I've never been one to surround myself with yes-men. I like conflict, I like debate, I like being exposed to views I might not consider on my own. I'm happy to have friends with completely different opinions to mine, even if I strongly disagree with them. But, if my Facebook feed is any indication, there's something much more sinister creeping into my social circle. Something that goes well beyond a difference in opinion. Namely, vague, sourceless memes and statuses about the many benefits illegal immigrants and refugees get that we born and bred Canadians are decidedly denied. In the last week or so, two in particular have raised my hackles. One, which has apparently been circulated since 2004, details the huge amount of government funding refugees receive (in comparison to the pittance pensioners get), the other kindly informs us (IN ALL CAPS OF COURSE) that illegal immigrants are handed a job, driver's license, and huge sums of money upon crossing the Canadian border.
You may have guessed from previous posts of mine that I have zero issue with immigration. I'll even go so far as to say I have zero problem with illegal immigration. I'm not a big fan of claiming ownership and exclusivity over chunks of dirt. But that's not what angers me so much about these viral pseudo-diatribes. As I said earlier, I take no issue with my friends having completely opposing views from my own, even if I find them awful. No, what pisses me off about these is that they are fucking nonsense. Few things make me as irate as the intentional spreading of misinformation, especially when its inevitable result is bigotry against our fellow humans. And don't kid yourself - it is intentional, and it will lead to bigotry. There is no excuse for inciting hatred and mistrust of others using misinformation and outright lies - the only reason one can honestly offer for doing so is that those "facts" support their own personal biases. It takes literal seconds to fact-check; anyone not bothering to do it simply doesn't want to.
But hey, I'm a generous person. Maybe it was an honest mistake. Maybe they were having a bad day. Maybe they swear they read this was true, somewhere, at some point. Maybe they just don't know where to look for the facts. Just in case, I thought I'd do them all a favour and gather the information for them. Here, in no particular order, are the real answers to these allegedly hard-hitting questions about Canadian immigration.
It's not immigrants that pose a threat to this nation. It is misinformation and bigotry. We are going out of our way to pass along non-facts in an effort to diminish the positive aspects of immigration and multiculturalism. We, one of the best educated nations on Earth, are intentionally spreading wrong information. If that isn't threatening, I don't know what is. So, the next time you see one of these posts, the next time your anger at all this unfairness flares, the next time you're tempted to utter the now laughable phrase "they took our jobs!", please, for the love of all that is good, stop. Check your facts. Check the numbers. And check that leftover Chinese takeout sitting in your fridge.