About Secret History

Commentary on Latin America.
Mostly about Mexico - but not always.
Designed to encourage readers to learn about
the apparently "secret history" of 500 million people
spread across two continents
- but not always.
You can always count on a little snark.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The New Argentina

It turns out that Manitoba is angry about immigrants - mostly that they aren't getting enough. Taking a page (probably not consciously) from their hemispheric steppe-neighbor, Argentina, they have gone out of their way to craft policy that allows migrants to find a home on the pampas, er, prairie. It's not as sexy as Vancouver or Toronto... and certainly it is no Montreal, but for those willing to endure the prairie snow, Winnipeg is a new migrant labor destination. And then, of course, there is the nature of Canadian politics:
Another force is in play: immigrant voting strength. About 20 percent of Canadians are foreign born (compared with 12.5 percent in the United States), and they are quicker to acquire citizenship and voting rights. “It’s political suicide to be against immigration,” said Leslie Seidle of the Institute for Research on Public Policy, a Montreal group. READ THE FULL STORY HERE
But there are some down sides I would mention.
1) Consider the visa restrictions that were placed on Mexicans and their entry into Canada. I think we might go too far if we see this story and start applying the stereotype of Canada as the "nice" country compared to the US. As one former Canadian official told the Times:
“The big difference between Canada and the U.S is that we don’t border Mexico,” said Naomi Alboim, a former immigration official who teaches at Queens University in Ontario.
It is an interesting concept. It sounds like British Canada is using the US as a buffer state with Spanish Mexico - essentially the purpose that the American mid-west, and Texas served as for centuries. Ahhh... borderlands history (or at least playing fast and loose with it).

2) Canada's points system often makes it harder for the poorest of immigrants to seek employment and refuge - exactly the population that might most need it.

Final note: Kudos to Jason DeParle and John Woods for this conversation starting piece of writing and photography. Good job.

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