In his special blend of analysis, humor and wit, Samy Appadurai offers up an intelligent discussion of issues ranging from the history of immigration in Canada, the G20 Summit and the Vancouver Olympics to the position of Canada on the world stage. Along with masterful storytelling, Samy provides a detailed analysis and commentary on each subject he covers in a way that anyone can easily understand.
The perspective that Samy Appadurai takes is one of a well respected community leader who has dedicated his life to not only serving his community, but also his country. His belief in the importance of learning about the issues that face Canada as a nation is clear. However, he is not afraid to take a stand and provide an alternative point of view in order to spark conversation and debate.
Canada is a country that is constantly changing from within and without but Samy Appadurai tells us exactly what it is that keeps Canada moving.
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CANADAA NATION IN MOTION
By Samy Appadurai
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Samy Appadurai
All right reserved.
Chapter OneCanada—We Complain, the World Compliments
I was at the emergency ward at one of the better known hospitals in Toronto at about 7.00 am with a friend of mine who had an emergency health problem. While he was suffering from some sort of respiratory problem, he was shouting loud enough to penetrate all the layers of the atmosphere and hard enough to make a hole in the ozone layer. This scene alerted the attention of other patients who had appeared to be waiting hours for treatment. Some of the patients who thought that they had unbearable pain became noticeably more relaxed seeing him in a much worse condition and realized they themselves were in a relatively better state. The reporting formalities were done in short order and while I was seated in a corner, I listened to some of the patients venting their frustrations. One of them said that "It is a horrible health care system and this not an emergency ward at all. How long we are going to wait?" Another person said "Never mind waiting for a couple of hours, imagine this, my sister had to wait for kidney surgery for years". Still another person said "Look at these politicians, they swallow our money by saying that they want to transfer our files into e-files and then they did nothing fruitful." These complaints never helped in reducing the pain and suffering of the patients, rather they aggravated it. After listening to all of this, "I arrived at two conclusions. The first one that these people are asking whether the glass was half empty. The second one is the assumed mismanagement or misuse of the tax payer's money by the government.
I do not disagree with Canadians who lobby and protest on reasonable grounds. But complaints regarding issues such as inadequate health services, increasing crime rates, school dropout rates, air quality, environmental issues, abuses in the immigration system, discrimination in many sectors, the cost of security for the G8-20 and so forth are unavoidable and should not be ignored or accepted at face value. Sometimes, I wonder if the souls of the forefathers who built this nation get revived and listen to our complaints? If they could speak to us from beyond the grave, they may ask us to look back at their circumstances and at the non—availability of the facilities that we enjoy today. It may serve us well to think about how they survived without pipe born water, without electricity, lacking modern heating equipment for the cold winters, without having industrial strength equipment for building infrastructure on virgin forested land and having to live at the mercy of the weather. At that time as well, we all have to pay for medical treatment and surgery could put our family into debt for years. Quite frankly, I think our forefathers would balk at our lack of courage and forbearance.
First of all let, us get into an Air Canada plane and go around the world and listen to what the world leaders and citizens of countries in all six continents have to say. A recent survey conducted by a reputable institution revealed that over 54 percent of middle aged people from developed nations such as the United Kingdom, U.S.A, France, India, China, Germany, Japan, Australia, Russia to name a few wanted to migrate to Canada and join us in sharing the fruits of our labor. Their reasoning is that that the overall development in Canada which includes better health services, education, transportation, and the peaceful co existence of multi ethnic groups. The survey clearly revels the internal temperature of the world and tells us that the high quality of life coupled with greater maturity in most of the vital aspects of this nation, people and the governing institutions has placed the image of Canada in quite a unique position. I do understand that there are countries in the world that have better strengths in certain respects but lacking behind in many others. For example, China is marching forward as a potential world power having a strong economy. This country has come from a "have not" level to the second largest economy in the world worth 3 trillion dollars. But the denial of fundamental freedoms for the people, freedom of the press, freedom of expression and so on has brought China down in some respects. The world nations that condemned China's deprivation of freedom left it isolation until the early 1970s. It was at that time that Dr. Henry Kissinger; former Secretary of State for President Nixon made a strong political maneuver by recognizing China and establishing a diplomatic relationship. There were a number of reasons for doing this, but the most important one was based on the political philosophy of "The enemy of my enemy is my friend". Although both the former Soviet Union and China practiced the Communist ideology in their economy and politics, they were rivals in their circle. By becoming closer and encouraging China in its development, the strength of Soviet Union would be reduced to a certain extent. Another example is India. India is the most populous democratic nation in the world and a spiritual giant, but India does not have very balanced development and is lags behind in many aspects. Although America is the only super power in the world, American foreign policy is controversial, government debt is in the trillions and that debt itself is more than the GDP of some countries in the world.
