Tuesday, February 22, 2011

 

REVENGE OF THE CRADLE

The theory really is not new. Back 80 years ago with the Catholic Church's total dominance over the French speaking province of Quebec, couples were encouraged to grow large families. Lest I digress...a concept not terribly difficult to apply in a province of near perpetual winter; before the advent of television. Six decades ago where I grew up, (near the Quebec border) it was not at all unusual for families of 10-12-15 children.

That emerging population boom eventually conceived Quebec's "Quiet Revolution" which led not only to the language's total domination of the province; but, an officially bilingual Canada, several French speaking Canadian Prime Ministers; and today Quebec's larger than life influence over Canada and Canadian politics.

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United-States ensures that every person born in America is a U.S. citizen. In California a first and second generation of Hispanic American citizens, frequently born of illegal immigrant parents, now represent almost a quarter of voters in the state. Their impact became clearly obvious last November when California bucked the national trend in the United-States and elected a left-leaning "Democrat" Governor, Jerry Brown, in a stunning defeat of former eBay executive Meg Whitman that left the Republican party reeling.

As with Quebec's imposing role in Canada's politics; Americans know that their future happens first in California. Just last month the state hit a little noticed milestone that will have implications in politics for years to come. For the first time in California's history Hispanics account for more than half of the students in public schools.

It's widely believed there are at least 12-million illegal immigrants already living in the United States. Obviously the government has urgent and important immigration related issues for its lawmakers to address, including workforce needs, border security and its duty to step-up efforts to stem the inflow of illegal immigrants most particularly along the southern border with Mexico. But; in the now Republican controlled Congress (influenced many say by Tea Party advocates) efforts are well underway to dismantle those very policies which grant automatic citizenship to children who are born in the U.S. to illegal immigrant parents. And; Republican legislators from Pennsylvania, Arizona, Oklahoma, Florida and other states are introducing bills to restrict "state citizenship" - and the issuance of birth certificates - to children with at least one parent who is a permanent resident of the United States.

Canada may be on the verge of yet another Federal election, one where lingering tensions from Quebec's "revenge of the cradle" will again play a significant role; as they have for the past 60 years. The United States are less than two years away from the next Presidential tilt. There are perhaps lessons to be drawn from Canada's experience and the implications of last November's California gubernatorial election. As America grapples with its difficult debate over immigration the discourse should follow President Obama's admonition last month in the wake of the Tucson shootings to talk..."with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds."

The fervour over the liberties and the freedoms we North Americans already enjoy, which is sweeping across many of the Mideast's autocratic dynasties bears powerful testament to one overarching legacy: The two countries we share on this one continent should never abandon the spirit of inclusiveness that has made us the envy of the planet.

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