Mr. Speaker, I certainly congratulate the member on his interest and, in fact, his vision and foresight with respect to this issue. It was a huge opportunity lost if in 1998-99 the wherewithal did exist to look at the whole issue of foreign credentials and to take action which may have alleviated some of the skill shortages that we are suffering in key sectors.
The member's comments become even more graphic and profound when we think that between 2011 and 2016 immigration is expected to account for 100% of Canada's net labour force growth.
It is absolutely important that we maximize the credentials that immigrants bring to this country. We do not want them relegated to doing things they are not trained for and which are not self-fulfilling.
The 2003 budget also invested $40 million over five years to improve foreign credentials. There was another $5 million per year committed in the 2004 budget.
Through the foreign credentials program we are working to try and make up for actions that perhaps we should have taken and opportunities lost because we did not act in the past. We are acting now. We are meeting with territorial sector councils and with other partners to accelerate the integration of internationally trained professionals.
I think that is what all Canadians want us to do. Canadians want us to bring into the mainstream of professional and labour life those people with qualifications, such that they can add to the quality of life of all Canadians.