All federal parties to decide fate of NDP's family reunification legislation
OTTAWA – Today, NDP MP Peggy Nash (Parkdale-High Park) will present her "Once in a Lifetime" family reunification bill, C-395, before the House of Commons for its second reading vote.
The "Once in a Lifetime" bill will allow families to be reunited by allowing a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to sponsor a relative who is not a member of the family class, as defined by the government.
"This bill is incredibly important," said Nash, "because it aims to reunite families and provide new Canadians with the help they need to thrive in this country. At the heart of the government's immigration policy is the desire to bring families back together, yet the definition of family is too narrow. The normal family class must be expanded because it is simply too restrictive."
Currently, the regulations for family class allow the following to be sponsored:
- A spouse, a common-law or conjugal partner who is at least 16 years old
- A dependant child either under the age of 22, disabled, or under 18 and to be adopted or a full-time dependent student
- A parent or grandparent
- A brother, sister, niece, nephew or grandchild who has been orphaned, is under 18 and is not a spouse or common-law partner
- One relative of any age if there are no family members who fall into the above categories
C-394 would expand these categories to allow the following to be sponsored:
- A son or daughter over the age of 22 who is not a dependent
- An aunt or uncle
- A brother or sister
- A niece or nephew
- A first cousin
"Families can be complicated", added Nash, "and the current class excludes members of families that we would consider close, and often integral to providing the familial and economic support needed to succeed in a new country."
If C-394 passes second reading, the bill will proceed to committee and then a final vote. The legislation has been submitted previously by three other NDP MPs: Libby Davies (Vancouver East), Judy Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North), and Bill Siksay (Burnaby-Douglas).
'ONCE IN A LIFETIME' BILL DEFEATED AND VOTED DOWN
Liberals and Conservatives join forces to defeat NDP immigration bill
OTTAWA – Today, March 06 2008, NDP MP Peggy Nash (Parkdale-High Park) expressed regret that a majority of Liberals joined with the Conservative party to defeat her 'Once in a Lifetime' immigration bill, C-394.
"It's very disappointing," said Nash. "As is the case with any legislation, some MPs will have doubts and concerns, but I think it was a real betrayal to our immigration system and those who rely on it, to not even let this bill go to committee to be studied."
Nash made the case that her 'Once in a Lifetime' bill was very important in that it aims to reunite families and provide new Canadians with the help they need to thrive in this country.
"So many of Canada's communities were relying on this legislation, it enjoys large public support, and it's in large part why this was the fourth time that the NDP introduced it," added Nash. "The concerns that many Liberals and Conservatives raised were addressed throughout the debate, and yet they still refused to even let the bill be examined and debated in committee."
"Do they really think that someone's son or daughter is less needed or loved, because they happen to be 22 years old rather than 15 years old?," asked Nash. "If they really think this is the case or have legitimate issues with this piece of legislation, then how better to explore these issues than at a parliamentary committee. Instead the Liberals and Conservatives decided to not even have that conversation. It's a shame and a missed opportunity for so many families."
For more information please contact:
Rupinder Kaur, media officer: 613-222-5048 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Riccardo Filippone, Office of Peggy Nash: 613-697-0699