Maytree News headlines – April 14, 2011


Cultural Health Care (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Floydeen Charles-Fridal. She is the President of the Board of Directors for the TAIBU Community Health Centre.

‘Ethnic costumes’ sought for Conservative photo op (Toronto Star)
A group Immigration Minister Jason Kenney once characterized as harbouring hateful sentiments toward Israel and Jews was invited to wear ethnic costumes for a photo op with Conservative Leader Stephen Harper. The Canadian Arab Federation, which lost government funding in 2009 over its criticism of Israels invasion of Lebanon, says it received an email Tuesday night from the office of Etobicoke Centre Conservative candidate Ted Opitz asking the group to be part of a campaign rally with Harper Thursday night.–ethnic-costumes-sought-for-conservative-photo-op

T.O. Tory staffer makes ‘ethnic costume’ rally appeal (CBC)
But one expert says the demographic should appreciate the attention they are receiving, since a lot of groups Aboriginal people, the poor and those with disabilities have gone relatively unmentioned during the election campaign. “It gives you political power when people are focusing on you,” said Alex Marland, an assistant professor at Memorial University who studies political marketing. “They should be saying ‘Listen to us, we matter and these are the concerns we have and we’re glad you’re paying attention.'”

Seeking ethnic dress for photo op unacceptable, Tories tell riding (Globe and Mail)
Conservative efforts to reach out to ethnic communities strayed into sensitive territory Wednesday as the party called its own attempt to find people in ethnic costume for a photo op with Stephen Harper completely unacceptable. The self-criticism was sparked by an e-mail sent to leaders of the Arab community in Toronto on behalf of the Conservative candidate in Etobicoke-Centre, Ted Opitz. It said organizers were trying to arrange a photo op that would have up to 20 people in national folklore costumes to provide a backdrop for Mr. Harpers appearance in the riding Thursday.

The alleged email:

‘Very ethnic’ group wonders where the Conservative love has gone (Toronto Star)
The sign on the door of the Ethiopian Association in the GTA reads like a warning on the womens bathroom stall down in the basement of some Adelaide Street nightclub. It says: For Lease. It means: Hey Very Ethnic voter. Dont be lured by Harper. Hell use you and dump you. Save your vote for a real lover. Three years ago, the centre was a Conservative sweetheart. They posed for photo ops together. The government pronounced its love, calling the east-end immigrant agency an important partner in the Government of Canadas efforts to help newcomers succeed. It cut the group a cheque for $2.2 million. Then, two weeks before last Christmas, the Ethiopian Association got a form letter from the government. It said the group was cut off no more funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.–very-ethnic-group-wonders-where-the-conservative-love-has-gone

Reinstate federal funding for settlement services (Toronto Star)
For Toronto voters, questions about the commitment of the federal parties to settlement services in this city will be an important part of those discussions. It was encouraging to hear the issue raised by at least two of the federal party leaders during this weeks televised leadership debate. We urge all federal leaders and candidates, especially those running in Toronto, to join the conversation.–reinstate-federal-funding-for-settlement-services

The old white guys’ club (Victoria Times Colonist)
Even with the sound turned down, you would get a funny perception of Canada from watching the leaders’ debate this week. We’re a relatively young country -half of us are under 40. Women outnumber men. More than 20 per cent of us are visible minorities. Yet up on the stage were four white men in near-identical dark suits and ties. The average age was 59; all four were significantly older than most Canadians. It was if there was some secret club you had to belong to before you could lead a political party, and only late middle-aged white guys could join.

Liberals and Conservatives battle for North Vancouver (Vancouver Sun)
“People want a hand up, not a hand out,” Noormohamed said. He said North Vancouver is a microcosm of the entire country, with a diverse population both in demographics and culture. “You have got literally every demographic here and you’ve got a very diverse economy as well,” Noormohamed said.

