When announcing this record influx of newcomers to Canada immigration minister Jason Kenney announced “While other Western countries cut back on immigration during the recession, our government kept legal immigration levels high”.
Kenney didn’t really explain why he admitted more immigrants last year than the maximum he told Parliament he would admit for 2010. Furthermore, Kenney has no plans to maintain this level as he reported to Parliament that he is only going to admit 240,000-265,000 new immigrants in 2011.
Cynics might think, quite rightly perhaps, that Kenney’s banner year has something to do with the fact that Canadians are facing a federal election this spring. How better to draw the “ethnic” or “multicultural” vote than to announce a record intake of new immigrants?
If this is so, the Liberals are in no position to complain. They pulled the exact same stunt in 2005 when they admitted 262,000 immigrants just as they were about to go to the polls. This was a sharp increase over 2004 when they admitted 235,825 newcomers and an even greater increase over the year before which saw only 221,348 immigrants.
If it’s just about numbers, it’s clear that the Conservatives have brought in more immigrants in the last five years than their Liberal counterparts did in the previous five-year period.
However, being “pro-immigrant” is not just about numbers.
The Tories have created, and are continuing to create, havoc with many aspects of our immigration program. For example, they are in the midst of a full-frontal assault on the rights of Canadians to bring their parents and grandparents to Canada. Also, they are about to seriously impede the ability of refugees to make out their case before our Immigration and Refugee Board.
In the past five years, the Tories have made promises which they didn’t keep and have made blunders which could have been avoided by listening to others.
Next week, I will review some of the less “pro-immigrant” aspects of the Tory immigration record.