Re: Fewer immigrants living here (March 20). The Conservative government has massively expanded the provincial nominee program. In 2013, we will welcome between 42,000 and 45,000 people to Canada under the PNP. This represents a seven-fold increase since 2004.
Manitoba has seen a quadrupling of spaces in its program since the previous Liberal government. We received approximately 1,300 nominees in 2004, while that number was just under 5,000 in 2012. Manitoba has consistently nominated the highest number of nominees of any province, far exceeding its share of the national population on a per capita basis.
It should be noted that the PNP is meant to fill provincial labour-market shortages some provinces continue to experience. It is not a family-reunification program. The federal government already has a generous family-reunification program that can be used by provincial nominees, rather than using spots the province claims it needs for workers. Federal family-reunification applications are processed relatively quickly.
The PNP has made great strides in sharing the benefits of economic immigration across the country. As a result, immigration has increased substantially in regions that did not historically receive a large proportion of immigrants, such as the Prairies and Atlantic Canada.
Regional Minister for Manitoba