Election 2011: Federal Parties and Canadian Immigration Issues

Canada votes on May 2nd in a federal election, and the Vancouver Sun has written a great, unbiased article that shows the three major parties’ general thoughts on immigration as well as their history on immigration issues.

From the Vancouver Sun:

Immigration and The New Democratic Party (NDP):

– Promises a special appeal division for refugee claimants, in order to speed up their decisions and prevent them from having to go through Federal Court.

– Has a special focus on family reunification over temporary foreign workers and will work to ensure immigration makes up one per cent of Canada’s population every year.

– NDP Leader Jack Layton has been quoted as saying “”One of the most disturbing aspects of what the Harper government is doing is that they’re encouraging more and more people to come here as temporary foreign workers . What we’re seeing is more and more of this focus on the immigrant as some kind of an economic unit.”

Immigration and The Liberal Party

– Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says, “”Immigrants are finding it tougher to get ahead. We’ve got to have language training as long as you need it. We need to have integration services as long as you need it”, and “Why are you going to come to Canada if you can’t bring your family?”

– Ignatieff also says that under the Harper Government family reunification visas have been cut, and he would reverse the 15 per cent cut in family reunification visas and the 25 per cent cut to family visas for parents and grandparents.

– The Liberal party would create a Fairness Commissioner to ensure that immigrants are not being discriminated against by pharmacists, engineers and doctors in professional organizations.

Immigration and the Conservatives

– Cut $53 million from settlement programs for immigrants and refugees, but announced $6 million for immigrant training.

– Passed a bill to remove refugees whose claims fall much faster, and introduced laws to detain refugees who arrive in large groups.

– Allowed for the highest number of immigrants in 57 years to arrive in Canada in 2010, almost 300,000.

My take? Well from a strictly immigration policy perspective, all parties have some good, bad and downright ugly views on immigration. The Conservatives, as a minority party in Parliament, have done, in my view, a poor job with immigration, taking an overall protectionist approach. Yes the numbers of immigrants coming to Canada were up under their watch. But their overall approach to the refugee problem, humanitarian issues etc. have been abysmal. I am not sure the other parties would do much better frankly. So “pick your poison” and hope for the best.

One of the best things about being Canadian is being able to vote and have your say. If you’re eligible to vote in Canada, get out there and vote!

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Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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