas, to

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