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Canadians Will Head To The Polls Next Month To Vote For A New Government

Canadians will be voting for a new government, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced earlier this month. The election call starts a campaign period that will climax with Canada’s 43rd general election on October 21.

Prime minister Trudeau framed the coming vote as a choice between “moving forward” or returning to the “failed policies” of the Conservative Party of Canada, which the Trudeau-led Liberal Party of Canada remove from power in 2015.

“That’s the choice,” Trudeau declared. “It’s that clear and it’s that important.”

Polls have the two parties (Liberal and Conservative) effectively tied as they hit the campaign trail.

As widely expected, the subject of immigration has also become an issue of debate in this election. While Canada’s major federal political parties are all in support of immigration, the past four years have seen them differ on certain issues, such as asylum seekers and Canada’s immigration levels.

Asylum seekers

Since the advent of U.S. President Donald Trump in 2017, approximately 50,000 people — mostly non-Americans — have crossed the border into Canada from the United States through unofficial areas to claim asylum.

Among other impacts, the surge in asylum claims overwhelmed Canada’s Immigration authority and forced it to abandon its Sixty (60) day requirement for protection hearings, which now extended to about two (2) years.

The Conservatives have often depicted the situation as “a crisis” that has eroded public confidence in Canada’s borders and destroyed public support for immigration more broadly.

On the other hand, the Liberals have fought back against the “crisis” label and accused the Conservatives of spreading false and unfounded information about the situation and using it to score cheap points to create public fears for political gain.

The Conservative party leader, Andrew Scheer has publicly questioned the legitimacy of many migrants, telling one audience that “some are able to jump queues, exploit the gaps and skip the line.” The Liberals have explored blocking this loophole or gap, which Andrew Scheer is pledging to do if elected into forming a new government.

Public opinion polls announced over the course of this year have indicated a growing partisan divide on refugees and immigration more generally, with Conservative supporter expressing greater displeasure than loyalist of the Liberals and Canada’s other mainstream federal parties.

Immigration levels- What to expect from the new government

The Conservatives and Liberals have also been at odds when it comes to Canada’s immigration levels, which the Liberals have increased greatly since coming to power in 2015.

In 2017, the Liberal government launched a new approach to immigration levels planning that moved away from single-year approach to a three-year plan. The first so-called multi-year plan that called for a moderate increase in the number of people admitted to Canada in each of the three subsequent years, from 310,000 in 2018 to 340,000 in 2020.

This was followed last year with an updated strategy through 2021 that could see the number of new immigrants admitted to Canada reach 350,000, or about one per cent of the Canadian population.

The Conference Board of Canada says an immigration rate of one per cent is the baseline for addressing the impacts of Canada’s ageing population and labour shortages on the country’s social and economic development in the future.

However, the Conservatives, have labeled the Liberal approach to immigration levels to “an auction” with no concerns for whether those admitted into Canada find work or meet existing employer needs.

If elected, Andrew Scheer says a Conservative led-government will “set immigration levels consistent with what is in Canada’s best interests,” but he is yet to provided specific targets.

The NDP, for the moment, has called for more ambitious approach to immigration levels, one that reflect a more “balanced and diverse range” of new immigrants, including a good number of privately sponsored and government-assisted refugees.