The world needs happy immigration stories. Canada has millions


National Post, 9 August 2019

My family — like many hundreds of thousands of other such families — has much reason to be grateful. Canada should be grateful, too.

Last Saturday I awoke thinking about immigration. It was 50 years to the day — Aug. 3, 1969 — that my parents arrived in Canada as new immigrants. Later Saturday, the whole world was thinking about immigration in the aftermath of the brutal massacre in El Paso, Texas. Though mass murder is now a routine part of national life in the United States, the El Paso shootings set themselves apart for the anti-immigrant and racist motivations of the alleged shooter.

The juxtaposition of the anniversary and the slaughter was an echo of the environment in which my parents made their decision. In 1969, the images of the United States which had been abroad were not encouraging ones for a young family in search of a new home. The assassinations and riots of 1968 were obviously not part of the typical daily life of an ordinary American, but they were a worrying part of national life. Likewise, mass killings are not a part of the daily life of ordinary Americans, but they do indicate that something is seriously awry in the national ethos.

Around the world, immigration, migration under duress and refugees are combustible topics for politics and in the culture. There is the rise of blood-and-soil nationalism in Europe. The rise of rampant and violent gangsterism in Honduras and the communist pauperization of Venezuela have unleashed a tide of northerly-moving migrants toward the American border.

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