This year Manitoba’s Provincial Nominee Program is celebrating its 15th anniversary. It was the Progressive Conservative government of Premier Gary Filmon that we must thank for its success.
Before the program was created, Manitoba did not have a voice in the federal government’s immigration process. As a result, the majority of people immigrating to Canada either could not fill Manitoba’s employment sector voids or they were settling elsewhere in Canada. Premier Filmon recognized that our province needed skilled immigrants to help us grow our economy in key sectors like agribusiness, transportation and manufacturing. With his vision and leadership, the Department of Culture Heritage and Recreation was renamed to include Citizenship.
As the Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship, I began negotiations with the federal government for a Provincial Nominee Program to give Manitoba greater control over immigration to our province. In 1996, we reached a framework agreement with the federal government and the final agreement was signed in 1998. Manitoba was the first province across Canada to negotiate such an agreement. It was the first of its kind in Canada and other provinces looked at Manitoba’s success and began negotiating their own agreements.
Since 1998, the Provincial Nominee Program has brought more than 100,000 skilled immigrants and their families to our province. These new Manitobans have settled all across our great province. They are raising families and breathing new life into local communities and local economies.
As we celebrate the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program’s 15 years of bringing talented new Manitobans to our province, we need to commend Gary Filmon for his vision.
Many dedicated individuals and organizations from our business community, community groups, cultural communities and churches have worked and continue to work to welcome immigrants and settle them in our province. Thanks to all of you who have contributed to the success of the Provincial Nominee Program.
Critic for Immigration and
MLA for River East
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 18, 2013