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What do we have to celebrate? A lot, I would say. I still believe that this is the best place to live on earth, in spite of those who would make it otherwise. What can we, as Canadians, do to protect what we have? Well, there are radical ideas, like the overthrow of a governmental system that is antiquated and dysfunctional; or there are less disruptive notions, like learning from the mistakes of other nations. Take Britain, where three trillion pounds annually of taxpayers’ money is spent on welfare projects, much of which is squandered on people perfectly able to work, yet finding the prospect irksome, this idleness encouraged by an administration more concerned with its own beaurocracy and red-tape than it is with executing the task at hand. For example, a woman with three children, from three different fathers, is given free housing, plus assistance for herself and her three children, until they are eighteen. No part of the system is given the task of finding a way in which she can work while her children are cared for. In other words, the system is designed to offer free money to those who fulfill certain, all too rudimentary, requirements. And these requirements are determined by a form, filled out with help from a ‘social services officer’, and not by any investigation of circumstances. The result is a country overwhelmed by debt and social chaos, one in which the rich get richer on the backs of the middle-class taxpayer. Another example: Paris is now a city of 60 million inhabitants, twice the population of Canada, the second-largest country in the world. This is a consequence of immigration policies resulting from the misguided, and ever burgeoning, Euro Zone, which differ slightly from the punishments of colonialism and empire (in which the conquered were, naturally, entitled to citizenship in the conquerors’ nations). An economic union between advanced industrialized countries, like Britain, France, Germany, Austria, and the Scandinavian nations, made sense. To devise a common currency, among such countries, even made sense. But to include such places as Romania, Spain, and Greece – not to mention others on the list – was sheer idiocy. The consequences of this folly are now all too evident, and may well result in the dissolution of the whole union. The resultant waves of emigration to welfare havens, like France and the U.K., are causing severe social unrest. The erudite, and much misunderstood, British politician, Enoch Powell, predicted this back in the sixties, when immigrants from Pakistan, India, and the West Indies, began swelling the population of London, and other cities, like Birmingham. Powell stated that this would lead to racial warfare, and he was right. Unfortunately, Powell gained support from unsavory neo-fascist elements, like the National Front, and the Skinheads. Diana Macleoud, daughter of the great English politician, Ian Macleoud, once told me that her father, who was a great friend of Enoch Powell, told him that he was stirring up neo-fascist sentiments and racism with his views, and was regarded in some quarters as a new Sir Oswald Moseley (whose pro-Nazi Blackshirts had once terrorised the streets of London during the years leading up to World War II). Powell, Macleaoud had told his daughter, was appalled at this news, and had no intention of provoking such sentiments. He kept his views to himself thereafter. But his predictions were right. In a country where unemployment is high, there will always be resistance to an influx of immigrants seeking the same elusive jobs.

In Canada, we are faced with a similar, yet also utterly different, situation. While it behooves us to take in refugees from such nightmares as Syria, Somalia, and so on, we need to ensure that these refugees will not clog the major cities with self-enclosed communities increasingly hostile to the rest of the population. The current anti-Muslim feelings, promoted by some media, all but guarantee this. “I and all schoolchildren learn,” wrote W.H. Auden, “that those to whom evil is done do evil in return.”

Although our country is vast, and we desperately need more people to help pay the taxes, this influx of immigrants and refugees cannot be allowed to settle in the major cities. Where then should they go? The Harper Government’s obsession with eradicating the national deficit – a sum so paltry that most U.S. congressmen could pay it off, with a little help from their friends – ignores the more important concerns of infrastructure, especially within cities. To accommodate hordes of immigrants and refugees, besides providing work for those welfare vampires sucking our tax blood, there need to be enormous projects, not unlike the Pharaonic Pyramids, to occupy thousands profitably, and for many years. The opening-up of the North, thanks to Climate Change, also provides opportunity for an abundance of similar massive projects. It is, I suggest, the job of a government, not to balance books, but to dream big. To gaze into a distant future, rather than at the next election, or bottom-line.

I left Toronto four years ago, for personal reasons, yet also because the city I knew for thirty years was becoming just another overcrowded metropolis. It seemed to me that someone had decided the function of cities was to grow, and grow, and grow. Is there an example on earth of a city that has benefitted from excessive growth? Ottawa still strikes me as a reasonable place, an environment in which it is still pleasant to live. Montreal, however, from which I am 90 minutes away, is culturally vibrant, to be sure, yet also a chaotic hell for the driver, and, in addition, a place redolent of the kind of racism pervading some British cities. The unlamented ex-premier of Quebec even cited immigration as the cause of the terrorism afflicting Britain. She was not entirely wrong, though extravagantly unaware that her own anti-Islamic non-policies were the real causes behind such home-grown terrorism.

Quebec claims to be a non-multicultural society, within a multicultural Canada, yet such notions are as antiquated as the guillotine. The future of this country, which includes Quebec, and always will, relies upon some intelligent thinking by whomsoever is in control of it. Allow in as many immigrants as possible, by all means, but distribute these people across this enormous land, rather than allowing them to create mini-nations within every province – ones that will, someday, harbour the same separatist idiocies that continue to cripple Quebec’s future. You leave your country for ours, you leave your nationality behind. You swear allegiance to our Queen and Country, and that oath is binding. Anyone breaking it, I suggest, has lost their right to live here.

In the same way, anyone living on welfare, while being capable of working, is a tax-vampire. As someone who now lives on a monthly disability pension – ‘lives’ being a scarcely appropriate term – I can honestly say that I would take any employment of which I was capable, if offered, in order to pay my way. Why is there no organization to find work for those on welfare? We do not wish to find ourselves in the disastrous state which Britain now faces, do we? Unpopular as it may be – among those who don’t vote anyway – a plan of work-fare makes eminent sense, and ensures a future not over-burdened by idlers, encouraged in their idleness by a dysfunctional system. Philanthropy when it was a private endeavour, focussed on the needy, not the greedy. With our enforced system of philanthropy, via taxation, it is surely the right, and duty, of citizens to decide who deserves assistance, and who does not – just as it ought to be our right, by democratic vote, to decide if our taxes are well-spent on $40 billion-worth of warplanes for a military we cannot use effectively, nor can afford. I believe it is the right and duty of every Canadian citizen to report on suspected abusers of welfare, as it is to decide how and where their tax dollars are best invested. We cannot, and ought not try to compete with the U.S.A., which can no longer even uphold the role of Global Cop, to which it once believed itself elected, let alone cope with its domestic social and economic chaos.

I still remember when the Maple Leaf button assured one safe passage through the world’s disaster zones. Canada then meant equitable dealing, unbiased politics, and decent, humanitarian concerns. These qualities are worth all the biased, tough-guy posturing we hear today; and they are, and ought to remain, the essence of this wonderful land. We stand on guard for thee—and the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.