Immigration policy will be part of election conversation, opposition says
The Tories’ tough-on-immigration stance has won over some ethnic groups. Critics in Parliament have argued vigorously against the changes. Here’s what the Liberals and NDP plan to do if elected.
The Tories’ tough-on-immigration stance has won over some ethnic groups; others are less than keen. Critics in Parliament have argued vigorously against the changes. But the Tories argue that their changes have saved taxpayers money, streamlined processes, cut waiting times and stopped “bogus” refugees. A spokesman for the Minister of Immigration Chris Alexander said he wasn’t available to talk to the Star to discuss the changes or what lies ahead.
But according to University of Toronto’s assistant political science professor Erin Tolley, immigration rarely makes it as a central election issue because it “has the potential to alienate.”
Here’s what they plan to do if elected:
“I don’t think we’re doing ourselves a favour by erecting all these barriers and imposing new burdensome conditions,” says John McCallum, Liberal immigration critic. “With an aging population we will need younger new immigrants more than ever and we’re in competition with many other countries that also having aging populations.”
According to McCallum, the Liberal party would rescind a number of barriers to becoming a citizen that were instituted in the new Citizenship Act. They would repeal the regulation that takes away the 50 per cent credit for time spent in Canada for international students; the regulation that calls for new citizens to sign a declaration that they intend to reside in Canada.
The Liberals would also commit “to a larger number of refugees from Syria and other places” and ensure there is “due process for refugees.”
“We have moved from an immigration policy that was about permanence, building community and building a life to one of impermanence and temporariness,” says Andrew Cash, NDP multiculturalism critic.
Family reunification needs to be at the heart of the immigration system, Cash says. And recent changes have made this sometimes impossible. He also points to the new language test requirements of the new citizenship act as a barrier to citizenship. And he chastises the Conservatives for their refugee policies, calling the effort to help Syrian refugees an “abject failure.”
The NDP would make family and family reunification the central part of the immigration system, he says. “That is what built our country. We have successes after successes of communities that have flourished and help write the story of Canada essential. The Conservative have sharply changed that direction and we’re going to fix that.”