Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Refusal rate of visitors’ visas at its peak: Liberal

The refusal rate of visitor visas has skyrocketed under the current Conservative government, Liberal MPs charged at a series of community outreach meetings and town halls they held across the GTA last week.

That is what’s really happening behind the smoke-and-mirrors thrown up by Citizenship and Immigration Canada Minister Jason Kenney through the Super Visa, and the temporary, two-year parental sponsorship freeze, they alleged.

They added there would also be cuts to overall immigration levels.
“This year alone, they (the Conservatives) estimate cutting the number of immigrants admitted to 
Canada by 30,000,” said Liberal Citizenship and Immigration critic Kevin Lamoureux.

“With their majority government, the Conservatives are choosing to ignore all the hard-working new Canadians who elected them based on their empty promises,”? Lamoureux added.

He noted the Super Visa was supposed to bring families closer together by allowing parents and grandparents to visit their children in Canada for up to two years at a time over a decade.  

“But the reality is that most families won’t be able to afford the high-costs involved with the visa, including meeting minimum salary levels and paying thousands for private health insurance.

“Worse, the Super Visa controversy is distracting attention from the Conservatives’ decision to freeze parental sponsorship applications for two years — breaking a promise to new Canadians,” Lamoureux added.

He said that for some, having the right to sponsor their parents is the reason they chose to come to Canada. “What the Conservatives have done — no matter what their excuse — is not right,” he said.

Other MPs who formed part of last week’s Liberal offensive included Kirsty Duncan, John McCallum, Frank Valeriote, John McKay and Jim Karygiannis, who is also the party’s multiculturalism critic.

Karygiannis in particular took aim at the Tories’ stand on parental sponsorship.

“The family, which includes grandparents, is the very foundation of many of our multicultural communities,” he noted.

“While the Harper Conservatives say they are the party of family values, Kenney has proved that this is not so,” Karygiannis said.