Maytree News Headlines – February 15, 2011


Diversifying the Arts – One Month at a Time (Maytree blog)
Black History Month has been celebrated in February in North America since 1976. This year, Diaspora Dialogues hosted their first Black History Month event. The Beat Goes On included commissioned works from spoken word artist Mahlikah Awe:ri, playwright and director Andrew Moodie and administrator, emcee and playwright Donna-Michelle St. Bernard.

Colchester County recruiting — and keeping — immigrants (The Chronicle Herald)
The Stepanovs are part of a growing number of immigrants coming to the Colchester area, thanks, in part, to the efforts of the Colchester Regional Development Agency. In the early 2000s, at a time when Truro and the surrounding area was seeing population dips like most places in the province, the decision was made to focus on attracting people from outside Canada.

Tories tread carefully on immigration policy (Globe and Mail)
The federal Conservatives are bringing in record numbers of immigrants, while clamping down on illegal refugees and the wearing of the veil, in an effort to placate their socially conservative base and yet still woo immigrant voters. The key, for the government, is to inject a socially conservative tone into the multicultural debate, while not tampering with the fundamentals.

Kenney a Tory secret weapon (Toronto Sun)
He’s not great on camera. He comes off as bumptious at times. He’s not a Twitter fiend, like Industry Minister Tony Clement. He’s is no libertarian firebrand, like Maxime Bernier. He’ll never win the Hill Times award for sexiest male MP. And yet here Kenney is, doggedly threading the needle on the immigration and refugee file and doing a pretty good job. If you parse what he says, he makes sense more often than not. Expect to hear a lot more from him if we head to the polls come spring.

Visa cuts hit parents of immigrants hardest (CBC)
Canadians trying to bring their parents and grandparents to Canada from other countries are unhappy with the federal government’s decision to cut back on family reunification visas. Numbers obtained from the Citizenship and Immigration Department through the Access to Information Act indicate the government will issue about 11,000 family reunification visas for parents and grandparents overseas next year.

Quota shrinking for elder (Toronto Star)
More than 148,000 parents and grandparents overseas are already waiting as long as five years to be reunited with their Canadian children and grandchildren. The reduced quotas will mainly affect applicants from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America, Chow said. “Immigrants in the application queue are waiting longer than ever before to be reunited,” said Chow. “Clearly, the Conservatives have implemented a discriminatory policy, based on race and age, in certain countries and no longer abide by the ‘first come, first served’ rule when processing applications.”–quota-shrinking-for-elders

Editorial: Family economics (Ottawa Citizen)
If families form the foundation of a functioning society, grandparents are the bedrock. They make it possible for young parents to work outside the home. They pass on values and tell stories and keep languages alive and make sure everyone eats a decent meal at least once in a while. The question for Canada’s immigration minister is: How much is that work worth to the country as a whole?

Wanted: improved immigration (Times and Transcript)
New Brunswick should take control of immigration from the federal government if it hopes to attract the right workers in the future, Premier David Alward told a crowd of Toronto professionals Monday as part of a two-day Ontario visit with business and political leaders in hopes of encouraging new investment in the province.

‘Trade offs’ in immigration policy: Minister (Toronto Sun)
“When people choose to emigrate to Canada, there is no right or guarantee that they will be able to bring all members of their extended family,” Kenney told CBC Monday. “To be able to do so is a privilege, and it’s only exercised on a limited basis because we have to ensure that immigration is serving our national interest.” Kenney said his “number one objective” is to attract skilled workers to Canada to take jobs Canadians don’t want or aren’t trained to do.

Cohn: Ontario’s missing the boat on recruiting immigrants (Toronto Star)
But the Ontario hare, swelling with hubris and complacency, is being overtaken by the snapping tortoises of B.C., Alberta and Manitoba. Quebec and the West are scooping up the best and the brightest — and running their own immigration shows — while Ottawa continues to treat Queen’s Park as a junior partner. Ontario’s bumbling became a talking point at the recent CivicAction summit, when former TD Bank economist Don Drummond went public with his withering critique. How can the province fire up its economic engine with new blood from talented immigrants, he asked, if the rest of Canada is getting the pick of the crop?–cohn-ontario-s-missing-the-boat-on-recruiting-immigrants?bn=1&sms_ss=twitter&at_xt=4d5a3241c4f42cde,0

Canada sitting on application fees, ‘robbing immigrants blind’: critic (Ottawa Citizen)
The government has banked tens of millions of dollars in immigrant application fees while taking little action to process the applications — a problem that will only be worsened when government reduces the overall number of visas issued in 2011 from 2010 levels, recently released government documents show. The documents were made public by a University of Ottawa law professor who is currently at loggerheads with the federal government over his own parents’ immigration application and who has been critical of the government on other issues.

