Tim Harper reminds his readers this morning that, south of the border, the Hispanic population has exploded. The community:
has grown 43 per cent over the past decade, and will be 30 per cent of the U.S. population by 2050 (double the size of the African American population).
Mitt Romney has said that his preferred way of dealing with that community is "self deportation." And Canadian governments have never recognized its existence:
With the most fundamental demographic shift of our lifetimes unfolding before their eyes, successive Canadian governments have blissfully continued traditional relations on traditional matters based on a United States that no longer exists.
There is no evidence that foreign affairs has paid anything more than lip service to the Hispanic explosion south of the border, a cultural and business transformation happening outside the doors of our consulates and embassies, with Canada as spectator.
And that willful ignorance comes at a cost:
By not reaching out to the new Hispanic U.S., Canada is unable to bring its message to this demographic group.
It loses out on tourism, it falls behind on attracting both skilled Hispanic immigrants and temporary foreign workers who pick fruit, work in hotels and, yes, meat packing plants, doing jobs Canadians are unwilling to take.
It means we are missing niche trade and business opportunities because Hispanic buying habits and preferences are different than African Americans.
It means we are not crafting environmental policy that will conform with a segment of the U.S. population which, polling shows, is more protective of the natural environment than Americans as a whole, whether because they are working in environmentally threatening environments or live in areas that are more likely to be fouled by industry.
And it means we are losing the battle for attention from U.S. political and business elites who routinely vacation in Caribbean and Latin American locales where the potential photo-ops are better for business and re-election prospects.
One suspects that the Harper government -- whose neglect of Quebec suggests that it still has trouble with French on the back of Corn Flakes boxes -- doesn't know what the word Hispanic means. They would do well to read the Washington Post's Richard Cohen, who recently observed that "Hispanic is not Spanish for stupid."
Anyone who ignores Spanish speaking Americans, or hopes they will simply go away, is just that -- stupid.