I have been invited to various places in Canada several times but I have always refused the offer because in the costs-and-benefits analysis of mine, the hassle that one has to undergo to get the Canadian visas was just way too much and Canada is simply not irresistible enough for a bureaucracy-hating chap to suffer through such a humiliating, multi-day torture.
In 2007, the visa duty was abolished again. But today, Canada has imposed the visa requirements on us once again, putting us next to Mexico which was affected by the same decision. The paperwork is even more difficult than ever before because the Czechs will have to travel to Austria to get the visas (the Czechs have already overwhelmed the office in Vienna by telephone calls). The annual total of 30,000 Czech tourists in Canada is likely to drop again, and even those seemingly negligible USD 60 visa fees will play a role.
Gypsies have been moving from one place to another place for centuries. Their nomadic blood dictates them to do so. At the beginning of the 21st century, many of them live in Central and Eastern Europe. According to some official counts based on people's own chosen ethnicity, the Czech Republic currently hosts about 10,000 gypsies. The real number is around 200,000 or 300,000.
A few TV programs on Czech TV stations that were aired after the Velvet Revolution and that showed happy gypsies in Canada - who don't have to work too much but who have everything they want (it's partly true because of the Canadian welfare system) - has created a special atmosphere in the community of the Czech gypsies. Many of them just decided to move on. Canada has become their new dreamland.
In average, this ethnic group is demonstrably less attached to the land, the culture, the political institutions, and the general economy than the "majority" white population. The minority's unemployment rate is around 70%, an order of magnitude above the current 8% unemployment rate in Czechia (and it was lower a year ago). The crime rate is high.
There are many "white" Czechs - people employed by the government, including teachers at mostly "special" schools that the gypsy kids usually attend because of purely meritocratic reasons - who dedicate their time and effort to help the minority. The results are mixed, to put it in an optimistic light.
Political correctness has no room in the Czech discourse so almost no one invents absurd proclamations about the "discrimination" and realizes the genuine problems that make the co-existence - and sometimes even their own collective existence - difficult and the fact that the very limited successes of the ethnic group are mostly their own fault - or their own work, to put it neutrally.
Canada is a very different country. First of all, its welfare system has more money in it so similar groups simply get more than they do - and than they can do - in the Czech Republic. Second of all, Canada is a politically correct country. So they're always trying to find some half-truths and to refine their hypocrisy in order to argue that the problem is elsewhere than in particular ethnic groups and/or in the Canadians' difficulty to co-exist with them.
Ten years ago, instead of introducing the visas, the Canadians placed some bureaucrats at the Prague International Airport who were doing the mostly racial profiling, to cap the inflow of the gypsies to Canada. This was of course a more convenient system for the "white" Czechs than the visa requirements. But it was a dirty system, too, especially if you combine it with the absurd Canadian proclamations about their treating everyone in the same way.
So ten years ago, and again today, Canada has re-introduced the visa requirements for all the Czechs instead. The fact that they're discriminating against an individual member state of the EU suddenly doesn't matter to them. And imagine what it does to the love between the white Czechs and the gypsies if the former have to ask for the visas because of the latter. Fortunately, it seems that the Czech politicians do care about it and they will go after the Canadian neck, perhaps even trying to introduce visas for the Canadians' entry to the whole EU.
The game that the Canadian bureaucrats began to play is pretty dangerous and the Canadian citizens shouldn't be surprised if it leads to some inconvenient diplomatic outcomes for them, too.
How many people ask for asylum
During the first half of 2009, Mexico was the #1 country in the number of asylum seekers in Canada. The Czech Republic was the #2 country, with the bulk of the applications written (or at least dictated) by the gypsies. How many people are we talking about?
The number of asylum seekers from the Czech Republic has been around 1,500 during the first six months. About 90% of the applications are rejected because even the politically correct Canadians realize very well that the complaints listed in the letters are just absurd fairy-tales whose only goal is to help the gypsy applicants economically.
So we're talking about 100-150 people who may move to Canada in this period which may translate to 300 people (who can stay there) a year. You can see that one would have to wait almost for 1,000 years to transfer the ethnic group from the Czech Republic to Canada. Even if that occurred, it wouldn't be so crazy for Canada to have a higher number of gypsies than the Czech Republic because the area of Canada is 127 times larger than the area of Czechia.
