With January just barely ended, 2015 is already proving to be a year of surprises, not all of them appearing positive.
In Rimbey, the loss of three young families who were here through the foreign workers program has caused some concern, perhaps a few misconceptions and, overall, lots of tears.
The families had all become a vital part of the colourful tapestry that makes up a community, and, it seems their departure left a huge hole in the carefully woven threads that won’t soon be mended.
While the departure of the families has left many unanswered questions, it is obvious the Cuban families were embraced by Rimbey and, rightfully so.
They were hard working, friendly, happy to be here and more than willing to make the community their home.
Sadly, the families, worried about being sent back to Cuba as laws in both Canada and the US seem to teeter precariously on the edge of change, are all gone now and the restaurant where they were gainfully employed has shut its doors, at least temporarily.
Ironically, the Cuban families departure came on the heels of the federal government’s new immigrant investor venture capital program which opened this week.
Under the pilot program Canada will begin accepting applications from millionaire immigrant investors and their families.
The government has said permanent residency will be given to international investors who can invest $2 million in Canada.
The government will accept up to 500 applications, but will only give permanent resident visas to a maximum of 60 applicants – at least for the time being.
According to the Internet, a senior government source told CBC, 60 applicants was a good starting point to evaluate if the new pilot program is achieving its goals and working in the best interest of Canada’s economy.
Each investor will be required to be worth no less than $10 million.
That’s a fair chunk of change.
The pilot program states these investors, in order to buy their way into Canada, have to agree to make a non-guaranteed investment of $2 million over approximately 15 years into a fund managed principally by BDC Capital, the investment arm of the Business Development Bank of Canada.
Immigrant investors who have a legally obtained net worth of at least $50 million can request to be exempted from one of the four requirements in the pilot program.
Who was it that said, “money talks?”
It seems the program is moving ahead despite criticism that implies obvious unfairness.
The black and white picture the pilot project paints is certainly one that sees Canada as throwing out the red carpet (or at least a very small red carpet) for foreigners, provided they are rich, and the richer the better.
The poor people are not welcomed with open arms, in fact, they are not really welcomed at all, except, of course, by every day, ordinary people, who don’t make the rules, but strive to live by them.
The lines between black and white and right and wrong are often blurry. However, the rules of integrity and fairness should not be defined by a price tag.
The federal government might do well to consider the true value of hard working people who come here in search of a better life.
Perhaps, those are the ones Canada is lucky to have! They love the country unconditionally and ask for nothing in return except to work hard and not be sent home.
It seems so little, but apparently, it’s too much!