Dion Uses Reform Document To Criticize Harper

Posted on Sunday, April 06 at 14:31 by N Say

Dion uses Reform document to criticize Harper

Updated Tue. Apr. 1 2008 8:58 PM ET

CTV.ca News Staff

Using a 20-year-old Reform Party document authored by Stephen Harper, the Liberals tried to paint the prime minister as anti-immigrant Tuesday.

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion quoted the document in the House of Commons, which said immigration should not "radically or suddenly alter the ethnic makeup of Canada."

"(This) may look like an attempt to deliver promises made by the Reform party 20 years ago,'' Dion said, saying the old report was the inspiration for the Conservative's new immigration bill.

The new bill would allow the government to fast-track the applications of the types of immigrants it wants -- like skill workers -- or freeze applications it doesn't want.

That legislation is embedded into a broader federal budget implementation bill, and the government says it is meant to move highly-coveted workers past the long-wait lines into Canada.

The 1988 Reform Party platform argues that immigration should be for economic purposes, and foreign sponsorships should be limited to immediate families.

"Immigration should not be based on race or creed, as it has in the past; nor should it be explicitly designed to radically or suddenly alter the ethnic makeup of Canada, as it increasingly seems to be," the report reads.

The Liberals oppose the proposed immigration laws, calling them a radical shift of power to the immigration minister. The NDP has also criticized the immigration bill, saying it will keep families apart.

Harper was not in the House Tuesday to answer the charges -- he's overseas for the NATO summit meeting -- but the Conservatives responded by saying that they allowed more people into Canada in 2007 than ever before. 

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http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080401/reform_document_080401/20080401

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