Maytree News headlines – April 25, 2011


Canada’s three major parties on immigration (
A quick overview of major party platforms on immigration.

WEEKEND EXTRA: Courting the ethnic vote (Vancouver Sun)
While the Liberals have long been linked to the immigrant vote, times are changing. And electoral success, particularly in key swing ridings in Metro Vancouver and Toronto, may well depend on which party is best able to appeal to visible-minority voters.

Courting the ethnic vote (Share)
Long before this election campaign, the Conservatives, who have not traditionally been seen as the party of choice for most new Canadians of identifiable ethnicity, have been working hard to change that image. Jason Kenney, the Harper government’s immigration minister, has made it his personal mission to cultivate connections with this country’s immigrant and ethnic communities – mainly Asians and South Asians – in anticipation of just such a day.

‘Ethnic’ voters, unite! You have nothing to lose but your temper (Globe and Mail)
While all three political parties have pandered to so-called ethnic voters in previous elections, they have never been this brazen. In fact, the callous tactics that have come to typify the 2011 campaign mark a new low for Canadian multiculturalism. This country has witnessed some of the most appalling acts of ethnic reductionism in recent memory and it is fuelling a backlash from voters.

Canadian party leaders reach out for ethnic Chinese, Indian votes (Xinhua)
With just one week to go until election day, the leaders of the three main national political parties sought to win the votes of Canada’s ethnic minorities on Sunday.

N. Van’s immigrant vote important (North Shore News)
Bozorgi is part of a segment of the population increasingly of interest to candidates in this federal election — voters who are recent immigrants to Canada or part of distinct ethnic or cultural communities. Particularly in urban areas of the Lower Mainland, including several seats considered potential swing ridings like North Vancouver, the electorate includes significant numbers of recent immigrants.

Missing in electoral action: immigration (Globe and Mail)
By Martin Collacott. While party leaders have gone to considerable lengths to court immigrant communities, important questions about immigration have been ignored in this election campaign. In general, Canadians are more positive about immigration that any other major immigrant-receiving country. But a very significant proportion thinks that, with the highest net per capita intake in the world, we’re bringing in far more people than we need or can absorb.

Immigration’s the elephant in the room (Toronto Sun)
While immigration as an issue demands the most serious public discussion, it is the elephant in the room that all major parties and political leaders, with the collusion of the fourth estate, have done their best to evade.

Once a sure thing, Liberals now fighting for Jewish vote (Globe and Mail)
The Conservatives are making a deliberate push for Jewish votes as part of a broader outreach strategy for what is euphemistically called “the ethnic vote.” Jason Kenney, the Tory Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, told The Globe and Mail that his party has seen “growing support in the ethno-cultural communities [that] feel like they have been taken for granted by the Liberals.”

Cohn: Tories beating Liberals at their own game of ethnic politics (Toronto Star)
Ethnic politics has suddenly become un-Canadian. And somehow unprecedented. Just ask the opposition politicians and media pundits who are railing against those calculating Conservatives. The Tories’ cynical sin? Treating immigrant groups like vote banks by patronizing — and/or stereotyping, exploiting, victimizing — Canada’s minorities. We’re now told that multicultural Canadians are just plain Canadians. They don’t want to be targeted by predatory Tory operatives who tailor their political pitches in a supposedly sinister form of ethnic profiling. And when did this newfound electoral correctness emerge? At about the time Liberals started losing their stranglehold on ethnic enclaves.–cohn-tories-beating-liberals-at-their-own-game-of-ethnic-politics?bn=1

Siddiqui: How Harper is courting South Asians (Toronto Star)
It’s misleading to say that the Conservatives are wooing the 1.3 million-strong South Asian community. They are wooing only small segments of it, the same way they are soliciting votes from selected slices of the Canadian population… They are really after the 500,000 Indo-Canadians. Sorry, even that’s not accurate. They are after two of three main religious groups, Sikhs and Hindus, but not Muslims.–siddiqui-how-harper-is-courting-south-asians

Cultural Navigators Rock the Vote 2011 | Speak Out Now! (Schema Magazine)
What’s your view on the so-called ‘ethnic’ vote? What do the Conservatives, Liberals and NDP mean by the ‘very ethnic’?

Votes, Values and the 905 (CBC Metro Morning)
Metro Morning host Matt Galloway speaks with community leaders Gloria Fung, Sundha Berry, Tariq Amin-Khan, Baldev Mutta and Neethan Shan about election issues in the suburbs of Toronto. Watch their conversation on video, learn more about the participants and tell us what you think.

“Showdown In The Suburbs” 1 (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about the so-called “ethnic” vote” in the 905 area with Baldev Mutta, Sudha Berry, Tariq Amin-Khan, Gloria Fung and Neethan Shan.

