Grandparents are interesting creatures. I have so much in common with mine that it sometimes scares me. Other times, I get e-mail forwards like this:
A woman wrote the best 'Letter to the Editor' in ages!!
She cuts to the quick and explains things better than all the baloney you hear on TV.
Her letter said:
Recently, large demonstrations have taken place across the country protesting the fact that parliment is finally addressing the issue of illegal immigration. Certain people are angry that Canada might actually want to protect its own borders, might make it harder to sneak into this country and, once here, make it harder (as an illegal immigrant) to stay indefinitely. Let me see if I correctly understand the thinking behind these protests.
Let's say I break into your house. Then, when you discover me in your house, you insist that I leave. But I say, 'I've made all the beds and washed the dishes and done the laundry and swept the floors; I've done all the things you don't like to do. I'm hard-working and honest (except for when I broke into your house).
According to the protesters, not only must you let me stay, you must add me to your family's insurance plan, educate my kids, and provide other benefits to me and to my family (my husband will do your yard work) because he too is hard-working and honest, except for that breaking-in part.
If you try to call the police or force me out, I will call my friends who will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my illegal right to be there.
It's only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do, and I'm just trying to better myself. I'm hard-working and honest, um, except for well, you know. And what a deal it is for me!!
I live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep, and there is nothing you can do about it without being accused of selfishness, prejudice and being an anti-housebreaker. Oh yeah, and I want you to learn my language so you can communicate with me! English is too hard for me to learn. You should also allow me to vote - in my own language, since I live in your house!
Why can't people see how ridiculous this is? Only in Canada!
Oooohkay, wtf? Let's break down the problems with this, shall we?
According to the author:
- immigrants are only good at domestic labour
- immigrants do not speak passable English
- immigrants refuse to learn passable English
- all illegal immigrant came to Canada with the intent of material benefit with no regard for our laws
- immigrants contribute far less to Canada than they receive from state-sponsored benefits
Lies Mistakes of Fact
- "Recently, large demonstrations have taken place across the country...": how odd that this would receive no news coverage...oh wait, that's right, it hasn't happened. In fact, off the top of my head I cannot think of a single example of popular unrest at the thought of turfing real illegal immigrants, excepting the occasional case-specific situation involving terminally ill children or government mishandling of deportations.
- "...protesting the fact that parliment [Parliament?] is finally addressing the issue of illegal immigration.": No, see, Parliament has always addressed this issue. We deport a small but steady stream of people out of Canada all the time, and we have for decades. The "problem" is that we do it right, so there are rarely massive raids that make headlines. We're also less active in seeking out illegal immigrants, because it's simply more efficient for us to wait for them to come to us. Eventually, one will always get a parking ticket or some regulatory or criminal charge that lands them in jail (and by jail I mean a motel out by Pearson).
- "Let's say I break into your house." Let's not. Let's instead acknowledge that this metaphor is not a good one for illegal immigration. House ≠ state.
- "According to the protesters, not only must you let me stay, you must add me to your family's insurance plan, educate my kids, and provide other benefits to me and to my family...": Given that health and education are universally recognized rights, I have an extremely hard time resenting illegal immigrants for requiring them. Oh plus? Thanks to the bureaucracy that is my beloved welfare state, randoms can't access these benefits. If you're accessing them, the government knows who you are. Or it could if it wished to know. Unless you're committing fraud, which is a whole other issue.
- "I live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep...": again, house ≠ state. And everyone only contributes "a fraction of the cost" of their keep in Canada. I think our economy benefits more from illegal immigrants who are contributing than Canadian-born slackers who aren't, and rarely do we get funny e-mail forwards suggesting we evict all of them.
- And finally, my favourite: "Oh yeah, and I want you to learn my language so you can communicate with me! English is too hard for me to learn. You should also allow me to vote - in my own language, since I live in your house!" Unless the author considers francophones to be illegal immigrants, I have no idea what she's talking about. We don't even force people to learn both official languages, let alone minority languages. It's possible she's referring to mono-cultural neighborhoods where most of the signage is not in English, but honestly, you may have to learn some Lebanese Arabic if you want a really good falafel. If you can order a venti café latte or quiche Lorraine, but get offended by non-English signage, then you really need to suck it up. Furthermore, unless you speak a First Nations' language fluently, I hereby order you to shut your cakehole.
We're (almost) all immigrants, and the country has bigger problems than that to contend with, so calm yourself down.
And welcome to the real Canada.
We have excellent falafels.