September 26, 2003


The Canadian authorities have started quietly exonerating the South Asian illegal immigrants caught as part of the crackdown on an immigration fraud ring in August. They've been letting them out in ones and twos... yesterday's was the first mass release. The rest should follow shortly. A large number will no doubt be deported, but they're just being treated as regular illegal immigrants now, as they should have been from the start.

It'd be easy to blame government overreaction for this, but with the conspicuous exception of Premier Eves, not many politicians backed this pony. As I said a month ago, CSIS always stayed right out of it, and the Mounties and immigration authorities backed away pretty fast when they realized how they were getting misconstrued. As I said, they had pretty clearly said at the start that the degree to which these immigrants had succeeded in entering Canadian society was only *evidence* that this scam could *someday* be used by terrorists seeking entry... and most of the media coverage completely missed that subtlety.

No, what this was was a duelling war of the front pages of Canada's two national newspapers, the Globe and the Post, with a week or two of ever more ludicrous banner headlines about the Canadian "sleepers." They'll try and blame it on the government, of course, but it was a low point in Canadian journalism to be sure... for me the absurdity reached its height with the front page lead revelation in the Post that one of the immigrants apparently had gotten a student loan. Given that I probably couldn't walk across the university today without running into someone who was less than fully truthful on their student loan documents (hell, I never was) that simply didn't strike me as the most important news in the whole country that day.

Oh, well. It's over now. I look forward to the follow-up piece in Little Green Footballs and other corners saying that, yes, sometimes journalistic anti-Muslim hysteria does lead to the imprisonment of non-terrorists. I imagine I'll be waiting a while.

Posted by BruceR at 11:08 PM