Hockey Canada targeting immigrants’ kids to counter declining enrolment (Vncouver Sun)
Alarmed by sliding enrolment in minor hockey programs across the country, Hockey Canada is launching a charm offensive in a dozen languages, targeting the households of recent immigrants and First Nations families to boost the number of Canadian kids strapping on skates.

When cultures collide (The Telegram)
Although it has its critics, multiculturalism has helped define Canada for the better over the past several decades. Inherent in the philosophy is that immigrant and indigenous cultures should be allowed to thrive in semi-isolation — the Canadian mosaic, as opposed to the U.S. melting pot. But recent headlines in Canada have also highlighted shifting views.

Will Multiculturalism End Europe? (The American Conservative)
Multiculturalism has “totally failed,” says German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “State multiculturalism has had disastrous results,” says Britain’s David Cameron. Is multiculturalism a failure in France? “My answer is clearly yes, it is a failure,” says President Nicolas Sarkozy. Ex-Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar has declared multiculturalism a failure in Spain, saying it divides and debilitates Western societies. Only in Canada and the U.S., it seems, is the issue still in dispute.

FAYE GUENTHER: Diaspora Dialogues Emerging Writer, 2010 (Diaspora Dialogues)
Diaspora Dialogues holds an annual publishing/mentorship program for emerging writers from the GTA. Faye Guenther is an alumni of the 2010 program.

Toronto woman alleges dismissal for wearing hijab (CCLA)
Mehwish Ali, an esthetician from a Toronto suburb, has filed a complaint against her employer for allegedly dismissing her for wearing a hijab, The Toronto Star reported Friday. She was hired six weeks ago at a branch of Trade Secrets, a beauty salon, to perform facials, manicures, pedicures, and waxing. While Ali wore a hijab to the interview, as she has done for the last ten years, she was dismissed last week, the day after after co-owner Mylene Facchini first saw her wearing the headscarf. The store manager stated that her dismissal was due to poor performance.

Embracing Our Humanity Online Resource Launched (EmbraceBC : Diverse Communities Blog)
Embracing Our Humanity is a blended curriculum resource aimed at promoting multiculturalism and eliminating racial discrimination. The project began last January with funding from Embrace BC and the Government of Canada. It was created by a Victoria-based team of TM NewMedia and International Education for Peace Institute (Canada). Embracing Our Humanity has been designed for teachers, educational counselors, intercultural workers, parents, community members and anyone else who wishes to learn new ways of approaching and discussing these topics.


Kenney blames courts for refugee backlog (
Conservative efforts to overhaul Canada’s refugee laws are being undermined by the courts, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Friday. In what might be his harshest criticism yet of the judiciary, Kenney said he has “real concerns” with the way the Federal Court has interpreted the laws Parliament has passed.

UN refugee site in Cambodia for Vietnamese asylum seekers closes (The Canadian Press)
Andrej Mahecic, a spokesman in Geneva for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said 50 of the asylum-seekers at the compound were sent for resettlement in Canada last week. Another five are headed for the United States. Of the 20 remaining, 10 were determined by UNHCR not to qualify for refugee status and are expected to return to Vietnam. The last 10 will be housed in Phnom Penh until arrangements can be made to resettle them in a third country, said Mahecic, who praised the Cambodian government for its “good co-operation.”


Anti-poverty group blasts CFIB report (CBC)
The Common Front for Social Justice is criticizing a new report that warns minimum wage increases could put future jobs at risk. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business released a national report last week saying a 10 per cent increase in minimum wages across Canada could have a devastating effect on jobs. New Brunswick could lose as many as 7,000 jobs, according to the report. Positions could be left unfilled and hours could be cut.


