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EDITORIAL: Welcome move by Canada


Barbados Nation

EDITORIAL: Welcome move by Canada

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“Humane” and “humanity” aptly describe the essence of a major shift in Canada’s immigration policy which places emphasis on the reunification of families in the North American colossus.

And the words were used, quite emphatically, by two prominent public figures, Evelyn Greaves, a former Barbados Cabinet minister who later became his country’s top diplomat in Ottawa, and by Senator Anne Cools, a Bajan who made Canadian history in the 1980s when she was appointed a member of Canada’s upper chamber, the first black woman to sit in that august body.

We couldn’t agree more and we hope, as Greaves insisted, that Barbadians and other West Indians “take advantage” of the change.

As outlined by Canada’s Minister of Immigration John McCullum, the new approach aims to welcome 305 000 newcomers to Canada from around the world, Barbados, Jamaica and their Caribbean neighbours included this year, an increase of 21 000 over last year’s intake.

But what’s significant is that the spouses, partners, children, parents and grandparents of immigrants already in Canada should find it much easier than before to get the green light to enter the country and be reunified with their close relatives.

Just as important, the time families are forced to wait at home before they are allowed into Canada so they can live under the same roof once again is to be shortened and the current backlog of would-be immigrants is expected to decline. What a relief for those who have been waiting for years to become a family once again.

The humanity of which senator Cools spoke and the “humane” stance mentioned by Greaves were succinctly summarised by McCullum when he said “we know the value of keeping families together”.

The numbers involved will be relatively small at the outset but the move paves the way for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, McCullum and others in the Liberal Party government to increase them over the next four years.

When the Liberals campaigned last year against the Conservatives, led by Stephen Harper, they promised that they would take a hard look and treat foreigners in a humane fashion. Actually, the current prime minister may have been thinking of the style of governing masterminded by his late father, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, who had an international outlook.

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