Conservatives Propose Maple Lead Awards For “New Stock” Canadians

TORONTO – Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced this week that a re-elected Conservative government will introduce a special “Maple Leaf” designation for immigrant or “new stock” (after Harper used “old stock” during the debate last week that many found offensive) Canadians who foster social, cultural and economic links between Canada and other countries.

“We’re lucky to have millions of people who come to Canada to build a new life and also maintain close ties with their birth country,” Prime Minister Harper said. “In a global economy, we have an opportunity to draw on the connections that New Canadians have to build social, cultural and economic ties to developing economies.”

Currently, one in five – or 6.8 million – Canadians are foreign-born, the highest share of any G-7 country.  Between 2006 and 2014, approximately 2.3 million foreign-born people immigrated to Canada.  As a result, Canada has been described as a “Diaspora Nation.”

“New Canadians are great ambassadors – and Canada and their birth countries are stronger and better for their efforts,” said Prime Minister Harper.

A re-elected Conservative government will establish a new “Maple Leaf” designation to recognize new Canadians who work to build cultural, economic and social links between Canada and their birth country.

Recipients would be identified through an open, annual nomination process.  Nominees would be reviewed by officials with recommendations presented to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, International Trade, International Development, Citizenship and Immigration, Multiculturalism and Canadian Heritage.

The committee would award no more than 5 to 7 designations per year.

Eligible recipients would have a track record of promoting strong links between Canada and their home country as exemplified by business investment, arts and cultural exchanges, and international development work.

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