March 24, 2008

Debate at the Parliament

Here's an excerpt from the official transcript of 39th Parliament, 2nd Session (March 14, 2008, where the Ammendments to Modernize the Immigration System were proposed.

The Liberals and the Conservatives are blaming each other over the immigration cases backlogs.

Mr. David McGuinty (Ottawa South, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the government is so desperate to close the door on immigrants that it will ignore the painful mistakes of previous Conservative governments that tried to do the very same thing. Diefenbaker tried to shut out immigrants by capping the system only to abandon his plan a month later because his policies were short-sighted and misguided.

Why does the minister insist on closing Canada’s doors to the newcomers we desperately need to fuel our labour and population growth even though history shows this is absolutely the wrong approach?

Hon. Diane Finley (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is absolutely wrong. In fact, last year this Conservative government welcomed more immigrants to Canada than has been done in almost 100 years.

Not only are we doing more, we are doing it better. In the family reunification class we have made that a priority and now cases are getting processed 20% to 40% faster than they did under the previous government. We are making great strides in cleaning up the Liberals’ immigration mess.

Mr. David McGuinty (Ottawa South, Lib.):
Some progress, Mr. Speaker. The backlog has increased by 100,000 in 26 months. I would ask the minister to get to work and not by closing the doors on immigrants.

Let us be clear. The Conservatives say that Canada has received 429,000 newcomers, but that number has been falsely inflated by temporary workers and students. Why is the government trying to distract people from its plan to significantly reduce the number of newcomers by fudging the numbers and tooting its own horn about its pathetic record on immigration?

Hon. Diane Finley (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, our government has two objectives. The first is to bring more newcomers here to fill jobs and be reunited with their families. The second is to do it faster.

Let us contrast that with the Liberals’ record on immigration. They ballooned the backlog from 50,000 to 800,000. They took processing times from three to six months to three to six years. They voted against reducing the head tax that they brought in. They voted against launching the foreign credentials referral office. We are fixing the Liberals’ immigration mess.

Read the full text here.

Session will resume on Monday, March 31, 2008.