Battle For The Centre (SEE Edmonton News)
ith the ridings remarkable diversity and its history of voting against the blue tide, Edmonton Centre is likely one of the most hotly contested races in the city. While Conservative incumbent Laurie Hawn won in 2008 with a 10,000-vote margin, both the Liberals and the New Democrats have set their sights on the riding.

Walkom: In BC, an NDP stronghold in mortal peril (Toronto Star)
But now the riding of Burnaby-Douglas is in play. Newcomers, particularly more conservative-minded Chinese immigrants, are moving in. Old loyalties are fraying. In the 2008 election, Siksay squeaked by with a 798-vote margin over his Conservative competitor Ronald Leung. Leung is back, facing off against Siksays successor Kennedy Stewart and Liberal Ken Low. If the soundings I took this week are any indication, things do not bode well for the NDP.–walkom-in-b-c-an-ndp-stronghold-in-mortal-peril

Mississauga Erindale (South Asian Generation Next)
Mr. Bob Dechert, only Conservative MP serving the Peel region has been backed by 2008s NDP candidate Mustafa Rizvi. Mustafa Rizvi, a Canadian Pakistani NDP candidate, was believed to have split the Muslim vote between himself and Mr. Omar Alghabra resulting in Mr. Decherts victory in 2008. Will his support to Conservative party help Mr. Dechert? I hope it will. There are lots of South Asians who support the government. They realize that the values of the Conservatives are the same as South Asians..He [Mustafa Rizvi] is just one example who saw that Conservatives emphasize on families and small create jobs, responds Mr. Dechert in an interview with Generation Next.

Brampton Springdale: Liberal government will roll back the cruel and short-sighted policies of the Conservatives Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla People want a stable and reliable national government Conservative candidate Parm Gill (South Asian Generation Next)
Brampton Springdale is an electoral battleground between Liberals and Conservatives in May 2 elections. Liberal MP Dr. Ruby Dhalla had won the election by less than 800 votes in 2008s election. Parm Gill, the Conservative candidate for Brampton Springdale, has been in campaign mode since the election results were made known in 2008. Minister Jason Kenneys frequent visits to Brampton have raised his profile.

Tory-Liberal brawl leaves Ontarios newcomers nowhere (South Asian Generation Next)
Canada Ontario Immigration Agreement (COIA) expired last week because the Government of Canada and Government of Ontario could not reach an agreement on how to deliver services to Ontarios new comers. Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Dr. Eric Hoskins has been frustrated that the federal government was very inflexible and did not budge one single inch since it started renegotiating the agreement in January 2011. Premier Dalton McGuinty, in a press conference with diverse community media reiterated that the Conservatives are hindrance in delivering services to Ontarios new comers. They make funding cuts unilaterally with no consultations with stake holders. This is how these [Conservatives] guys operate, Premier McGuinty said.

Toronto belongs in spotlight during federal election but its not (Toronto)
These regions are home to 68 per cent of the nations population, 90 per cent of immigrants, and 96 per cent of Canadas visible minority population (and 67 per cent of the eligible voters). Cities are generating employment growth, GDP and tax revenues beyond their share of the population.–let-s-put-toronto-on-the-political-map

Ford Nation: Will it rev up Toronto Tories? (CP24)
Polls have shown the Conservatives have gained support in ethnic communities across the country. The ethnic vote has been particularly important in Eglinton-Lawrence where Joe Volpe has consistently received the support of the riding’s large Jewish and Italian communities. But this time, the incumbent — who has served the riding since 1988 — may see a decrease in that support. In 2008, Conservative candidate Joe Oliver lost to Volpe by a little more than 2,000 votes. This time, the race is expected to be even closer.

Local candidates react to leaders debate (Northumberland Today)
She told Northumberland Today her question about immigration was best answered by NDP leader Jack Layton, who decried the two-tier immigration system since the Conservatives took power, along with a delay in unifying families when members have applied to join others in Canada. Conservative leader Stephen Harper countered that his government inherited a backlog of immigration applications when they took power; Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe suggested Quebec should have full power over immigration in that province; and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, whose father emigrated from Russia, criticized the Conservatives for cutting settlement funding including financial support for learning the country’s languages. Harper denied his government has done this.

