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Blog > 2010 > In the Dead of Night

In the Dead of Night

July 27th, 2010

The Canadian House of Commons was adjourned on June 17th and is not scheduled to meet again until September 20th. Summertime is the dead of night in the parliamentary world.

Barely a week after the House emptied, the Minister of Immigration announced that he had new instructions for Canadian Visa Officers. For the next 12 months they are to accept for assessment only 20,000 applications without job offers under the Federal Skilled Worker category of immigration.

Last week, the Industry Minster announced that the Conservative government had decided to eliminate the long-form mandatory census for 2011 even though it has been part of the census taking process since 1971. Instead, the government intends to rely wholly upon a voluntary census response. This shift will affect new Canadians. According to a former head of Statistics Canada, “when surveys are voluntary, some geographical regions are under-reported as are some demographic groups including aboriginals, new immigrants and youth.” With less representative (read reliable) data, it is very difficult for provinces, cities, schools, etc. to plan for and accommodate their constituents. No statistician refutes this claim. The Conservatives fire back that they do not believe Canadians should be forced, under threat of fine or jail, to divulge extensive private and personal information.

So, while most Canadians have their eyes fixed on the lazy (or at least, less stressful) days of summer there is a heated and very political debate taking place in our nation’s capital.

On the surface, the issue centres around the type of census that Canadians will fill out in 2011, but there’s much more at stake here.

At the heart of the matter is ideology, pure and simple. As suggested by one University of Calgary economist, “Prime Minster Stephen Harper is acting from a deep philosophical conviction – a libertarian view of the mandatory long-form census as a Big Brother manifestation of the intrusive state.” Conservative opponents view it as a clash between the role of knowledge, evidence, and reason on the one hand, and the role of the intuition, common sense, and decency on the other. This is a fair and worthy debate. These are opposing, yet sincere, views of the world upon which elections are based.

It is obvious that the Conservatives believe in a less intrusive government, especially at the national level. We have certainly seen this approach displayed in the field of economic immigration. There once was an immigration policy based on nation-building led by previous federal governments. Since taking power in 2006, the Conservatives have devolved much of economic immigrant selection to the provinces and more particularly to employers in the provinces. More and more, the federal government’s role in the immigration process is being reduced… to the point where its main function is to control health and security.

What I find concerning here is not the position of the Conservative government. As noted above, it is a point of view that is sincerely held and worthy of national debate. What bothers me is the timing of the government’s actions. Both the announcement of the scrapping of the long-form mandatory census and the reduction in the number of professional and skilled occupations “open” for immigration purposes were made at a time when Parliament was not sitting (and therefore not opposing) and when Canadians were tuned out, as much as possible, from all things political.

If only the government would show the courage of their convictions and make these announcements of consequence during the light of day.

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18 Responses to “In the Dead of Night”

  • On July 27th, 2010, Anonymous said ...

    What are they thinking, why the census, why now? I think if you asked anyone in the last month what they thought the top 10 priorities of the canadian government should be, I have a feeling the census would not have made the list.

    Also, why didn’t he ask us? Britain is doing the same thing, but they asked the people first… seems like a pretty simple thing to do.

  • On July 29th, 2010, Jane Kivuva said ...

    “For the next 12 months they are to accept for assessment only 20,000 applications without job offers under the Federal Skilled Worker category of immigration”.What does this mean for people who applied 3 years ago ? Are we counted in this 20,000? It does not make sense to accept new applications and yet old applications have not been completed?

  • On July 29th, 2010, Bayo Alabi said ...

    Government should let their programme align with the wish of the people they govern.If census is not one of the priorities now,it should be droped and fixed for a period when people will appreciate it more.

  • On July 29th, 2010, Anonymous said ...

    Nice post. Census aside, the immigration changes are very disheartening. I know of two bi-national couples trying to emigrate from the US who have been denied because of narrowly construed occupational requirements. So sad. These are educated professionals. Now one couple is split between the US and the UK, while the other lives in Nicaragua. They’d all rather be in and contributing to the growth and prosperity of Canada. What’s next from Harper?

  • On July 29th, 2010, Does it matter said ...

    Had applied in 2004, and have heard no response, except ask for PCC and resubmission of forms(in 2009). The CIC website indicates 80% of applications are decided with in 72 months…Wonder when the rest of 20% are done with? and now this?? Are we seriously looking at immigration as a choice?

