Nfld. & Labrador

Immigration good way to stimulate economy, Liberals say

Liberal Leader Dwight Ball focused on population growth and stimulating the economy, during a visit to the Association for New Canadians Monday.

Newfoundlanders and Labradorians come first; immigrants good choice if skill set not available

Liberal Leader Dwight Ball says immigration is one way to stimulate the economy. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

Liberal Leader Dwight Ball focused on population growth and stimulating the economy, during a visit to the Association for New Canadians Monday.

Ball said one way to reach that goal is through immigration,  and ensuring proper services in place to assist immigrants.

We know there are many challenges right now but the future of this province is bright.- Dwight Ball

He added that the province has a lot of people eager to make Newfoundland and Labrador their home.

"Of course when you look at job creation in the province, I've always said it's Newfoundlanders and Labradorians first. But when the skill sets are not available … we need to look no further than immigrants," said Ball.

Tai Le is from Vietnam and came to Newfoundland in 2012. He said he sees a good future here. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

New hope

Tai Le came to the province in 2012 and has recently completed his master's degree in engineering at Memorial University, hoping to find a job in the oil and gas sector.

He had a chance to speak with the Liberals during their visit at Association offices and said it was a positive experience.

"I think they are so friendly and I see a good future for Newfoundland that's what I see in them," said Le.

"Newfoundland people are the greatest people I've ever known … I hope to find a good job in Newfoundland. I feel that it's home here right now."

All need to do our part

While the federal government is on board with accepting more Syrian refugees, Ball said as a province we need to do our part. But he stressed the importance of a screening process.

"We have been known to be a very caregiving people … our doors are open but the proper screening would be required and we are willing to play our role to make sure the Syrian refugees are welcome."

Ottawa has committed to bringing 25,000 refugees to Canada before the end of the year and Labrador MP Yvonne Jones has advocated for the base at 5 Wing Goose Bay to be used to help fulfil this commitment.

Employers in Happy Valley-Goose Bay struggle to fill service jobs, but a recent poll from the area showed a lot of people were against the idea of using Labrador as a place where Syrian refugees would enter Canada.

Bright Future

Ball understands peoples' fears but said they need to trust the federal government's screening process and accept the province's share of immigrants.

While there are number of options, Happy Valley-Goose bay would definitely be on the list.

"I don't have a specific target right now but we are willing to do our part and we're willing to accept our share into N.L." said Ball. 

"It is a responsibility … as all of Canadians to do what we can to  make sure these refugees can land in safe country."

On a final note, Ball said his party will ensure the provinces money is spent wisely focusing on diversification and growing the economy.

"We know there are many challenges right now but the future of this province is bright."

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