Immigration changes bad for Canada: opposition

April 5th, 2008 - 1:19 pm ICT by admin  

Toronto, April 5 (IANS) Criticising the Canadian government for introducing a bill that gives it sweeping powers on immigration, the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) has proposed amendments in it before the parliamentary vote. The immigration (amendment) bill, which gives the immigration minister powers to decide who is let in or stopped, is part of the budget bill which will seek the House vote next week.

Expressing concern over the implications of the bill, NDP leader Jack Layton said in the House Thursday: “We are extremely concerned about the direction in which (prime minister) Stephen Harper is taking this country.”

“Picking and choosing who can come is not only discriminatory but it is unfair. The minister should not be allowed to have absolute power and the authority to make such sweeping changes,” he added.

Moving amendments to the bill, NDP citizenship and immigration critic Olivia Chow said immigrant communities across Canada were agitated by the proposed changes.

The bill “is bad for immigrants, bad for our economy, and bad for Canada”, she said.

Chow said the amendment would give unbridled powers to Immigration Minister Diane Finley who says she wants to streamline the immigration process.

But the bill “will introduce a quota system on immigration. It abrogates parliament’s responsibility to oversee Canada’s immigration policy”, Chow said.

“It will facilitate queue jumping with no accountability and no transparency and it will support a fundamental shift in immigration policy to support industries that can best lobby for foreign workers and away from family reunification and humanitarian causes,” she argued.

The NDP leader said: “The minister (Finley) said Canada needs to bring in more workers and the professions she mentioned most was doctors. (But) this minister just deported a radiologist for no good reason and we need more radiologists.

“This minister and the minister of human resources have failed to support a 42-year-old doctor from the former USSR who has been licensed in Canada, but cannot find a residency to accept her because of her age. She is a rheumatologist and we need more rheumatologists. I know that because I hear from families in my community who are looking for these kind of doctors for their parents.”

She said if the bill was passed, many Canadians will not be united with their family members.

Since the bill “fails to recognize that all immigration applicants should be treated fairly and transparently, and it also fails to recognize that family re-unification builds economically vibrant, inclusive and healthy communities”, the House should decline to give it second reading, she said.

Parliament is likely to vote on the bill April 8.

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