|Border crossers lining up for Quebec welfare payments|
or refugees must go through a process to be admitted to Canada. Then there are those who despite understanding that Haitian border jumpers are breaking the law, remain sympathetic and want Canada to turn a wilful blind eye to the situation and let them in.
It's hard to reconcile the two divergent opinions and the hard and soft positions make for a lively political discussion in Parliament, the media and even across the family dinner table.
So let us examine a few things that are not in dispute or subject to subjective opinion.
Almost all these border jumpers are ineligible for consideration as immigrants, or for that matter refugees.
These people are economic migrants who seek a better home than the squalid conditions in Haiti, which is not a criterion for consideration. Almost half of the men crossing the border have criminal records, an automatic disqualification for entry under any circumstances.
But no matter, the Trudeau government, like the German government under Angela Merkel has sent signals that Canada is open, willing and able to accept those who cross the border illegally and hence the trickle of border jumpers has turned into a torrent. Who could blame those Haitians from taking their chance given their limited options and the very real fear that Trump will finally boot them out of America.
This week the Quebec government has announced that it will give these border-jumpers monthly welfare checks of $623 and more for families.
So far this year 10,000 people, mostly Haitians have crossed illegally into Canada, the vast majority through Quebec. Although the government is reluctant to give hard numbers, it is believed that up to 250 people a day are making the crossing. In July alone over 3,000 crossed into Quebec.
In the end, almost none will be ruled eligible for admission, but it isn't likely that many will be returned to Haiti. After a lengthy immigration process that will include interminable appeals that will stretch out into years, most will go underground rather than return home willingly.
So how much will the ongoing fiasco cost?
It's hard to say, given that we aren't being told how many will ultimately be let in. The potential number of those wishing to come to Canada is staggering and the situation cannot be allowed to continue, even for Trudeau's Liberals who will face a building backlash that will culminate near the next general election.
But let's crunch some numbers for the fun of it, even though it is probably an exercise in futility given that we just don't have enough information, nor can we predict how many will come over the border in the near and far future.
So let us start where we are, with 10,000 already crossed, of which 4,000 individuals and families will receive welfare payments starting at $623 per month. Interestingly, the Quebec government has cleverly omitted telling the truth about the payments to families, who make up the majority of the border-jumpers. Welfare payments for couples run about $1,000 a month and those with children increase those benefits by a couple of hundred dollars.
Now a straight calculation of what the Quebec government has led us to believe is that it will spend $623 x 4,000 = $2.5 million dollars a month, or $30 million a year and that isn't even adding in the cost of free medicare.
But given that families are being paid more than the minimum, it is safe to say that the real amount being shelled out is much higher and since we don't know that number, let us take a guess.
All 10,000 'refugees' are being covered by 4,000 cheques and so let us hazard a guess and say that of the 4,000 cheques, 2,000 are going to individuals and 2,000 to families of four (adding up to the 10,000.)
So here is a new calculation;
$623 x 2,000 = $1.25 million dollars a month for individuals and $1,200 x 2,000 for families = $2.4 million dollars, making a new grand total of $3.65 million per month or $44 million a year.
Now let us suppose that in the next twelve months, in addition to the 10,000 already arrived, another 15,000 jump the border, which is an ultra-conservative estimate.
That means after all the calculations are done, the so called refugees are costing the Quebec government and its taxpayers over $100 million dollars a year.
In discussing the issue with a friend of mine who supports the open border, he rightly points out that although a $100 million sounds like a big number, it is actually only about 1/10 of one percent of the total Quebec annual budget of $90 billion.
But $100 million taken by itself is a rather large number and an opposition leader made a very poignant point about what that money can buy.
Earlier this year the government admitted that seniors living in government old age homes (CHSLD) are being given only one bath a week because of the expense.
It seems that a second bath per week would cost $30 million dollars a year, money that the government could not authorize in good conscience because of other 'pressing' needs.
When called out on this fact by Jean-François Lisée, the Premier bristled and said that it is sad the leader of the PQ would dare to make such an association.
I actually think that it was a very good argument, one that brings the value of money spent down to a level where average citizens can understand the real cost of the refugee program.
And that gentle readers is the long and the short of it.
In the end (if there is one) Quebec can expect to dole out over $300 million dollars over the next three years and when the migrants ultimately land, either returned to Haiti, granted official refugee status or gone underground, the cost will ultimately be much higher.