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Ten years ago yesterday (Bastille Day, by coincidence), I became an immigrant. Cara Sposa's father had become ill, and a mendacious clown was in the process of hijacking my country and crashing it into the middle east.

It was a difficult decision. But between the housing bubble and the Texan invasion, rents had gone up threefold, the civil rights and refugee organizations we worked for were being shut down left and right. It was an ugly time. People didn't feel they could speak their minds. Crime was going way up. Helicopters were keeping us up all night. Hysteria ruled Washington, DC. And then Cara Sposa's dad started to get worse.

So we liquidated our business, bought a house, and moved to Canada. The process was smooth. Completely different from Cara Sposa's experience in the reverse direction ten years or so earlier. See...

At the time, in the U.S. nobody went into Immigration services unless they had an axe to grind. Against immigrants. Paperwork was routinely lost. The system was designed to deny you any answers to even the most fundamental questions. Nobody manned the phones. Rules were arbitrary and unevenly applied. The whole Immigration and Refugee "Services" was divided up into fiefdoms, none of which coordinated with each other. I had to make trips to Canada to prove that C.S. was my wife, to sign papers, pay fees. Even then, it took three attempts and eighteen months to sort out the two bouts of lost paperwork and the fact that we got married in between the first (timely, perfectly filed and correct) application and the last (timely, perfectly filed and correct).

In my case, coming to Canada, I got a person on the line within ten minutes to answer the two questions that were unclear about my application. I was asked for a follow-up medical test. I paid one fee one time. The process took five months start to finish. In the end, I was asked if the system worked for me. I nearly cried.

A similar thing happened when I filed my first taxes in Canada. The process was painless, answers were easy to get. My refund came back within a month. It was actually less, too, than I was paying in the states, by about 2% of gross. Which, when you calculate the private industry tax we were paying for rudimentary health care coverage (which means you STILL need to pay the doctor at least a $20 fee, and for most of your drugs and minor procedures as well), it was more like 15-20% less tax on gross.

Now, ten years later, I am again a citizen of a country that is run by a mendacious clown. Immigration has been cut back so long that it is very difficult to get families re-united in many cases, and impossible in some. Health care, which is a right, is being denied to certain immigrants. People aren't manning the phones. Paperwork is being lost or backed-up for months.

Oddly enough, the same is happening in the Tax authority. The whole process takes longer, there are more mistakes to clear up. Figures are thrown around willy-nilly, and refunds take months to get to you.

Why? Well, skirting the conspiracy-theory BS, I think the answer is simple. If you want to destroy a government's power over private corporations, you must first weaken it. You weaken it by not funding it, and denying the government the support among the citizenry to obtain funding. So first take the unpopular programs and make them WORSE.

Make everyone resent the tax authority, and by pushing out competent people (people who have the experience and vision to fix problems before they happen) by not paying them, make sure the authorities stay broken. That way, when you want to push a private solution down their throats, you'll find unexpected support from people who normally would have benefitted from those services running more smoothly.

Make the immigration authority unworkable, and people will stop trying to immigrate. Take away the necessary means of survival for refugees, and they will stop coming. Those who STILL want to immigrate will be offered visas that make it clear that they are here on their employer's say-so, and that bringing their families over is not going to happen.

That way, you've effectively turned the two departments that most threaten corporate welfare into tools for privitizing things that really should be in the domain of government (health care, prisons, the energy sector), and for driving down the cost of skilled labour using immigrants without actually threatening the ethnic majority of your constituency.

And what are the liberals doing in this country? The same thing they did in the states. Got all worked up about minor behavioural and cultural issues, while letting the economy be taken out of their hands and given over to to oil barons and bankers.

Or to put it succinctly, the people who thought Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine was a warning were beaten by those who saw it as a cookbook.

Now we have two more years of turning Canada into a bad copy of George Bush's America before we can get rid of them. And like Canadians, we'll probably wait. Until they control the airwaves, too and get rid of those pesky controls on actually lying to people in newscasts. Then we might as well just add ten states to the Union.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 16th, 2012 10:38 am (UTC)
If you want to destroy a government's power over private corporations, you must first weaken it. You weaken it by not funding it, and denying the government the support among the citizenry to obtain funding. So first take the unpopular programs and make them WORSE.

Yep. And your next para after that, too. Enraging, and true.

Sorry to hear that the current Canadian government is pulling a George W.
Jul. 16th, 2012 11:11 am (UTC)
It's sad. I just heard today that many of the Grain Board services, which like it or not, has been killed, are being carved up by the Conservatives to sell to multinational agribusiness. Now, in my opinion, you want some real multinational crime syndicates, that's the industry to look at. Monsanto and ADM in particular for forcing so many bad food decisions on the world with impunity.

Whoa. Pompous again. Off to the gymn.
Jul. 18th, 2012 08:28 am (UTC)
And oh how it makes me weep.
Jul. 18th, 2012 09:07 am (UTC)
Aye. Tis a hard rain as going to fall, me girl.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )