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Immigration points system 'sucks': Liberal MP

Immigration points system 'sucks': Liberal MP

Old Jan 29th 2002, 8:28 pm
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Saeed Vahid
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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.
 

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