By Lincoln DePradine
The leader of the Conservative Party of Canada has promised that, if elected as prime minister, he would fix the country’s “broken’’ and “incompetent immigration system’’, including a pledge to “speed up’’ the process of recognizing the professional credentials of new immigrants to fill job vacancies in the country.
Pierre Poilievre, official Opposition Leader in the House of Commons, is also critical of the existing backlog created by the slow processing of applications from would-be immigrants to Canada.
“We have over two million people in the backlog waiting for their immigration applications to be processed. We have a million job vacancies, many of which could be filled by newcomers; but, the skilled immigrants we need are stuck on waiting lists to get here, so that they could fill those jobs,’’ Poilievre told reporters at a news conference that was attended by The Caribbean Camera.
Calgary-born Poilievre, 43, was elected Conservative Party leader on September 10, with the Tories hoping that he would bring them to victory in the next federal election after three consecutive defeats to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party.
Poilievre, an MP since 2004 and a former advisor to Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day, was elected to head the Conservative Party in the first round in September.
Poilievre, a father of two, is married to Anaida Galindo, a former Conservative political staffer on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. She was born in Venezuela but grew up in Montreal, after migrating to Canada at age eight in 1995 with her parents.
Canada, led by Prime Minister Trudeau, is “broken’’, charged Poilievre, a former minister of employment and social development.
Poilievre attacked Trudeau on his approach to dealing with repeat criminal offenders.
“It’s a very small number of criminals who are doing a very large amount of crime’’, said Poilievre.
He argued that the “answer’’ to confronting the repeat offenders’ issue is to keep them behind bars, “and there should be stricter conditions on their release on bail after they’re charged’’.
A problem exists, too, with weapons brought illegally into Canada, added Poilievre.
A Poilievre government, he said, will invest money in border security “to keep illegal American guns out of Canada’’.
Pierre is not only unimpressed with the immigration system, but also with the current government’s handling of the economy.
“Our money is broken. It buys less, about seven percent less this year, compared to last year,’’ he said. “Printing money doesn’t mean we’re richer; it just means that we have more money chasing fewer goods.’’
A conservative government, among other things, would “bring back fiscal responsibility’’, reduce the deficit, and reform the Canadian tax system, Poilievre said.
For foreign-trained Canadians, Poilievre complained that too many are waiting far too long to have their credential recognized.
“Here we are with a massive shortage of doctors and nurses and yet we have thousands of internationally trained medical graduates that could be filling those positions, but they cannot get a licence to practice,’’ he said.
“I know that licensing is provincial. However, the federal government could – and should – partner with the provinces to fix the problem; and, my proposal is very simple – let’s get a nationwide deal with all the provinces to give immigrants the answer, within 60 days of their applications, to work in their field. That application should be judged based on their testing ability, not where they come from.’’
Poilievre also is proposing a system for immigrants – with skills in regulated professions – to begin preparing to get licensed in their field before they even arrive in Canada. “That will be my goal when I become prime minister,’’ he said.
The policies of a future federal Conservative Party government will put “people back in charge of their lives and restore Canada as the freest nation on earth’’, Poilievre said.
“We need to get Canada working again. We need to fix the broken nation that Canadians face right now. A Poilievre government would do that.’’