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Immigration points system 'sucks': Liberal MP
Last Updated Tue Jan 29 15:09:05 2002
OTTAWA - Two weeks after taking over the immigration portfolio, Denis Coderre faced some tough questions on Tuesday in a parliamentary committee meeting – and some of the heat was coming from other Liberals.
Many are angry about new immigration regulations set to come into effect this year, including a points system that puts more emphasis on education, language skills and work experience.
"In one word, it sucks," said Jim Karygiannis. "It's irresponsible. It's certainly not representing the Liberal values."
For his part, Coderre said he was open to criticism, and willing to act on it.
"I'm not here to tell you what I'm going to do," he said. "I'm here to listen."
Tougher immigration rules are being proposed in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but Liberal MP Joe Fontana says the changes weren't what he expected.
"That front door was supposed to be wide open, and the back door was supposed to be nailed shut to those who would abuse the system," said Fontana.
Coderre echoed Fontana when he laid out his own position.
"I feel my priority is to be open to immigration, but don't get me wrong – the people who are not supposed to be here will face the consequences," he said.
Changes could come
The critics say the new rules could retroactively disqualify thousands of prospective immigrants now on a waiting list. If that happened, they could lose their $500 fees.
"We shouldn't be creating a set of rules and then half-way through the process change them, especially after we've taken your money," said Liberal MP Dennis Mills.
They say the points system will keep out the very workers Canada needs, such as tradespeople.
Liberals – especially those from urban ridings – have traditionally enjoyed strong support from immigrants. Now they see those votes slipping away.
Written by CBC News Online staff
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