Friday, April 14, 2006

Six, Laws and Video Images

Aha, there's skullduggery afoot at Pearson Airport. A poorly-educated man, trying to be re-united with his family in Canada has his phone inspected by the Immigration folk who find a picture of his baby son, (naked from the waist down) and call it 'kiddie porn'. The upshot, this poor chap signs some document abrogating his right to enter Canada and is returned to his former home in California.

Already the rumblies and grumblies of an indignant minority group are beginning to exercise their Canadian right to sound off about (unfairness, inflexibility, stupidity, denial of rights, malfeasance, cultural insensitivity, prejudice, intolerance - your choice.)

The 'victim' who is portrayed by his wife as a wonderfully caring man and good father, and by the Star as a man who perhaps did not understand the circumstances due to difficulty with English and a grade 10 education, was interrupted in his attempt to join his wife and family here in Canada.

The spouse who is, I assume, a Canadian citizen, had met and married him, then lived in California where she bore their two children before she returned to Canada, I imagine again, to sponsor his immigration. She was taken aback that her husband was stopped.

The picture in question was a frontal shot of his son wearing a lucky charm and little else. Although the picture was, no doubt, innocuous and 'charming' to the family, it probably bore semblance to other graphics with less social value that are problematic to police forces here and of growing popularity among a number of denizens of the internet's darker corners. Given the fact that the man in question had no wife, or children, with him - this was a judgement call.

Two questions come to mind - the first in respect to the customs service. Was this man given 'special treatment'? And if so, for what reason - cell phone checks? I've seen plane loads of visitors from a country where there had been widespread break-out of avian flu coughing their way through customs with no more than, 'Welcome to Canada, state your business and how do you pronounce your name?'.

The second in respect to immigration. I thought we had a points system for immigrants. Obviously, it doesn't apply to people entering Canada under the 'family class'. I did my citizenship swearing-in with someone's aged parents who needed a translator to answer the judge's questions - they are now citizens too, but they probably don't need to speak English at home. In this instance how many points would our new immigrant have attained without the Canadian wife and kids? Are they 'sponsoring' him? At least his green card, a much-envied possession, or so I'm told, allowed him to work in America. Here he's looking at English classes for a start and possibly some education up-grading, unless he's willing to 'condemn himself to the ignominious experience of the immigrant'. Mom's got two infants and, although I'm sure she works, sponsorship, while he's at school, will be a 'squeak'. So much a squeak in fact, that that's what it really is - we'll be sponsoring our new immigrant especially now that he's a victim.

Any lesson in all this? If he researched Canada, or if he'd been any more sophisticated, he'd probably have thought twice about walking around with naked baby pictures - his, or anyone else's.

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