Immigrants need French or English, Kenney says
Mar 21, 2009 04:30 AM
THE CANADIAN PRESS
CALGARY – Immigrants who can't speak English or French well enough should be denied citizenship, says the federal immigration minister.
In a speech to an immigration conference yesterday in Calgary, Jason Kenney said Canada needs to improve its efforts to integrate newcomers and "one area that we can ask immigrants in the country to make a greater effort (in) is that of language."
Kenney later told reporters that immigration needs an overhaul and an effort must be made to ensure immigrants and those who want to become citizens speak French or English competently. He said the requirement exists but isn't being enforced enough.
Kenney worries that granting citizenship without guaranteeing language skills puts a new Canadian at an economic and social disadvantage. And he wants to know how some people who can't speak either of Canada's official languages got through the system.
He's right. As critics have pointed out language proficiency in either of Canada's official languages is key for an immigrant's successful economic integration. I don't even know why this should even be an issue.
To add, it is only respectful to learn the language of the people you chose to live with.
This statement by Jason Kenney and his acknowledgment that the immigration system needs an overhaul makes me think that there may be hope with the minister after all. After his refusal to lower immigration targets and the number of temporary foreign workers in the wake of an economic melt down, I passed him off as another careerist politician who cares more about his party's chances with ethnic voters than doing what is right for the country.
I'm hoping he decreases immigration targets but I'm not holing my breath. So many tax dollars are wasted on a bloated and out of control immigration system the government can save a lot of money if it does especially in a time when it is running a deficit.