My Questions for Anti-Immigration Advocates

So this happened today…

Donald Trump is officially running for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. Although there is no shortage of reasons why Trump is a terrible candidate (and is therefore unlikely to actually win the nomination) his stance on immigration is particularly troubling. For one, he continues to perpetuate the myth that immigrants “steal jobs” from Americans. Although this idea is a popular rallying cry for those opposed to immigration reform it is not supported by either economic theory or empirical data. In fact, there may be significant economic benefits to enhancing immigration. See this excellent piece by Adam Davidson for further reading.

As a data-loving nerd, the lack of appreciation for empirical evidence is always irksome but what is especially troubling about anti-immigration sentiment is its racist and xenophobic underpinnings. Canada and America are both countries founded by immigrants and built by immigrants. To the detriment of the peoples who came before us and who have experienced systematic mistreatment and cultural genocide at our hands.

So my question to anti-immigration advocates (who are often, though not exclusively, white) is this: Are you prepared to return your land to the Aboriginal people and move back to Europe? Are you willing to offer your property as reparation to those forcibly brought to your country as slaves?

If the answer is no, then perhaps you may want to reflect on your anti-immigration stance because guess what, you’re an immigrant. Maybe you’re not the first generation to settle in Canada or the United States but, given that both of these countries are relatively young in the grand scheme of history, you’re probably only the second or the third.

If Donald Trump, whose mother was born in Scotland and whose paternal grandparents were German immigrants, can become a job creator, why are those arriving to the United States mere decades after his family doing, in his mind, the complete opposite?

If there is an answer to these questions that isn’t rooted in ignorance, bigotry, racism, or xenophobia I’ve yet to hear it.


PEI Makes History – Twice

The Prince Edward Island provincial elections were held yesterday and they were far more exciting than anyone was expecting. I listened to the results coming in via CBC PEI and it was announced at 8:45 pm AST that they would not turn to hockey as originally scheduled as the election results were still far from conclusive. They also commented that this was the closest election in recent memory.

In the end, the Island made history twice over. First, PEI elected its first ever openly gay premier which makes it only the second province in Canada to elect an openly LGBTQ leader. People like to mock the Island for being backwards but such insults rest on increasingly shaky ground. Not only did Islanders elect a gay man as their leader, but his sexual orientation was essentially a non-issue.

Second, for only the second time a third party has gained a seat in the provincial legislature, and for the first time that seat is held by the Green Party. Peter Bevan-Baker, leader of the PEI Green Party, was elected in a landslide district vote following an obviously successful campaign.

Other take-aways:

Many races were very close. Several districts were won by less than 100 votes with one district electing their representative by a mere TWO votes. I expect there will be a recount in that district so that number may change but the sentiment that I expressed via Twitter last night remains valid.

Having said that, I’m not really sure who I’m yelling at in that Tweet because PEI had its highest voter turnout since 1986 with 86.7% of eligible voters casting ballot.

The NDP ran a remarkably close race in District 14 (which happens to be my district) only to lose to the incumbent Liberal at the last moment when the advanced poll results were announced. For a long time it was looking like PEI would have all four colours represented in the legislature but that ultimately did not come to pass.

The PC Party made gains but their leader failed to secure his district. He will likely ask for a recount since he lost by only 24 votes but even if the results are overturned, the PC Party is almost certainly feeling that that contest was too close for comfort. And if the count stands, the Progressive Conservatives need a new leader.

Despite the fact that the Liberals maintain a majority government, the election results seem to suggest that Islanders sought change.

Female politicians didn’t make many gains this time around. Of the 31 women who ran only five were elected which means that the female presence in the provincial legislature is down by one.

People are already talking about proportional representation (which is nothing new). The new premier has hinted that electoral reform may be on his new government’s agenda and pro-proportional representation graphics are already hitting social media. We’ll have to wait and see if this discussion goes anywhere.

That’s the story of the PEI provincial election in a nutshell. I’d like to end on this note – how awkward is this handshake??

It’s Official – She’s Running for President

Hillary Rodham Clinton announced yesterday that she is running for president which should come as a shock to absolutely no one. She made her announcement via the video below.

