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Is Harper Following The Howard Game-Plan?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada has happened upon the John Howard confidence trick. In the shell game of electoral politics, it is important to get the audience to focus on the pea marked "bogus refugees" rather than the one marked "unsustainable immigration". That way corporations get the policy they paid for. The growth of the cheap labour pool and legions of new consumers. We clap our hands at the crackdown, and are none the wiser for it.

I seem to recall that Australia's one-man wrecking crew (lest we forget) John Howard, successfully exploited public anger over incoming boat-loads of refugees by making a show of his hardline crackdown, then using that stance as a screen to jack up immigration levels to stratospheric heights. Right? Well it seems that the Stephen Harper government is taking the same tack. Use the refugee issue as a decoy and a lightening rod so that an even higher number of migrants can be waived through the airport. This is not about curbing immigration to more sustainable levels, levels that would permit cultural integration and ecological recuperation from the two-decade demographic assault Canada has suffered since 1990. It is about quelling growing public anger so that it does not threaten the great unquestioned project of unsustainable economic growth, which all major parties wrongly believe is dependent on population growth.

It is not just Canada's refugee system that is out of control. Immigration is out of control. Making scapegoats out of phoney refugees and the slime who smuggle them takes the heat off an immigration policy based on economic folly and cynical political empire-building. And the Prime Minister knows it. He wants more immigration, not less. And if the opposition parties, who share his mad dream, were smart, they would accede to his inadequate bill, because it appeases misplaced public wrath. Canadians could then be given the false assurance that everything is now "under control", when in fact immigrant-driven population growth will be more out-of-control than ever. While I support the government's half-measures---as far as they go---- I wonder if by applying a band-aid we might forget that we need major surgery. We need to stabilize and reduce our population, and to accomplish that, we could double or triple the intake of legitimate refugees while slashing the immigration quota to modest and reasonable totals. Cleaning up the refugee mess is not sufficient.

Harper's comments, recorded in this news report, "Human smuggling threatens Canada support for immigration: PM", makes his motives clear.

"A failure to act and act strongly (against human smugglers) will inevitably lead to a massive collapse in public support for our immigration system.... Not only do we have relatively speaking the largest immigration program in the world; not only do we have the most generous system of sanctuary for refugees in the world -- we also have a level of public support for immigration that is unparalleled elsewhere in the world," Harper said. "And that must continue, because our economy will need even more immigrants." The strong new laws will provide incentives for would-be immigrants to enter the country through "legitmate channels".

Tim Murray
October 22/ 2010

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Thanks Tim, for reminding us of only some of the harm that former Australian Prime Minister John Howard was able to inflict upon us between 1996 and 2009 largely because of his gift for avoiding public scrutiny of his policies.

On Monday night he is a guest on Q&A, the episode of which has been misnamed "Adventures in Democracy". If democracy means rule according to the will and welfare of the majority, Howard's period in government was anything but democratic. In this show, questions by members of the public, recorded on video. are put to the guest,. So, to have any input into the show, you need your own video, camera and a good Internet connection. It is my understanding, although I haven't been able to obtain confirmation on the Q&A site, that all submitted videos are stored on the Q&A site, even if only a few can be used in the program.

Let's hope the public, with video cameras, and the program producers, don't allow this very dark period in Australian history to be whitewashed.

Howard and Rudd both supported and encouraged a massive increase in immigration, and then patted themselves on the back for averting an "oncoming crisis" of underfunded retirees.

Ironically a couple of generations from now their successors will curse, not thank them, when this huge new population boom themselves face retirement. Something which anyone, who is capable of long term thought (i.e. not a politician or business leader), will see is inevitable.

Unfortunately the first response of that future government will be to boost the Australian population to even huger numbers to help pay for this latest generation of retirees, thus repeating the cycle all over again.