Fleeing Latvia (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with David Bezmozgis External Site, about his recently published novel, “The Free World”. It is published by Harper Collins.

Chinese Student (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Metro Morning producer Lu Zhou, about the lives of Chinese visa students in this city.

Chinese Students (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Frankie Chen. He is a philosophy student at York, and he is with the Association of Chinese Students and Scholars at York.

Culture of cultivation (Surrey Leader)
A descendent of farming people from the Prairies herself, Sky is the program coordinator at the organic garden, part of a three-year project at the DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society that has brought cultures together and food to the table. The bounty, produced in three growing seasons, includes a wide variety of leafy greens, onions peas, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic and other crops – some culturally specific to the gardeners. The original concept, an offshoot of the Community Kitchen program, was fairly simple: An organic garden for low-income immigrants.

Diversity, our weakness? (Open File)
Toronto’s official motto—”Diversity Our Strength”—might speak to the strength of this mega-city project, a combination of seven different municipalities in one of the world’s most culturally diverse metropolises, but according to the people who gathered in room 1 and 2 of the Scarborough Civic Centre on April 14, there’s still a lot of work to do. Activists from the Council of Agencies Serving South Asians and the Colour of Poverty-Colour of Change Coalition united to host a community forum addressing racism’s insidious role in poverty rates in Toronto.

DESI DIALOGUES: Calling for more transparency for potential immigrants (
My only concern is that why is family reunification – or for that matter talking of reuniting families – becoming such a hot button issue? Especially, since there are other immigration issues that are more important to the economic prosperity of Canada. In fact, the larger question, in my opinion, is to debate about how the Canadian immigration policy has not been able to eke out a truly equitable system for those qualified, highly educated immigrants who have left their country to make a better life for them in this country. (I am not talking of those immigrants who claim refugee status in Canada and who land here from war torn countries or even dictatorial regimes).–desi-dialogues-calling-for-more-transparency-for-potential-immigrants

Man charged for running bogus immigration and employment agency (Toronto Star)
A 46-year-old man is facing charges for allegedly running a fraudulent business that targeted prospective immigrants searching for employment and citizenship in Canada. Police said the bogus business was run from August 2009 to September 2010 and targeted people hoping to bring over friends and family from the Philippin–man-charged-for-running-bogus-immigration-and-employment-agency

Canadian newcomers shouldn’t vote Tory: lawyers, academics (Vancouver Sun)
Dozens of lawyers and academics from across the country are urging Canadians not to vote Tory because the party’s policies have been “unfriendly” to the immigrant community.

For politicians, it’s any faith but their own (Globe and Mail)
Unlike their counterparts in the United States, who talk freely and openly about their religiosity as if it were a job qualification, Canada’s political leaders generally remain guarded when it comes to matters of faith.

How China’s ‘crooked consultants’ help the rich enter Canada (Globe and Mail)
In China, however, manufacturing a personal history that will satisfy Immigration Canada is no problem for almost anyone willing to pay.

Read edited transcripts of The Globe’s calls with Chinese consultants (Globe and Mail)
These are edited transcripts of four of the nearly two dozen recorded phone conversations The Globe and Mail had with consultants in China about the prospect of our fictional applicant immigrating to Canada via the investor route.

Bharati Mukherjee: Reminiscing about a different Montreal (Montreal Gazette)
“I didn’t encounter personal racism, except once in a Woolworth’s store when they wouldn’t serve me,” she says when asked how her visible minority status played out in Montreal. “The racial discrimination was more targeted toward francophone immigrant groups – I’m thinking of Haitians. I certainly didn’t have the same kind of personal humiliation, despair and anger as I did in Toronto.”

Please, make Stephen Harper stop … (Hamilton Spectator)
Certainly the nearly 90,000 Hamiltonians still living in poverty are not laughing. They’re definitely not laughing at the government turning down two significant opportunities to implement a National Poverty Strategy over the last year and one that could have brought in a National Affordable Housing Strategy. Harper must be laughing at them, not with them… Certainly people impacted by the funding cuts of more than 80 essential community organizations, NGOs, and research bodies are not laughing. Immigrants and newcomers aren’t laughing knowing that the list includes organizations like SISO, the Canadian Arab Federation, and the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation despite the ongoing quest for the “very ethnic” vote. Harper must be laughing at them, not with them.–please-make-stephen-harper-stop

Event May 8, 2011: Mental Health, Immigration and Prosperity in Canada (Town Crier)
FORTY MINUTE FORUM proudly presents Dr Kwame McKenzie of CAM-H and U of T. He brings together his interests in mental health and social/racial diversity and explores how we make communities to keep people well and prosperous. Free. Everyone welcome.

Historicist: “The House He’s Earned” (Torontoist)
In today’s Historicist, we look at the ways Italian immigrants have contributed to our city’s culture.

