Question Period: 13 April 2016
Source: Legislative Assembly of PEI

Strategy for attracting and retaining immigrants

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you so much, Mr. Speaker.

The throne speech focused heavily on recruitment and retention with a lot of emphasis on attracting and retaining immigrants to PEI. It also had some specific targets for population growth over the next year.

A question to Minister of Economic Development and Tourism: Does he feel that this ongoing strategy of attracting and retaining new Islanders is working well?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Workforce and Advanced Learning.

Mr. R. Brown: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Attracting Islanders is working very well. Over the last 10 years Prince Edward Island has attracted over 15,000 new Islanders to Prince Edward Island.

Now, we’ve lost a few of them over the years, but the majority of them are staying on Prince Edward Island, contributing to the economy of Prince Edward Island, and contributing to the culture of Prince Edward Island, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, your first supplementary question.

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Well, indeed we’ve lost a few. An analysis of the statistics suggests that things are not quite as rosy as the minister would make us believe. They show that the retention rate of landed immigrants on Prince Edward Island, from 2008 to 2013 is 27.6%. That compares to a retention rate for the next lowest province of 63% and a national average of 83%.

So can the minister please explain why 72.4% of landed immigrants who’ve come to the province over the past 10 years decide to leave?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Workforce and Advanced Learning.

Mr. R. Brown: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

That was the very reason that we made the decision, in 2008, to go out and recruit 2,200 immigrants to Prince Edward Island. Before that the federal government would only allow us 100 a year or 50 a year.

We could not create a critical mass in the area of immigration so we decided to put on a recruitment drive, in 2008, in order to create a critical mass of new immigrants, new Islanders, to Prince Edward Island and it is working well.

Retentions are picking up. We are retaining more new Islanders to Prince Edward Island each and every year. You can see it last year at DiverseCity in the cities of Charlottetown and Summerside, and Montague, over 10,000 participants, Mr. Speaker.

Thank you very much.

Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Third Party, second supplementary question.

Dr. Bevan-Baker: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

At school if I got 27.6%, my teacher didn’t tell me I was doing very well.

Can this government please inform the House as to what targets they have to set for immigration retention into the future?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Workforce and Advanced Learning.

Mr. R. Brown: What targets do we have? Mr. Speaker, it’s 100%.

We’d like each and every immigrant that comes – new Islander that settles on Prince Edward Island to stay on Prince Edward Island. We are working hard with the newcomers association and with citizens of Prince Edward Island to retain new Islanders.

My heart and my thanks go out to the many Islanders that have volunteered over the last few months on helping 200 Syrian refuges come to Prince Edward Island. They have done a tremendous job. It was reported recently how well things are going. What I’m extremely proud of – tutoring. People are volunteering in numbers to help the newcomers learn our language. My heart and soul goes out to them and my thanks goes out to them, and I know all the Liberal caucus’ thanks go out to them, too.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

 

One Comment

  1. Bill Kays 15 April 2016 at 5:30 pm

    These questions are to the point more carefully scripted answers from a known liar, R Brown. Of course the statistics he spouted off were fudged. All statistics from the government are offered to the public with the intention of making government’s performance look better than it actually is. This is why, after forty to fifty years or more of fudged numbers, we are in the economic woes we are in. We were promised a transparent and accountable government. I see no evidence of that, but much evidence of ongoing government covering up, rather than exposing to light.

     

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