Some thoughts:

  • If you already like Hillary Clinton then you’ll probably like the video. It’s pretty warm and fuzzy but not too cheesy.
  • As many others have already pointed out, Hillary herself does not appear in the video until 1:30 of the 2:18 minute video. The decision to keep the focus on other people is strategically wise for two reasons. First, it conveys a clear message: Hillary is running as the champion of the middle class and “ordinary Americans.” Second, Hillary has near universal name recognition in the United States so unlike other candidates, she doesn’t need to introduce herself to the American public. It was therefore smart for her to get out of the limelight to reinforce her campaign message.
  • The cast of her video was quite diverse, as it should be.
  • “Little tiny fishiiiiiiiiies…”

  • The logo. Oh the logo. I admit that I find it a little weak. But some of the reactions online are just out of control. No, Wikileaks, she didn’t steal your logo. No, it doesn’t look like a plane going through the twin towers that’s just the way an “H” is shaped (yes people have actually said that but there are multiple links for this one so I don’t want to single one out). No, the fact that the arrow is red doesn’t mean communism for goodness sake. Yes, it points to the right, no, I don’t find that ironic. No, it doesn’t really look like the Cuban flag but if you’re going to point that out shouldn’t you acknowledge that the American flag (and so many other flags out there) looks a bit similar to the Cuban flag? Ugh, enough about the logo.

    Clinton will almost surely get the Democratic nomination even if other candidates emerge but the GOP race is just getting started. As of this morning Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio have announced they are running for president. Jeb Bush and Scott Walker seem poised to run while Chris Christie, Rick Santorus, Rick Perry, and maybe Mike Huckabee also seem like potential candidates. It’s not clear who Clinton’s challenger will be but the race should be fierce.

    I’m often critical of the amount of time and money that is spent on US presidential elections, but I have to admit to feeling a bit excited as election activity slowly ramps up. Fatigue will undoubtedly set in but right now, I’m sitting back and enjoying it.

Run, Hillary, Run (Or Rather… Announce, Hillary, Announce)

There’s one Twitter handle that everyone will be watching this weekend: @HillaryClinton.

According to several sources, Hillary Clinton will announce her candidacy for president this Sunday. According to at least one other source, she will do so via Tweet.

The fact that Hillary Clinton is running for president is no surprise. In fact, at this point it would be shocking if she announced that she isn’t running. Which means that reactions like this are pretty common:

In addition to making me giggle, this Tweet also accurately reflects how I (and many others, I’m sure) feel about the impending announcement. As expected as the announcement may be, however, I’m really looking forward to it so that we can stop speculating about Hillary’s inevitable announcement and start talking about what she offers as a declared candidate and potential president. That conversation should be much more interesting.

Insert Cruz Pun Here

So this happened yesterday:

Personally, Cruz’s announcement reminded me that Canadians are very lucky he decided not to practice politics in the land of his birth. Although there probably wasn’t much danger of that anyway. If Cruz hates Obamacare so much I can’t even imagine what he thinks of universal health care.

The fact that Cruz is officially in the running for the GOP nomination adds some drama to the early stages of the 2016 presidential elections but it seems virtually impossible that he will actually get it. And therefore impossible that we’ll see the inauguration of President Cruz. Impossible because Cruz is just too wacky, too extreme. Even for many of his fellow Republicans. FiveThirtyEight offers great statistical data to backup this claim.

Un-electable, however, should not be equated with dimwitted or delusional. As several sources in this New York Times article point out, Cruz is ambitious, savvy, and intelligent. He strategically positioned himself as the “Tea Party champion” just as the Republican base shifted to the right in 2010. He successfully “tapped into an anger among the party’s grass roots that many Republicans had not fully appreciated” and that gives him some political clout. Maybe not enough to elect him President of the United States but enough to make him worth watching, at least until the race really gets going.

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There’s No Place Like Home

After taking last week off to spend time with one of my best friends it’s time to get back online and figure out what I missed.

I’ll be starting with an article by John Ibbitson for The Globe and Mail called “How the Maritimes became Canada’s incredible shrinking region.” It’s been shared widely on my social media and for good reason. It’s a brief but interesting and important analysis of the economic situation in the Maritimes; a subject very near and dear to my heart and the hearts of my fellow Islanders. I’ll post something more in-depth later when I’ve had time to really delve into it but the overall sentiment described by the young woman Ibbitson interviewed resonated with me immediately. She described a strong desire to stay on Prince Edward Island but felt that she had no future there. I know so many people of my generation who feel that way. In fact, it’s exactly how I feel.

I love my little province immensely and though I’ve lived in several different places since leaving in 2007, it will always be home and I want so badly to see it prosper. Which is why I’m looking forward to doing some serious reading and thinking about it. In the meantime, check out where I’m from (and yes, it’s ok to be jealous).

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Obama Reads Mean Tweets

President Obama appeared on Jimmy Kimmel last night and participated in my favourite Kimmel bit – he read mean tweets about himself. He was a great sport and demonstrated that his awesome sense of humour remains in tact despite all the shenanigans happening in Washington . Check it out: