Maytree News Headlines – November 24, 2010


Dutch police officer experiences Toronto (inside Toronto)
Dutch police officer Patrick Voss thought he knew a lot about diversity; that is until he spent two months with the Toronto Police Service (TPS). The Commissioner of Police for the national police force in the Netherlands, Voss came to Canada in September to learn more about what Toronto’s law enforcement agency is doing to serve the city’s diverse population.–dutch-police-officer-experiences-toronto

Maclean’s and The Toronto Star: The Asian invasion of higher education (
In 1979, Canadian students produced a TV program called Campus Giveaway against what they called a “foreign” (i.e. Chinese-Canadian) takeover of university campuses. Chinese-Canadian students protested the equating of “Chinese” with “foreign” and challenged the exaggerated statistics used to justify the arguments of the program. Some 30 years later, the same sentiment re-surfaces, albeit in a different guise. In a recent Toronto Star article titled “Asian students suffering for success,” Louise Brown reported on a GTA Asian parents conference organized to encourage “East Asian” parents to consider alternatives to university education for their children. The article simultaneously referred to a Maclean’s magazine article about “Asian” and “East Asian” students (debatable categories themselves) signifying a growing demographic imbalance of ethnically insular cliques.

Multiculturalism still has a chance (The Brunswickan)
For decades, Canadian multiculturalism has been described as a mosaic of different cultures, while the United States is a melting pot where everyone takes on a similar idea of what it means to be American. Yet, more and more Canadians are starting to envy the melting pot to the south, wanting to minimize differences. Like so much of what Canadians believe and feel, its one of those viewpoints that Canadians have but never explicitly vocalize. We say the politically correct thing and talk about how wonderful and accepting we are, but every now and then we slip up and reveal our true feelings… Different. The assumption is that our lifestyles and practices are normal and right while those of other people are abnormal and wrong, and with that sort of mentality, how are we letting people know that we welcome their culture and encourage them to practice it?

Immigrant built cultural bridges in BC (National Post)
David Lam, the Hong-Kongborn philanthropist who put a generous face on the strong wave of ethnic Chinese immigration to Canada and became one of the province’s most memorable lieutenant-governors has died at the age of 87 from prostate cancer. Often referring to himself as a “bridge builder” and “healer” between cultures, Mr. Lam succeeded more than any other person in easing some of the tension that developed when hundreds of thousands of Chinese immigrants began flocking to B.C. in the late 1980s, many of them well-off entrepreneurs from Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Inequality shows need to embrace diversity By Sarah Marcoux (The Star Phoenix)
In Saskatoon, this intolerance is not limited to ethnicity or culture. In the past, it has applied to difference of any sort. Thus we have seen the best and brightest among us leave our ranks for more accepting environs, either because they were different themselves, or because they could not abide by such attitudes. This aspect is slowly improving, but it should not be overlooked. “Tolerance” is no longer the benchmark of an inclusive society. Tolerance means “to put up with,” and it implies discomfort, restrained judgment, and sub-surface tension. Tolerance, in practice, leads to spatial segregation and social injustice. Instead, we must aim for acceptance. Not only because its the right thing to do, but also because there is strength in diversity.

Muslim stance ignites critics (London Free Press)
A fringe federal party with a strong base in Southwestern Ontario is stoking the immigration debate, calling for a moratorium on immigrants from Muslim nations. The Christian Heritage Party says anyone coming into Canada should pledge allegiance to Judeo-Christian values, said G. J. Rancourt, the partys candidate in London-Fanshawe. Those caught fundraising for terrorist organizations would get a one-way ticket out of here, he said. Our biggest problem is not with Muslims, because there are many very good Muslims. Wed love to mark the good Muslims from the bad Muslims, but theyre wearing camouflage. Wed love to mark them, but we cant, so lets put a moratorium on anyone from predominately Muslim countries. The moratorium is a part of the partys new policy on immigration approved at a board meeting last week.

A look at Toronto’s Africentric Alternative School (Globe and Mail)
Photo gallery.

via Cities of Migration

Globalising the city (Open Democracy)
Best cities are flexible, innovative, and they find solutions. They create opportunities for themselves and others – and seize them.” The statement by Joe Berridge of Urban Strategies and Global Citizen, captured the essence and the ethos of the first international Cities of Migration Conference, An Opportunity Agenda for Cities.

Language, health and migration (Open democracy)
The Big Society idea that the coalition government in the UK has launched may seem vague and woolly but to many minority groups and newly arrived migrants, it is an idea that through necessity is second nature. The entrepreneurial spirit, a creative instinct for survival, has ensured that many of these groups are not only able to help their own communities but are also ensure that wider society also benefits from their skills. These are groups of people who have often learnt to flourish in the most difficult of circumstances through sheer force of will and determination. It was practical examples of these qualities that were discussed at the inaugural Cities of Migration conference in the Hague last month.

