Canada Votes: How three main parties would deal with immigration issue

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TORONTO – While Canada does not have the millions of illegal immigrants that our neighbour to the south is grappling with, it’s estimated that somewhere between 50,000 and as many as 200,000 people live in the country — likely in the Greater Toronto Area — without the necessary approvals.

The Toronto Sun asked the three major federal parties to answer this question: The U.S. is currently proposing an amnesty program for some illegal immigrants. Would your government consider that, and if not, what does it plan to do about the issue?

Conservative Party of Canada: “We do not have a comparable issue to that of the United States. However, while we welcome immigrants to this country who contribute to our economy, we will continue to crack down on foreign nationals who commit serious crimes in Canada.”

New Democratic Party of Canada: “Liberals and Conservatives have made a mess of immigration, from the Temporary Foreign Workers program to family reunification. We believe in fair, humane and compassionate rules. That’s why we fought for a grace period for Haitian refugees earlier this year, and a fair path to citizenship for Temporary Foreign Workers.”

Liberal Party of Canada: “Under Stephen Harper, Canadians are being encouraged to be fearful of one another, and our country has experienced 10 years of decline in three major areas: family reunification, refugees, and citizenship applicants. A Liberal government will end the Conservative decade of failure, and restore fairness to Canada’s immigration system.”


The Syrian refugee crisis has put immigration in the spotlight during this campaign.

Here are the platform offerings from the Conservatives, NDP and Liberals on this important issue.

Liberal Party of Canada: (Released full immigration platform Friday)

•Expand Canada’s intake to 25,000 refugees from Syria and Iraq through immediate, direct sponsorship by the government of Canada.
•Invest an additional $200 million over this fiscal year and next to increase refugee processing.
•Establish an Expert Human Rights Panel for determination of designated countries of origin and to provide a right to appeal refugee decisions for citizens from these countries.
•Nearly double budget for family class immigration processing.
•Double number of new applications allowed each year, for parents and grandparents, from 5,000 to 10,000.
•Provide greater access to applicants with Canadian siblings, by granting additional points under the Express Entry system.
•Restore maximum age for dependents to 22 instead of 19, allowing Canadians — often live-in caregivers — to bring their children to Canada.
•Grant immediate permanent residency to new spouses entering Canada, rather than imposing a two-year conditional status.
NDP (Have not released full immigration platform yet)

•Will resettle 10,000 government-sponsored Syrian refugees by the end of this year.
•Increase the number of government-sponsored Syrian refugees by 9,000 per year for the next four years.
•Accelerate immigration process times so families can be reunited faster.
•Work with provinces, territories and stakeholders to streamline the recognition of foreign credentials to help new Canadians fully participate in the economy.
•Offer temporary foreign workers a path to citizenship.
Conservative Party of Canada

•Will take steps to expedite resettling Syrian refugees in Canada, 10,000 by next September.
•Increase number of Canadian immigration personnel to speed up rate refugee claims processed.
•Stop requiring United Nations refugee confirmation documents for those fleeing war.
•Double the number of loans available to new immigrants who need help getting their foreign credentials recognized in Canada by boosting Foreign Credential Recognition Loans program by $8 million.
•Continue with new Immigrant Investor Venture Capital pilot program designed to attract experienced business immigrants who can actively invest in the Canadian economy.
•New Citizenship Act mandates that any dual national convicted of terrorism, espionage, treason, or takes up arms against our Canadian Armed Forces, will not have the right to hold Canadian citizenship.

Top 10 Source Countries of Canadian Permanent Residents – 2013

(People who have been granted permanent residency through immigration but are not Canadian citizens)

10. Korea (4,509)
9. Iraq (4,918
8. France (5,624)
7. United Kingdom (5,826)
6. United States (8,495)
5. Iran (11,291)
4. Pakistan (12,602)
3. Philippines (29,539)
2. India (33,085)
1. China (34,126)
Top Three Reasons for Immigrating to Canada

3. Refugees (27,915)
2. Family (66,794)
1. Economics (155,707)
(Source: Government of Canada)

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