Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cut immigration applications to fix backlog, Kenney says

Canada is facing too big a backlog and, despite accepting 254,000 applications every year, there are one million people who are waiting to hear whether they can move to Canada, the citizenship and immigration minister said Thursday.
Canada gets about 420,000 applications every year and refuses about 10 per cent of those.
Speaking to the House committee on citizenship and immigration, Kenney said processing applications faster won't fix the backlog problem. And it isn't possible to accept enough people to deal with it either.
The only options, he said, are to vastly increase acceptances, or take fewer applications and keep processing the ones already received.
"Those are the only two possible solutions. It's a math problem," Kenney told reporters after the committee meeting.

Cut family class applications

Kenney pointed to the family class, under which parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens can immigrate. His department received 37,500 applications in 2010 but admits 18,500. Right now, there's a 10-year wait time for processing.
"Merely for us just to tread water, we would have to double the number of people coming into that program … and that wouldn't even reduce the backlog," he said.
Kenney said other countries require a minimal family income, private health insurance or a bond to limit parent and grandparent applications.
Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland said Kenney's right to suggest a cap on the parents and grandparents category.
"Unless you solve the intake problem, you're going to have a growing backlog with growing processing times and it's time to bite the bullet," he told reporters after the committee meeting.
Kurland said a 20,000 cap is appropriate, and that the government should break the applicants into categories.
"Bring in as priority one the single parents overseas. Priority two is you bring in parents where the families can pony up $75,000 up front to defray medicare costs, either with permanent resident visa on payment or [for $75,000] give that family a 10-year visitor visa to Canada and that way they can be here waiting until their number comes up in the immigration inventory overseas."
Speaking to Rosemary Barton on CBC's Power & Politics, Kenney called the $75,000 payment "a very interesting idea."
"I’ve heard similar ideas about asking people to share in a greater portion of the social and health-care costs. And maybe that’s one practical way of bringing more fairness while limiting the number of new applications so we can avoid the big backlogs. That’s a very valid idea," he said.
The Conservative government and previous Liberal governments averaged about 18,000 parent and grandparent entrants a year, he added.
Kenney says the department is launching consultations on cutting the backlog.
NDP immigration critic Don Davies said reducing parent and grandparent applications is the wrong way to go.
"What I object to the most is the minister has come into this so-called study, these meetings, with a preconceived conclusion. The only policy tool that he's looking at is capping applications. Well, that's not the only policy tool available to the minister," Davies said.
He wants Canada to accept another 100,000 immigrants every year, arguing a per capita measurement doesn't make sense because the country has so much space.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Should our kids be learning Brazilian Portuguese?

By Ray Castelli, Vancouver Sun

Many parents I know have enrolled their kids in French immersion schools, or weekend Mandarin courses, in an effort to prepare the next generation for a competitive future world of open trading markets and portable skills. While commendable and far-sighted, I wonder how many parents have considered preparing their children for a world where Brazil becomes an economic powerhouse and significant trading partner for Canada?
I suspect not many. That should change.
Why should Brazil matter to Canada? It's now the world's seventh largest economy, one of the fastest growing and projected to be No. 5 within a few short years. Its natural resource based economy is similar to Canada's, as are the vast distances that separate its resources from its main population centres. Most importantly, it is a rapidly developing economy with specific needs - many of which Canada is uniquely positioned to address.
It should be no surprise, therefore, that one of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's first foreign trade missions, since winning a new mandate, was to Brazil. Or that our new Trade Minister, Ed Fast, has already helped arrange two trade missions to that country in the past 100 days.
What they see is an opportunity for our businesses, our people and ultimately for our children.
Canada has much to offer Brazil. We have 80-plus years of experience in developing a natural resource economy, building critical infrastructure, and traversing large tracts of sensitive terrain in order to connect our resources to our population base. Developing infrastructure is a major priority for Brazil. In addition to hosting both the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, Brazil has plans to invest more than $800 billion in new infrastructure projects over the next 10 years. One example of the types of solutions Canada can provide Brazil is the portable camp and shelter market. Canada is a world leader in this field, born out of decades of helping resource and construction companies provide high quality living conditions to workers.
Weatherhaven is a 30-year-old Vancouver-based company that develops portable and re-deployable shelter solutions for the natural resource, disaster relief and military markets. Our specialty is re-deployable camps in remote areas, particularly those requiring a very light environmental footprint. We have supplied customers in more than 50 countries and, after entering Brazil 10 years ago, have seen it become one of our fastest growing markets.
This past August, as a direct result of our participation in the PM's trade mission, Weatherhaven was able to secure a significant new deal with HRT, a very progressive and innovative Brazilian oil and gas company. This new opportunity, to build leadingedge sustainable exploration camps in the Amazon, will result in employment for British Columbians and create opportunities to export Canadianmade technology and services.
It's clear that Brazil is a country in fast-forward mode, with an ambitious well-financed government, and fuelled by natural resource revenues. Its large companies are becoming aggressive global players: Witness the recent acquisition of Canadian mining (Inco) and brewing companies (Labatt's) by larger, more global Brazilian competitors.
Ironically, the pace of Brazil's economic development outstrips its domestic R&D and education capabilities, which provides tremendous opportunities to Canadian companies and to our education sector to help them bridge those gaps. For instance, Canadian universities are already stepping up to meet that need. Canada has become the No. 1 destination for foreign education and training by Brazilian students.
If you don't know much about Brazil, or if your view of it is based on old stereotypes, you owe it to yourself and your children to learn more about this country. Not only won't you regret it, your children may one day tell you "Obrigado."
Ray Castelli is CEO of Vancouver-based Weatherhaven. The company recently started offering free Portuguese classes to all its Vancouver-based employees.

Rocky Mountains with Family III









Sunday, October 09, 2011

Rocky Mountains with Family II













Canada - World's most respected country


"According to some 42,000 survey respondents, Canada is the most respected country in the world, setting a standard for its level-headed economy and appealing environment. By the estimation of the world, Canada has the sixth-most advanced economy on earth, the fourth-most effective government and is the nation people say they'd like most to both live and work in when given the choice of any country around the globe."
By Jason Buckland, October 9, 2011

Wednesday, October 05, 2011