John McCallum – Trudeau’s Secret Weapon
John McCallum is an outspoken, opinionated man but all for the right reasons. This is a man that will stand up for what he believes is right and voice the opinion of the many people that cannot speak for themselves.
John McCallum was first elected to the House of Commons in 2000 and has cabinet experience serving in the government of former Prime ministers Jean Chretien and Paul Martin. He filled roles like minister of National Defence, minister of Veterans Affairs, minister of Natural Resources and minister of National Revenue.
McCallum recently served as the Liberal Party’s Immigration, Citizenship and Multiculturalism critic. He is now the minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and he will be overseeing all the Liberal Party’s campaign promises like the immigration and refugee policy.
It can never be said that John McCallum is not a knowledgeable man, he has experience and a backbone. He cares deeply about the immigration file and he fought fiercely against a number of Progressive Conservative immigration and refugee bills, including the Citizenship Act and the removal of health benefits for refugees. This is not the only matter that John McCallum has spoken out about, he was very vocal about same-sex marriage and said that if what people are doing is not hurting anyone, why stop it?
John McCallum is also a skilled and strong debater and has often battled Conservative Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and questioned him on the number of Syrian refugees that the Conservatives were allowing in to Canada.
However, McCallum does face a tough time ahead with the logistical and budgetary challenges in implementing the Liberal Party’s immigration and refugee agenda. McCallum told the Star during the election campaign that should the Liberal Party win, they would “correct” or reverse what they considered to be bad legislation of the Harper administration.
McCallum describes the Harper administration’s Canada as one that welcomes newcomers with a scowl. He is adamant that the Liberals will be able to change this. “We think — partially to reflect our own values in Canada’s multicultural society and partially to reflect Canada’s basic economic self-interest — we should welcome newcomers.”
John McCallum was not always in politics, the 65-year-old was previously the senior vice-president and chief economist at the Royal Bank of Canada. He was also a professor of economics and the dean of the faculty of arts at McGill University in Montreal.
“A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian,” McCallum told the Star during the election campaign. “We won’t have two classes of Canadians – some who can be deported and some who cannot; some who have their citizenship removed and some who cannot … Our philosophy is we want to welcome people; we want to make it relatively easy to become a citizen; we want to make it relatively fast to become a citizen.”
Something that people may not know about John McCallum is that he successfully nominated Nelson Mandela as the second honourary citizen in Canadian history. This is yet another man in the Liberal Party’s corner that has Canada’s best interests in mind.
Top Priorities on the Immigration File:
- Refugees: A pledge to bring 25 000 refugees from Syria to Canada and a $200 million investment to increase refugee processing and sponsorship and settlement services capacity in Canada.
- Citizenship Act: Repealing “unfair” elements of Bill C-24 and strengthening the Citizenship Act. The controversial act makes it more difficult for citizens to become Canadian citizens and creates a two-tier system of citizenship.
- Family Reunification: Promise to double the budget for family class immigration processing and double the number of new applications allowed for parents and grandparents. Restore the maximum age for dependents to 22 and grant permanent residency to new spouses.