The campaign blitz, distribution of signs and pamphlets, and door-knocking marked the officially kick-off of the start of the Federal election campaign several days ago. As Filipinos living and working in Canada, we are strongly encouraged to at least know the politicians running in the Federal election and what their positions are on issues important to us, particularly on issues like migration, citizenship and labour.
There are lots of talk now about Harper and issues like climate change, human rights, and the economy.
But what about Harper and immigration? According to Migrante BC, what comes to mind are these points:
• He has made it harder to sponsor our family members. He increased the minimum income to sponsor by 30 percent, doubled the years of undertaking to 20 years and reduced the age of a dependent to 18 years.
• He created a permanent underclass of workers with the “4 x 4 rule” – so that Temporary Foreign Workers who have not gained permanent residency have to leave the country after four years and can not re-enter for another four.
• He cancelled the Live-in Caregiver Program and revoked the pathway to permanent residence for all foreign caregivers. A quota of 5,500 applicants and more stringent education and language requirements under the two new caregiving streams means that not everyone will be able to apply for permanent residency.
• He created two classes of citizens in Canada with Bill C-24. This bill makes it harder and more expensive to get citizenship; and makes it easier to lose it.
As citizens who have the right to vote, we are encouraged to support candidates and parties who carry our best interests at heart on Election Day, October 19, 2015.
Migrante BC believes that the Canadian government should return to a model of permanent immigration that provides a clear path to citizenship and that values family reunification.
Migrante BC believes that engagement in electoral politics in Canada (e.g. voting, volunteering for candidates and their parties) should not be regarded as engagement and involvement separate from other forms of civic and political action like organizing, lobbying, using our skills and knowledge to do stronger advocacy work, and defending the rights and welfare of our kababayan, particularly the temporary foreign workers and caregivers.
We should not be content to stand and simply watch on the sidelines. We can start by being informed of the issues and the people bringing these issues.