By Ajibola Abayomi

Below is the excerpt from the speech of the former Minister of Canada’s  Citizenship and Immigration, Hon Gerry Weiner on June 23, 2021 during the West African Media Migration Summit organized by the Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM) in Lome, Togo.

Participants at the event

I am Honored and delighted to have been invited back to meet the members of your International Association of Journalists on matters of critical importance – Migration and Diaspora activity – especially with the purpose of helping restart the world economy that is presently in complete collapse. 

My presence gives credence to the role that Canada must play in restarting the global economy, and the role that our Startup Visa Program can play in global economic acceleration. Canada, a G-7 nation, North American Free Trade, member of the Commonwealth, Francophone , EU, and Pacific countries as well, can and must play an important role in this post Covid-19 world.

Canada has been built by successive generations of refugees and immigrants, into one of the most successful economies of the world. We have a large diaspora of hundreds of cultural communities; all of whom must be challenged to do more for their countries of origin. 

CANADA’S ROLE

I am lucky to be a member of this very exclusive club – The Canada Club. Somehow, my branch of the family landed in what I call the best Country in the world – Canada. Others were not, and are not, so fortunate, and still live in very volatile  and unstable situations.

Exactly why I feel so strongly about the value of a Second Passport, and not only for Global Citizens, but also as an insurance policy that allows visa free travel to numerous countries that your country of origin may not provide; might be a quick escape, if you find that the country of origin falls into turmoil, and places your family in danger. 

This may provide better education, and better opportunities for your children, and future generations. It may also lead to business opportunities from which to do business and may provide better job opportunities..

I call this a Plan B – an insurance policy, in case, even if never required. A place to go to; giving broader ability to travel visa-free; and provide new business and investment opportunities. At the same time offering an excellent quality of life, in the most secured environment.

A Few years ago, Canada had the foresight to bring forward the Start-Up Visa program – a program that can help shape our country, and our world, in the years to come; a program that demonstrates Canada is open for business.

THE APS GROUP

I am delighted to have the honor of working with the APS group of companies, in continuing to bring forward one of the best business programs that Canada has ever offered: our Startup Visa program.

Michael Shribman, our president, has built this company one person at a time; providing experience, reliability, and an unparalleled record of achievement, with both Canadian Government, and private sector experience.

Once upon a time, I was very young, growing up in the inner city of Montreal, Jobs were scarce, never mind decent jobs. Perhaps in this post COVID year, young people would be facing the same dilemma. What can they do?  I know what I did: I started my own business.

What can a country do to alleviate the pain and suffering of this era? May I begin by telling you about a country that, 72 years ago, was only 650,000 strong and in a matter of a few generations, has become the StartupNation of the world. 

Canada has the second highest number of startups, and high tech jobs in the world, providing outstanding opportunities for young students.How did Israel do it? All must begin with Education – I mean excellence in Education.

THE INCUBATOR SYSTEM

Now to my country, Canada, what are we doing? Our education system. Then Our Canada Startup Visa program.

I highly recommend the same job creation type of program for all countries. This program is an excellent business program for qualified entrepreneurs who wish to start a new business, or develop an existing one in our country. 

The central aim behind this program’s introduction is to capture the interest of, and recruit,innovative entrepreneurs, and assist and prepare them in the establishment of their own businesses, and by extension themselves,and their families in Canada. 

There is an even greater benefit in the ability to bring back to the country of origin, the knowledge, skill, and experience that has been acquired. A program in business development and job creation that has the potential of integrating 272 million migrants in the world. We just have to do Something; because We all can.

When struck by a worldwide pandemic that threatened the entire world, our scientists came together and developed vaccines in record breaking time. It is now time to do more for hunger,deprivation, and the huge growing disparity between rich and poor. 

Far too many go to sleep without food, or clean drinking water. We have the resources and the expertise, but do we have to be committed. May I congratulate this International Association of Journalists for continuing to give us the opportunity to focus on these critically important topics, and process solutions.

Honorable Gerry Weiner, the former Canada’s Minister Citizenship and Immigration, made this presentation at the just concluded JIFORM West African Media Migration Summit held in Lome, Togo

Gerry Weiner

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