Surrey protest demands tougher laws for immigration consultants (Vancouver Sun)
The protesters, who say they have been fighting against immigration consultant fraud for more than a year, are calling on Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to pass tougher laws to regulate the industry.

BC residents rally against immigration fraud (Vancouver Sun)
Dozens of people rallied against immigration fraud in the Vancouver suburb of Surrey on Sunday, calling for stronger sanctions against fraudulent immigration consultants.

The Challenges of Integrating Newcomers: The Halifax Case – PDF (Atlantic Metropolis)
The paper discusses the findings of research that looked into the social dynamics of economic performance in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The research examines the ways in which civic governance might encourage social inclusion to create better conditions for local economic growth.

Ignatieff, Layton cross paths in Toronto (CBC)
Ignatieff and Layton both made appearances at the Khalsa Day parade, a Sikh celebration in Toronto. The two leaders shook hands, and each made a brief speech. Conservative candidate Jason Kenney also addressed the crowd.


Eliminate the processing fees for refugees (Maytree blog)
About $5.3 million was collected from “Immigration cost–recovery fees for refugees” in 2008-2009. This represents only one percent of fees collected by Citizenship and Immigration and a miniscule amount of the department’s overall budget. Eliminating the processing fee would entail a straightforward regulatory amendment to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Border agents’ surprise home visits to Tamil migrants ‘appalling’: critics (Vancouver Sun)
Over the past few months, Canada Border Services Agency officers have been showing up unannounced at the homes of many Tamil migrants from the MV Sun Sea, in some cases going into their homes and searching their bedrooms. Government officials say they are making sure that the refugee claimants are complying with the terms and conditions of their release from detention. But lawyers for some of the migrants say some of the enforcement actions have gone too far and demonstrate an “appalling” abuse of power.

Conservative promise to speed up deportations (CBC)
With the exception of pledging to make something that’s already a top priority even more of a top priority, the Conservatives seem to be promising some pretty tough medicine. But as they say, the devil is in the details and questions can be raised about whether the measures would really be effective. One immigration lawyer told CBC the measures are “draconian” and could cause more problems than they might solve. Deportation delays are more often caused by logistics issues, such as securing travel documents, than they are by multiple appeals, he said. If the Tories are proposing some significant changes to the country’s immigration laws and rules, they should have been more up front about them.

Exclusive: Wrongly deported teen goes into hiding (Toronto Star)
The girl had previously been granted refugee status in Canada, citing longstanding abuse by her mother, but she was sent back to Mexico anyway. Josette’s world is now a feud-ridden twilight zone controlled by strangers and lawyers, judges and bureaucrats, most of whom are Canadian. Just four months past her 14th birthday, Josette is at once a refugee from Mexico, a deportee from Canada, a runaway from home, and now an involuntary high-school dropout — the fugitive victim of the colliding interests of adults in Canada, Mexico and as far away as Norway.–exclusive-wrongly-deported-teen-goes-into-hiding

Fleeing war, finding a new home (Montreal Gazette)
Every immigrant to CanadA has a story, often of hardship. But the story told in Niko, a novel by Montreal’s Dimitri Nasrallah, is a mesmerizing and sometimes tall tale, one that will charm all who know, or care to learn, what it really means to leave home and family behind and start from scratch in a new country.

Refuge: No Borders As Practical Politics (York U)
Issue 26.2: No Borders As Practical Politics is now available online! Guest Editors Bridget Anderson, Nandita Sharma and Cynthia Wright have done a wonderful job with the issue. Please click on the “current” section of the REFUGE website to access PDF articles of all papers included in issue 26.2.

Refugees Who Arrive by Boat and Canada’s Commitment to the Refugee Convention: A Discursive Analysis (York U)
This paper offers a comparative analysis of official discourse surrounding three incidents of asylum seekers arriving in Canada by boat: the Komagata Maru in 1914; the Sri Lankans who arrived in Newfoundland on lifeboats in 1986; and the Ocean Lady in 2009. The objective is to assess Canada’s commitment to protecting refugees at these three points in history and evaluate academic contentions that the concept of the refugee is being eroded. The selected incidents trace the emergence and decline of the notion of the refugee in Canadian official discourse. Even during the peak of Canada’s commitment to refugees in the 1980s, the discourse reveals blurriness between the ideas of the “refugee” and the “illegal migrant.” However, the characterization of asylum seekers as “illegals” is more intense now than in the earlier periods. This shift in the discourse warrants attention as we face the prospect of what Audrey Macklin describes as the “discursive disappearance of the refugee.”

Playing Canada for a fool (Toronto Sun)
When it takes an 11th-hour order from a judge to prevent the pre-deportation release of a bogus refugee claimant with a stack of 76 criminal convictions in our country, then the system is totally dysfunctional and in dire need of a fix. No more proof is needed.


