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Richmond group behind millionaire Chinese lawsuit 0

Jeremy Nuttall

By Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours Vancouver

Samuel Cheung of the Sutton Group Seafair Realty at a press conference Wednesday for an immigrant group in Richmond that says they are considering a lawsuit against the federal government regarding immigration policy. (JASON LANG/24 HOURS)

Samuel Cheung of the Sutton Group Seafair Realty at a press conference Wednesday for an immigrant group in Richmond that says they are considering a lawsuit against the federal government regarding immigration policy. (JASON LANG/24 HOURS)

"Our government remains committed to ensuring that economic immigration programs provide a direct benefit to Canada." — Chris Alexander

A consortium of community groups and business leaders that gathered in Richmond Wednesday are behind a group of  millionaires in China threatening to sue the feds over the cancellation of the Immigrant Investment program, said their spokesman.

About 100 people attended the forum at a hotel to speak out against the federal government’s plans to stop the program and scrap outstanding applications — including for people who have waited years to immigrate to Canada.

The program allowed people with a net worth of $1.6 million to immigrate to Canada in exchange for a five-year, interest-free $800,000 loan.

Spokesperson for the group William Fan said his consortium represents 40 community groups and said Richmond lawyer Hong Guo would be representing the handful of Chinese in China who said they’d be suing.

The wealthy Chinese held a press conference in Beijing earlier this week to talk about their gripes. 

But a representative from Guo’s firm said the lawyer was on a flight to Beijing Wednesday night, and he wasn’t aware of any affiliation to the group threatening legal action.

“I haven’t heard of this,” said a legal assistant at the firm. “Our lawyer never told me about this issue.”

Meanwhile, federal immigration minister Chris Alexander held a phone press conference for Chinese media Tuesday about the litigious millionaires.

Opponents of the cancellation are upset nearly 65,000 applications were thrown out along with the axing of the program, and want those who were already in the system to be processed.

They maintain such immigrants contribute investment dollars and taxes to Canada, but when the program was scrapped the federal government said such immigrants often don’t learn the language or contribute to the nation.

“While we recognize that some investors have settled in Canada and have made valuable contributions, we believe that we can do better,” Alexander said in a statement.

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