Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Strudel Diplomacy

Our door bell rang last evening. I opened the door to see who was going to try to sell me some completely useless service or to solicit funds for yet another asinine and misguided cause and was surprised to see my neighbour standing there. He had a shopping bag in his hand and held it out to me. "Here, I baked this apple strudel for you and your family," he said. "I didn't put in any nuts or use any peanut oil," he added, to indicate to me that the strudel would be safe for my nut-allergic son to eat.

The strudel was yummy, better than any I have ever bought, anywhere. My neighbour loves to cook and bake and it shows in the quality of his concoctions. He is a youngish man (compared to me, anyway) and is originally from the Czech Republic. He is successful, bright, and is exactly the sort of immigrant we here in Canada and our American cousins should be seeking. He contributes not only to the economic health of our country but to our level of civility and ethics. He and his wife are great neighbours and I feel lucky to have them next door.

I am all for immigration. We need immigrants for many reasons which I will not repeat here. We should just be careful who we allow to join us. Just as we would not willingly marry or form business partnerships with people who do not measure up to our individual standards, we should not form citizenship partnerships with people who have no work ethic or who are unwilling to take responsibility for themselves. They should work towards becoming part of the larger community, rather than trying to mold the community to their liking and experience. This has nothing to do with race or colour, or even with education or training. It has to do with the willingness, the burning desire, to create a better life than was available to these people elsewhere, and to do it honestly through hard work and application. Becoming welfare sponges or part of a criminal community that is growing at a pace seemingly faster than the larger population in which it resides, should not be options.

We have yet to see the full folly of being too lax in our immigration policies. Our systems are overloaded and underfunded already, but they haven't yet reached critical status. They will. We don't need to control the number of people allowed into Canada every year, we simply need to control the caliber of the individuals we invite to join us.

When I walk around our neighbourhood in the evenings, I see individuals of every colour and race. These are people who have worked hard and who are now enjoying the fruits of their labour. I hope my son will be able to make that same assessment about the neighbourhood in which he will be living when he attains my age. We'll see.


  1. Bravo! Well said. I know this may sound odd, being that both of my parents came from other countries. But you pegged it when you mentioned about work ethics and molding our community (our country) into their liking.

    My uncle came from Cuban right before the Mariel influx. He had been a political prisoner for over 27 years in Cuba. He was against Castro. According to my uncle, he felt the "world" owed him something. So when he came to America, he had this "give me, I've earned this" mentality. I remember my dad telling him (many times over) that no one owes you anything. That America was the land of freedom and opportunity. It's yours if you are willing to work for it. Every time my uncle complained, my Dad would tell him, "You can always go back. It's a privilege to be here." That's not to say that my Dad doesn't love his country. He misses his homeland, but he values the freedom he has here.

  2. I had no idea Canada had an illegal immigration problem, but it seems perfectly logical:
    Where there's a corpse, the buzzards will gather for a free meal; hence, wherever a welfare state exists, looters and moochers will congregate.
    You might be interested in my latest comment on your Hobgoblins post.

  3. I could not agree with your summation any more.
    However, I believe that the penalty for laxity in the American Immigration policy is near at hand.
    The gangs, the drug smugglers, the gimme people have arrived. By the millions.
    I do not know what to say other than "illegal" is a word that needs to begin to have some meaning once again. Neither of our two political parties seem to grasp what must happen when we allow men to decide to what is legal on an individual or group basis.

  4. These things will all haunt us in future decades, catmoves. Our children and grandchildren will pay the price by way of a society with diminished civility, no respect for law, no respect for others, no sense of individual responsibility. Scary.