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GUEST COLUMN: The other side of immigration

Published on

James Clarkson

The Journal recently published a piece written by Thea degroot, who was eight-years-old when she came to Canada.

I too am an immigrant who arrived here only a year before her, in 1956.

I was 23 at the time, was married with two small children. Unlike her, though, I came by myself for the simple reason it took every penny we had to pay my passage to Canada.

My wife and children moved in with her parents until I could send for them. After paying the passage and rail fare, I stepped off the train in Sarnia with $40 in my pocket and the name and address of my wife’s aunt and uncle in Point Edward.

I was met by a courteous gentleman from Canadian Immigration who found me a boarding house.

My wife’s relatives introduced me to friends, and one of them helped me find my first job after two weeks. I was broke, but the kindly widow who ran the boarding house said she would carry me until my first paycheque.

In less than three months I had saved enough to bring over my wife and children. We rented a house on Devine Street near a bus stop. My wife was very homesick the first two years. We slept on a mattress on the floor but the children had beds.

What we did have, though, was that gorgeous blue sky and supermarkets filled with more food than we could imagine. Next year we will celebrate 60 years of living in Sarnia.

Thea degroot would have us open our land to any number of refugees. But there is a price to pay for that.

Last week a British newspaper ran an article with a photograph showing two illegal immigrants sitting at a dining room table in a hotel in the northern part of England. The British government was paying for these men to stay there, plus three meals a day, and an allowance of $10 a day each for spending money.

Multiply that by about 30,000 and you have to wonder, where will the money come from?

My wife has been waiting more than two months to have a serious heart operation, and we don’t know when the operation might happen.

The reason for the delay is not because of the doctor, but because much-needed operating rooms have closed down due to budget cuts.

Economics 101: if the money is there let the refugees come. If not, clone Donald Trump and get him over here.

I am a very grateful immigrant, but right now I am more worried about my wife than how many refugees we should allow in.

Jim Clarkson is a long-time Sarnia resident and retiree from Polysar/Bayer after 35 years


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