Canadians favour continued immigration

June 5th, 2008 - 12:13 pm ICT by IANS  

By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, June 5 (IANS) Even as their government tries to tighten immigration controls through legislation in parliament, Canadians say immigrants are important for the future and the government should be compassionate on family reunifications. Under the proposed immigration changes pending before parliament, the government will get sweeping powers to fast-track immigration in the skilled category, restrict the number of immigrants admitted each year and may reject applications outright even if the applicants qualify for immigration.

Though the government says its immigration changes are aimed at reducing the 900,000-strong backlog, immigrant communities here fear that skilled workers may get priority at their expense, forcing their family members in their native countries to wait longer to come to Canada.

The family route is the quickest way for an immigrant to enter this country as waiting periods can be up to ten times higher in other categories.

In a survey by Ottawa-based Nanos Research released Wednesday, about 85 percent Canadians agree with their government that only those immigrants should be admitted whose skills are needed here.

However, 81.1 percent also think that immigration for the purpose of family reunification is equally important.

Overall, 72.6 percent Canadians support immigration as economically important for Canada’s future, as against 25 percent who don’t see immigration favourably.

As the survey summed up, a vast majority of Canadians don’t favour an open-door policy. But they want their government not only to be strategic but also compassionate while choosing immigrants.

Despite dual citizenship having come under criticism after Canada spent millions of dollars to evacuate thousands of Lebanese Canadians during the 2006 Lebanon crisis, about 65 percent Canadians still favour it.

Curiously, some top Canadian lawmakers also have dual citizenship. Opposition leader Stephane Dion is also a French citizen as his mother was born in France.

Health minister Tony Clement also enjoys dual citizenship as do MPs Myron Thompson, Libby Davies and Olivia Chow.

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