  • On July 29th, 2010, Anonymous said ...

    The reason for the government’s action in limiting the # of applicants to 20,000 is clear. Many immigrants came here without knowing that there are actually no jobs in Canada in spite of their high level of education. They then turned around to blame the Canadian government for bringing them here. It doesn’t make sense for anyone to immigrate to Canada if there are no jobs in the country. I applaud the government’s decision in this case.

  • On July 29th, 2010, Anonymous said ...

    What does it mean specifically – For next 12 months they are to accept for assessment only 20,000 applications without job offers under the Federal Skilled Worker category of immigration.

    How is the cap of 20, 000 application counted? Is it based on any specific date range or all pending application?

    And if it is all pending applications then I believe there would be more than 20,000 pending from last year. So then whwy CIC is accepting new applications?

  • On July 30th, 2010, Anonymous said ...

    let’s hope for the best. hope I can endour this long and tedious..immigration process…PENDING seems to be a permanent fixture.

  • On July 30th, 2010, Javaid Iqbal said ...

    It does not clear wheter apply to the new applicants only? If not. Than, What will the status of those who has applied before 27 July,2010. Reason is that we have submitted our all original documents that will not be left for indefinate period.

  • On July 30th, 2010, Anonymous said ...

    I think the new policy would imply on the new submisions only from the date of policy inception rather than including the previous applications in 20K.
    Previous applications would be catered as per their due course

  • On July 31st, 2010, Anonymous said ...

    one of the top priorities of the canadian government is to lessen their backlog concerning applicants under the federal skilled worker,they change their migration policy every now and then but their backlogs seems to be increasing every year,don’t they have the will to come up with a plan to lessen their backlogs.just like me,i lodge my application in november 2004(6 years ago) here in manila ,philippines.but unfortunately until at this moment i haven’t heard anything from them.as a recommendation,i would suggest to them to post on a certain website if when would be the turn of the applicants papers to be processed so that they could determine the status of their application(regardless if the applicants application is included in the old or new system.they should follow the system of the United States of America,they provide a website for applicants so that application could be determined if it’s current or not.canadian government must first attend to all pending applications from 2004 onwards before accepting new applicants.

  • On July 31st, 2010, Khan Anjas said ...

    and I think the new policy would imply on the new submisions only from the date of policy inception rather than including the previous applications in 20K.
    Previous applications would be catered as per their due course. Policy may change by the gornment but the rules of policy never could be change by any gornment so the changes of policy is not a biggest issue for any one to get imigration for canada.

  • On July 31st, 2010, Anonymous said ...

    unable to understand our position because its getting a bit tiring, frustrating and irritating waiting since 2004 under federal skilled category with only resubmission of documents asked in 2008 and nothing after that . Its a bit too much.

  • On August 2nd, 2010, Nicolas said ...

    Hi there, here are answers for all your questions… I think the living in Canada is the best :-)

  • On August 3rd, 2010, Anonymous said ...

    I have a BSc in Nutrition, a BBA degree, MBA degree and a PhD in Organistional Behaviour and Human Resources from an Australian University. under the new rules I would not qualify. The Conservatives changes were not well thought out and I believe with unemployment falling they will have to revert or modify their policy.

  • On August 13th, 2010, Anonymous said ...

    Well, it seems that people almost are applying no longer post June 26th, 2010 for FSW. That’s pretty much it. Good night Canada. :)

  • On September 1st, 2010, Anonymous said ...

    The CIC minister says there are about 380,000 applications pending from 2003 to 27, Feb 2008. First they should have the WILL to clear it immediately. Secondly they did a blunder by introducing a fast track effective 28 Feb, 2008 fundamentally an injustice – to the people of Canada for whose security and safety the Federal Govt is responsible AND the Federal skilled worker applicants who expected Canada to be reasonable and Just to their cases. At least now the Federal Govt should have the courage and determination to set right this anomaly, primarily in their own national interest and to establish the rule of Law.

  • On September 3rd, 2010, Anonymous said ...

    it is the most disturbing situation for person in wait since 2004 for their immigration to canada. government should be become lenient to clear backlog. as each and every one is well qualified most people will truely benefit canadian economy. sukh

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