Ujjal Dosanjh says Canadian bill ‘anti-immigrant’

March 21st, 2008 - 2:07 pm ICT by admin  

Toronto, March 21 (IANS) Ujjal Dosanjh, a top Indian-origin politician who has served as Canada’s health minister, has flayed the Conservative government for introducing an immigration amendment bill that may hit immigration to Canada. Accusing the government of “showing anti-immigrant feelings”, Dosanjh said the Tory government was trying to assume unbridled powers to determine who enters Canada.

“During the last two years of Tory rule, Canada allowed in 36,000 fewer immigrants than during the previous two years. And now they have introduced this bill hidden in the budget implementation bill,” Dosanjh told IANS.

He said the bill comes after reports that the government wanted to cap the number of applications to clear the backlog.

“They didn’t deny the report, and now they have introduced this bill,” said Dosanjh, who in 2000 became the first person of colour to be elected as premier (of British Columbia) in any Canadian province.

Having failed to make any inroads into immigrant communities for votes, the Conservatives now wanted to reduce certain kinds of people who entered Canada, he said.

“They tried to control immigration in 1959 but had to retreat one month later,” Dosanjh recalled.

New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Olivia Chow joined Dosanjh in hitting out at the government’s sweeping changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Chow announced that when parliament resumes at the end of March, she would introduce a motion to delete the entire amendment.

“If the budget bill passes with the immigration section intact, as of Feb 27, 2008, refugee children in Canada will no longer be able to bring their family to Canada,” she said in a statement.

Ordinary Canadians will not be united with overseas family members. Plus, the immigration minister will get huge powers to discard pending immigration applications, Chow added.

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