When I started on this blog, I didn’t
intend to include any topic more political than debating favourite
machinery colours. But after a visit from a neighbour this weekend, I
felt obliged to to break that rule. Here’s why.
That neighbour brought some legal
papers with him when he came to see us. He asked me to take a look at
them and give him some advice. I’m certainly not a lawyer, and he
knew it. He just wanted to talk to someone who had lived in the area
for a while. He hasn’t. He’s only been in the country two years, and
the papers were related to his application for citizenship.
He ‘s applying to be a Canadian through
Saskatchewan’s Immigrant Nominee Program. To get here he had to meet
a couple of conditions. First, he needed to invest a whopping $2.5
million in a business. And second, he needed to run it himself. He
chose to exchange his farm in Europe for a livestock operation here.
Now after two years of raising cattle, the government has asked him
for a “good faith” deposit of $72,500 to further his citizenship
Good faith deposit? The guy has
invested a ton of money in his farm and he’s spent two seasons in the
cow-calf business. That means he’s been busy doing things like
thawing frozen watering bowls when the windchill value is south of
minus 50 degrees. If that isn’t a gesture of good faith proving his
intention to make an honest living here, what is? The government
ought to cut him a check for that amount and thank him for coming.
Any prairie cattleman who had a spare
$72,500 in his pocket two years ago is unlikely to have it now. The
market hasn’t been kind to cattle producers. And on top of it all,
the guy has been without medicare for all the time he’s been here.
That’s a lot of risk on all fronts. Now, he needs to pony up more
With all the publicity lately
concerning illegal refugees getting into the country and staying in,
it seems my neighbour’s mistake was to follow all the rules and try
to become a citizen the honest way. He isn’t some Hollywood actor
claiming he is being persecuted in upscale Beverly Hills, he’s a
working stiff trying to make a living.
You really have to give the guy credit.
He left a moderate European climate to come to Saskatchewan, and he
persisted—up until now. But his frustration is growing. If he wants
health coverage and the right to remain in the country as a Canadian,
he needs to make another trip to the bank.
For whatever reason, this final “good
faith” deposit was much more than he expected to have to come up
with. His application won’t move forward without it. Even with the
spate of bad weather across Europe this season, going back is looking
like the easiest and most sensible option.
Of course if that Hollywood actor or
some guy wearing a rubber mask, who flushes his passport down the
toilet in an Air Canada jet, get to stay here with health care, at
least for a while, my neighbour could always sell out, go home, then
come back the way they did.
But if he’s going to claim to be a
refugee, why come to Saskatchewan? It’s a nice enough place, but if
the world is your oyster, why not look for palm trees and sandy
beaches with balmy ocean breezes. Why not go to, say, Hawaii?
And now that I think of it, he may
actually have a legitimate refugee claim to make if he heads straight
there from here. After all, I’m sure Prime Minister Harper and Ag.
Minister Gerry Ritz would sign an affidavit saying he’s been
oppressed by the CWB. And if the U.S. authorities need proof of
torture, he could always show them the frostbite on his fingers from
thawing those watering bowls in January.
I think I’ll suggest that to him. If he
gets in and you don’t hear from me for a while, you know where I’ll
be. As for my remaining cows, book ’em… into an auction, Dano.