Sarkozy throws in the towel......
Oh well, another leaders bites the dust...
In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy's election-winning program of toughness, law, order and restraint came crashing to a halt this week with a sudden and almost touching realization that happiness is not just a matter of money and earnings, but of the nature and quality of the people around you.
This was, on one hand, the conclusion of Mr. Sarkozy's blue-ribbon panel of Nobel Prize-winning economists, whom he had convened to find an alternative to gross national product as a measure of national well-being.
His panel reported this week that you can't tell if your society is doing well unless you find a way to measure such intangibles as “the quality of our social connections and relationships.”
The same day, France decided to abandon one of the core planks of Mr. Sarkozy's 2007 election campaign – his pledge to cut back dramatically the number of people who enter France each year as family members of previously arrived immigrants.
Like many countries, France has long been frustrated by its seeming inability to control immigration. When it establishes quotas, tests of skill or language, or even outright bars, the people keep coming. And they tend to be relatives of people who are already there: About 65 per cent of France's immigrants are of the family-reunification category.
This has also infuriated leaders in Canada, where a third of the 250,000 people entering the country each year are family-class immigrants and probably half of all immigrants are relatives, close and distant, scraping through in other categories. The supposedly desirable “points system” immigrants are less than a fifth of our intake.
This drove Mr. Sarkozy to pledge a crackdown, including a requirement that all applicants take DNA tests to prove that they're really related to someone in France.
This week, Immigration Minister Eric Besson announced that this campaign was over before it started: The DNA idea was “stupid,” he said, and the notion of not reunifying families was swept under the carpet of forgotten policy proposals.