Maytree News Headlines – January 6, 2011


The Enfranchisement of Permanent Residents at the Municipal Level (rudhro’s ruminatoria blog)
Throughout Canada, resident non-citizens are forming a growing proportion of the potential electorate prevented from formal participation in the municipal electoral process due to their immigration status… Dublin’s Mayor commented recently, “(Newcomers) like the idea of being asked for their vote. They feel a part of the city, and I think that’s important because some of them will become citizens. And even if they don’t, they’re going to be living here. I suppose they feel they’re not being dismissed.” Ratna Omidvar mentions the fact that for change to occur, provincial legislation would have to be amended, as municipalities are not at liberty to formulate such electoral regulation. “The idea is right and the time is right. We can do this in two ways, by amending a section of the Municipal Elections Act6 or by including a provision in the new City of Toronto Act. Both of these recommendations would of course require provincial government approval.” (Omidvar, 3)

Diversity Mini-Grants (Sustainability Network)
Funds are available to support nonprofits with environmental programs and activities to consider, develop and implement strategies to better reflect and engage ethno-cultural and Aboriginal communities by responding to the extensive knowledge, interests and important needs of those communities.

Anti-Islamic group from UK to hold rally (National Post)
A British right-wing group responsible for a wave of violent anti-Islamist street protests in the United Kingdom will attempt to spread its message to Canadians at a rally in Toronto next week.

Red Letter day for head-tax payers (Victoria Times Colonist)
Victoria families who paid into Canada’s century-old head tax system will receive free admission to Red Letters. The new musical — being staged next week at Metro Studio by Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre — is about a young Chinese couple, Shen and Mei. They’re forced to live apart in the 1920s because of Canada’s laws restricting Chinese immigration.

Leading on equity and diversity matters: Yes we can, and yes we will! (Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences blog)
So if the Canadian population is marked by a ‘diversity of diversities’ and if ‘diversity is a strength,’ how are our workplaces and particularly our institutions of higher learning doing? This question is difficult to answer. Unlike the corporate sector, and despite employment equity audits, we do not have a generally accepted report card for assessing progress in Canadian universities and colleges.

East Van sheds its bad rep and emerges as Vancouver’s cultural heart (Vancouver Sun)
Yan says 40 per cent of Vancouver’s population was born in another country, one of the highest percentages on the continent. “We’re an immigrant city among two nations of immigrants,” he says. “It produces all these hybrids and cultures that really can’t be found anywhere else. East Van is arguably the epicentre of this.

Kenney defends $43M axing of Ontario newcomer settlement funding (South Asian Focus)
A day after celebrating with Santa Clauses in Alberta by extending their honorary citizenship – even as newcomer settlement agencies in Toronto were protesting Ottawa’s plan to drastically slash their funding this year – Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney defended his actions by stating the move was aimed at ensuring equal fund flows for settlement agencies across Canada. “This is a non-political process,” he said. “This is why, for instance, the York Region is getting 30 per cent more funding,” even as Ontario as a whole gets less. Kenney confirmed agencies in Ontario will get $43 million less.


Welcome to Canada, Now You’re under Arrest (The Tyee)
Canada should not adopt a new law that punishes refugees for trying to save their own and their families’ lives. If Canada is serious about combating human smuggling, it could, for example, increase access to the refugee protection system at Canadian consulates abroad: a refugee who obtained protection through a consulate would not need to resort to human smuggling. Canada could take the lead in international efforts to address the human rights conditions that compel refugees to flee their homes and countries. The real and odious smuggling in this case is the way C-49 tries to smuggle unfair and punitive measures into Canada’s treatment of desperate refugees.


How good intention leads to bad policy (Globe and Mail) (Note: no mention of SmartSaver)
The Canada Learning Bond sounds like a good program: low-income parents can apply for a $500 grant to save for their children’s education, plus additional grants of $100 per year, adding up to $2,000 by the time a child graduates from high school. The bond can be placed in a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), and parents don’t have to contribute a penny. Yet the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) is ineffective. It does not reach the families it is intended to reach. According to a Human Resources and Skills Development Canada program evaluation, in 2009 about one in six eligible children received the CLB. Take-up is low because few people are aware of the program, and taking advantage of it requires planning and organization. Children must be signed up while young – the bond is only available to children born after January 1, 2003 – and must have a social insurance number.

Idea alert (Maclean’s)
Further to the guaranteed income discussion, there is what Brazil has done to great success. The program, called Bolsa Familia (Family Grant) in Brazil, goes by different names in different places. In Mexico, where it first began on a national scale and has been equally successful at reducing poverty, it is Oportunidades.

What it means to be ‘working poor’ (Guelph Mercury)
For some, the term “working poor” is difficult to understand. How can someone who works full time and year round still fall under the poverty line? It’s often assumed they mismanage their money and/or live beyond their means. While this can be the case for some, for others being part of the “working poor” has nothing to do with how they budget and spend, and everything to do with inadequate wages, along with underemployment, a lack of accessible education and training programs, and the impact of the recent recession.

Comprehensive Community Initiatives: Lessons Learned (Wellesley Institute)
Evidence is still elusive on whether comprehensive community development has a direct and lasting impact on poverty, according to a new study by the Wellesley Institute. Nonetheless, a multi-front approach to neighborhood revitatization shows great potential.


Spacing Toronto Thursday Headlines
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to City Council, Yonge & Gould Fire, Transportation, Crime, Streetscape and Other News.

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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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