Hugh Segal calls for Afghan collaborators to recieve preferential treatment
As Canadians look ahead to the 2011 withdrawal from Aghanistan, Conservative Senator Hugh Segal is looking ahead to a potential influx of Afghan immigrants to Canada.
Segal is calling on the government of Canada -- whoever that may be in 2011 -- to give Afghans who have helped Canadian forces preferential treatment when considering applications for immmigration.
"It is important for us to signal as a country ...that we understand that a lot of Afghans have taken a lot of risks to help our forces," Segal mused. "It's very important they know we have no intention of leaving them behind."
Segal is reportedly preparing a motion calling on the government to "develop and implement a program to facilitate the settlement in Canada of Afghan nationals who have helped Canada during our engagement in Afghanistan."
Which isn't a bad idea, but it does have two problems with it.
First off, 2011 remains two years off. If a purported American surge in Afghanistan has the same overall positive effects as it had in Iraq, Canada may yet be able to leave a stable Afghanistan behind when if leaves, with little need to absorb a mass of refugees.
Secondly, it's well known that there are, indeed, unsavoury elements in the Afghan government. Afghans who have been involved with former warlords could attempt to use such policies in order to enter Canada. Any Afghans who've been deeply involved with the Afghan heroin trade, for one thing, should certainly be refused entry to Canada under any circumstances.
But for those law-abiding Afghans who've helped Canadian forces and wish to come to Canada at any point in the near future -- not merely post-2011 -- preferential immigration policies aren't merely a good idea, but they're very much in order.
Such policies could even encourage other Afghans to support Canadian efforts in Afghanistan.