Finding zero success in connecting with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Ahmed Hussen, Larry Maguire took to venting his frustrations on social media.
"Lost count of the days the Liberal Minister of Immigration has ignored my request to meet about their cuts to ESL training," the Brandon-Souris Conservative MP tweeted on Thursday.
On Friday, Maguire explained that it had been about a month since he’d submitted his initial request for a meeting, which he’d followed up with two additional requests during the subsequent weeks, including a request they issue a response from the office.
The MP has also submitted a local petition for the Liberals to reinstate ESL funding, which has also yet to receive a response from the Liberals.
"We’ve heard nothing," Maguire said.
As previously reported, Assiniboine Community College’s budget for its English Language Training program was slashed this year, following a recently finalized three-year contract with the federal government.
The current level of funding, $730,000, will drop to $196,000 in 2017-18. It will be decreased to $185,000 in 2018-19 and $176,000 in 2019-20.
With the funding cuts, the college will only be able to take 100 students next year — one-fifth of the current number of registered students.
Maguire said that he’d continue to seek Liberal response to what he considers a "failure" of the government to recognize how important these language classes have been.
Still, he said that he had expected a response by now.
"It just shows that the Liberals don’t seem to care about what goes on in these particular regions, and it’s far better to train these people who are legal immigrants coming into our country and getting them into the workforce," Maguire said.
"They do want to work, but without the training they can’t get the job, so I can’t believe the government is putting people into this kind of catch-22 position," he added. "Surely they’ll recognize their failure on this and be able to put some reinstatement of at least a portion of these funds in place."
As a Conservative Opposition member, Maguire said that he would continue do whatever he can; namely, continue trying to connect with the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship office.
"I can’t force them to pick up the phone and call me," he said.
The federal immigration department did not respond to a request for comment regarding its perceived snub of Maguire’s request by press time on Friday.
On Friday, Maguire rose in the House of Commons to address another issue for which he said there has been a lack of adequate response from the Liberals — their elimination of farmers’ ability to defer cash purchase tickets to the following tax year, as outlined in their latest budget.
Similar to their refusal to meet with him regarding cuts to ELS training, Maguire criticized the Liberals for avoiding any meaningful dialogue related to this issue.
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