Maytree News Headlines – February 10, 2011


DiverseCity releases its Year 2 Review – creating a more prosperous GTA through more diverse leadership – PDF(DiverseCity)
The second DiverseCity Counts research report (see page 9 for details,) prepared by Ryerson’s Diversity Institute on behalf of DiverseCity, uncovers the disconnect between who lives here and who has power and influence. Findings show that just 4 per cent of leaders in the Greater Toronto Area are visible minorities (relative to 49.5 per cent of the population studied). While the leadership in some areas reflects our population quite well – in City of Toronto public agencies, for example, 33 per cent of those in the top jobs are visible minorities – the majority (56.6 per cent) across the public, nonprofit and corporate sectors, have no visible minorities in their leadership ranks. These results are a wake-up call that we must answer if we are to achieve our promise.

Diversity not reflected in leadership roles, group says (Globe and Mail)
Ratna Omidvar, co-chair of DiverseCity, said the city bureaucracy’s success in increasing its diversity was the result of a concerted effort to reach out to different populations. “I think that most organizations and institutions recognize that this is the right way to go,” she said. “But they need to be shown the way forward.” The DiverseCity project was formed in 2008 to help public and private organizations find a new generation of leaders that “looks and feels and thinks like the city of Toronto.”

Lawyer’s documents show immigrants face 13-year wait to bring parents over (The Province)
If you’re hoping to help a parent immigrate to Canada, new federal immigration quotas will stretch out the wait to at least 13 years. “You’re more likely now to get a coffin than a visa to Canada,” says Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland, who obtained the never-released data through an Access to Information request.

Almost half of applications rejected for program to reunite Haiti families (Montreal Gazette)
Federal officials have rejected almost half the applications they received under the government’s much-publicized fast-track program to reunite Haitian families affected by the earthquake with relatives in Canada, Immigration Department figures show. Launched last January, the Haiti Special Measures program was heralded as a key part of the federal government’s response to the massive earthquake that tore through the Caribbean nation, killing more than 220,000 and leaving at least a million people homeless.

Ontario wants to peek at immigration files (Toronto Sun)
Ontario is trying to obtain access to a top-secret federal immigration database to curb fraud when issuing licences to new drivers, documents show. The plan by the transportation ministry has drawn criticism from police and immigration workers who say people may be in jeopardy if sensitive information falls into the wrong hands. Ontario officials have been working with Citizenship and Immigration Canada since March 2010 to obtain a “formal information-sharing agreement” to use the data for those applying for regular or enhanced drivers’ licences, government memos show.

Cuts to family-reunification visas upset Asians (The Province)
Vancouver’s Asian community is furious at allegations Immigration Canada is planning to dramatically cut visas issued this year for family reunification. The reduction in visas in 2011 cuts to the heart of Asian and South Asian families, who especially cherish the contribution of elders to family life.

Agents kept tabs on workers (Winnipeg Free Press)
Three Canada border services agents who got the so-called Three Amigos busted in Thompson last summer will have some explaining to do when they appear in court next month. An Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator on Wednesday granted human rights lawyer David Matas’s motion to question investigators in the case. The Winnipeg-based agents were in Thompson last spring watching the three temporary foreign workers dubbed “the Three Amigos” long before they were in violation of the 90 days’ grace allowed to have work permit status restored by a new employer, the court heard.

Integrating well, but… (Share)
One of every five persons living in Canada is an immigrant, so it is a positive sign that most people here believe, according to a recent survey by Washington DC-based Transatlantic Trends, that immigrants are integrating well into Canada. Yet, the 2010 Immigration Public Opinion Survey revealed that 27 per cent of those who responded had a somewhat negative view of immigration as “more of a problem”. Interestingly, that figure shows a small increase in the findings of a similar survey done in 2009, following a year in which the federal government made a point of negatively highlighting refugees (the Tamil refugees arriving by boat in Vancouver, for example) and other migrants.

Multicultural pride is no recipe for radicalism (Calgary Herald)
For multiculturalism to work, everyone needs to act within their boundaries. Respect goes both ways, and includes ultimate respect for Canada, its democracy and way of life. No one should have to become an atheist so as not to offend. The sharing of tradition, food, dance and heritage is something to celebrate, but so too is it important to celebrate Canada, every day, and on our national holidays. Cameron is right about the importance of identity. It starts with knowing who you are -Canadian first -and from where you came. Multiculturalism gives us permission to be proud of that heritage. That’s a far healthier model than asking citizens to deny or be ashamed of their past.

True multiculturalism acts as a bulwark against further extremism (Left Foot Forward)
A key problem in debates around multiculturalism is that the term means different things to different people. Some believe that multiculturalism actively promotes separate religious and ethnic identities at the expense of common values, whilst others believe it simply means the existence and recognition of different identities in a shared political space within a framework of human rights. Runnymede’s understanding of the term has always been the latter. This is why the insistence that multiculturalism is the root of all evil has always been confusing to us. On an everyday level, the people of these islands generally accept that different identities exist and for most, thankfully, this is trivial – what people choose to eat, what music they listen to, how they choose to dress, are not generally seen as controversial in this country.

