What About Our Common Sense?

By:  Rachel Marsden

It's as if Canada's immigration policies are as untouchable as the freaking Magna Carta or Peace of Westphalia.

If your views on the issue wouldn't have driven former prime minister Pierre Trudeau to giddy fits of pirouetting, then you're typically considered a bigot.

U.S. radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh says a "bigot" can be defined as someone who's beating a liberal in an argument. So, at great risk of being labeled one myself, here's my take on our immigration woes:

People who come here illegally need to be deported ASAP, even if they're, say, construction workers in "high demand".

If we bend the rules for people who specialize in putting up buildings, then we'll also be letting in other folks who happen to specialize in blowing them up.

The days of the Liberals -- who ran this country like a giant flophouse, allowing, among many others, just about any foreign stripper to crash their party and settle in -- are over.

Anyone who gets caught sneaking in our back door should get drop-kicked right back out the front.

Otherwise, why bother having a system at all?

Canada also needs to re-examine the way it handles refugee claimants. Allowing people to disappear into the ether while they're being "processed" is national security idiocy.

You wouldn't let a total stranger stumble into your home, use your washroom, and flake out on your sofa.

Asylum seekers in Australia aren't allowed to loiter around Sydney or go boogie-boarding off Bondi Beach. They get sent to an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean while their claims are being considered.

Canada's Arctic Archipelago has islands. Why not send wannabe refugees up there while we figure out if they're legit?

With 36,000 deportees unaccounted for, according the Auditor General's 2003 Report, let's look into it.

Monte Solberg, our new immigration minister, says Canada should recognize immigrants' foreign credentials.

Are we saying that med school grads from Oxford and Harvard are having a tough time setting up practice here?

No, it's the graduates of schools like the "Universidad de Chinchilla" whose credentials are slow to be accepted -- and generally for good reason.

A less obvious example: A law degree in Australia is called an "LL.B," just as it is here. But while a mere high school certificate will get you into an Australian LL.B program, it's a postgraduate degree in Canada. Which "LL.B" would you want defending your butt in court?

Solberg suggests foreign-trained professionals, like doctors, shouldn't be stuck working as cab drivers. I think there's more to this: It's one thing if a language barrier makes it tough for someone to understand that I want him to drop me off at King and Yonge, but quite another if he confuses the terms "tests" and "testes." Think I'm exaggerating? Just ask British surgeon, David Nunn, who reportedly had to quit in the middle of an operation because some of the foreign-trained nurses couldn't understand English.

Finally, according to a recent Globe and Mail online poll, two-thirds of Canadians want to toss our multiculturalism policy and "insist that immigrants adopt Canadian cultural values." Anyone who plans on moving here should have to first learn one of our two official languages, commit to adopting Canadian culture as their own, and swear allegiance to our country and its values.

People come here because Canada is a great country. Let's keep it that way.