Question Period: Immigration Applications

By: The Hon. Andrew Cardozo

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Could wearing a Canadian flag, Toronto

Hon. Andrew Cardozo: My question is for the Government Representative in the Senate, and it is about immigration. There has long been a consensus on reasonably high levels of immigration in Canada, which has been maintained through Liberal and Conservative governments, in good economic times and bad. This has changed in recent months, in part because there’s a sense that the government is losing control of the numbers of immigrants, refugees, temporary workers and students while we have a growing housing crisis.

What is the government doing to respond to this change in public support in terms of getting a handle on immigration numbers while at the same time dialoguing with the public?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for your question. The government and the ministers have made several announcements in recent years, of which we’re all aware, to address some of the issues that you raise.

Immigration remains an important aspect of Canadian life and policy, and the government will continue to welcome newcomers to this country so that they can continue to contribute to all aspects of our collective lives. The government will continue to do so while taking into account and trying to find the right balance between the levels of immigration and the availability of housing, social infrastructure and essential services that all Canadians — new or veteran — deserve.

The basic elements of our policy will remain. The government is sensitive to the pressures, and will continue to work to find that just balance.

Senator Cardozo: Thank you. It is, of course, clear that if we do drastically cut back on immigration, the shortages of personnel will be felt from the health care system to grocery stores, restaurants and food delivery. If people are concerned about the shortages of services, to cut immigration would, in fact, cause services to be in even greater scarcity.

The issue of security checks has been raised. Can you talk to us about the level of security checks the government normally does and continues to do at this point?

Senator Gold: Yes, indeed, this question has been raised. The government’s priority is to ensure the safety and security of Canadians and to maintain the integrity of the immigration system. The complexities at various borders and the ability to gather and collect biometric data at the application stage remains a real challenge, and the government is doing what it can to ensure both that there are not unreasonable roadblocks to immigration, as we’re seeing, unfortunately, in Gaza, but also that the security of Canadians is secured.

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