Maclean’s facing mounting criticism (McGill Daily)
Criticism continues three months after Maclean’s published a controversial article claiming that white students find it difficult to get into preferred schools because Canadian universities are overpopulated by Asian students.

Quebec National Assembly supports ban of Sikhs wearing kirpans (Montreal Gazette)
The Quebec National Assembly unanimously, by a vote of 113 to zero, adopted a motion Wednesday supporting the decision to bar four Sikhs who came to the assembly to testify on Bill 94, banning Islamic face coverings.

Farmers, fishermen await immigrant investment (CBC)
Farmers and fishermen on Prince Edward Island hope a new provincial immigration program will bring needed investment to their industries. When the new provincial nominee program begins in April, immigrants to the Island will have the choice of buying a one-third ownership in a company or investing $1 million for five years as a loan.


Vietnamese Montagnard refugees find new home in Canada (Phnom Penh Post)
Twenty-five Vietnamese Montagnard refugees from a United Nations-administered refugee centre in Phnom Penh departed the country for Canada this afternoon, following the departure of an initial group on Monday. Kitty McKinsey, regional spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, confirmed today that 25 left the country for Quebec City on Monday and would be joined by 25 later this week, though she did not give the exact date.

Baghdad to bagpipes (Cape Breton Post)
Forced from their homeland, a refugee family is being given a chance at a better life in Canada by a Cape Breton group.


Why the Tories’ $100-a-month child-care plan isn’t enough (This Magazine)
The UCCB is “ill conceived and inequitable,” says Ken Battle, President of the Caledon Institute of Social Policy. He raises several objections: despite the sound-bite friendly “hundred bucks a month” concept, the UCCB is actually “virtually incomprehensible” to the average citizen. That $100 is considered taxable income, so no family actually gets $1,200 a year. Furthermore, it’s actually harmed lower-income, single-parent families, who no longer receive the annual $249 young child supplement (which was quietly abolished to help pay for the UCCB). Given the complexities and perversity of the tax system, higher-income families actually receive the highest net benefit.

Ray Cohen – Becoming Visible 2011 – More Voices of People With Disabilities for the General Good (Al Etmanski)
I would like to think 2011 to be a year of unprecedented positive change for people with disabilities in Canada – and that each of us makes a significant contribution to that very worthwhile end! Here is a little bit of a context.


More work needed to integrate immigrants (CTV)
A public opinion survey by a Washington think-tank recognizes Canada as the most welcoming country in the world for new immigrants, but the numbers show more work needs to be done on integration… Peter McFadden of the Waterloo Region Immigrant Employment Network says “It’s in the billions of dollars in lost economic value because we have some very talented people here that are underemployed.”


Calgary Mayor wows Toronto, praises Ford (National Post)
“You have a mayor who was elected by more people than any politician in Canadian history, you had a voter turnout that was, I think, historically high for Toronto as was ours historically high in Calgary,” he said. “You have a great opportunity with someone new at the helm to really start to rebuild the city that you want and you should really grab that opportunity.” In other words, Toronto, or at least the Starbucks frequenting, black-scarf wearing, latte-sipping precincts of it: get over it. Mr. Ford is your man. And is here to stay.

Jane-Finch one of Canada’s ‘richest communities’ (Share)
Despite its reputation as a challenging neighbourhood, Jane-Finch is one of the richest communities in Toronto and Canada, says Toronto Police Service deputy chief Peter Sloly. Sloly acknowledges there is an element of violence that needs to be addressed in the socially diverse neighbourhood. But having being assigned to 31 Division as an Inspector just over a decade ago, Sloly is also aware of the unlimited resources and hope that abound in the community.

Where the city still dares to dream (Toronto Star)
If you notice a glow radiating from the convention centre and illuminating the CN Tower and environs, it’s the result of the brain power and energy radiating from hundreds of Toronto’s brightest minds focused on boosting the city region. They’ve converged from across Greater Toronto and beyond in a worthy civic enterprise: Make the region an economic powerhouse by boosting the area’s innovative entrepreneurs; promote leading-edge environmental practices; plan functional and impressive transit; and deliver affordable and diverse housing options, all wrapped up in a livable urban neighbourhoods. And how do we take advantage of immigrants and their diverse skills, as opposed to have them languish for years, seeking ways to integrate and become full contributors?–where-the-city-still-dares-to-dream

What Is A “Skills Based” Transit Commission? (Steve Munro)
Regular readers here will know that I oppose removing political control over the TTC because any agency spending $2.5-billion of public money, and making decisions with policy as well as purely operational effects, needs to be accountable through the machinery of an elected Council… To begin, I have concerns about the phrase “skills-based”. What skills? Do we want transit experts (a commodity rather thin on the ground in North America generally), business people to ride herd on budgeting and contract management, customer service gurus, technology wizards? Don’t we already have transit management who are supposed to provide these functions for the TTC, and if not, why have those skills not be fostered and, where necessary, imported into the organization?

Thursday’s Headlines (Spacing)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to City Council, Transportation, City Visions, Streetscape, Power & Pollution, Policy & Crime, Stock Exchange.

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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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