Let us now refresh our memory and allow me to capitalize on my years of deep rooted experience on three continents and gauge today's Canada. The unique qualities of Canada certainly supersede its drawbacks. The political maturity of the Canadian masses and active politicians are scoring comparatively high marks. It is pretty clear that Canada has a vision and every move of the government and the voters are very much in synch. Canada acknowledges and values the efforts put forward in building this nation. As a nation we are concerned with diminishing the gap between the main stream and minorities and within the minorities that of the visible and non visible. When it comes to integrating minorities, we are very successful. This is somewhat rooted in the idea of inter—culturalism the idea that all people of all cultures need to work together to support each other while upholding common values. And unlike America's melting pot policy, Canada does not just "tolerate" or dilute other cultures; rather it encourages new immigrants in the preservation of their culture while getting integrated into Canadian life at the same time. Of course, in the due course of time, the third generation of newcomers gets absorbed within the mainstream culture without any outside help. The only drawback is that many show a strong patriotic connection to their ancestral homeland. It began from the father of Canada, Sir John A McDonald, who once said that," I was born as a British subject and live and die as a British subject". It is and will be very important to foster a sense of national pride in new Canadians.
Another excellent example from recent history is that when radical sovereignty members were very active in Quebec and the unity of Canada was at stake, both of the leading Canadian political parties got together, put their party interests aside and brought the national interest to the forefront. They accepted what was the only alternative to safeguard the unity of the nation and that was to strengthen the provincial Liberals of Quebec and create a powerful provincial government, rather than allowing the Party Quebecois to become more dominant. The national Conservative leader was transferred to the position of provincial party leader of the Liberals and even today, the Premier of Quebec Jean Charest acknowledged that he will seek a 4th consecutive victory and not at all rejoin federal politics.
At the Winter Olympics, and the G8 and G20 summits of 2010, the members of the opposition parties disagreed on many things including the spending of almost a billion dollars on security. But when the time of hosting those events came, they all forgot their differences and either cooperated or kept silent. Canadians are smart people; they do not make much noise and watch the situation carefully before making any moves. I can cite a recent example of how Canadians waited until the eleventh hour and approved the way the G8-20 was organized and executed. Canadians take the short term pain for the long term gain. Practicing conservatism in politics brought us away from the Americans. When the thirteen colonies of the new world fought against their colonial ruler the United Kingdom and had the revolution, the Canadians in the north still wanted their independence but without shedding blood or antagonizing their ancestors. The Americans, the sons and daughters of liberty adopted a brand new republic and the presidential system of government, Canada still continues the parliamentary and the constitutional monarchy systems. In spite of practicing conservatism in many aspects of the government, the structure of the senate follows in the footsteps of the House of Lords with some new Senators appointed by the Prime Minister. It is this idea of "Responsible Government" that makes the new comers who have migrated from over 190 countries around the world feel more at home in Canada.
The whole world was very impressed with the operation and the management of the Canadian banking system when all of the developing nations had been struggling to fight against the worst recession since the Depression of the 1930s. Most of those nations entered the recession earlier and have yet to come out of it whereas Canada entered later and began getting out of it earlier. The conservatism policy in controlling and managing the financial institutions brought in a steady capital formation and a strong real estate market. Though the deficit in the government budget is higher compared to the period of the recessions in the 1980s and 1990s, still compared with countries like the United States of America, United Kingdom, and some other developed nations, the Canadian deficit is still relatively small. The unemployment rate never climbed to double digits and began to come down from 8.1% to 7.9% in the month of May 2010. When it was discovered that there were some new mineral deposits in the northern territories and large amounts of oil sand deposits in Alberta and Newfoundland, Canadians did not get overly excited, rather they carried out their normal routines. The attitude of "stay calm and carry on" has served us well.
My commentary would not be complete if I do not include the stand of Canada on international terrorism. We should appreciate that Canada has not confronted any particular ethnic, religious, or political groups. In fact, Canada never joined as the confronting fighters in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars. In Afghanistan, we are participating due to our obligations to NATO. Internally Canada never deprives the rights of certain groups of people or relaxes its hate crime regulations. There might some small incidents that might have been instigated by certain individuals, and even in those cases Canada has stood firm in protecting the constitutional rights of the victims
Let us now look at the future of Canada. In the future, there is going to be more of a decentralized economy away from Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec to other provinces. There is a concentration of economic activities that have already moved from Ontario to some other provinces due to more of the pulling and pushing forces. The security and protection of the Canadian North is essential. The exports of raw minerals may have to be turned into finished products more than now. Since North American free trade is not moving as had been expected, the extension, search and exploration of new markets are one of the top most priorities. Last but not least, the baby boomers expected that more babies would replace them, but the decline in the natural increase in population does not give us much hope. Therefore, Canadian immigration policies have to meet the challenge of the shortage of man power. I am not worried, we have faced many challenges before and we will do it again.
In closing, allow me to say, this is my country. I love it and I love its people. Let us all be proud to be Canadians.