We're extremely far from this point because there are only 80,000 gypsies in Canada, less than one half of the number in Czechia in the absolute terms! That's 8 times lower a percentage. Even in the PC logic, shouldn't Canada feel obliged to host the same proportion of various ethnic groups including the gypsies as other, so far more welcoming nations do?
Welfare and racial correlations
Now, 300 extra people a year can surely be paid from the Canadian welfare system (and most of them will need it) even though the required amount of money is already noticeably nonzero. But it is true that the rate of migration could keep on increasing.
These trends might find a "hole" in their system. The generous welfare system has only worked because of an implicit racial filtering that has been active in Canada for a very long time. Despite the "international" image of Canada and its non-European location, 80% of the population is white and additional more than 10% are Asian. Add 4% of the aboriginals. That only leaves 2.5% for the blacks and 2.5% for others. Compare e.g. with 13.4% of blacks in the U.S.
It's very clear that their generous welfare system would collapse if the percentage of the white and Asian population were lower. The way to fix it is to modify their welfare rules so that they are sustainable given the actual current demographics - instead of trying to change (i.e. racially filter) the population.
Similar comments apply to the ideas about the equality of migrants etc. Canada can only keep its unrealistic politically correct discourse - and their asylum system that literally wants to be abused all the time (some groups in Czechia are able to abuse much more robust systems!) - because it has virtually no experience with many of the exotic ethnic groups. And whenever a few of them arrive to Canada, they can be assimilated as individuals.
Of course that if tens of thousands of gypsies would be moving to Canada, all of their reasoning would be proven to be flawed. What many of those politically correct people misunderstand is what it actually means to remove the boundaries between the ethnic groups. In the case of countries such as Canada, it simply means to assimilate the individuals from other groups and force them to accept the "white" values and lifestyle.
Whether such an act is a good idea or a bloody attack against the culture of the other ethnicity, it is not really possible if the ethnic groups are large. If 200,000 people out of 10 million in your country belong to a specific minority that has been nurturing their own collective lifestyle for centuries, they will inevitably cluster somewhere and the internal logic in these ghettos will inevitably differ from the majority-populated areas - as long as their lives are not fully constrained by some special cops. These facts are completely obvious to anyone who has actually lived in the vicinity of such ghettos. But they're an inconvenient truth in Canada.
You know, the Czech Republic has always been a racially uniform country (and the problem-free inflow of the Vietnamese is a sign that we're entering a slightly different era). After the World War II, i.e. after the expulsion of the Germans, it became a nationally homogeneous territory, too. But the number of gypsies is high enough for the logic of "assimilation" or complete "dilution" to break down. Such goals are simply not feasible and a certain degree of segregation inevitably exists and will exist - because much of it is not driven by removable prejudices on both sides but by objective differences (and the care for the elementary safety of the citizens).
Canada may fail to know what it means to live with large but culturally different ethnic groups. But this "luck" is not a good enough reason to play stupid moralistic games and to mask their own problems with the other groups by blaming someone else. The co-existence with the gypsies is not always easy: if they think it is easy, they should simply accept every gypsy applicant (and most of the white Czechs as well as the gypsy Czechs would probably thank for that). And the reason why it is not always easy is usually not the fault of the "white" people.
Canada should understand - and publicly admit - that the high number of applications that follow a similar logic is mainly a result of their asylum system's being too inviting and provoking people to profitably write similar stuff. The right solution is to adjust their asylum mechanisms so that the impact of this "loophole" is reduced (for example, by making the asylum applications of this kind more expensive, or by reducing welfare for fresh migrants). Creating tension between Canada and a whole European nation because of 1,500 mostly rejected applications (tension that leads to visa paperwork in Vienna for tens of thousands of innocent Czech tourists a year) is just not a way to go.
Canada is living in a utopia that is not compatible with the real world and the people who inhabit it. The way to go is to understand that the utopia is wrong and to adjust their system, not to create a new iron curtain to separate them from nations who help them to pinpoint that the utopia is indeed unsustainable. Such new iron curtains create new cold wars - in this case, wars in which the other citizens feel as genuine participants.
