Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Immigration tops premiers' wishes

Ask Ottawa for more control

  • Print

HALIFAX -- The premiers are calling on Ottawa to give them more control over the number of immigrants they can recruit and the kinds of services they can provide to them.

The provincial and territorial leaders concluded a meeting Friday on the economy in Halifax, where they said their governments -- and not Ottawa -- are best positioned to deliver settlement services and address their labour market needs through immigration.

"In a nutshell, we want greater flexibility," said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, attending his final gathering with his counterparts.

"We want to become masters of our own destiny when it comes to the immigration file. Nobody better understands our needs and our capacity to accommodate and our capacity to develop new Canadians so they can develop to their fullest.

"Give us more space. Let us run with this."

Premier Christy Clark of British Columbia echoed that message.

"We want more space to be able to make our decisions about which immigrants will come to our provinces, where they will be settled and how many we'll get," Clark said.

"It's provincial governments that drive economies in every part of the world. Immigration is one of the single most important economic levers that any jurisdiction has and the provinces ... don't control it."

They are pushing the federal Immigration Department to raise the number of people they can accept through immigrant nominee programs. Clark wants Ottawa to allow it to take in 6,500 people through its program next year -- up from 3,500.

Alexis Pavlich, a spokeswoman for federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, said the government has expanded provincial nominee programs, with plans next year to bring 42,000 to 45,000 people into the country, representing a seven-fold increase since 2004.

But she added that the programs have had problems in the past that Ottawa is trying to address with the provinces, referring to the tendency for some immigrants to leave the provinces that recruited them.

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger said a good portion of the economic discussions centred on training.

"We put a big focus today on enhancing the skills of our citizens and ensuring that our post-secondary institutions and our apprenticeship programs are all doing the maximum job possible to give opportunities for skills development," he said.

"In a lot of our jurisdictions there's jobs that need people to fill them, and there's a gap between some of our people and the skills that are required in the jobs.

"Overall it was a good meet because everybody came out of it more motivated to go back and do what they can do (to improve the economy."

The premiers invited Prime Minister Stephen Harper but he declined, saying he has met regularly with the premiers individually and will continue to do so in the future.

-- Staff / The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 24, 2012 A22

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Trucks power through flooded underpass at Main St and Higgins

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Geese fly in the morning light over Selkirk Ave Wednesday morning- Day 22– June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(Standup photo)- Humming Around- A female ruby -throated hummingbird fly's through the bee bomb  flowers Friday at the Assiniboine Park English Garden- Nectar from flowers are their main source of food. Hummingbirds wings can beat as fast as 75x times second. Better get a glimpse of them soon the birds fly far south for the winter - from Mexico to South America- JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Sept 10, 2009

View More Gallery Photos


What do you think of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s comment that Tina Fontaine’s slaying was a crime, and not part of a larger sociological problem?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google