In a statement today, leading immigration lawyers, practitioners and academics refuted the arguments of the Conservative Government that their policies have been favourable to New Canadians. They noted that the Conservative Party has been telling visible minority immigrant communities, which it calls the “ethnic vote”, that it is improving the immigration system.
A review of their record shows the contrary, according to the immigration practitioners.
-Since the Conservative Party took power, the total time for processing sponsorship applications and visa applications for parents and grandparents has increased dramatically. Meanwhile, the number granted visas annually has dropped by 44 per cent since 2006. This year only 11,500 visas will be issued in this category. New Canadians who hope to be reunited in Canada with their parents or grandparents, or who have any empathy for families that want to be reunited, should vote for another party.
-The backlog of skilled worker applicants waiting for a decision has gone up from 487,000 in 2005 to 508,000.
-What is actually being done to process any type of application remains a guessing game for many applicants.
-The Conservative Party has cut settlement funding for immigrants and refused to fund many well-established groups, often because of political considerations.
-The Conservatives claim they will get tough on human smugglers, but the law they intend to pass mainly punishes refugees. Even women and children will be imprisoned for a minimum of one year under this law.
-The Conservative Party claims to be sympathetic to refugees who do not flee their countries illegally, but just announced plans to cancel the only program allowing Canada to protect refugees applying from within their country.
-The Conservative Party plans to make marriage sponsorships conditional on a two-year waiting period. Canadians and their spouses will be subjected to more uncertainty and delay. Spouses in abusive relationships will be trapped in them.
-The Conservative Party has continually stirred up anti-immigrant sentiment to justify its policies, even without a majority.