2010 Cities of Migration Conference (Migration Integration: Building Inclusive Societies)
Participant feedback has been exceptionally strong identifying positive messages about the value of diversity and local integration practices that work. Participants went home with practical lessons based on the success of local integration initiatives and good ideas on immigrant integration, diversity and city leadership. In particular, the Marketplace of Good Ideas session put 12 examples of work on show

Cities of Migration: Marketplace of Good Ideas (Migrants’ Rights Network)
The 2010 Cities of Migration Conference in The Hague last month brought together 175 migration experts, practitioners and city leaders from over 22 countries. The Marketplace of Good Ideas, features stories from 12 different cities and brought the city-to-city learning exchange alive to a rapt audience.

Dialogue and Integration Action 2010 awards (Fundacion Bertelsmann’s – original in Spanish)
The Congress Dialogue and Action “Managing cultural diversity” helped identify the main challenges that the increasing arrival of immigrants raises the whole of Spanish society. Speakers and Sami Nair, Alan Broadbent, Jesus Labrador or Carlos Giménez, offered views of most interest to prepare a host country to integrate human enrichment positively representing the arrival of immigrants. During the conference, presented the prizes of the contest of integration “are young, will succeed! And disseminated a manifesto for an inclusive society.
(original –


The Quaid equation (Canadian Immigrant)
Canada has always been known as a country welcoming of refugees. But theres a difference between a refugee that Canada gives permission to come to Canada to escape war, poverty and genocide; a refugee claimant who flees to our country because they genuinely fear for their safety in their homeland, and a person who comes to Canada as a refugee claimant with less genuine motivation. So when wealthy, Oscar-nominated American actor Randy Quaid, of Independence Day and Brokeback Mountain fame, who is facing criminal charges in the United States and has warrants for his arrest, claimed refugee protection, it brings forward a lot of questions about refugee claimants who seemingly misuse the Canadian immigration system.

Ryerson refugeee referendum passes, but it’s not over yet (
For the last few weeks in October, Ryerson University campus in Toronto was littered with two competing signs: one, black and white, telling students to vote against a tuition increase, and the other, bright yellow, telling students to vote for bringing refugee students to campus for a better life. Like so many campus posters, they were largely ignored, but now that the results are out, the Ryerson community is fired up on both campaigns. From November 1 to November 4, a referendum was held on the campus to determine whether students would approve of a $4 increase to tuition, starting in September 2011. The increase would support WUSC, the World University Service of Canada, and their Student Refugee Program, which allows for one refugee student to be brought to Canada as an undergraduate student at Ryerson each academic year.

Sri Lankan refugee acceptance rate plummets after migrant ship docks (Vancouver Sun)
For each month from January 2009 to July 2010, the percentage of accepted refugee claims from Sri Lanka was typically greater than 80 or 90 per cent, the data show. But in August, the month the Tamils arrived aboard the MV Sun Sea sparking a heated debate about Canada’s refugee system and vows by the Harper government to crack down on human smuggling the percentage of accepted claims dropped to 75 per cent. It then plunged to 47 per cent in September. Since it takes an average of 22 months for a refugee claim to be heard, none of the cases decided in September were connected to the migrants aboard the MV Sun Sea.

Immigration cops to be barred from women’s shelters (Toronto Sun)
Canadian authorities looking to deport illegal immigrants will be prohibited from raiding shelters and locations where women are treated for abuse. The Canadian Border Services Agency will issue a directive to its officers on Thursday banning them from entering or waiting outside such locations.

Cohn: The politics and price of human smuggling (Toronto Star)
Its tempting to turn Canadas latest refugee debate into a morality play. Or to play politics with it. Or do nothing and allow more migrants to reach our shores on dilapidated boats, and one day wash ashore as drowning victims when a ship capsizes. Either way, the rising tide of refugees sailing across the Pacific wont turn back by itself. No matter how much refugee advocates pretend there isnt a problem or that its a miniscule and manageable problem doing nothing is an invitation to human smugglers to profit from our policy paralysis.–cohn-the-politics-and-price-of-human-smuggling

Bill C-49 should not pass (The Varsity)
The reality is, with Bill C-49, Canada may well be going down a road which will increase the amount of abuse immigrants must face. Inhumane treatment toward anyone whether they be immigrants or Canadians of prior generations, is unjust and violates basic human rights. We shouldnt be supporting a bill which brutally punishes human beings and criminalizes a person for trying to escape the hardships, poverty, violence, and political instability that are found in their country of origin.

Learn about immigration from Canada (U.S. Catholic magazine)
Its not that Canadians havent had their bouts of nativism or resentments over language. Language (French versus English) almost tore the country apart. Nor have they been without their share of racial exclusion; until after World War II there was a definite preference for Europeans and restrictions on Asian immigrants. Still Canada has generally been more welcoming to immigrants than the United States, the New York Times reports. Obviously, there are real differences in the current immigration situation for Canada and the United States. For one thing their 2,000 mile border is not with Mexico. Americans arent trekking across the snowy wilderness of North Dakota as Mexicans are across the Arizona desert. The scale of unauthorized entry to Canada is minuscule by comparison.