Celebrating a century of Sikh history (The Province)
The Gur Sikh Temple in Abbotsford turns one hundred years old this year, and local officials say this special anniversary emphasizes the deep roots Indo-Canadians have in the community. “This temple is a beacon for all the good things this country represents such as courage, commitment, determination and faith,” says Mayor George Peary. There are more than 25,000 Indo-Canadians living in Abbotsford, and the mix of new immigrants and generations descended from pioneers makes the city a major hub for diversity.

A look at Canada’s most ‘visible’ minority (The Province)
Sikhs are a contradiction. Originating from India, they are simultaneously one of Asia’s least urban yet most outward looking communities. Decades of emigration have taken Sikhs worldwide – to the extent where arguably they have greater political presence in countries like Canada, U.K. and Malaysia than in their own. In the early 1900s when emigrating was a cultural taboo for most Indians, Sikhs were already serving as policemen in Hong Kong and working in Vancouver Island lumber camps.

Brian Burke scores in Ottawa (Toronto Sun)
Burke was named Youth Role Model of the Year for his efforts in addressing homophobia in sports. Jers Vision is Canadas youth diversity initiative, which works to address bullying, homophobia, transphobia, and discrimination of all kinds in schools and youth communities.

Phrase Israeli apartheid not discriminatory: city manager (Toronto Star)
Torontos top bureaucrat says the controversial name of activist group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid does not violate the citys anti-discrimination policy. But Mayor Rob Ford and his allies plan to proceed with their effort to deny funding to the Pride festival if the group is allowed to participate.–phrase-israeli-apartheid-not-discriminatory-city-manager

The other parties: The Christian Heritage party (National Post)
Canada’s immigration and refugee system is broken, costing Canadians billions of dollars every year in false claims, and leaving our country vulnerable to threats. CHP Canada would ensure our borders are secure. Islamist terrorism and immigration represent a global threat, a veritable jihad to impose Sharia Law on Western societies. CHP Canada will implement a moratorium on immigration from countries with shariah-based law until a satisfactory resolution is found, involving input from the Canadian Islamic community. Canadians must protect our heritage of equality and freedoms from contrary world views.

Order of Canada recipient gives Surrey kids lesson in storytelling (Surrey Now)
In acknowledging his ancestry in North America, Charles made note of the vast cultural diversity present in the gym and encouraged the kids to research and preserve their own cultural heritage and language.

The Bull Meter: Jack Layton on the Conservatives’ immigration record (Maclean’s)
Layton is right here. The face of Canadian immigration is changing, and its tilting toward economic considerations. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) if you look at permanent residents by category between 2006 and 2010, the only class that grew was the economic migrant class, from 138,251 in 2006 to 186,881 in 2010. Compare that to the number of refugees admitted: theres been a decline since 2006, from 32,499 back then to 24,693 last year. Family reunification migrants have also been falling away, from 70,517 in 2006 to 60,207 in 2010.

“Very ethnic” Torontonians rock the vote (Open File)
In case you haven’t noticed, federal politicians are courting Canadians of colour. They’re attending cricket games and Chinese banquets, musing about how to accelerate professional accreditation policies, and philosophizing about the future of multiculturalism… “Who are the ‘ethnics,’ first of all?” asks Avvy Go, a member of Colour of Poverty, a group that works to draw attention to the connections between race and income disparity in Toronto. “Chances are, it’s people of colour, with a more recent immigration history. For political purposes, theyre regarded as a homogeneous group with no distinct voices.

