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Pastor Dave  

The immigration tragedy

 

Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney was on the hot seat this week regarding his review of immigration laws. First, he invoked a new regulation requiring new Canadian women of Muslim descent to show their faces while taking the oath of citizenship. This requirement was not considered onerous in that an open face is required to obtain driver’s licenses. A quick review of this demonstrates clearly that this regulation is not a violation of religious freedom as much as it is a challenge to culture.

Then, he ordered a crackdown on immigration fraud. Apparently, people have been using crooked immigration consultants to construct fake evidence of residency in Canada, and close to 6,500 people have now been linked to this fraudulent behaviour. This investigation may wind up exposing one of the biggest citizenship scams in our short history.

History hasn’t been that kind to Canada’s sense of responsibility towards those in need of refuge. In 1939, PM Mackenzie King rejected the SS St. Louis, a ship carrying 937 Jewish passengers who were desperately seeking refuge from the horrors of Nazism in Europe. He commented that “it is not a Canadian problem” and that “as far as he was concerned the admission of refugees perhaps posed a greater menace to Canada...than did Hitler.”

This moment has been portrayed in history books as the “voyage of the damned.” The mentality of many in our nation toward immigration then was that “none was too many.” That response, or lack of compassion, remains a dark spot on one of the pages of our nation’s history. It is vital that any residue of that attitude be wiped from our minds and hearts.

Canada likes to see itself as a sanctuary for the oppressed, but this view of ourselves may be at risk. In November 2000 Canadian clergy apologized for sending the ship back to its country of origin which led to their deaths, but as far as I know there has never been an official government apology for the rejection of the St. Louis, although a memorial for the Jewish refugees was unveiled on January 20, 2011 in Halifax at Pier 21.

Unfortunately, the tragedy of unlawful immigration has infected the entire global community. Canadians, as well as many of these new immigrants, have been duped and taken advantage of. The promise of a new life has been threatened by the injustice of their old life. The stories of injustice break the hardest of hearts as we witness the inhumanity of humanity to humanity.

Canada needs to make sure that it focuses on correcting the right wrongs: bringing accountability to educational institutes that build on student visa scams; exposing fake or forced marriage services; prosecuting immigration documentation firms (ghost consultants) who have cheated immigrants of their monies; removing immigrants that are here on false pretentions; creating interagency support systems to identify undocumented immigration; and, incarcerating those who abuse our gentility and hijack immigrants into the sex trade industry.

Canada was built by immigrants. It is a generous nation with a gregarious heart to support and welcome those less fortunate. While holding the standard of compassion high, we must hold true to the principle that Canadian citizenship is not for sale and unlawful or deceptive entry cannot be tolerated. Citizenship is not a right, but a privilege.

I love the multi-cultural dynamic of our nation. I love it when I go to the mall and see a myriad of cultures inter-connecting. I love it when I go to church and see a diversity of cultures worshipping God together. Heaven is going to be comprised of people from every tongue, race, and nation. You may not like heaven if you don’t love the people of the world. Immigration – hospitality, stranger loving – is a Christian and Canadian tradition. God bless Canada. Merry Christmas, everyone!



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About the Author

Dr. David Kalamen is founder and lead pastor of Kelowna Christian Center (KCC). Married to Carleen for 35 years, they and their family, all living and working in Kelowna, have together been ministering to the people of this region for over 25 years. David cares deeply about the citizens of Kelowna and the state of the city, causing him to develop the Houses of Mercy program to help build compassionate community.

His column "Oh! Canada!" reflects his love for the Canadian people and this nation, and brings a refreshing perspective to local and national issues of common concern.

David has spoken at national and international conferences that have dealt with a wide range of leadership issues touching Christianity, politics, social justice, mercy missions and business. That call has taken him to over 20 nations. He has served on the General Council of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, and is presently a faculty member of the Wagner Leadership Institute. David has authored a book, Life Purpose that has sold broadly throughout Canada.

If you want to contact Pastor Kalamen about this week's column please e-mail [email protected], call (250) 762-9559, or write to KCC at 905 Badke Road, Kelowna, V1X 5Z5.

Useful websites are:
Kelowna Christian Center: www.kcc.net
Heritage Christian School: www.heritagechristian.ca
Heritage Christian Online: www.onlineschool.ca
Global Ministry Training Center: www.gmtc.ca



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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