Dear Editor

December 20, 2001

To the editors of the Toronto Star;

(Caplan defends 'best, brightest' immigration rules - Star Dec 20)

Minister Caplan says she intends to bring in the "best and the brightest". What she is more likely to do, I fear, is to turn Canada into a white collar nation, to the extent that it is not one already. Persons with dirt on their hands need not apply. This will only hasten the day when Canada is a gated community.

If we would only recognize it, our diversity is our greatest strength, greater even than our natural resources. We have intimate personal and family connections all over the world. We can do business in any language.

Exclusionary policies for the privileged will make us all poorer in the end.

Caplan's attitude towards working Canadians is clearly revealed when she says "some of the mythology about the hard-working, blue collar immigrants who built this country is a thing of the past, and it's time to raise the threshold to attract the world's best."

I don't mind meeting the world's best, and we are already attracting many of them, for reasons we all know, but I would not feel comfortable in a country which would not let me in if I were not already in. Some of us would rather not be declared "mythological" just yet.

"In the interview with The Star, Caplan said .... there must be a shift in thinking about the kind of immigrants Canada needs to attract."

Caplan seems to want to formalize a class structure into our society and our economy. This would truly be a "shift in thinking" for most Canadians.

The question is, are we thinking at all? Or are we just letting all our civil liberties slip away unmourned, (for now), in the name of security?

It gets worse. Here is how Minister Caplan feels about candidates for immigration:

"We've got 500,000 applications in the system part of that is inventory management," she said. "That's what I call managing the inventory in a way which meets Canada's interests."

The Minister doesn't owe these people anything, you see, certainly not a refund of their substantial application fees, because they are not people. They are "applications". They are "inventory". It is the triumph of bureaucracy over humanity. It is the final solution.

"Caplan also said yesterday many critics of the federal government's plans to make it harder to enter Canada are lawyers from "the immigration industry," who are more concerned about their clients than Canada's changing needs in the 21st century."

If our immigration policies were so simple, generous, clear and fair that applicants felt no need to engage a lawyer in order to receive fair treatment, then perhaps we would not need an "immigration industry", if there is such a thing. How much immigration work is done pro bono? Heaven forfend that lawyers should be "concerned about their clients."

Wayne Smith

(not published)