Maurizio Bevilacqua distinguishes himself in the Liberal Leadership race with a platform based on a radical overhaul of the Canadian Immigration Policy.
The necessity to revamp the current Canadian Immigration system has been emphasized in many platforms in the liberal leadership race, notably in the proposed policies of Joe Volpe, Gerard Kennedy and Maurizio Bevilacqua. None has expressed such radical views as Maurizio Bevilacqua however.
Bevilacqua is promoting a mass overthrow of the current immigration system. Built around the concept of 'nation building', Bevilacqua has focused on population growth in the name of a growing economy.
With an aging population and low birth rate, the Canadian economy currently has an ill-fated future. In order to grow economically, Canada, in Bevilacqua's view, is forced to begin attracting more immigrants than it currently does. Recruiting more individuals under the age of 35 by removing barriers on potential skilled professionals and laborers is intrinsic to Bevilacqua's policy to reform the labour market strategy immigration system currently in place.
Bevilacqua is proposing an 'expansionist' policy to elevate the current amount of immigration to Canada. This policy would immediately increase the annual immigration target to one percent of the population (approximately 325,000 people) with a long term goal of 1.5 percent by 2016 (approximately 490,000 people, given the current population).
This is not an aimless approach, however.
Family reunification or what he calls 'relational' immigration is central to Bevilacqua's policy. Currently, the Canadian government has a mandate to reunite families by decreasing the immigration time of spouses and dependents through the family sponsorship program. Bevilacqua feels that the program is inadequate. Not only would he make immigration of family members a less difficult process, but he intends to redefine the current Canadian Immigration concept of 'family' as it is not cohesive with the rest of the world.
Bevilacqua suggests a more 'relaxed criteria' for refugee claimants in order to maintain family reunification efforts as well.
Putting more emphasis on whether potential immigrants that have relational ties to Canada will tie into his concept of 'regional immigration'. This will expand the Provincial Nominee programs, and provide more temporary work visas in order to attract immigrants to smaller centres in Canada that are starved for workers.
Foreign students are another major focus of Bevilacqua's platform, which recognizes the great resources Canada is losing by disabling these young, highly educated individuals to leave after their graduation. His policy would allow a successful graduate of post-secondary studies to be granted landed immigrant status and immediately qualify for Canadian Citizenship upon fulfilling the requirements.
In order to attract more foreign students, Bevilacqua plans to develop a system that would fairly recognize the credentials of all 'out-of-province' and recognized foreign institutions, and give due credit for them by Canadian institutions.
Maurizio Bevilacqua is currently the Liberal representative in the riding of Vaughan, Ontario.