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Day One of Atlantic Immigration Conference a Success

(Monday, May 16, 2005 - Halifax, NS) –Inspirational, thought-provoking keynote speakers and informative working sessions were the highlight of day one of the Atlantic Mayors’ Congress immigration conference.

“We’re so pleased by the caliber of our keynote speakers and presenters from the working sessions,” said Mayor Peter Kelly, Chair of the Atlantic Mayors’ Congress. “A lot of great ideas and discussion have already been generated and I’m certain that everyone involved is going to see this conference as a success for immigration in the Atlantic region.”

The Atlantic Immigration Conference began with a very thought-provoking breakfast keynote by John Ibbitson, Globe and Mail Political Columnist. In September 2004, Ibbitson wrote a column “Why Atlantic Canada Remains White and Poor”. In his keynote address this morning, Ibbitson reiterated some of the comments from this editorial. He noted that because Atlantic Canada has too few jobs and too few immigrants, immigrants are not drawn to settle here. Ibbitson stressed that Atlantic Canada needs to focus on the opportunities associated with immigration to meet this challenge head-on.

Today’s four working sessions represented the three levels of government, as well as various support agencies. Highlights included presentations on statistics around immigration trends, community support, governance and best practices. The common theme in the four sessions was the importance of regional cooperation and partnerships, the need to create an environment where newcomers feel welcomed in the community, and the necessity of attracting and retaining immigrants.

“Key to successful immigration, both recruitment and retention, is access to jobs, language training and a welcoming community with equal opportunities for all its citizens,” said Mayor Kelly.

The luncheon keynote speaker, Glen Murray, former Mayor of Winnipeg and Chair of the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy, gave a very inspirational presentation. He told the audience that communities need to focus on creative ways of urban reform, that communities must be created where people are encouraged to be themselves, and that communities need to be educated on the importance of immigration – both recruitment and retention.

The conference, being held at Pier 21 in Halifax, continues this evening with dinner keynote speaker Sheila Copps, former Deputy Prime Minister and Political Commentator. The conference concludes tomorrow with keynote speakers Diane Francis and Lee Cohen, and sessions focusing on the municipal agenda, human rights, employment, as well as a building a toolkit workshop that will summarize lessons learned from the conference and explore ways to move forward to make Atlantic Canada more attractive and welcoming for immigrants.

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For more information:

Cathryn Steel
902-225-5815 (cell)




Above content last modified Tuesday, March 21, 2023 at 1:55pm.