Two Truths In America?

Last Friday, President Trump tweeted that the nation’s news media is “The enemy of the American People.” In particular, he attacked the New York Times, NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN, the titans of the American news media, for what he called “Fake News.” One day earlier, during a rambling news conference he used the term “fake news” seven times in reference to the press. These are ominous public pronouncements from the leader of the free world.

If we learned anything in the last century, particularly the experience of World War II, it is that attacking the freedom of the press and restraining it is a road to certain destruction.  There are plenty of historical sources who have recorded this fact. Yet the president has embarked down this path on the pretense that he, and not major American news media outlets, speaks the truth. The evidence, however, is to the contrary.

In a running tally kept by the Toronto Star, Trump is reported to have made 80 false claims in the first month of his presidency. Indeed, according to Politifact, a Pulitizer Prize winning media organization, only 25 percent of what Trump says is essentially true. In what reads like a stunning indictment, the New Yorker set out over 50 serious legal, political or ethical transgressions Trump has committed in the first month of his administration, many entailing the problem of disputing facts or outright denial of them. As The Atlantic recently pointed out, the issue boils down to facts and Trump’s attachment to reality. The challenge Trump is posing is that by attacking the news media as an unwelcomed deceptive messenger he is obliterating the line between truth and falsehood.

Winston Churchill once said that those who remain silent in the days before a government decision is made, surrender their right to criticize the decision afterwards. This view makes sense. There are too many armchair critics who complain about government policies after they have been made, but who fail to make their disagreement known before the fact. In the case of Trump’s comments, Churchill’s admonition is even more important because the consequences of silence in the face of an attack on the media and through it, indirectly on truth and reality, can be severe.

If, as President Trump maintains, the media is “The enemy of the American people,” and it is responsible for “fake news,” could we be very far from the first arrests of journalists and the eventual shut down of dissent in the country? These are not just words and this is not just theory. As the Huffington Post has pointed out, there is a resemblance to what is happening in America today to the treatment of the press in pre-World War II Germany. While America is a strong democracy with many checks and balances, even America’s constitutional safeguards may not be able to withstand this kind of attack on the media and indirectly on truth itself.

Let us all acknowledge the truth when it is reported, no matter from what source. But let us also condemn those who would seek to impair news coverage in the name of accuracy and the truth. There is no better guarantee of our liberty than a free and vibrant media.

It is worthy of a fight – in Congress, in the courts and in state legislatures.

Winston Churchill said it best:

“If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”



Is Help Coming To Improve Spousal Processing?

The solution to a problem of the nature addressed in the article below would be for Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada to issue this spouse of a Canadian a work permit and allow her to come to Canada on a temporary resident permit until such time as her internal spousal sponsorship application is approved. But that may be asking too much of the current leadership in the Department and of the moribund bureaucracy that currently processes the immigration system. However, there are signs of a change in the wind as the new government seeks to improve processing in this area. Let’s hope that the change leads to an improvement in these kinds of cases.

Immigration officials again deny entry to pregnant Yemeni wife of Canadian citizen


Flipping Tax on Property May Be Helpful

The article below discussing a flipping tax to be imposed on properties owned by foreigners in Canada may be a partial answer to the problem of investor immigrants and their impact on the local housing markets in Vancouver and Toronto. My recent article
on investor immigrants for Fo0rbes discusses the problem in more depth.

Overstaying Visas And Consequences

While President Obama is known as the President with the most deportations of any previous President, one lesser known fact under his watch appears to be the number of immigrants who have overstayed their visas and remain in the United States. According to a recent article approaching a half a million people arrived last year and have overstayed their period of authorized stay. According to U.S. law if such individuals overstay more than six months that triggers an automatic three-year bar to re-entry into the United States should they leave and try to return, and if they stay even longer, beyond one year as an overstay they will be barred from re-entry for ten years. These are somewhat draconian measures enforcing compliance with the law. The real question in regard to these overstays is whether they are overstays for longer than six months since that is when the real consequences appear.

Less Than 1 Percent Of Immigrants Who Overstayed Visas Were Deported In 2015

Give Citizenship An Overhaul Then Drop It

As radical as this may sound and despite what the Auditor General has found in the way of citizenship frauds,  I believe once someone has been granted Canadian citizenship that grant should be absolute. Considering that anyone who has been naturalized has had their immigration papers reviewed once on applying to come to Canada and another time to become naturalized the Canadian government should have had enough time to decide whether or not to grant that person citizenship. During the course of these applications, at the immigration and citizenship stages authorities have the chance to determine whether the applicant has a criminal record and to deal with any medical or other issues that are pertinent. To allow citizens to be denaturalized is to create two classes of citizenship.

Instead, if applicants have committed criminal offenses, such as fraud, they need to be punished in Canadian jails and by Canadian courts for those offenses. Using the immigration system to penalize applicants is a misuse of government power and is done in order to circumvent the criminal standards needed to convict someone for a criminal offense, that is to say, beyond a reasonable doubt. That standard is difficult to reach, much more difficult than the civil standard of on a balance of probabilities which is the standard for denaturalization.

For these reasons I am happy to hear that the new Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, according to the article below, is in discussion with officials to deal with loopholes discovered in the naturalization process, but I would leave matters there.

Why Trusteeship for Public Service Union?

While we can only speculate on what is going on, a possible explanation of the troubles encountered in the union representing immigration bureaucrats in Canada could be the stress imposed on them through the processing of 25,000 Syrian refugees in the first couple of months in 2016. Such large numbers coming through the system all at once must have been difficult to handle and could explain why the union has been put into trusteeship for the time being.