Chapter TwoThe Global Nomads
Any person who drops into the cosmopolitan cities of New York, Toronto, Tokyo, Paris or London may notice that these are not homogeneous cities, but that they truly reflect the world. They might also be convinced that they do not need to go to every inch of the globe to know about various cultures, lifestyles, languages, technological developments and so forth. There are over one hundred and ninety million people on this planet including sixteen million refugees out of seven billion residing outside their countries of origin. These refugees come from over two hundred countries and in 1975 there were only eight million of them. Today, one out of every thirty five people in the world is a migrant and the numbers are consistently increasing. The annual growth rate in migration today is 2.9% and it was 2.1% between 1965 and 1990. It might appear but a fraction of the entire world population, but the impact of this migration in terms of the general balance of the overall population is rather high, and the volume and the speed is getting faster. The distribution of migrants geographically has shifted drastically since the year 2000 and ten percent of the total population of seventy countries mostly the developed ones are migrants. By contrast thirty years ago, it was only forty five countries. The migrant population in the developed world from 1980 to 2000 has more than doubled from forty eight million to sixty five million. Compared with other developing countries it is fifty two to sixty five million and currently sixty percent of the world's migrants live in the developed world. Their contribution to Europe and North America where the birth rates are declining is largely positive. Between the period of 1980 and 2000, eighty-nine percent of the population growth of Europe and that of North America was seventy-five percent. Twenty percent of Canadians, with the exception of those who were born outside of Canada to non-Canadian parents of which I am proud to include myself.
Today, migrants including refugees from around the world mainly belong to the following categories:
1. Skilled workers. (semi skilled, unskilled and skilled)
2. The investors with their financial resources.
3. Contract basis and later accepted as permanent residents.
4. International students who then eventually get permanent resident status (this is also known as the Canadian experience class).
5. Refugees (government sponsored, sponsored by charitable or nonprofit organizations, government sponsored).
6. Permanent residents admitted on humanitarian and compassionate grounds
7. By marriage and family class sponsorship of spouse
8. Family class sponsorship of extended family members
9. Illegal Immigrants (seasonal and undocumented)
10. The right of return policy of Israel for Jews
Internal migration from the rural areas to the cities and city to city migration and visits as tourists are also another aspect of the Global Village and in fact this portion of this book was written at the El Fenador Hotel in Cayo Coco, Cuba.
A variety of circumstances push the source countries to supply immigrants and the receiving countries pulled them into their land with mixed feelings around accepting them. No matter what country it is, there may be a point in their immigration history that reveals that at one point in time a sizeable portion of the citizens if not the entire nation was opposed to the emigration of all or certain undesirable ethnic groups. Every nation in the world tries to find all possible means to protect and preserve its homogeneous identity and is reluctant in terms of accepting others permanently or even temporarily. The English Canadians discriminated against the Irish and Scots who arrived from the same groups of islands in Canada. The great Russians pushed down other Russians and the mainland Portuguese discriminated against their own people who had been residing in their colonies and some of them even carried over the same sentiments to Canada. The French and the British in Canada looked down upon the eastern and southern Europeans and were not willing to accept them whole heartily, let alone the Asians, Africans and South Americans.
The fundamental factors for immigration and emigration are more than the imbalance in the global population; rather, the main concern is economic benefits and then humanitarian concerns. For example, the brain drain and gain which has doctors and nurses emigrating to Canada in large numbers to make up for the Canadian trained doctors and nurses who emigrate elsewhere is something many Canadians are familiar with. Immigration is a very complex process, and in this book we will take Canada as an example and examine the evolution Canadian immigration policies, philosophy, structure and implementation.
Excerpted from CANADA by Samy Appadurai Copyright © 2012 by Samy Appadurai. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter One Canada—We Complain, The World Compliments....................1
Chapter Two The Global Nomads....................9
Chapter Three Immigration And Emigration In Canada....................33
Chapter Four Broken Padlock—Racial Bias....................49
Chapter Five -Refugees....................69
Chapter Six Immigration: An Overhaul Is Overdue....................83
Chapter Seven The Rising Sun Never Set In The West....................109
Chapter Eight Changes On Immigration—2012....................117
Chapter Nine Experience Of An Expatriate In Africa....................127
Chapter Ten Canada: Nations Within A Nation....................139
Chapter Eleven Diversity In Ethnicity....................149
Chapter Twelve Multiculturalism And Globalization....................165
Chapter Thirteen Canada Under The Regime Of The Right Honorable Prime Minister Stephen Harper....................173
Chapter Fourteen Jack Layton, The Legend From The Left....................219
Chapter Fifteen The U.S.A And Canada Today....................225
Chapter Sixteen The Dragon And The Elephant Under The Rising Sun....................233
Chapter Seventeen The Arab Spring....................243
Chapter Eighteen Ontario—Where Are We Heading?....................257
Chapter Nineteen Canada's Mission And Vision....................273