Jason Kenney previously served as the immigration minister for Canada for five years. He proposed that Canada should exploit its power of immigration to revitalize its rural communities and work together with the United Conservative Party through immigration policy. The strategy revolves around two main points;
- Rural Renewal Program
- Rural Entrepreneurial Stream.
Kenney added that combining the two components could lead to channeling 10,000 new permanent residents to Alberta’s rural communities yearly. Better yet the 40,000 as proposed by UCP if it gets the chance to serves the province instead of the current ruling New Democratic Party. Jason Kenney reported that the purpose of this initiative is;
- To termination large backlogs
- To speed up processing times
- To proactively attract talented newcomers from overseas,
- To welcome job-creating entrepreneurs to the rural areas
- To encourage settlement in rural Alberta that requires population the most
The Rural Renewal Program
Jason Kenney explained that under this program, Alberta’s rural communities could expect approximately 32,000 new permanent residents in the next four years. The plan is to operate through Alberta’s Immigrant Nominee Program. Economic immigration candidates with an interest to settle in Alberta’s small rural communities will get priority. Additionally, communities involved will get a chance to recruit and nominate their preferred candidates, either from those living within them under temporary work permit or candidates from overseas.
Kenney introduced a connection between the Rural Renewal Program and Canada’s Federal Express Entry system assuring applicants nominated through the program of the extra 600 points awarded to their ranking scores under Express Entry. He pointed out Manitoba’s success on the same initiative as something he would like to achieve in Alberta’s rural communities if elected. Furthermore, Jason Kenney mentioned that Alberta’s Immigrant Nominee Program could also work with Canada’s federal government under the community-driven Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot project.