MP against shortening immigrant wait for benefit

Kamloops Daily News
August 31, 2011 01:00 AM

A private member's bill intended to make it easier for parents of immigrants to join their families in Canada will have no support from MP Cathy McLeod.

The bill, similar to one introduced in the last session, was recently re-introduced by NDP deputy leader Libby Davies.

Private Member's Motion M-141 calls on the government to eliminate a 10-year residency requirement, based on an applicant's country of origin, for Canadian citizens to qualify for Old Age Security benefits.

McLeod said she cannot support the motion due to constituent objections.

"This same type of private member's bill was introduced in the last Parliament by Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla," McLeod said in a press release. "I received thousands of letters, emails and calls of protest against that bill and want to reassure my constituents that I am certainly opposed to this proposed legislation."

The last bill proposed three years rather than 10, too little time to qualify, she said. It would have cost taxpayers an extra $700 million annually.

Ten years represents an appropriate balance, McLeod added.

"I believe the top priority for Parliament at this time should be economic recovery."

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