A good first step....
But, we need to go further....
Canada plans to cut substantially the number of refugees it will accept in the coming year from people who make their claim after arriving in the country, according to new government figures.Key question: How many of the refugee and new immigrants are properly vetted???
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says Canada expects to accept between 9,000 and 12,000 claims in 2010, including their dependants, from people who apply for asylum after arriving in Canada.
The number is less than half the 22,500 to 28,800 refugees and dependants targeted for acceptance in 2006 under the former Liberal government.
The targets have dropped steadily since 2006 according to the annual reports to Parliament on immigration levels.
Olivia Chow, the NDP immigration critic, said Monday she sees the new targets as evidence the government, which is planning to introduce a refugee reform package in the coming weeks, wants to "look tough."
"Beatings, torture, suffering and even deaths will occur," she said, "and unfortunately many will be turned away. Canada is no longer a land of hope and compassion."
Mr. Kenney has made no secret of his unhappiness with the current refugee process, which he says needs to be reformed to reduce abuse by "bogus" refugees. He also has promised to crack down on phoney immigration consultants who, he says, tutor aspiring refugees on how to outwit the system.
The latest immigration report said Canada plans to accept between 240,000 and 265,000 permanent residents in the coming year, a number that is in line with targets in recent years.
The bulk of the new residents -- as many as 166,800 -- will be admitted under the economic class, meaning people willing to start a business or those having skills that are in short supply in Canada.
The targets for family class have dropped to a maximum of 63,000 from 71,000.
Canada accepted almost 22,000 refugees in 2008. The number includes those sponsored from abroad by the government and private interests, as well as those who sought asylum after arriving in Canada and their dependents.