How a Liberal leader hopeful intends to eliminate the “immigrant success gap”

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The former Ontario cabinet minister with the famous surname, Gerard Kennedy, released his platform for eliminating the credentials recognition hurdle faced by skilled immigrants.

As the Liberal party of Canada re-groups and inches closer to electing a new chief executive, Liberal leader hopeful, Gerard Kennedy, says he has the answer to improving the “lot of recent immigrants”, adding that Canada “can’t move forward without successful integration”. Kennedy asserts that a Liberal government led by his office would ensure that Canadian immigrant wages are equal to non-immigrants within ten years of their arrival to Canada. He also warns that in order for Canada’s immigration industry to remain competitive, highly-skilled immigrants must be integrated into their respective professions in Canada by way of foreign skills recognition. The policy Kennedy is promoting involves creating a cabinet-level position for an “immigrant success advocate”, an officer of parliament who represents the interests of Canada’s immigrant community. He wants the federal government to consult closely with the regional levels of government and Canadian business groups to establish yearly immigration targets. The Kennedy plan also proposes that Canada continue to seek out highly educated foreign professionals through the government’s current points-based immigration system. However, it should not do so at the expense of neglecting the valuable contributions that foreign “blue-collar workers” can make on the Canadian economy. Kennedy is also calling for an expansion of the family-reunification plan. He wants to make it easier for Canadian immigrants to sponsor their extended family. He suggests that it would do much to reduce the anxiety often experienced by newcomers, which consequentially provokes them to return home. According to Kennedy’s “Immigrant Success Platform Fact Sheet” released on May 25, 2006, by the year 2020 a national labour shortage prompted by retiring “baby boomers” and Canada’s low birth rate will leave one-million jobs unfilled. This staggering statistic would leave the nation dependant on its immigrant population to ensure continued economic prosperity.

Kennedy’s Platform calls for:

A revamp of Canada’s point system to better recognize the value of skilled labour.

Engaging the private sector on immigrant success programs

Increasing focus on family re-unification

Improving access to language training

Establish a Federal/Provincial/ Municipal/Business Committee to set annual immigration targets.

Engaging new Canadians in reaching international goals in peace-making, peace-keeping, the provision of humanitarian aid, research and education, and arts and culture

Backgrounder:

Gerard Kennedy most recently served as Ontario’s Minister of Education and as a member of the Planning and Priorities Board of Cabinet. He was first elected as a Member of Provincial Parliament in 1996 and took the riding of York South, Ontario. He was subsequently re-elected in 1999 and 2003 in the riding of Parkdale-High Park. Kennedy has officially entered his bid to head the Liberal party of Canada.

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