THE DEMOCRATIC REPORTER
Pages of Special Interest;
Other Table of Contents;
|From the Financial Post web-site, if there are errors, please e-mail me with corrections: |
Opening comments - more at end. True to form it is not the Mississauga News that printed this story and this is one of the reasons why I say it is so wrong for people to elect someone who does honour our democratic traditions by even campaigning in an election. Mississaugans' vote in a myth not the person. They do not know who the person is they are electing, as the person was hidden during the election.
May 15, 2001 - Financial Post - By Diane Francis
Cities fight for fair refugee policy
Federal immigration and refugee policies are ruinous for Canada and, the cities most affected by the burdens of bad policies should get together to stop the damage, says Hazel McCallion, Mayor of Mississauga, Ont.
The federal government is irresponsible, with its sponsored immigration and refugee policies letting in unacceptable or unproductive people, but doesn't change because it does not pay the bills for these mistakes, she speculated.
Lower levels of governments do. "We send the federal government a bill every month for our portion [20%] of welfare costs to refugees. We have done so for the past three years. Last year, our 20% totalled $1.5-million," she said. "We aren't reimbursed. We do it out of principle."
If you do the arithmetic, that means Canadian taxpayers are forking out $7.5-million in welfare payments to refugees in Mississauga alone. If you add the costs in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and parts of southern Ontario, that bill is tens of millions annually. Add the cost of housing, medical care and education for their offspring, and you could be talking about billions -- and none of this shows up in the federal books as a cost of immigration.
("Refugees" are not people who have been displaced and are brought in for humanitarian reasons into Canada. Only a few are in that category. Most are smuggled in or are queue-jumpers who lie their way into the country by pretending they cannot go home and get all the entitlements they need immediately. There is no proper adjudication process, they are not even held pending a medical examination, most disappear before their first refugee hearing and even if found to be dangerous or fraudulent they are rarely deported.)
"The motels around the airport are filled with so-called refugees," said the Mayor. Toronto's Pearson International Airport is in her municipality, as are the hotels. "These people come here by plane, have passports when they board then flush them down the toilet and declare refugee status, even when they are from rich countries," she says. "It's hard to believe they are so blind and all of this impacts our budgets. They do not listen. They do not follow up."
Ms. McCallion promised to bring the issue of needless immigration-refugee costs to the attention of the other mayors in the country, notably those in big cities where new entrants cluster.
"Then there are the concerns I hear from teachers. You take a class of 35 kids. Suddenly during the year the teacher has four kids come into a class and not one speaks a single word of English. How can they be included in a class? And what does this do to the learning for the other 31 kids?" she asks. "The school system has to adapt to them the day they land."
The admission of tens of thousands of "sponsored" immigrants who demand immediate entitlements is also costing local governments a fortune.
"We let [sponsored immigrants and refugees] in and they get their teeth fixed at our expense," she said. "They get free drugs.
"If you go to the Credit Valley Hospital the emergency is loaded with people in their native costumes. A couple will come here as immigrants and each bring over their parents. Now you have four people who never contributed a nickel toward our medical system using it at an age when they will cost everyone a great deal of money. No wonder we have to worry about our medical system looking after everyone," she said.
"I went after [Immigration Minister Elinor] Caplin. I said 'we need skilled workers and we're not getting them.' Look at what you're doing to this country."
May 26/01 - City Hall protest - a first hand account.
It was a great day for a protest and diplomacy but the golden opportune for healing was squandered. Where there was some doubt that the Mayor had been miss-quoted or miss-represented in the news papers, there is now certainty the Mayor has some prejudices and even less respect for the Asian community who came for an apology. What is worse, is where there was a chance for a apology for what was is entirely Hazel McCallion's personal opinion ("If you go to the Credit Valley Hospital the emergency is loaded with people in their native costumes."), in order to open a door to dealing with the main subject of the article that Hazel in so much trouble, the current state of the Canadian policy regarding immigration and refugees. Has instead, confirmed what the offended Mississaugans' have claimed, that the Mayor of Mississauga made a racist remark. From here it gets a lot worse as Mississaugans will now have to choose whose side they are on. When a popular Mayor, with lots of supporters (some of whom were out today with their signs of support), starts a race conflict, things can go from bad to worse, very fast. For the safety of all Mississaugans Hazel should have made peace not war.