Immigrant Employment Council of British Columbia launches new website to help employers find skilled immigrants (IECBC)
The Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC) emerged from the 2008 Metro Vancouver Leaders Summit on Immigrant Employment. The Summit attendees identified many priorities for IEC-BC, with a focus on developing tools, resources and information to assist employers attract, hire and retain immigrants.


Spacing Toronto Wednesday Headlines
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to City Council, Transportation, City Building, Community, Culture and Other News.

Rob Fords first Toronto council meeting agenda: Slash budgets, axe taxes (Globe and Mail)
Mayor-elect hands top posts to right-wing allies, raising concerns of blitzkrieg government.

No gravy in Millers (packed) lunch (National Post)
After seven years at the helm, David Miller is packing up the office with a view at City Hall. He sat down with the Posts Chris Selley and Natalie Alcoba for a final interview.


Goar: A smart social policy innovation for lean times (Toronto Star)
Skepticism ran high in the mid-1990s when Ken Battle, president of the Caledon Institute, a small social policy think-tank, said he could design a new benefit that would lift children of out poverty, free them of the welfare stigma and break the intergenerational dependency cycle. He delivered his plan. Ottawa and the provinces discussed it, amended it and eventually adopted it. In 2007 the National Child Benefit was born. It turned out to be the biggest social innovation in 30 years. Now Battle and his colleagues at the Caledon Institute hope to do it again. Theyve just released a discussion paper entitled A Basic Income Plan for Canadians with Severe Disabilities.–goar-a-smart-social-policy-innovation-for-lean-times

Hunger a national immorality (The North Bay Nugget)
Food Banks Canada points to many root causes of poverty and consequent hunger. One is the growing so-called low wage economy in which more people are seeking minimum-wage jobs. The only real solution is a huge increase in the number of small businesses. Judging by my downtown and many others, the task is daunting. The lack of affordable housing, the problems faced by single parents, and by inference, political indifference and the lack of effective government action are noted in the report as contributing factors. Over the years all kinds of governments have tried various well-meaning programs. Most have one thing in common, they rarely do or allow any original thinking and too often refuse to look at facts.

Welfare rules: A smack down, not a hand up (Toronto Star)
Ontarios social assistance system is supposed to do two things: provide financial assistance to those in need and employment assistance to help individuals prepare for, find and keep a job. So why did the system fail Linda Chamberlain so completely that she quit the job she loved? As the Stars Catherine Porter reported on the weekend, Chamberlain fell victim to the confluence of two pieces of provincial legislation, both designed to act as a safety net for Ontarians. When she worked more than a few hours a week, her subsidized rent went up more than her ability to pay. Under the Social Housing Reform Act, her rent increased dramatically based on 100 per cent of her earnings. But under the Ontario Disability Support Program, she was only allowed to keep 50 per cent of her earnings. Each department followed its own rules, without regard to the consequences. The more Chamberlain earned, the poorer she got.–welfare-rules-a-smack-down-not-a-hand-up

Zero Dollar Linda – A Meditation on Malcolm Gladwells Million Dollar Murray, the Linda Chamberlain Rule, and the Auditor General of Ontario – PDF (Metcalf Foundation)
Metcalf Innovation Fellow John Stapleton has released a new report that explores the weaknesses in the design of North American social welfare institutions through the stories of two individuals. It shows what can happen to people when they receive the Ontario Disability Support Program, live in subsidized housing, and try to be as self-reliant as possible.

Young men the face of poverty in post-recession Canada: study (Winnipeg Free Press)
Many of the young men relying on welfare are visible minorities, who often have low levels of education and trouble with business English and numeracy, he adds. Typically, their welfare payments are about a third of what they would be paid if they had a steady minimum-wage job, putting them far below the poverty line. They don’t have access to other benefits, find it difficult to qualify for subsidized housing, and have had a hard time landing new jobs in the services-based economy, Stapleton says.


Invisible Chains Top-10 Book of 2010 (End Modern-Day Slavery)
Parliament Hills most popular newspaper, The Hill Times, ranked Prof. Perrins new book Invisible Chains: Canadas Underground World of Human Trafficking as one of the top-10 books of 2010.


The Economic Action Plan: A Stunning Failure (The Mark News)
Recently released government reports have shown the utter failure of the Conservative government to deliver stimulus money in the first year of its Economic Action Plan. Startlingly, Infrastructure Canada failed to deliver 75 per cent of the stimulus money they claimed would be spent in the 2009-2010 fiscal year. The governments flagship Infrastructure Stimulus Fund was supposed to deliver $2 billion in federal economic stimulus last year. In reality, just under $500 million ever got out the door. The award for most abject failure must belong to the Conservative Green Infrastructure Fund delivering a whopping 3 per cent of its $200 million target.

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Communications in social services/social change, immigration, diversity & inclusion in Toronto. Wannabe librarian, interested in nonprofit tech innovation.

Communications in social services/social change, immigration, diversity & inclusion in Toronto. Wannabe librarian, interested in nonprofit tech innovation.

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