On February 26th, 2011, Christy Clark won a hotly contested contest for the leadership of the B.C. Liberal Party. This means that she will become Premier within the next couple weeks. While it is unclear whether she can help the Liberals improve in the polls, or even if she can keep the coalition that is the Liberal Party together, judging from her previous tenure as Education Minister and Deputy Premier, she is likely to move forward swiftly with her priorities.
One of her priorities is to put “families first”. No specifics have really yet been offered regarding what policies this involves besides creating a February statutory holiday called “Family Day”.
One way that Christy Clark can improve the circumstances of thousands of British Columbian families is to introduce a “Family Stream” into the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (“BC PNP”).
The BC PNP is one of Canada’s only provinces whose PNP does not have a family stream (the other provinces that do not have a “Family Stream” are Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta). British Columbians with brothers, sisters, nieces, uncles, and children over the age of 22 who are not full-time students etc. are unable to sponsor their family members to immigrate. While children can sponsor their parents and grand-parents, the process often takes over five years. The result is that British Columbian immigrant families are often very divided.
Under the Saskatchewan Immigration Nominee Program (“SNIP”), a Saskatchewaner can nominate any family member who is between the age of 18-49, has completed university / an apprenticeship / other training, and has a minimum level of English. Applicants must also either have a job offer or have enough funds (about $10,000 + $2,000 per depednent) to live on during their first several months in Saskatchewan.
Manitoba has a similar program to the SNIP, except that applicants need only have completed one year of post-secondary education, and they must have had two years of work experience in the last five years. The maritimes all have programs that are similar to Manitoba’s.
By introducing a Family Stream to the BC PNP, Christy Clark would improve British Columbia’s competiveness as a destination province for skilled and/or wealthy immigrants compared to Alberta and Ontario, as these immigrants would be attracted the future ability to sponsor family members. Ms. Clark would ensure the gratitude and support of numerous immigrant communities. Most importantly, she would be improving the circumstances of thousands of British Columbian families which are currently divided.