Prime Minister Stephen Harper shuffled his cabinet on July 15th 2013, bringing new faces to parliamentary roles that affect Canadian immigration. Jason Kenney, the previous Minister of Citizenship, Immigration & Multiculturalism, will be moving on to a new role as the Minister of Employment and Social Development.
Chris Alexander, MP for Ajax-Pickering, will be taking over the role as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Alexander received a Bachelor of Arts degree at McGill University followed by a Master of Arts degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Balliol College, Oxford. He is now married to Hedvig Alexander and they have two young daughters, Selma and Elisabeth.
Alexander has 18 years of experience working as a member of the Canadian Foreign Services. His first posting was at the Canadian Embassy in Russia. In 2003, he became the first resident Ambassador in Kabul, Afghanistan. He also serviced as a Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2009.
When asked why he chose to be a politician Alexander answered, “I believe in public service… [and] I think it is a high calling”. The new Minister has held many round-table and group conversations in communities across his constituency regarding topics that are of interest to the people in the Ajax-Pickering area, including Canadian immigration. He explains that one of Canada’s strengths is its openness to new ideas, but at the same time it is important for his government to never compromise on the free market economy and a strong justice system that protects victims. Hedvig Alexander describes her husband as an individual who can connect with very diverse group of people and believes that he will also appeal to younger members of Canada’s society.
The role of multiculturalism is being passed over to Tim Uppal, Minister of State (Multiculturalism). Tim Uppal was born in British Columbia in 1974 but has spent most of his life in Edmonton. Uppal and his wife Kiran have three young children, Kirpa, Nihal and Fauja. Uppal is now the MP for Edmonton-Sherwood Park, prior to his position as Minister of State he served as a member of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration and the Standing Committee on Health.
Uppal presently sits on the Cabinet Committee on Social Affairs, which considers policy issues on a wide variety of topics including healthcare, justice, culture and immigration to Canada. The shift in the role of multiculturalism to the Minister of State seems appropriate when considering Mr. Uppal’s experience with immigration and cultural issues. Before becoming a politician, Uppal was a residential mortgage manager with TD Canada Trust. He has also reached out to youth-at-risk through sport for over a decade by coaching soccer and wrestling (kabaddi).
Both of these new faces of immigration have experience working either abroad or with Canadian immigration issues. We are looking forward to hearing their views on immigration policy and multiculturalism and will continue to update you on these issues.
FWCanada is a Montreal-based immigration law firm that provides professional legal services on Canadian immigration. For more tips and updates on Canadian immigration, follow FWCanada on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.