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What are the leaders' plans on immigration and foreign policy?

Last Updated Oct 9, 2019 at 5:10 pm EST

Federal party leaders Elizabeth May, Justin Trudeau, Jagmeet Singh and Andrew Scheer. CITYNEWS

While foreign and immigration policy may not always be top-of-mind for voters, it is an integral part of how Canada is viewed on the world stage. Here is a breakdown of what all four parties have pitched if they were to represent Canadians globally.


Progressive Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has focused his foreign policy pitches on reducing aid to wealthy countries and has spoken about distributing funds to countries “that share Canadian values.”

During a campaign stop in Quebec on October 9, Scheer provided further details, saying a Conservative government would close the loophole that allows tens of thousands of asylum seekers to claim refugee status.

He has also criticized the “the incompetence and the negligence ” of the Liberal party’s handling of the immigration system, saying “the majority of Canadians now have a negative impression of immigration. They doubt the fairness of our system, and they are questioning the control of our borders.”

“For Canadians to have faith in the immigration system, the rules have to be followed, and the laws have to be enforced. As Prime Minister, that is exactly what I’ll do.”

Scheer outlined the following immigration priorities:

  • Prioritize funding for immigration services, including language training, credential recognition, and services specifically designed for newcomers for vulnerable newcomers.
  • Prioritize the family reunification program.
  • Close the loophole in the Safe Third Country Agreement.
  • Move existing Immigration and Refugee Board judges to common unofficial border crossing points.
  • Hire 250 CBSA enforcement officers.
  • Work with provinces on their immigration needs and priorities.
  • Be open to requests to amend the Canada-Quebec Accord on Immigration.
  • Cutting foreign aid spending by 25 per cent by reducing funding to relatively wealthy countries.
  • Working with Canadian aid organizations, including volunteer organizations, to help developing countries.
  • Re-invigorating traditional allegiances with countries that share Canadian values.
  • Providing additional military and non-military support to Ukraine.
  • De-politicizing military procurement to prevent future partisan abuses.
  • Using Magnitsky legislation to target hostile regimes on human rights issues. The Magnitsky Act allows Canada to impose restrictive measures on foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.


The Liberals have made multiple promises when it comes to continuing their immigration policy and adding to it, while also making commitments to combat racism and hate speech in the country. In terms of foreign policy, leader Justin Trudeau has committed to continue helping people in international communities and giving resources to global organizations.

Here are the immigration promises outlined in the Liberal platform:

  • Introduce a dedicated refugee stream for human rights advocates, journalists and humanitarian workers.
  • Continue modest and responsible increases to immigration to offset the aging population.
  • Dedicate around 5,000 new immigration spaces to a new municipal nominee program where local communities, chambers of commerce and labour council can sponsor permanent immigrants directly.
  • Make the Atlantic Immigration Pilot permanent. The program helps employers in Atlantic Canada hire foreign skilled workers who want to immigrate to Atlantic Canada and international students who want to stay in the region after they graduate.


To help combat racism and hate speech in Canada, the Liberals will:

  • Pledge $9 million to help visible minorities overcome systematic racism to find jobs.
  • Require platforms to remove hate speech within 24 hours or face fines.
  • Consider civil remedies for victims of hate speech.
  • Put $6 million over three years towards research to understand radicalization and extremism.

The Liberals have pledged to do the following when it comes to foreign policy:

  • Establish the Centre for Peace, Order and Good Government to help people in international communities build human rights and democracy.
  • Build on Magnitsky sanctions by transferring seized assets from human rights abusers to their victims.
  • Work with the U.S. to modernize the Safe Third Country Agreement.


NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has been a vocal supporter of the resettlement of refugees. Singh has said he would restore levels of international aid and that Canada “should be contributing at the standards that have been set.” He adds, “this is what people expect, that global partners should be contributing around the world.”

Here are the pledges the NDP have made in terms of immigration:

  • Prioritize family reunification by ending the cap on family applications for sponsorship.
  • Tackle immigration application backlogs.
  • Regulate immigration consultants.
  • Suspend the Safe Third Country agreement with the U.S.
  • Support the resettlement of refugees.

Singh has also made combating racism and hate crimes a priority if he forms government, pledging to:

  • Ensure major cities have dedicated hate crime units.
  • Convene a national working group on countering online hate.
  • Immediately ban carding by federal law enforcement including the RCMP and work with municipalities to end it.
  • Conduct a review of how carding information has been shared across jurisdictions.

The NDP says under their government, Canada will be a force for peace on the global stage by:

  • Recommitting to peacekeeping and making sure Canadian-made weapons are not fueling conflict and human rights abuses abroad.
  • Boosting Canada’s international development assistance to 0.7 per cent Gross National Income toward international aid.
  • Contributing more to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to support health care systems in developing countries.

Green Party

The Green Party has made several promises towards bolstering the immigration system and say they are committed to building and keeping peace when it comes to foreign policy which includes expanding Canada’s peacekeeping role internationally.

Here are the pledges they have made so far:

  • Figure out a pathway for an estimated 200,000 people believed to be living in Canada without official status.
  • Define “environmental refugees” and how Canada will take them in.
  • Ensure professionals applying to come here understand the process for getting re-licensed before arriving.
  • Work with professional bodies to establish a better system of evaluating credentials of new immigrants.
  • Work with cities and provinces to integrate new arrivals.
  • Eliminate the Temporary Foreign Worker program and open more pathways to permanent residency.
  • Re-start legislation for a civilian complaints commission for Canada Border Services Agency.
  • End the Safe Third Country Agreement with the U.S.
  • Regulate immigration consultants and increase penalties for human smuggling.
  • Improve pathways to permanent residency for international students and foreign workers in Canada.
  • Speed up family reunification, especially children and parents.
  • Increase funding of multicultural associations.

Some of the foreign policy promises they have made include:

  • Sign and ratify the Treaty to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
  • Normalize the deployment of military personnel to protect civilians and communities from extreme forest fires, flooding and storms caused by climate change.
  • Increase Canada’s overseas development assistance budget to 0.7 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product.
  • Re-establish the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) with a mandate to provide overseas development assistance where it is most needed.
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