Indo-Canadian minister defends immigration changes

April 8th, 2008 - 10:31 am ICT by admin  

Toronto, April 8 (IANS) With his government under fire for its proposed immigration changes, Indo-Canadian minister Deepak Obhrai has reiterated that the amendment will not affect any group or country. “Our Conservative government is sending a clear message to potential newcomers to Canada: We want you here faster and we want you to succeed when you arrive,” Obhrai, who is parliamentary secretary (equal to a minister of state in India) to the minister of foreign affairs and the minister of international cooperation, said Monday.

“That’s why we are taking bold steps to reduce the 800,000-strong backlog created by the previous Liberal government,” said Obhrai, who is the only Indo-Canadian in the current Conservative government.

The three-time MP from Calgary said while the Liberals claimed to represent the interests of immigrants, but “their inaction on the backlog created a six-year wait-time for families to have their loved one’s application reviewed.

“Even after arriving in Canada immigrants were not free of the Liberal immigration gauntlet. The previous Liberal government introduced the $1,000 per person head tax on immigrants and froze settlement funding.

“Our Conservative government has given newcomers a step up by helping re-unite families faster, cutting the Liberal head-tax in a half and by investing $1.4 billion more in settlement funding,” he said.

“We have already improved the family reunification program by up to 40 percent. Clearing the Liberal created backlog will help us bring families together even faster,” Obhrai added.

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