Canadian Case on Disability and Immigration
Gavin Hilewitz was the sort of immigrant Canada loves to attract -- an enthusiastic 22-year-old, possessed of a sunny temperament, a keen interest in computers and parents worth at least $5-million.
Just one detail stood in the way of the South African man's bid to become a Canadian: Gavin was mildly retarded. He was barred from immigrating lest he become an "excessive" drain on Canada's social services network, and the Hilewitz family's appeal of that decision reaches the Supreme Court of Canada tomorrow.
The case raises several questions that are as prickly as they are legally compelling. Are disabled people akin to damaged goods, capable of being rejected because they were not born in perfect condition? Should the wealthy be allowed to buy their way into Canada, when those of moderate means would be turned away?