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Conservatives Leave New Canadians Out in the Cold
February 20, 2007
Too caught up in implementing their ideologically-driven social agenda, the Conservative minority government has no plans to make a positive impact on the lives of newcomers to Canada, the Liberal Opposition said today.
“Yesterday, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Diane Finley appeared before a House committee and dithered on an important issue, the recognition of foreign credentials for new Canadians,” said Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion. “Why does this government continue doing nothing so that new Canadians’ skills can be recognized, so that they can reach their full potential?”
Liberal Citizenship and Immigration critic Omar Alghabra pointed to the government’s year of inaction in bringing the skills and experience of internationally-trained professionals into the Canadian labour market.“When it comes to hurting minorities, women, aboriginal, youth and the environment, this Conservative government acted ruthlessly and cut essential programs,” said Mr. Alghabra. “But when it comes to implementing much-needed initiatives that they themselves have promised, like creating daycare spaces or helping foreign trade skills, the Conservatives are dragging their feet.
Will the minister confirm what she admitted in committee yesterday: that she has no plan to help newcomers already in Canada to find jobs in their professional fields?”
In April 2005, the previous Liberal government announced a commitment of $263 million to launch the Internationally-Trained Workers Initiative to improve the integration of immigrants and internationally-trained Canadians into the work force.
The Harper government chose to scrap that initiative with the promise of establishing a Foreign Credentialing Agency. A year has now passed and the Agency is nowhere to be seen.
To make matters worse, Ms. Finley has been recently trying to downplay concerns that thousands of Canadians are unaware that they aren’t actually citizens of Canada. Statistics Canada indicates that possibly tens of thousands Canadians born abroad could have unwittingly lost their citizenship due to bureaucratic loopholes in the Canadian Citizenship Act.
“The Immigration Minister spent $1,440 on a two night stay in Vancouver and apparently took the Challenger to get there,” said Raymonde Folco. “She travels in style while dragging her feet on important issues and refusing to come up with a plan.
“The Citizenship Act overhaul is dead. The dual citizenship review is delayed and plans for the creation of the Foreign Credentials Agency are gathering dust. Why is it so easy for this Minister to spend hard-earned taxpayer money for herself, and yet she can’t seem to get on with the job of helping Canadians in need?”
It seems the Conservative government would rather spend taxpayer dollars on limousine joyrides than on helping newcomers to Canada.
It’s time that Prime Minister Harper stops the partisan rhetoric and starts getting down to work at moving Canada forward.
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