Speech By Hon Gerry Weiner, the former Canada Immigration Minister at the second Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM) summit on October 15, 2020. Venue: Pensioners FM Onireke, Ibadan, Oyo State.
Thanks for your invitation to speak at this conference on Migration. Special thanks to my friend Zacheaus Somorin, who I first met some 10 years ago as the business editor of an excellent Nigerian Newspaper, who today is Happily a resident of Canada. I am even hoping that he will be able to join me one day in bringing program and opportunity to his country of origin, Nigeria.
This is my tenth year of working in Nigeria in a program I have called Nigeria 2.0, having visited many times, but now alas we must be virtual. In that time, I have acquired an adopted son Seun, and a relationship with a very special young woman Rachel Omologe Brown.
Humankind is now facing a global crisis. Perhaps, the biggest crisis of our generation. The decisions people and governments take in the next few weeks, and months, will probably shape the world for years to come. They will shape not just our healthcare systems, but also our economy, politics, and culture. We must act quickly and decisively. We should also take into account the long-term consequences of our actions. When choosing between alternatives, we should ask ourselves, not only how to overcome the immediate threat, but also what kind of world we will inhabit once the storm passes. Yes, the storm will pass, humankind will survive, most of us will still be alive — but we will inhabit a different world.
Can I understand the pain and suffering that is being felt around the world.
How can I not..I have come a long way from the corner drug store, and my career in Government as Canada’s Minister of Immigration, and Citizenship. It afforded me an opportunity to travel the world, making friends in distant lands, and an ability to maintain those friendships to this day…India, Pakistan, China, Hong Kong, Viet Nam, Egypt, and, especially here in Nigeria, to name only a few those lands. I first came to Nigeria in 2010, in a program I called Nigeria 2.0. In my very first visit I met over 1000 people in 7 days of 2 a day seminars, and I have maintained many of those friendships to this day,. This has been one of the most rewarding chapters of my life, especially building on those friendships.
How can I not understand the pain and suffering…I came into the world in the midst of the terrible depression of the 1930s. Making a living was never easy for my Mom and Dad, and I can still harbor memories of many that offered a helping hand, and even visits to the food bank.
I am looking forward to the day when we can put the Corona Virus behind us, the day when we can again mobilize all the talents that have helped built this wonderful land called Canada. However, this is the biggest crisis of my lifetime. This crisis will eventually pass, but the country we will be inhabiting will be a different country. It will require new energy, new inspiration and many different skills. Canada understands what it will take in the years to come, to guarantee the quality of life we have become accustomed to. Our Immigration department continues to be open in this period, as we look forward to many continuing to build our country.
COME TO CANADA’. That is the message to talent all over the world by Canada’s Immigration, Minister Marco Mendicino, following the permanent and temporary resident visa suspension. announced by the US these past few weeks, Applying to all new green card holders, and temporary foreign workers coming in 2020 as well.
Since the start of the Corona virus, the Minister has made many remarks, that Canada is still committed to welcoming immigrants, temporary foreign workers, and international students. The Minister believes that continuing to welcome immigrants will help the economy, and “will spring our economic recovery.”
May I take this opportunity of commending Minister Mendicino for his dedication, and commitment to deliver the increasing number of Immigrants and Refugees, that Canada must continue to welcome, to maintain our standard of living, especially in view of the total collapse of the world’s economy. Our future prosperity depends on it.
I am very pleased to speak on Migration, Global Citizenship, Second Passports, and a General look at the Global economy in the post COVID-19 world, especially in North America. An equally important look at the US in the Presidential election, and the possible election in Canada. Repercussions in North America.
WOW…Just thinking about the topic could lead me into doctoral studies at one of our better universities. In fact each one of the subjects, that I will be mentioning can be the subject of its own session. I better begin by telling a little more about myself .
An entrepreneur and businessman, from the time I was a youngster. Gained experience in many different commercial operations, a lengthy list of retail opportunities, almost always involving selling a product. What I realized early in life was that many had the same product, the only difference was Me. It meant if I was going to succeed,
I would have to master the skills essential to selling and marketing, good memory, an ability to communicate clearly, and an ease with people. You have to genuinely like people, otherwise it shows through, and inhibits your progress in the field. I had to become a good student.
All of this is to help you understand that I have a good understanding of each area, I will be discussing today, You would expect no less. However, I am not, an expert, nor have I much competency in the Global Economy, this is a quagmire at the moment.
I was elected to 5 different Governments, always in management positions, and did become a partner in a small chain of retail Apothecary shops. I had the honor of serving as Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and Secretary of State, in the two Brian Mulroney governments.
A graduate pharmacist, with half a century of service in the delivery of health care. In my post government days, became very active in the field of migration. I am currently director, investor relations for Altec Global Capital, involved in the delivery of residency program in Canada, and many other countries. I have also helped rollout the Canada Startup Visa program, absolutely the best business program Canada has offered since my IIP days.
Why is this Forum on Migration so important, NOW.
What is becoming clear is that this man made virus is here to stay, how long nobody ready knows. Yes we will have vaccines shortly, and many therapeutics are hitting the market running. However Time is now for a Plan B, an insurance policy in event instability and insecurity overtake the country of origin. Why a PLAN B… A PLAN to Look at where your life is going, assess the risks and opportunities, and make a deliberate plan for your safety, success, and prosperity.
A second passport means you’re no longer tied to a single country. It means there’s at least one more place where you can live, work, do business, invest, and bring your family. I am very strong on this insurance policy. Why this conference is so important and so timely.
Once upon a time….My family came to Canada on ships and were offered a less than warm welcome. Times were difficult and help was nonexistent. Through hard work, and a strong commitment to education, I am proud to say that we have succeeded in making an excellent contribution to the building of Canada. Happily, times have changes. A warm welcome awaits you, and lots of help is available.
Why Canada. For more than 35 years, I have been helping people around the world understand the benefits of Canada. In fact, if we did not have a country called Canada,we would probably want to invent one. Its that good.
Our Health Care System…Universal access.
Education…The best public education system in the world.
Banking…NO.1 according to the World economic forum. Secure investment climate without a bank failure in over 150 years.
Strategic Location….Security and Quality of Life in our Community.
I am lucky to be a member of this very exclusive club, The Canada Club. Somehow, my branch of the family landed here, in this, the best Country in the world, Canada. Others were not, and are not, so fortunate, and still live in very volatile and unstable situation.
Exactly why I feel so strongly about the value of a Second Passport, and not only for Global Citizens; as an insurance policy, allowing 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. May provide better education, and better opportunities for your children, and future generations. May lead to business opportunities, from which to do business and may provide better job opportunities for your family. Future generations will enjoy the benefits.
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 a most secure environment. We are eager to build a relationship with you, eager to see how we may be of help to you. If you drop me a note, email, What’s App etc. , I will make sure you receive the best of our advice.
I Almost forgot the reason for being here, I get so excited talking about Canada, in fact I can give you 79 reasons for wanting to live and perhaps do business in Canada….
Now your turn to ask the Questions, which I know you do so very well…..