Thursday, July 25, 2019

rite here/rite now: harper on Immigration

This is part of a series wherein I review stephen jerk-off harper's stupid book: Right Here, Right Now: Politics and Leadership in the Age of Disruption. As stated elsewhere, a friend of mine bought the book and didn't finish it and gave it to me. [Here's my first mentioning of it. Here's part I & part II.]

In my last post I didn't even finish summarizing the introduction. And I guess that I won't except to say that at some point harper says that he finds Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders far more of a threat to civilization than he does Donald Trump or Nigel Farage. Which just goes to show you how big a shithead harper is.

Obviously, harper continued to say stupid things between his introduction and chapter 5, but I'm going to focus on chapter 5 today. "Walls and Doors." Which is about immigration. he begins by bragging:

I feel considerable satisfaction about the immigration agenda that my government pursued. We had, in fact, the largest per capita immigration program in the world -- over a quarter-million entrants per year, close to 1 per cent of the Canadian population. This is not just a number. It represents individuals and families who came to Canada to make better lives for themselves and their children. In the overwhelming number of cases, they contributed to the economic needs of our country and brought dynamism to their communities.

he continues by stating that his "approach" was widely supported by Canadians, "including among New Canadians." I found this confusing. Shouldn't it go without saying that "New Canadians" would support the immigration process that brought them here? It appears though that harper just got confused. he'd started writing about immigration but finished by talking about his whole approach to government: "The Conservative Party of Canada is one of the world's few centre-right parties to consistently win a substantial share of the immigrant vote. More on that later."

Now, gawd nose that my mind has wandered as I've typed these silly blog posts. But harper was writing one of his only books. To establish himself as a thinker. If you can't focus on one thought for the length of a single sentence ... ! Anyhooo, harper's book came out in 2018. he was probably working on it in 2017. This is all before the latest hullaballo about immigration and "illegal immigration" and the Islamic Plot to Impose Sharia Law on All of Us. But there has been plenty of that crapola for well over a decade now. But it's gotten more interesting now with Maxine Bernier's "National Socialist Party of Canada" and the attention on Donald Jerk-Off Trump's child-killing concentration camps at the USA's southern border.

harper admits to having screwed the pooch with the administration of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. (I wrote about the fall-out here.) Using a variety of tactics, harper attempts to exonerate himself and blame everyone else for what was actually a typical example of his values and his policies. First he mentions that it was the previous Liberal government that had expanded the TFWP from only covering skilled workers to include unskilled workers. Then he says that he had his concerns about it from the outset, stating that he preferred workers who could aspire to citizenship. But, he says, he was very busy and took the advice of those who told him that Labour Market Opinions showed a need for TFW's in all the areas that his government was rubber-stamping approval for hundreds of thousands of workers. (WAY MORE than the Liberals had done.)

Supposedly, then Minister of Employment and Social Development, Jason Kenney was also too busy??? Or wasn't it his fucking job to be keeping an eye on such a major issue? harper blames Canadian businesses (and foreign-owned businesses) for lying about their needs. he then makes no observations about such obviously toxic behaviour. he says that his government started to investigate the issue after the outcry of workers across the country losing jobs or losing the chance to apply for jobs because of the program. Which is bullshit since the Labour Movement had launched several court challenges long before harper and Kenney were forced to announce "reforms" to the program.

In the rest of the chapter it appears that harper is trying to angle the Canadian conservative movement to take a stand against "excessive" immigration. He quotes a Politico article: "Yes, immigration hurts American workers" that argues "Wage trends over the past half-century suggest that a 10 per cent increase in the number of workers with a particular set of skills probably lowers the wage of that group by at least 3 per cent."

In all honesty, I'm not prepared to declare whether immigration is long-term good for workers or long-term bad. There are studies that point one way and other studies that point another way.

But what I do know now is that harper's treatment of this issue is shallow and probably cynical and corrupt. He's focusing on immigration as the source of workers' stagnant or falling wages rather than any of the myriad number of other policies that he continues to support. And he's doing this because it's better to have ordinary shlubs screaming about powerless immigrants rather than about the deliberate suppression of trade unions, because the first approach is called "divide and conquer" and the latter actually strengthens the working class and weakens the capitalist class.

harper spends the rest of the chapter going on and on about how US workers are right to be concerned about immigration and how Trump is getting their support for finally doing something about it. Traditional Republicans, harper says, had been wedded to a dogmatic view that all immigration is a net gain for everyone, whereas "liberals" (like the Democratic Party) simply rejected the complaints of ordinary US-Americans as "bigotry" because that's just how liberals roll.

A few things: How does harper argue that Canada had the highest per capita rate of immigration in the world and that this has produced no backlash [he's wrong; see the racist "Yellow Vest Canada" movement, the openly racist party of simpleton Maxine Bernier, and the rise of white supremacists all across Canada] but that the richest country in the world (the USA) is riven with dissension over this issue? It can't be because Canada is taking in skilled-workers that are in short supply here in Canada whereas the USA is taking in unskilled workers who drive down the wages of service-sector workers/warehouse and factory workers etc. Because Canada doesn't recognize the foreign credentials of skilled immigrants. They all end up driving taxis or "ubers" or working in factories and restaurants.

And, a lot of skilled, educated Canadians and US-Americans are incensed at the importation of skilled temps from India and elsewhere working in computer programming and other areas.

Also, harper makes no effort to find out the sources of "illegal" immigration to the United States (which to racist, right-wing fuckwads includes people applying for refugee status, even though simply not wanting your family to starve to death is as good a reason as any). harper (the coward) says nothing about the coup in Honduras (and the government of which his asshole government was the first to recognize) has created a crisis of landlessness, unemployment, crime and murder. (Remember this is the same stephen harper who thought it was a good idea to select as many Christian Syrian refugees as he could who were fleeing war and devastation ... caused primarily by the USA and Saudi Arabia ...  and leaving Syrian Muslims to their fates.) The sickening abuses currently going on at the USA's southern border is the manifestation of the dullard harper's mewling criticisms of immigration.

And, again, make no mistake about it: harper is attacking immigration because he has no intention of ever deviating from the real causes of worker immiseration in Canada and the rest of the G7 countries. He will continue to advocate for the shredding of social supports; "free trade" deals that export jobs; the suppression of trade unions [the statistics about the deleterious effects of this will never enter into a book by stephen jism-brain harper], and tax-cuts for the wealthy that lower public revenues, increase debts and "justify" austerity while failing to produce the promised "investment" and growth, decade-after-decade.

I'd call harper a "monster" except he's such a gutless fuck that if you shouted "Boo!" at him, he'd squeal and shriek and shit his pants. This was a vile chapter in a stupid book by a contemptible human being.

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