Bush "tackles" immigration
Trying to regain the confidence of conservative malcontents in the GOP, President Bush unveiled yet another revision of his immigration reform proposals. He still wants a long-term (six-year) "temporary" worker program, but now he is willing to devote resources to patrolling our southern border. See Washington Times. In Mexico, U.S. border patrols are regarded as an outrageous insult, and President Fox has demanded that the United States tear down the walls that protect the border south of San Diego. My initial impression is that this is just another half-baked compromise aimed at pleasing Hispanic voters (presumably anti-abortion), in hopes of building the GOP voter base. Since no serious person contemplates mass expulsion, some reasonable accommodation to reality as Bush suggests -- i.e., amnesty -- is necessary, quite obviously. Unless immigration reform includes stiff penalties for employers who hire undocumented workers, and is tied to major reforms of entitlements and labor laws, however, it will be a complete waste of time, and we will be back to square one within a few years. For more, see the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
Government falls in Canada
Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin lost a vote of no-confidence in Parliament yesterday, obliging him to begin the process by which Parliament is dissolved and new elections are called. This is the long-anticipated fallout from a series of huge bribery scandals that have plagued the dominant Liberal Party for the past year or two. Martin bitterly denounced the three opposition parties for their obstructionist stance, saying that the Canadian people do not want a new election now. The election is set for January 23, and the campaign is expected to be acrimonious. (Well, at least it will last less than two months!) See the Toronto Globe and Mail. Martin inherited the top post after former Prime Minister Jean Chretien resigned two years ago, and this will be the first time he faces the judgment of the electorate. Since the other three parties have little in common, however (one of them is the separatist Parti Quebeçois), it is hard to imagine how an effective governing coalition could be formed without the Liberal Party.