Labour market inequalities? Precarious housing? Health inequity? WI election newsletter sets out key issues (Wellesley Institute)
How will federal election candidates break down inequality in Canada’s colour-coded labour markets? How will federal election candidates ensure a healthy home for the 1.5 million Canadian households who are precariously housed? How will federal election candidates cut the big differences in health between poor people, Aboriginal people and other vulnerable communities and the rest of us? The Wellesley Institute’s latest newsletter is a special election edition with links to current and recent research and policy on key challenges that will face the next Parliamentary session. You can also download from ’newletter archives’ on the Wellesley Institute home page.

‘Wake up’ to poverty issues: CUPE president (Truro Daily News)
New information that shows food bank use in Truro has risen sharply should be a widespread wake-up call, says CUPE Nova Scotia president Danny Cavanagh. “Sadly,” he said, “Truro was the site of a huge anti-poverty conference in October of 2010, with more than 250 people participating.


Helping newcomers find green jobs (Calgary Herald)
Despite having a strong command of the English language, she was surprised by the differences in the business cultures between the U.K. and Canada and she also lacked Canadian experience. It was tough to find a job in her field. Then she heard about the Environmental Immigrant Bridging program offered through the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society that launched in February as a pilot project with support from ECO Canada. She was accepted into a group of 15 that got six weeks of training to help them gain credential recognition, communication skills and local experience.


Monday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to City Council, Transit, Federal Election, Streets, Neighbourhoods, Housing, History.

What makes a beautiful city? (Azure Magazine)
In the lead-up to Canada’s federal election, the future of cities should be on the minds of the 80 per cent of us that live in urban areas. What goes into a beautiful city was the topic of a discussion hosted at Toronto’s MaRS centre by the Martin Prosperity Institute, Salon Camden and the Design Industry Advisory Committee.

In search of city’s urban agenda (Winnipeg Sun)
These are all big issues for Winnipeg, and our civic leaders — who represent every political stripe in the rainbow — should be talking them up at every meeting, rally, town hall and media scrum they can find these days. This is particularly important this time around, as cities seem to have fallen off the political map. Previous big issues like infrastructure, transportation, tax sharing and crime have been pushed aside as parties argue about abstract ideas like leadership, Parliamentary etiquette and Facebook creeping.

Hume: Harper’s Canada does not include cities (Toronto Star)
It’s an extraordinary thing to say, but for all the difference it will make to urban Canadians, this federal election might as well not be happening. Unless they are “ethnic,” or come from Alberta, city dwellers are of little interest to the major political parties, especially the Conservatives.–hume-harper-s-canada-does-not-include-cities


Adopt a national action plan to combat human trafficking (Maytree blog)
The federal government should develop an action plan in consultation with provinces, territories and non-governmental organizations. The action plan should include concrete timesensitive objectives, propose legislative and regulatory reforms, establish additional resources for non-governmental organizations and police, identify priorities for the prosecution of traffickers, and develop strategies for protecting victims. The implementation of the action plan should be monitored through quarterly reports to the cabinet and annual reports to parliament.

Uniting against human trafficking (Global Winnipeg)
Unlike “one-off” sexual assaults, McConaghy added that human trafficking is a “slow way of murdering them from the inside-out.” By raising awareness of the human trafficking with Canadians, Smith and McConaghy hope citizens will pressure government to allocate more resources to fighting the crime.

Deborah Meredith: Conservatives making a difference on human trafficking (
Her legislation is an important step forward in addressing human trafficking here in Canada, but not the only step—Joy Smith is pushing for a comprehensive national action plan to combat human trafficking. Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has urged Craigslist to eliminate ads for sexual services. In May of 2010 the government introduced the Protecting Children from Online Sexual Exploitation Act, requiring suppliers of Internet services to report online child pornography. In November of 2010 it introduced the Protecting Children from Sexual Predators Act, establishing mandatory prison sentences for offences such as luring a child and sexual assault.

Walking to end trafficking – Mississauga (
“I am not for sale.” That was the message from participants in traffickjam, a national walkathon put on by Canada Fights Human Trafficking (CFHT). Walkers departed from the Square One parking lot last night, drawing attention to the issue as they made their way through the surrounding community.–walking-to-end-trafficking

Human Rights with Benjamin Perrin (YouTube)
The BC human Rights Coalition and the United Nations Association in Canada celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10th, 2008

Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation: Victim Protection in International and Domestic Asylum Law (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees)
The paper examines the gaps and inconsistencies in international and domestic asylum law when addressing issues of trafficking for sexual exploitation.

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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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RT @metrolens: Check out my journey to find out: WTF is the ethnic vote? @schema_magazine: #ethnicvote #elxn41 #rac ......