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March 25, 2013

Jason Kenney in Cloud Cuckoo Land

Reuel S. Amdur

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In the shadow of last year's celebration of the centennial of the War of 1812, who would have foreseen that the war would be reopened? Yet, such is the case. We might not have noticed, till Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney brought it to our attention.

He had to take steps to halt the invasion of Americans coming to Canada to seek refugee status, all just to gain access to free Canadian Medicare.  No one else has noted this massive influx, but Kenney is on guard for thee.  To halt the invasion, he has clamped down on what medical benefits refugees and refugee claimants can receive.

Fantino wants to cut back on aid to Haiti.  Perhaps Fantino could bring back police and troops from Haiti and station them instead at the U.S.-Canada border.

Kenney, always proactive, went to Hungary to prevent so many Roma from fleeing to Canada.  When he came back, he assured us that Hungary is a democracy, not a place that creates refugees fleeing persecution.  Even if a few brutalized and murdered Roma remain unconvinced.  Even if Jews in Hungary are uneasy with the rise of anti-Semitism as an important political force.

Well, he went to Hungary to try to straighten things out there and cut back on sick Hungarians coming here to get free medical care.  I have an idea for his next foreign adventure to save our sacred medical system from abuse.  He could go south to talk to our American cousins, to convince them to make efforts to stem this massive tide of Americans fleeing to Canada for free medical care. 

Kenney’s purpose for the trip would be two-fold.  On the one hand, he needs to urge Obama to stand fast on Obamacare, even to sweeten the program as much as he can.  On the other, Kenney must make inroads with his ideological cousins in the Tea Party movement, to get them to lay off.  After all, if health care in the U.S. becomes more accessible, then we can more successfully halt the massive onslaught of Americans fleeing to Canada seeking free medical care.

If Kenney has some measure of success in this effort, then border traffic will flow more smoothly.  After all, congestion at border crossings has been a major irritant, slowing down the vital commerce between our two countries.  Little did we realize that the reason for the slow-down was the huge number of fleeing Americans wanting to make refugee claims for gold-plated health care. 

If his diplomatic efforts fail to stem the massive tide, then the border traffic issue needs another look.  Perhaps it is actually flowing too smoothly.  Should we impose visa restrictions on Americans?  To get a visa, every American visitor would need medical clearance, by a medical facility properly approved by Canadian authorities.

But that is not all.  If this invasion is not halted by these tentative measures, we may need to take other steps.  Paradoxically, the United States has shown us how.  Take the case of Maher Arar.  Because the United States suspects this Canadian citizen of terrorist involvement, he cannot board an Air Canada plane in Montreal and fly to Vancouver.  Why? Because part of the flight path is over U.S. air space.  When the Canada-U.S. border agreement was arranged in 2011, this problem slipped Prime Minister Harper’s mind, but this overlooked problem provides an opportunity for us.  We could insist on a visa for any American on a flight over Canadian air space.  We don’t want all those American medical freeloaders taking the opportunity to claim refugee status during flight changes in Vancouver or plane refueling in Goose Bay.  We don’t want them parachuting out of passenger jets over southern Ontario.

Thank you, Jason Kenney, for giving us a heads-up on this serious problem.  Perhaps the zebra mussel invasion could be his next challenge.  Make them get visas before entering Canadian waters.  Someone give him a fishnet and a spear.

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