I arrived just after 12 noon with my small flyers about the other things Hazel and City staff have been up to. The protesters were across the road on the Library side and gaining in numbers. Police and City security were out but not in large numbers. From the City Hall side I took an number of pictures and spoke to Roy Willis. Another group, the Coalition of Mississauga Activists had come out to add their voice to the Asian community call for an apology. In a group of police I noted Hazel watching from a distance, crossing the road I pointed her out. There were speakers set up in square in front of City Hall and the whole group marched over. The media and persons with cameras was impressive.
The only political party with a presence was the NDP. Ken Cole of the NDP was handing out flyers with a copy of a letter from Howard Hampton about Hazel's remarks. Another NDP fellow was handing out flyers about the upcoming Queen's Park rally (May 31-6pm), against publicly funded private schools.
Both sides kept apart for some time. The protesters (I hate to refer to them with that term but lack a better one), were mostly gathered by the loud speakers and Hazel with her guards by the front steps. There were a number of people around her talking about what should happen. This went on for about 20 minutes.
Then the Mayor and her circle of guards came over to the main group. At this point it needs to be noted the seeds of failure had just been sown for a number of reasons. First of all who ever was in change of Hazel's security, if there was anyone, should be shot for letting what happened next. Hazel McCallion is 80 years old, the stress alone of being closely boxed in by hundreds of very angry people could kill her and as tensions mounted no effort was made to clear a larger space, it just got smaller. You could hear Hazel getting angrier and angrier before she threw gas on the fire and stormed off telling those present they didn't want to hear the truth. I think the pressure from the crowd pushed her over the edge. Older people can easily get stressed out and muddled, then say or do unfortunate things. That is what I saw. She didn't look at the people in front of her, she looked down, avoided their eyes. She may think she still take the heat but in the end she left the kitchen.
What makes this all so avoidable is 20 feet away was a large outdoor theater that was open and should have been used. I often hear Councillors' complain that it is not used enough. If it had been, then I am sure the day would have ended better. In the theater there is enough space for everyone to see the speakers and both the community representatives and Hazel would not have felt pressured by the crowd try to see them. Many reasonable things didn't happen today.
I didn't see Hazel hit or pushed but I was not that close. I didn't hear of her being physically interfered with in any way.
Our dear old Mayor is well known for not apologizing, as Mr. Willis knows and today was no different. In fact our Mayor took this opportune to basically repeat herself, as if the first time was not worse enough. Her main correction was that she was talking about illegal refugees but then she goes on to again talk about the lack of skilled workers coming over. In many cases this is effectively telling people there is something wrong with bring over their elderly parents. Some people would say she has balls for repeating these statements in a crowd, twenty plus deep that is clearly getting more and more angrier. I would call it just plain stupid maybe even a death wish. We all know Hazel can turn on the charm, if she cares to. Clearly she didn't care about these people.
As time went on a few persons in the group were very loud and the Mayor refused to speak while being heckled. Efforts to bring order were not as successful as they should have been, Hazel was not amused. You could tell by the anger in her voice but that anger was not just from being heckled, it was from not getting positive feed back. Her magic was not working.
Soon after the Mayor was yelled at to apology for her "native costumes" remark, she just blurted out "Your are not getting an apology!", as you can guess it didn't go over very well. Then she accuses those present of not wanting to hear the (her), truth before returning to her City Hall tower office, guards all around. A classic scene from the fall of empires.
I for one am wondering just what she had set out to do today. From the start she was lecturing us like children who didn't know better and then she storms off never to return. Who does she think she is? Most people in the group wanted to hear what she was saying, there was only two people I noted who would not be quiet but Hazel could not handle it. Or maybe she just did not care. Our loss, we didn't hear mighty Hazel's words. I understand that a sincere effort was made to ask the Mayor to come out and finish having her say.
This was followed by a protest march around City Hall. I joined in and just as I came to the exit from the underground parking, guess who was driving out? Hint, the car had "Mayor 1" on its license plate. Yes, Hazel, she waved and drove away in her very shiny silver-gold car, leaving behind the smell of money. After everyone got back the promises were renewed to not give up till there is an apology.
[COMMENTS BY DON B. - On the web people are very upset over Hazel's remarks and below is what I suggested they do.
Rather then e-mail the dear sweat old Mayor of Mississauga and protest her comments, would it not be better to ask her to come clean about all her bias's and prejudices?
Some thing like this, which I have just sent her.
Hazel McCallion - I know you grew up in time of many bias's and prejudices.
So please let us know now who you hate and why, so the next time you let loose like an old bag lady blaming the world for, what ever, we will not be shocked or surprised by your unbalanced remarks.
Mayor Hazel McCallion
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