17 August 2010

Boat People and Paul Fromm Circa 1981

As we continue to follow the manufactured hysteria concerning the Tamil migrants who made their way on what was essentially a rusted out tramp steamer, as well as Paul Fromm's efforts to capitalize on the issue for his own benefit (be sure to donate, and donate often, right Paulie?) we were struck by the similarities this most recent refugee situation has with another that occurred more than 30 years ago:

Strangers by sea: A tale of Canada’s boat people


The great boat-people success story in Canada, of course, has been the refugees from Indochina – the Vietnamese, Vietnamese Chinese, Lao and Kampucheans who now number a quarter of a million people, most of them originally sponsored in the late 1970s and early 1980s by church and community groups with federal government assistance after the U.S.-supported South Vietnamese government fell to the North Vietnamese communists. Most of the refugees were highly educated professionals who fit quickly into Canadian society.


Although the integration of Vietnamese Boat People is considered fairly uncontroversial today, such was not always the case. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, some of the concerns we hear today about the Tamils were directed also at Vietnamese refugees.

They're diseased. They'll be supported on the taxpayer's dime through welfare. They'll take jobs away from real Canadians. They're criminals and radicals found amongst their numbers. They are so foreign to Canadian culture and values as to be unassimilable. They will upset the, "racial balance" of Canada.

These views are in evidence on CBC radio programs from 1979 (found at number 8, 16, 17), one synopsis which can be found below:

Phone-in callers comment about the influx of immigrants. Not everybody is happy. Some people are worried about the multi-million dollar price tag. Others are worried that land and gas prices will skyrocket and unemployment will increase. They worry that Canada is ignoring its own poor and unemployed. They worry that the immigration screening process is too lax. And they worry that Canada will suffer what Doug Collins refers to on CBC Radio as a "racial imbalance." (Note: explicit language.)

Hmmm, we've been told repeatedly that Doug Collins was a respectable journalist. Such a potty mouth! But at least we know that some of his best friends were Jews.

We would urge our readers to examine all of the audio and video in the CBC archives concerning the boat people. Seems not a lot has changed in 30 years.

Interestingly, one of the voices of those opposing the Vietnamese boat people is the same one who is now opposing Tamil migrants. And like his opposition to the Vietnamese, Paul Fromm's reasons for opposing the Tamils haven't changed in 30 years:

We know that none of the claims made by Fromm, Collins or the people opposing the entry of refugees into Canada actually came to fruition. The Vietnamese boat people integrated into Canadian society, their children becoming doctors, teachers, tradesmen and women, and community leaders. Yet the anti-refugee and anti-immigrant rhetoric hasn't changed at all.

We'll keep that fact in mind as the latest group of refugees are processed.


Anonymous said...

In reference to the old newspaper story (as I don't know enough about the Tamil thing to give my opinion on it): Fromm should move his ass to Arizona and stay there, join in on the tea parties where he belongs, we don't need these ignorant, racist jackasses that claim every left-wing policy is socialism and claim their bigoted bullshit as reasonable policies. I'm sure he loves the United States, where you get to vote between a right-wing government and a far-right-wing government.

Davegeek said...

I like how in the article it comments that Mr. Fromm quit the Western Guard because it "lost its quality of tolerance". Now he pals around with neo-Nazi skinheads. I'm going to guess that extremist intolerance is no longer of concern to Mr. Fromm.

Anonymous said...

"a right-wing government and a far-right-wing government."

You're kidding me right?

Anonymous said...

Rachel Maddow once said, "I'm undoubtedly a liberal, which means that I'm in almost total agreement with the Eisenhower-era Republican party platform."
I'm really not kidding at all, it's pretty much common knowledge that the United States has been steadily drifting further and further to the right for years.

Davegeek said...

Yeah, I would say that something as simple as universal health care being equated with rampant socialism is pretty indicative of a pretty right-wing framing of the political dialogue. The "liberal" wing of the Dems would fit quite nicely in with Republicans from the 50s. And Barry Goldwater, who was considered a ultra-rightist in the 60s, would be viewed as suspiciously "moderate" were he to be in the GOP of today. Let's not forget it was the allegedly liberal Clinton who extended the federal death penalty in a crime omnibus, who "reformed" welfare, and who pursued a foreign policy that involved considerable military intervention abroad.