June 25, 2008
MP Report – June 2008
Although it has been tumultuous, I am very proud of the things our government under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been able to accomplish.
Tackling Violent Crime Act
As of May 1st, three new laws from the Conservative Government’s Tackling Violent Crime Act went into effect.
- The age of sexual consent has been officially increased from 14 to 16.
- Individuals charged with gun crimes will find it much more difficult to get bail.
- Criminals who are convicted of gun offences will face stiff mandatory minimum sentences that will keep them behind bars and off the streets.
The opposition tried to blockade new legal protections for kids and families. They spent months obstructing the Tackling Violent Crime Act, and only backed down when they realized that the Conservative Government was prepared to fight an election over the issue.
Today, thanks to real leadership from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative Government, Canadians are seeing safer neighbourhoods and streets.
Reducing Canada’s Immigration Backlog
Canada needs a more responsive immigration system where we reduce wait times so that families are reunited faster and skilled workers arrive sooner. That’s why, on March 14, the Government of Canada proposed changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. This will help to reduce the current backlog of 900,000 applications.
The changes mean that those who submitted an application before February 27, 2008, would continue to be processed under the current system. However, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) would have greater flexibility in processing new applications, especially from skilled workers. Anyone would still be able to apply, but CIC would no longer be required to process all new skilled worker applications.
Under the proposed changes, the Minister would have the authority to issue instructions to immigration officers on the processing of applications, including in relation to the jobs available in Canada, so that people with those skills and experience can be brought to Canada more quickly. However, as is the case now, the decisions on individual applications would still be made by CIC immigration officers. The Minister cannot reverse these decisions.
The instructions would be made public, and would reflect commitments to provinces and territories. They would be published in the Canada Gazette, reported in the Department’s annual report to Parliament and posted on CIC’s website.
Prime Minister Harper Offers Full Apology for Indian Residential Schools System
On behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered an historic formal apology on June 11, 2008 to former students of Indian Residential Schools and sought forgiveness for the students’ suffering and for the damaging impact the schools had on Aboriginal culture, heritage and language.
“The treatment of children in Indian Residential Schools is a sad chapter in our history,” Prime Minister Harper said. “Today, we recognize this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country. The Government of Canada sincerely apologizes and asks the forgiveness of the Aboriginal peoples of this country for failing them so profoundly.”
The apology reinforces numerous other government initiatives designed to address the tragic legacy of Indian Residential Schools, including the ongoing implementation of the historic Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement which includes: a Common Experience Payment; an Independent Assessment Process; Commemoration Activities; measures to support healing; and the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“The Government recognizes that the absence of an apology has been an impediment to healing and reconciliation,” said Prime Minister Harper. “Years of work by survivors, communities and Aboriginal organizations culminated in an Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. These are the foundations of a new relationship between Aboriginal people and other Canadians, a relationship based on knowledge of our shared history, a respect for each other and a desire to move forward together with a renewed understanding that strong families, strong communities and vibrant cultures and traditions will contribute to a stronger Canada for all of us.”