【本報系記者薛曉光香港專訪】「加拿大的對香港開放的移民政策，不但提供了香港居民一個選擇新天地的機會，也為加拿大公司開拓中國這個新興市場儲備了大量的人才。」加拿大駐港專員赫根巴登(John Higginbotham )(見圖)在交易廣場的辦公室表示，移民加拿大的香港人，在獲得公民權後，不論是定居加拿大,或者返港工作，對加拿大都有幫助。
赫根巴登解釋，加拿大在六〇年代中放寬移民法，當時由於文化大革命，促使了大批香港人移民的決心。「移民加拿大的人數，因不同的原因而起伏，其中包括香港、加拿大雙邊的經濟、 政治情況。」赫根巴登認為目前的移民法規對香港人有利，給香港人更多的機會去加拿大，他說：「或許在某些家庭成員項目移民速度有減緩的現象,但以港人移民的總人數來說，仍然是相當龐大。」 赫根巴登表示，他們注意到在一些移民項目中，人數有減少的現象，但總括來說，他合計今年及今後數年，移民的總人數將與去年相同。至於哪些移民項目人數減少，他不願討論細節。
English translation: John Higginbotham Talking about How the Canadian Government Views the Immigrants from Hong Kong (Part One)
The Discriminatory Issues Related to Jobs and Languages should be Noted
The Officer of the Canadian Commissioner in Hong Kong was interviewed by a journalist from the World Journal. He discussed the problems faced by Hong Kong immigrants to Canada in their new environment, including work, language, and occasional discrimination. He carefully described the practices and attitudes of the Canadian government and the general public and ways to solve these problems.
About the Triad members becoming immigrants to Canada, he talked about the opinions of the Canadian government and the other immigrants from Hong Kong.
Interviewed and reported by Xue Xiaoguang in Hong Kong
Canada's immigration policy for Hong Kong residents not only provides them with an opportunity to choose a “new world”, but also reserves a large number of talents for Canadian companies to explore China's emerging market. The Officer of the Canadian Commissioner in Hong Kong, John Higginbotham (pictured), said in his office at the Exchange Square that Hong Kong immigrants to Canada, whether they will live in Canada or return to work in Hong Kong after obtaining their citizenship, can be helpful to Canada.
Higginbotham, who used to study Chinese in Hong Kong about twenty years ago, described the long-term and special relationship between Hong Kong and Canada. "In the Second World War, Canada was a member of the Allies and had sent hundreds of soldiers to Hong Kong to fight against the Japanese invasion." he continued: "After the 1960s, the relationship between Hong Kong and Canada was closer because of immigrants."
Higginbotham’s position equals to the Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong. He said that almost one half of the Hong Kong population have immigrated to Canada. At present, there have been hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people who have found new places in Canada to settle down.
In the past five years, Hong Kong has had an average of 25,000 to 30,000 people moving to Canada each year. Higginbotham has repeatedly mentioned that Hongkongers have brought economic vitality to Canada and contributed a lot to Canada.
While praising the Hong Kong immigrants, Higginbotham also skillfully presents Canada's strengths. "According to the last year’s assessment of the United Nations, Canada is the country with the highest quality of life in the world." He said with confidence: "We are an open, tolerant, prosperous and multicultural country."
Although the economy has its own rules, having booms and recessions from time to time, Higginbotham emphasized: "Basically we are one of the most advanced, prosperous and stable countries in the world."
"Hong Kong people are very experienced buyers. They like Brunswick and Rolex. They like Canada." Higginbotham added: "Canada also welcomes them."
He said that the problems faced by Hong Kong immigrants to Canada are similar to most immigrants from other countries. The officer, who has been in Hong Kong for three and a half years, said: "These problems include finding a job, language problems, and sometimes discrimination."
Comparatively, Higginbotham said that the process of Hong Kong immigrants adjusting to Canadian society is fairly smooth. "Because Hong Kong people began to build a modern Chinese community in Vancouver and Toronto from the middle of the sixties, this helped the new immigrants to start a new life more quickly."
Higginbotham explained that Canada loosened the immigration policies in the sixties, when the Cultural Revolution caused a large number of Hong Kong people to decide to immigrate to Canada. "The number of immigrants to Canada has risen and fallen for different reasons, including the economic and political situation between Hong Kong and Canada." Higginbotham believed that the current immigration regulations are beneficial to Hong Kong people, giving them more opportunities to go to Canada. He said: "Perhaps the increasing rate of some groups such as family members has slowed down, but in terms of the total number of Hong Kong immigrants, it is still quite large." Higginbotham said that they noticed that in some immigration projects, the number of people has decreased, but the total number of Hong Kong immigrants will stay the same this year and in the years to come. As for the number of which immigrant group decreased, he is not willing to discuss the details.
Understanding that immigration is a complicated decision process, Higginbotham put himself in the position of the immigrants, saying: "This is a process of repeated comparison and selection between the original residence and the new place in politics, economy, culture and society. This process will continue until and after the arrival of the new place."
In order to help Hong Kong people who are interested in immigration to understand life in Canada, the Canadian Office of the Hong Kong Commissioner often holds symposiums to introduce situations in Canada. After the immigration application is approved, the Office will cooperate with Canadian non-profit organizations to give the immigrant a fair assessment of his or her life in Canada to help new immigrants understand the environment after moving to North America.
Higginbotham, who speaks succinctly and powerfully, mentioned that there are also various associations in Canada to help new immigrants. Some are funded by the government, and some are privately sponsored, providing various trainings in language, skills, and consulting services. (To continue tomorrow)