The Elderly vs. The Persecuted

I got this e-mail from my mom today, and though its intentions are good in that it is trying to raise awareness about the plight of the elderly in Canada – it really went the wrong way about it. Here is the original e-mail, which may have landed in your inbox recently as well.

It is interesting that the federal government provides a single refugee with a monthly allowance of $1,890.00 and each can also get an additional $580.00 in social assistance for a total of $2,470.00. This compares very well to a single pensioner who after contributing to the growth and development of Canada for 40 to 50 years can only receive a monthly maximum of $1,012.00 in old age pension and Guaranteed IncomeSupplement. Maybe our pensioners should apply as refugees!

Lets send this to all Canadians, so we can all be ticked off and maybe we can get the refugees cut back to $1,012.00 and the pensioners up to $2,470.00 and enjoy some of the money we were forced to submit to the Government over the last40 or 50 years.Please forward to every Canadian to expose what our elected politicians are doing to the over taxed Canadian.

Here is my response to my mom about it, which after writing I decided I’d make a post out of, incase anyone else is misled about this.

Hey Mom, don’t spred propaganda leaked on to the net by right-wing hate groups and generally very ignorant people using some really crappy math and economics. The population of refugees in Canada is about 50,000 (according to Amnesty Intl.) and the population of people 65+ is about 4,000,000. If we give each refugee an allowance of $2,500 – that’s $125 mil./mo., whereas using the same amount if we were to give that to pensioners (4mil X $2,500) it would be an even $10 billion/mo. Put those numbers over a year, assume the average refugee stays on the allowance for not more than a year or two and do the same math with the figures for the elderly who will be on their assistance for possibly 10-20 years or more – and you can’t compare these two things even remotely.

Add to this that most refugees only stay on the allowance for a limited time and then create tax paying businesses as well as Canadian-hiring jobs or at the very least get tax paying jobs themselves – saying they don’t contribute to Canada is bull. They come to a country out of fear of persecution or death from their home country, they usually have nothing and obviously need some assistance to get an apartment, food, clothes, furniture, etc. The aged population often have saved assets, retirement plans, liquifiable assets (house, car, etc.) and family support.

Anyway, sorry to get so ‘into’ this… but that e-mail does nothing but breed hate towards something that makes Canada one of the best countries in the world. I’m not saying that the government shouldn’t do something to pay retirees more (perhaps cut their own inflated salaries), but picking on refugees or immigrants in general is a slanderous thing that has no merit other than to spread xenophobic fear through the hearts of a bunch of red-necked whities. The only people in Canada who can complain about immigrants in Canada are the Native peoples, everyone else should just bugger off.

Here are some facts from Amnesty Intl. about refugees in Canada.

Common Myths About Refugees

MYTH: The refugee system lets criminals and terrorists into Canada.

FACT: The Canadian refugee determination system excludes people who have criminal or terrorist pasts.

While in the past, some human rights violators have made their homes in Canada, there are a few ways to address this issue. Canada has laws in place allowing for the prosecution in Canada of individuals accused of committing crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture abroad. However, the Canadian government has preferred to deport such people, rather than prosecute them. This is troubling when such people are deported to countries where they face a serious risk of human rights violations, or are likely to go unpunished for their crime.

MYTH: Refugees are a drain on our economy.

FACT: Studies show that refugees and immigrants contribute positively to the Canadian economy. Many refugees start small businesses that employ both themselves and “native” Canadians. In addition, immigration helps to offset the effects of our declining birth rate and aging population.

MYTH: Most “refugees” are really economic migrants – they come to Canada just to get richer.

FACT: It is not always easy to separate refugees fleeing persecution from others fleeing economic instability in the countries from which they flee.

An April 2003 study done by the U.K. based Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) found that the majority of asylum seekers are driven by “conflict and repression rather than economic factors…1

In a detailed analysis of refugee trends, the study concluded the ten most common countries of origin of asylum-seekers in Western Europe are linked by their chronic instability, rather than their poverty.

MYTH: Canada takes more than its share of refugees

FACT: Because of its geographic isolation, Canada receives a relatively small number of refugees. By far the largest number of refugees are in developing countries.

The majority of the world’s refugees come from – and remain in – countries of the South. The following countries have each been hosting over a quarter of a million uprooted people: Congo/Zaire, Ethiopia, Guinea, Sudan, Tanzania, Azerbaijan, Germany, Russian Federation, Yugoslavia, United States, China, Gaza Strip, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, India, and Pakistan.

The equivalent figure for Canada was 48,800.

The number of refugees Canada accepts each year is less than a tenth of 1% of the population.2

MYTH: Canada’s acceptance rate for refugees is too high

FACT: There is no “right” acceptance rate, only “right” or “wrong” decisions on individual cases. It may be true that Canada’s acceptance rate is higher than some other countries. However, there are various reasons for this, including the fact that other countries may use a narrower interpretation of the Convention Refugee definition, have a politicized determination system or lack procedural safeguards. Some countries offer temporary protection, with limited legal safeguards, to people who seek refugee within their borders.

While each country’s refugee determination systems are different, Canada’s acceptance rates of refugee claims are comparable to the United States (58% vs. 52% respectively)

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