At any rate, the Czech (and Slovak and probably others, from countries with large gypsy groups) politicians seem to be unified in the opinion that the newest Canadian decision is a very ill-conceived one. Of course, Slovakia is the first one to support us not only because of our shared past but also because it has up to 300,000 gypsies and is a conceivable "next target" of this Canadian anti-gypsy visa pogrom. A Toronto gypsy center protests the Canadian move, too.
The Czech government has recalled its ambassador to Canada over the move. The first lukewarm and not-too-important revenge against Canada is that the Canadian diplomats now need the visas for the Czech Republic. They also have to use toilet paper instead of maple leafs in all Czech restrooms.
The Czech government is trying to use the leverage of the European Union and to promote the punishment of Canada to the pan-European level. I think it is a good idea - not only to show that a particular nation in the middle of Europe is not ready to be selectively pissed upon but also to show the Canadians that there is something seriously wrong about the way how they evaluate the "guilt" for various problems in the world.
So far, the European Union has rejected to obey its own regulations about the "visa solidarity" because the EU laws only hold for someone, don't they? Another group of bastards. At least, the EU Commision has urged Canada to revoke the new rules.
The Czech government has explained its interpretation of the "visa solidarity" regulation. If it will fail to convince the EU to introduce the visas for the Canadians' entry to the EU, the "visa solidarity" will become invalid and we will at least be able to introduce the visas for the Canadians' entry to Czechia which is not as far-reaching for them but it's at least something. ;-)
If the EU failed to support its member state in this situation but also prevented the country from an individual defense, that would be really bad - and perhaps a reason for me to support our exit from the EU. The membership may be becoming a big enough liability - and some existential questions such as the validity of the Beneš decrees may be put in jeopardy tomorrow. Well, I would quite surely prefer an "independent" Czechia protected by Russia if this particular risk of Sudetengerman claims became real because of the EU mechanisms.
Meanwhile, Czech entrepreneurs predict that the Czech-Canadian trade will drop. The Czech Airlines had to return some money to the passengers because of the visas. The olympic Athletes in Vancouver and the terrain bikers will have problems, too. Some Czech tourists may get stuck in Alaska on their visit of Canada and Alaska. Travel agencies are postponing trips to Canada and determined that in the middle of the season, Canada's move is a swine job.
While Canada itself is an obvious foe when it comes to this topic, internal culprits are being searched for, too. Socialist boss Paroubek is the culprit according to the center-right Civic Democratic Party. Some gypsy groups blame the neo-Nazis. Temporary foreign minister Jan Kohout thinks that Canada doesn't behave as an ally who fights with us in Afghanistan. The summer prime minister, Jan Fischer, kind of wisely suggests that the visas shouldn't become a topic of the campaign before the October national elections.
Chat with the ambassador
In a chat with the ambassador, Michael Calcott, I asked some questions and was very unsatisfied with his answer.
I find it extremely odd that there are about 3,000 Czech citizens seeking refugee status in Canada. Our system may be too generous. However I also find it odd that citizens of other EU member states are not doing the same thing. I believe that that issue is something the Czechs have to deal with.Well, I find it very odd that a person who is employed as an ambassador to Czechia doesn't understand the well-known reasons of this dynamics that takes place in Czechia. Czechia is special for having a large gypsy minority that is also rich enough to buy an air ticket and that has seen attractive TV programs about the life in Canada. So many of them jumped on a bandwagon of dreaming about Canada.
We could also say that we find it "extremely odd" that these days, the Czech gypsies don't flood any other country besides Canada. But I won't say such a thing because I am neither as stupid nor as hypocritical as Mr Ambassador: I actually know the reason very well and he should know such basic things, too.
Only people who are unfamiliar with reality, psychology, or basic politics can find such things "extremely odd". It's very clear that nothing can be done about these matters from our side, and his indication otherwise is just bogus. Moreover, this guy was hiding the plans of his country until the moment of his report that came 6 hours before the new policy became valid. Our foreign minister was speaking about a "breakthrough" in the negotiations as recently as two days ago - while the Canadians claim that the Czech government knew about the future decision for a month. So I actually do support the idea to declare him a persona non grata in the Czech Republic and send him away.
The Swedish EU presidency actually does plan to introduce visas for the Canucks who want to enter any place of the European Union. Wow. In some sense, this would be a 27 times bigger punishment than the fair one. ;-)