In 1903, a plaque was added to the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor, featuring the inspiring words of Emma Lazarus. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free”. Both the United States and Canada have always been, and always will be, nations of immigrants.
Everywhere you go in this country, especially on the prairies in the dead of winter, you find new Canadians with incredible stories to tell of how they got here, and the horrible nightmares they endured in the land where they were born. But with the exception of a few hundred refugees that we are shamed into welcoming each year from hellholes like Syria, Canada is not an easy place to get into if you have no money.
As of New Year’s Day, it costs new Canadians $530 just to complete the government paperwork that’s needed to become a citizen of this country. Twelve months ago the cost was $100, and the government insists that even 530 bucks doesn’t cover the full cost.
Cost recovery is the name of the game in all public sector transactions, and even better is making a profit from the ‘poor and huddled masses’. Our education system, both public and private, makes millions from educating the best and brightest from around the world. More than 100,000 foreign students attend Canadian universities every year. In some cases they pay tuition that is twice as high as the locals coming out of high school will pay. Canadian schools are not the most expensive, but they’re far from the cheapest.
The same is true at private schools like St. John’s Ravenscourt in Winnipeg. It has been recognized internationally for years as one of the finest schools in this country, and the brightest students from many countries fight to get in, if their families can afford it.
Stay warm everyone, and keep a good thought for the millions who have chosen to make Canada their home, even in January.
I’m Roger Currie