CUTS TO CIC SERVICES IN MANITOBA “WRECKLESS AND IRRESPONSIBLE”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Manitoba NDP MPs Pat Martin and Niki Ashton condemn Harper government for pulling out of shared settlement services for immigrants

 OTTAWA – New Democrat MPs Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre) and Niki Ashton (Churchill) are appalled after learning that the federal government is closing its Citizenship and Immigration Canada offices in Winnipeg and pulling out of a long time agreement to provide shared settlement services for immigrants to Manitoba.

 “Now new Canadians in Manitoba will have to deal with Calgary to get support and service” says Martin in response to a plan to amalgamate the CIC offices of Winnipeg, Saskatoon Regina and Edmonton in Calgary. Martin whose constituency is in Winnipeg’s core sees many of Manitoba’s immigrants in his office looking for guidance and help with the immigration process, “There's been an immigration office in Winnipeg since the 1870's and for good reason. MP offices are already flooded with immigration cases, now we'll be overwhelmed as the de facto frontline immigration service. This is reckless and irresponsible and seems downright punitive in nature”.

 Manitoba provincial nominee program, which has been in place since 1999, saw more than 16,000 new immigrants last year and is considered one of the province’s most innovative economic assets. “Manitoba is getting short shrift from the Harper Government once again. This is more than getting rid of provincial services that work well” said Ashton. “It’s about politicizing the immigration system - making the process less transparent, less accountable to provincial needs and essentially making it more difficult for newcomers and their families to come to Manitoba”.

 -30-

 For more information, please contact:

Robin Steudel, 613.222.2863 or robin.steudel@parl.gc.ca