Immigration reform passes in Commons
With only a handful of Liberals turning up to vote, Tories' controversial changes sail through 114-83
Jun 03, 2008 04:30 AM
Ottawa Bureau Chief
The Tories' budget implementation bill – which contains the immigration reforms – survived three votes last night and looks certain to get the Commons' final approval tomorrow or Thursday before going to the Senate. Only a handful of Liberals turned up for the votes, which passed 114-83.
Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion says more and more voters are in the mood for an election, but he's biding his time.
"An election will come. We'll choose our time," he told reporters in a well-used refrain.
Sure Stéphane. Whatever you say.
Opposition parties have denounced the overhaul of the immigration system contained in the bill. But as in past confidence votes, the Liberals voted strategically to avoid defeating the minority Conservatives and forcing an election.
Just so there was no doubt, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty stressed before the vote that Bill C-50 was a confidence bill. That means if it was defeated or amended, the government would fall.
Bill C-50 contains a contentious proposal to give the immigration minister the power to issue "instructions" to her department to give priority to categories of skilled workers deemed in demand. The department would also have the power to refuse applications in other categories.
To be clear only immigrant groups and those whose livelihoods are rooted in the immigration industry - lawyers, social workers, consultants - actually opposed the Bill. The vast majority of Canadians, and I mean the vast majority of Canadians, didn't know what was going on, distracted instead by rising gas prices. If the government was defeated it was because immigrants, foreign born Canadian citizens whose sincere commitment to this country I find increasingly questionable, wanted to force an election. It seems their commitment to their countrymen abroad was greater than their commitment to Canada and Canadians.
I do not see how the immigration reforms are harmful to Canada and Canadians and from I can see in them I think they are an improvement. Canada accepts too many immigrants, many of whom would not be here were the immigration system more pragmatic and served the real needs of Canada and Canadians. Right now we have immigration for immigration's sake and the predictable consequences of such a misguided approach are becoming apparent.