Conservative Leader Stephen Harper today said he would reduce the landing fee for new Canadians over the life of his mandate if elected Prime Minister. He also said he would work with provinces and professional associations to help improve the recognition of foreign credentials.
Mr. Harper’s announcement comes a day after Prime Minister Paul Martin announced his government’s plans to eliminate the right of permanent residence fee over the next three years.
The Liberal government has also made the recognition of foreign credentials a priority, and will be working with partners to improve how we use the experience and training of foreign-trained professionals.
The Liberal plan unequivocally commits to eliminate the landing fee over three years, reducing it to $300 by year two of the next government.
The Conservative plan reduces the landing fee to $500, and leaves any further reduction to the discretion of a Conservative government.
Canadians will not be fooled by Mr. Harper’s campaign conversion – the Conservatives’ public record on immigration speaks for itself.
Mr. Harper is the same man who once referred to recent immigrants as “people who live in ghettoes.”
In regard to refugees, Mr. Harper has said, "I've always believed that we have to be a lot tougher withundocumented refugee claimants. Whether the best thing is to send themright out of the country or simply detain them until we get fullinformation, we can look at either but, no this is a problem that doesneed to be fixed. Particularly post 9/11, we can't take these kinds ofsecurity risks."
He has also called Canada’s refugee determination system a “potential threat to domestic security.”
And when Mr. Harper was Chief Policy Officer of the Reform party, hisparty platform stated that immigration "should be essentially economic in nature" and should not "be explicitly designed to radically or suddenly alter the ethnic makeup of Canada."
Mr. Harper and the Conservatives are building walls to immigrants; the Prime Minister and the Liberals are tearing them down.
The Liberal government has a history of helping new Canadians from all walks of life.
Under the Prime Minister’s leadership, we have made investments in the recognition of foreign credentials, in improving settlement and immigration services, and in improving the system so new Canadians can fully contribute to their new country.
Recent measures undertaken by the Liberal government include an investment of $700 million to improve the immigration processing system and establish an in-Canada economic class.
We have also invested $1.3 billion to fund improved settlement and integration services across the country, including $920 million over the next five years for the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement.
Last spring, the Liberal government launched the Internationally Trained Workers Initiative, a more than $300-million effort to improve the outcomes of foreign-trained professionals in Canada.
Today’s immigrants are a vital force in building and sustaining a stronger nation, and the Liberal government welcomes them.