Following the election of a federal minority government, the Liberals hope to translate election promises into actionable work plans for each of the federal ministries. In his mandate letters to each minister issued in December 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau noted that “Canadians sent the message that they want us to work together to make progress on the issues that matter most…People expect Parliamentarians to work together to deliver these results.”
Of relevance to Canadian Filipinos are issues around immigration, anti-racism and education.
In his letter to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Marco Mendecino, Trudeau directed the minister to ensure the implementation of Canada’s increased annual immigration levels plan for 2020-2022 with more than a million new permanent residents in Canada over the three years, with the focus of attracting highly-skilled people who “can help build a stronger Canada.” The plan includes the implementation of new pilot programming to encourage more newcomers to settle in rural Canada.
Aside from making the Atlantic Immigration Pilot program permanent with at least 5,000 slots, the ministry was also directed to introduce a new Municipal Nominee Program that allows local governments, chambers of commerce and local labour councils to directly sponsor immigrants. At least 5,000 spaces will be dedicated for this new program.
Mendecino was also directed to ensure the delivery of effective settlement services for the successful settlement and integration of new Canadians, dedicate a refugee stream to provide safe haven for human rights advocates, journalists and humanitarian workers at risk and eliminate fees for citizenship to those who are qualified.
A new Ministry of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth under the leadership of Bardish Chagger was mandated to lead multiculturalism policies, programs and activities through Canada’s anti-racism strategy and establish an anti-racism secretariat.
The mandate letter directed Chagger to “develop policies that tackle systemic discrimination and unconscious bias in our country.” Chagger was also directed to work with other ministers in ensuring that under-represented people, such as those in racialized communities, are “better served and more informed about the programs and services that can help them find economic opportunities.”
A push for increased support for human rights was reflected in the mandate letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne. In it, the minister was asked to increase Canadian support abroad for democracy, human rights, international law and freedom of the press by reinforcing support for international institutions like the International Criminal Court and building on the Magnitsky sanctions regime to “ensure increased support for victims of human rights violations by developing a framework to transfer seized assets from those who commit grave human rights abuses to their victims, with appropriate judicial oversight.”
Trudeau mandated Minister of International Development Karina Gould to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by delivering international development assistance that increases annually until year 2030. Gould was also directed to expand the country’s support for global education, particularly for the poor and most vulnerable by investing at least ten per cent of the country’s bilateral international development assistance envelope on education and lead an international campaign to ensure that “all refugee and displaced children can get the education they need and deserve.”