Liberal MPs set up 11 issue-based caucuses, four regionally based immigration caucuses

The focus on immigration is not surprising given the Liberals strong showing in ridings with large numbers of new Canadians and the nature of constituent complaints:

Liberal MPs told The Hill Times that immigration is the “No. 1” issue in major urban centres across the country. The four regional caucuses on immigration are: the Western and Northern Immigration Caucus, chaired by Liberal MP Jati Sidhu (Mission-Matsqui-Fraser-Canyon, B.C.); the Ontario Immigration Caucus, co-chaired by Liberal MPs Julie Dzerowicz (Davenport, Ont.) and Peter Fonseca (Mississauga East-Cooksville, Ont.); the Quebec Immigration Caucus, chaired by Liberal MP Steven MacKinnon (Gatineau, Que.); and the Atlantic Immigration Caucus, chaired by Liberal MP Alaina Lockhart (Fundy Royal, N.B.).

Liberal MPs told The Hill Times that MPs have to get approval from Chief Government Whip Andrew Leslie (Orléans, Ont.) and Mr. Scarpaleggia to set up the caucuses and that any Liberal MP who is interested in a specific subject can attend. After studying a specific issue and listening to experts, members of issue-based caucuses can provide input to cabinet ministers, but it is not binding on the government to follow this advice, Mr. Scarpaleggia said.

“It’s a way of focusing attention on an issue as part of a process of learning more about an issue,” said Mr. Scarpaleggia. “Sometimes, it’s to develop further policy on an issue. It’s an opportunity to develop ideas and provide input to the government.”

… Meanwhile, the chairs of the regional immigration caucuses told The Hill Times in June that immigration-related issues are top of mind for their constituents and make up a majority of their staffers’ constituency office work in major urban centres.

Liberal MPs said at that time that some of the most common complaints coming from their constituents about immigration issues are related to long delays in the processing times of applications for family reunification, refugees, spousal sponsorship, temporary foreign workers, visitor visas, and Canadian citizenship applications.

“People who put me in here, they come to my office and they’re banging on my doors [asking], ‘What are you doing different from the previous government,’” Liberal MP Jati Sidhu (Mission-Matsqui-Fraser-Canyon, B.C.), chair of the Liberals’ Western and Northern Immigration Caucus, told The Hill Times in June. “So, we’re trying to reform with the help of the immigration minister with the feedback from Members of Parliament to see what can we do together. It’s making his job easier because he can’t see 20 MPs every time.”

Source: The Hill Times

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About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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