A leg up on a steep and slippery path (Diaspora Dialogues)
It was during this trial-and-error phase of honing craft that I saw a call for submissions from Diaspora Dialogues. I read with great interest about their free mentorship program (M.G. Vassanji was one of the mentors that year; he is one of my favorite authors). Plus, there was a chance to be published in DDs annual anthology. With hasty enthusiasm I sent out what I then considered my best short story. Some three weeks later, the letter from Diaspora Dialogues arrived and I tore it open with expectant glee. It was another rejection letter, suggesting that I try again next year. And I did. This time, when the envelope with the prominent DD logo arrived in the post, I was cautious. The letter was thicker than the one the previous year. Prepared for disappointment, I shut my bedroom door and opened it in private. I had been accepted. I should have been happy, right? Wrong. The mentor assigned to me was not M.G. Vassanji, it was Rabindranath Maharaj. I knew Rabindranath was a respected and gifted writer, but he was still not M.G. Vassanji. Rabindranaths style of writing vastly differed from mine: I wrote magic realism, my stories were philosophical; he wrote about alienation, his stories were character studies. How could this man possibly be of help?


From hell to hope for refugees (Winnipeg Free Press)
He fled one brutal, fascist regime only to end up in another that erupted in total chaos: Libya. But this week, high school chemistry teacher Ghirmay Tesfamicael was one of 10 Eritrean refugees to escape Libya and safely land in Winnipeg. “I’m happy I’m here because of the people who sponsored me,” the 32-year-old said Wednesday. “Also, I feel sad. Lots of Eritrean friends are still there.”

Future of young refugee in hands of Ontario appeal court (Toronto Star)
In a peculiar case that highlights the competing rights of children, parents and refugees, a dozen lawyers argued in a Toronto court this week over whether a 13-year-old refugee was wrongfully removed from Canada and should be allowed to return. After two days of hearings, the Court of Appeal reserved its decision Wednesday. Should it rule in favour of Josette Rosenzweig Issasi, now 14, the question is: How to bring back the girl, a non-citizen whose mother has sole custody of her in Cancun, Mexico.–future-of-young-refugee-in-hands-of-ontario-appeal-court

Family with disabled daughter seeks to stay in Canada on humanitarian grounds (Vancouver Sun)
A family from France which made headlines across the French-speaking world last year after Canadian immigration officials rejected an application to stay here permanently is applying to stay in Canada on humanitarian grounds and asking candidates in next month’s federal election for their support. Officials have called David Barlagne’s eight-year-old handicapped daughter an “excessive burden” on the state’s social services. Rachel was deemed “medically inadmissible” because she has cerebral palsy. Her “excessive burden” on social services would amount to $5,259 a year in special educational costs.


NDP highlights poverty (Brant News)
Toronto anti-poverty advocate Cathy Crowe spent Tuesday evening in Brantford to bolster NDP candidate Marc Laferriere’s campaign and highlight issues she cares about. “I have to put my efforts in the right places (during the campaign),” Crowe said. “(Laferriere) gets the issues I care about.”

Organization works to make home ownership possible for low and moderate income families (CLEONet)
Home Ownership Alternatives Non-Profit Corporation works to make homes affordable by supporting developers of new ownership housing with initial project financing, providing second mortgages to homebuyers, and advocating for government policies and programs that increase the supply of affordable housing and the degree of affordability of the homes.


Thursday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to City Hall, Transportation, Federal Election, Waterfront, Urban Food.

“Centre Of The Universe” (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about the role of cities in this federal election campaign, with Kevin Stolarick. He is research director at the Martin Prosperity Institute.

What Will the Parties Do For Your City? (The Mark News)
This week, the University of Toronto’s Cities Centre is releasing a report that highlights the importance of Canadian cities and the challenges they face. The Mark spoke with Fred Eisenberger, president and CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute, about these challenges and found out what the NDP and Liberals are planning to do.


Edmonton council pursues erotic-massage bylaw (Vancouver Sun)
Its big business in this city Do we want to be a city where were known for sex for sale, for human trafficking, exploitation of people in poverty, or do we want to be known as a city where women are respected?

An Interview with Author Benjamin Perrin (Daily motion)
Human trafficking is basically a form of slavery. WatchMojo speaks with Benjamin Perrin, a leading expert on the subject, to learn how this problem affects the United States and Canada.

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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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