Canada’s immigration policy has seen significant changes in recent years, with the governing Conservative party introducing many rules and restrictions that make it harder for refugees and immigrants to settle in Canada.
Supporters of the Tories’ tough immigration policies claim the rules have saved taxpayers’ money, reduced inefficiencies, reduced waiting times and suffocated fake refugee claimants. But critics in Parliament have voiced opposition to many of these changes and now the Liberals and the NDP have stated they will highlight immigration policy as a focal point during the upcoming federal elections.
If elected, the Liberal party claims it will reduce the barriers to becoming a citizen by modifying the Citizenship Act by repealing the regulation that removes the credit given to international students for half of the time they spend in Canada, as well as the regulation that requires new citizens to sign a declaration that they intend to reside in Canada.
“I don’t think we’re doing ourselves a favour by erecting all these barriers and imposing new burdensome conditions,” says John McCallum, of the Liberal Party. “With an ageing population we will need younger new immigrants more than ever and we’re in competition with many other countries that also having ageing populations.”
The Liberals also promise to reduce the application processing times for sponsorship, citizenship, and many other visas. The Liberals also commit to accepting a larger number of refugees from Syria and other war torn regions.
The NDP say they will make family and family reunification central to immigration policy, in line with their belief that family friendly immigration policies have historically aided the country’s progress by helping communities flourish and succeed in Canada.
“That is what built our country,” says Andrew Cash, of the NDP. “We have successes after successes of communities that have flourished and help write the story of Canada essentially.”
The NDP has also called the current government’s effort to assist Syrian refugees a complete failure, and promises to reverse changes made to the refugee policy.
The upcoming Canadian general election is scheduled to take place on October 19, 2015.