Financial services IEPs get specialized training and employment opportunities with unique bridging program (LEAP blog)
Financial Services Connections (FSC), by Access Employment, is a bridging program like no other in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) that not only connects internationally educated professionals (IEPs) to employers but also provides training in banking, accounting and business law.

2010-2011 Migrant farm workers report published (UFCW Canada)
Canada’s most comprehensive annual report on the challenges facing migrant farm workers has been released. It confirms that abuse and exploitation of migrant farm workers are rampant in Canada’s agriculture industry. The 2010-2011 Status of Migrant Farm Workers in Canada report is published by UFCW Canada and the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA). For more than two decades UFCW Canada has been a leading advocate for farm workers’ rights, and in association with the AWA operates 10 agriculture worker support centres across Canada.

HRPA 2011 Conference & Tradeshow explores the HR and business trends of our time (CareerEdge)
Prolific filmmaker Frank Capra once said, “Don’t follow trends, start trends.” Capra was an innovation leader in his time and today his advice holds as true as ever. At the same time, current and emerging trends are not to be ignored if you and your business want to keep up with the competition – whether you’re competing for customers or for top talent. This was the focus of HRPA’s 2011 Annual Conference & Trade Show, “identifying and capitalizing on the trends – demographic, economic, and technological – that are revolutionizing the workplace…”

Ontario freezes minimum wage (CLEONet)
The Liberal government has announced a freeze on the minimum wage, leaving it at $10.25 an hour, marking an end to a series of annual hikes that followed the party’s election in 2003.


GTA Summit transportation notes: Radical McCallion, “Toronto’s Mohawk” and more (Spacing)
I was fortunate to be invited to take part in the Greater Toronto Summit organized by CivicAction (formerly the Toronto City Summit Alliance) last week. Not surprisingly, a lot of the discussion at the summit focused on transportation issues. As a backgrounder prepared for the Summit laid out (PDF; disclosure – I was part of the discussions leading to this document), Toronto is facing something of a transportation crisis — demand for roads and transit is increasing much faster than supply, meaning that commuting times are increasing and average speed of travel is plummeting. The cost in wasted time and productivity (not to mention increased pollution) is estimated in the billions, and it’s likely to get worse rapidly.

LORINC: One Question for Adrienne Batra, Mayor Rob Ford’s press secretary (Spacing)
Why is it necessary for a political leader to face the press? This is not a self-indulgent or mischievous question, yet it needs to be posed. Yes, we will vigorously challenge your boss, as we did with his predecessors. That is our job. But we do so to better inform the city’s residents. When Ford refuses to speak to the media, he is obviously refusing to speak to the voters, both those who supported him and those who didn’t. I haven’t got a clue whom among my Spacing or Globe and Mail readers backed Ford and who voted for George Smitherman or Joe Pantalone. But I can assure you they all pay property taxes and TTC fares and user fees, and they want to know what he plans to do with their money.

James: Valentine bouquets for some devoted Toronto-lovers (Toronto Star)
Lloyd McKell took on one of the most controversial school board projects ever and shepherded it through to completion with grace and patience and humour. Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, the woman with the impossible name before Toronto got used to the difference between Sri Lankan and Tamil and South Asian and Southeast Asian, was Ms Diversity before diversity became our strength. Keith Forde thrived in rarified air where lesser men wilted — and when he left 40 College St. last August, it was a triumphant exit. All three served Toronto — at the school board, city of Toronto and Toronto police. And on a day when love is in the air, it’s apropos to show them a little love.–a-few-valentine-roses

Mississauga eyes 8-per-cent tax increase in proposed budget (Globe and Mail)
Mississauga’s long-term business plan is calling for a host of ambitious city-building projects at the same time as revenues from new developments are tapering off, prompting city staff to float the possibility of an 8-per-cent tax increase in this year’s proposed budget. While the talk in Toronto is of cutting bus routes and freezing property taxes, the city to the west is looking to increase public transit and build new bicycle lanes.

Auditor-General uncovers waste, fraud and fake sick time at Toronto city hall (Globe and Mail)
Report also argues city fails to protect whistleblowers from intimidation.

Tuesday’s Headlines (Spacing)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to City Council, Transportation, Building Construction & Destruction, Culture & Recreation, Environment 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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