Liberals still aren’t getting Canadians the support they were promised

NDP finance critic, Daniel Blaikie, made the following statement:

“Canadians are trying their best to cope as the pandemic continues. People are worried about their health and workers and owners of small and medium-sized enterprises are again losing their incomes. Families across the country are struggling with the rising cost of living which makes it harder for them to pay for their rent and groceries.

IN THE NEWS: Rabble - No room at Canada’s inn for Afghan refugees

Indeed, on December 7, NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan called for emergency immigration measures in the House of Commons, pointing out:

“According to the government’s own website, ‘Canada and its allies have received assurances from the Taliban that Afghan citizens with travel authorization from other countries will be allowed to leave Afghanistan.’ Canada must not squander this small window of opportunity given the dire situation in Afghanistan. The NDP is therefore calling on the government to bring in an emergency immigration measure of utilizing temporary residence permits to help Afghans get to safety.”

IN THE NEWS: Globe & Mail - ‘Binner’ Ken Lyotier led recycling initiatives in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Mr. Lyotier followed up United We Can with the Binners Project in 2016, continuing his efforts to bring respect and dignity to the work. That year, binners were hired as “zero-waste ambassadors” for Vancouver’s annual Pacific National Exhibition.

“He was a bridge builder. I don’t know very many people who could navigate that many levels of bureaucracy,” says Vancouver East MP Jenny Kwan, a friend of Mr. Lyotier’s since meeting him in the early 1990s when she was a community legal advocate in the Downtown Eastside.

MEDIA RELEASE - Liberals are not helping people find a home they can afford

“Just 3 months ago, Justin Trudeau looked Canadians in the eyes and promised to tackle a housing crisis that has unfolded under his government,” said NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. “This week’s Fiscal Update confirmed one thing — these were just more empty words. The ultra-rich are Justin Trudeau’s priority, not you and your family. New Democrats will continue to fight to make sure every Canadian can afford a place to call home.”

Seniors facing homelessness need federal help now

NDP Critic for Finance, Daniel Blaikie, and NDP Critic for Seniors, Rachel Blaney, made the following statement:

"It's encouraging to hear that the Liberal government has finally decided to listen and address the problem they created when they cut the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) seniors rely on. For months, New Democrats have been calling on the government to correct the problem. NDP MPs across the country received hundreds of emails, calls and letters from desperate seniors who were abruptly cut off from the GIS support they need simply for taking the pandemic help like CERB and CRB that they were eligible for.

IN THE NEWS: Globe & Mail - Critics still worried about immigration backlog after feds pledge $85M

The NDP had called for more resources to be dedicated to the backlog, but the government did not move quickly enough to put those funds in place, she said.

“We were already seeing the backlog delays last year, and as it stands right now the severity of the backlog would take at least three years to catch up to pre-pandemic levels,” Kwan said in an interview.

All immigration streams have been impacted by the delays at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Kwan said, and she’s concerned the money will only be used to process new applications.

IN THE NEWS: Toronto Star - Government’s massive visa backlog leaving lives in limbo

The current processing times for work permit visas at the High Commission of Canada to India is listed at 35 weeks for individuals and a year for spousal visas.
But that does not reflect reality, said Vancouver East MP Jenny Kwan, the NDP Critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. She estimates that it will take at least three years to make up for the lost processing times as a result of the pandemic in 2020.

“I am hearing daily from applicants desperately trying to learn why approval for their application is still pending when it is well passed the standard processing, while in other cases people who have applied long after them are much further in the process,” Kwan said in a letter addressed to new Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Minister Sean Fraser.

“There is also a greater need for transparency in all aspects of immigration. Applicants are struggling to get information on their application as lack of resources at IRCC has resulted in IRCC greatly reducing access to inquiry services,” Kwan states. She also asks for detailed information on the current state of backlogs and anticipated timelines for getting back to regular processing times.

IN THE NEWS: Global News West Block - Opposition MPs say Auditor General report highlights failures of border safety measures

The Auditor General found the Public Health Agency of Canada does not know whether 75 per cent of air arrivals followed quarantine rules in early 2021. ‘The West Block’ guest host Abigail Bimman is joined by Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman and NDP MP Jenny Kwan to discuss the government’s response and reinstated travel rules due to the Omicron variant.

IN THE NEWS: CTV News - Minister predicts two-year timeline to fulfil promise to get 40,000 Afghans to Canada

The NDP criticized the bureaucracy imposed on desperate Afghans, with leader Jagmeet Singh telling a news conference that making Afghans fleeing the Taliban fill out an online form during a time of crisis was not the right response.

Jenny Kwan, the NDP's immigration critic, said there is no guarantee that Afghans in hiding from the Taliban -- including women and children, human-rights activists, and interpreters who helped the Canadian military -- would still be alive in two years.  "We need to cut the red tape. People's lives are at risk right now. People's lives hang in the balance. They may not be standing in two year's time," she said.

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