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Canadian MP to mend immigration law

Indo-Canadian MP Rahim Jaffer plans to streamline the process of bringing and integrating skilled immigrants into the country.

india Updated: Jan 19, 2006 10:57 IST

If the Conservative Party takes power in Canada, it will streamline the process of bringing skilled immigrants into the country and ensure their better integration, says Indo-Canadian MP Rahim Jaffer.

"Our immigration policy is the reason many (voters) have shifted to us, after the frustration they feel with this government. If you ask anyone dealing with the Immigration Department in the last 15 years, they will tell you that conditions in the department continue to decline," Jaffer told IANS ahead of next week's national election.

"It is getting more and more difficult to bring people to this country even for family reunification... Also, the fees, the process, the security, are almost working against Canadians bringing their families," said the 34-year-old from Edmonton-Strathcona in Alberta province.

"What we've tried to do is to focus on the resources in the department and the process to allow for a positive flow of immigration but also facilitate the integration of many of these people coming - because, especially in the South Asian community, many people are well educated, they are in professions, and when they come here, they end up driving taxis or doing menial jobs," Jaffer said, voicing the anger of many South Asians who immigrate to Canada.

"So even when we've actually tried to bring more skilled people into this country, we have failed them when they get here because they can't really integrate into the economy."

Jaffer, one of the ethnic faces that appeared on national TV standing just behind Conservative party leader Stephen Harper, has been a vocal MP since his first election back in 1993 when hardly any Indo-Canadian was in public office.

The new ballot is due Jan 23. The election was necessitated after Martin lost a confidence vote last month.

"The good thing is that over the years, and especially in the recent past, there's been more and more of a presence of Indo-Canadians in various parties and in Ottawa and they have played significant roles.

"And I am confident that if we are given the opportunity to serve in the next government of this country, then based on the experience that I've seen from the candidates that are running and the MPs of South Asian background, we are going to have some really excellent representation in the future government."

In an effort to project a multiethnic image, Harper is fielding almost the same number of South Asians as the Liberal Party of Prime Minister Paul Martin.

"Since the last election, more and more people have become more familiar with our leader (Harper), with our party, and many of our policies, and I think that is having a positive impact," he said.

Jaffer hopes he can win this time too from a constituency where Asians form a small group.

First Published: Jan 19, 2006 10:39 IST