Weight Loss & Immigration Policy


A friend of mine recently shared a post suggesting that we take care of our homeless & veterans before adding to the country’s immigrant burden. I had an immediate negative reaction to it. Of course, I would like our homeless & our veterans taken care of, but does that have to be at the expense of immigrants fleeing persecution & tyranny? Is it different if they are just fleeing from poverty? And even if not extreme poverty, is it okay to just want a better life for your family?

Both my friend & I are immigrants. We came to Canada under the Economic Class. In other words, we had a skill set that was in demand at the time of our application. People with money, business plans, & the gifted would all qualify in this category. What country wouldn’t want the rich & the extraordinary? But even those of us mere mortals who are simply capable of fitting in, & filling a skills shortage, were welcome. Most immigrants to Canada come in under this classification. The next largest group are those that qualify under the Family Reunification category. Here, we can sponsor a parent to come to Canada, for example. And there are financial obligations for the sponsor under this category, so it’s not a free for all. The final, & smallest, category are refugees & those accepted for humanitarian reasons.

To the best of my knowledge, there are no overt racial or religious biases in the system. Other than those bestowed on all of us, for good & bad, by accident of the place of our birth. While it’s easy for a white English speaking person to not see racism or bigotry in Canada, I’m still guessing that it’s not the worst place on earth for anyone to live, regardless of race & religion. Diversity does seem to have value in the psyche of most Canadians.

Comforting myself with all this Canadian niceness, it bothered me that my friend would think to share something contrary to my somewhat smug position. But I haven’t been able to stop thinking on the topic since. Does he have a point?

Who gets what benefit in this equation? For those who want to come here, & those who need to escape circumstances in their homeland, it’s of benefit to the immigrants. For companies in search of skilled workers, there are benefits to having an enlarged pool of talent. Indeed, there are advantages to some business sectors to have a larger, more affordable, unskilled labour pool. In theory, & in general, I’m of the belief that something that benefits business should benefit the country. And all of us living here. The goal is that everyone is better off in the long run.

That said, there are likely mathematical limits on this benefit equation. Is there such a thing as too many immigrants? The too many scenario has the potential to breed discontent. In today’s troubled world, we can see the rancour that is possible when people feel that these limits are being exceeded. Is my friend’s take on the situation an early warning sign that we are approaching those limits for some? Very often the counter to anyone expressing this argument is an emotional, rather than mathematical, one. It seems that there are some very bright people lending support to both sides of the equation & I am committed to trying to learn more. It doesn’t look like there is one, clear, definitive answer yet but, while I search for something approaching that, I should probably try to contain my gut reaction to such messages in future. Exploring both sides of these dilemmas, & asking more questions of those with opinions contrary to mine, would probably be a more useful approach for me.

Now what does all this have to do with weight loss?

There are an increasing number of societal challenges before us. The answers are not easy to come by. Could the worries generated by the political antics of our time be elevating our stress levels? Can we add those daily stresses to the weight gain challenges we already face?

I think it adds to my stress burden. And I probably do need to take a break from my news addiction. Maybe I need to listen to music more often. Perhaps an occasional run to lake for some water therapy would help. A morning walk through a morning misted forest? A glass of beer with friends might even be an acceptable dietary strategy in the modern world.

Okay, that’s pushing it … I’ll be good & just have a glass of red wine, or three, instead!

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