Justin Trudeau must keep his promise to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees in Canada by the end of the year
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As the world grapples with the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War, Justin Trudeau is faced with the daunting task of fulfilling a campaign promise to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees in Canada by the end of the year.
The prime minister designate has just 10 weeks to make good on that pivotal pledge that saw support for the Liberals surge among Canadians yearning for a revival of their vaunted humanitarian past.
But while refugee advocates say it’s not impossible, it may be extremely difficult to fulfill that promise on such a short deadline. And it would require immediately ramping up Canada’s refugee resettlement programs and devising an emergency mass-evacuation plan for vulnerable Syrians.
Trudeau’s other key pledges on immigration
Doubling parent and grandparent sponsorship applications:
In 2011, the Conservatives had a backlog of 165,000 parents and grandparents in the queue for immigration and stopped accepting new applications until 2014 while introducing a new “super visa” to let parents and grandparents visit Canada only. It then imposed an annual cap of 5,000. The Liberals said it would double that.
Restoring maximum age for immigration dependants to 22:
In 2014, the Conservatives narrowed the definition of a dependant child to someone younger than 19, rather than 22, and remove an exception for older children who study full time. The new ruled made roughly 7,000 children a year ineligible to rejoin their parents in Canada, separating families. The government said younger immigrants could better integrate. The Liberals plan to raise the age to 22.
Granting permanent resident status to sponsored spouses upon arrival:
In order to crack down on marriage fraud, a problem it claimed to have plagued the system, the Conservatives introduced the new “conditional” permanent resident category. Sponsored foreign spouses must “cohabit” under one roof with the Canadian sponsor for two years to be issued permanent status. It applied to spouses or partners in a relationship of two years or less who have no children together at the time of the sponsorship application. The Liberals will get rid of this two-year waiting period.
Repealing the revocation of citizenship of dual citizens:
In June, Bill C-24 became law, allowing the federal government to strip the citizenship of dual citizens convicted of certain serious crimes in or outside of Canada. Even the native-born could face the revocation of their citizenship as seen in the Conservatives’ attempt to remove the citizenship of Saad Gaya, who was born in Canada to Pakistani immigrant parents. Critics accused Ottawa of creating a two-tier citizenship schedule. A constitutional challenge is currently before the court. The Liberals say they will repeal unfair elements of Bill C-24.
Eliminating $1,000 assessment fee for families seeking foreign caregivers:
In light of the public outrage over the perceived abuse of the temporary foreign worker program by employers to replace Canadian workers, the Conservatives overhauled the program in 2014 and raised the fee for employers to bring in a temporary foreign worker from $275 to $1,000. The Liberals said it will get rid of the fee for families seeking foreign caregivers to look after members with physical or mental disabilities.