Maytree News headlines – April 7, 2011


Getting Involved (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about what can be done to better educate and engage new Canadian voters, with Egyptian-Canadian Ahmed Khalifa and with Toronto lawyer Andrea Chun.

Marriage of Convenience (Toronto Star)
In this federal election, all major political parties are waving the “family friendly” flag. The Conservatives are particularly eager to win what they call the “very ethnic votes” as well as “women” votes. But while their campaign slogans say one thing, the Conservatives’ policies have been something else altogether, especially when it comes to immigration.–marriage-of-convenience

OCASI Suggests Questions For Federal Election 2011 (OCASI)
OCASI has prepared the following suggested questions to ask candidates, focusing on issues related to Employment, Services, Immigration, Public Messaging about immigrants and refugees, and Childcare. We encourage you to engage with your local candidates on the concerns listed here.

Suggested election questions 2011 (CCR)
The following are the CCR’s suggestions of some questions to ask candidates in the 2011 federal elections. Other organizations are welcome to adopt and adapt any or all of these questions for their own materials.

Census information in multiple languages (
Statistics Canada has produced a number of promotional materials (posters, bookmarks, fact sheets) about the May 2011 Census including information in several languages: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Creole, Dari, English, French, Hindi, Japanese, Koren, Laotian, Persian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Tamil, Urdu, Vietnamese.

Why politicians are targeting the ethnic vote (Globe and Mail)
The growth of ethnic communities is one reason why Canada’s political parties are starting to court immigrant voters. If a group of one million voters is evenly spread out across the country, there will be just a few thousand members of that group in each riding. In any one race, there will be too few to matter. But a group of one million voters divided between just a few ridings works out to tens or hundreds of thousands of voters in each constituency. That number of voters has the potential to swing the outcome of each one of those contests.

Beyond the ‘ethnic vote’ (Ottawa Citizen)
Political parties know there are benefits to focusing on ethnic voters, which is why they do it. It is also why many continue to view ethnic communities as homogeneous groups that votes and thinks as a bloc, even as that is changing. It is hardly surprising, then, that many recent and not-so-recent immigrants are offended by this suggestion, something Ignatieff has picked up on.

Minority report (Global Winnipeg)
Barry Kay at the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy has crunched the numbers using data from the Ipsos-Reid 2008 Election Day poll of 35,000 voters. Here’s a summary of his findings.
• Visible minorities disproportionately vote Liberal.
• Conservatives have the best chance with immigrants from East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
• The NDP and Green party perform best among the Latin American community.
• Longer-term immigrants are more Conservative than recent immigrants.

Data and tables –

Immigrant voting patterns (Global Winnipeg)
Bary Kay is an associate professor at Ontario’s Wilfrid Laurier University, and a member of the Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy (LISPOP). He examined data from the 2008 federal election (an Ipsos-Reid poll of 35,000) and answered our questions about the voting patterns of visible minorities in Canada.

John Ivison: Vancouver riding a barometer for ethnic votes (National Post)
It seems that Ms. Young was not alone in deciding the Conservative party most closely reflects her take on life — the Tories’ share of the Chinese vote has increased in each of the past three elections. In the Vancouver area, they hope not only to elect Ms. Young but also to retain Alice Wong’s seat in Richmond and win Burnaby-Douglas from the NDP, where they have high hopes for their candidate, Ronald Leung. Vancouver South has the third-highest proportion of Chinese Canadians in the country at around 50% and a large Punjabi community, representing a further 10% of the population.

Parties still covering the ‘ethnic’ bases during campaign (Hamilton Spectator)
There is much discussion about the “ethnic vote” in the May 2 election. Pundit and politician alike are making much about ethnic voting blocks. Some people question whether there is such a thing as an “ethnic vote”; others wonder how to make it work for them at the polls. The Conservative party is courting the ethnic vote as one of their key strategies for a majority in the 41st Parliament.–parties-still-covering-the-ethnic-bases-during-campaign

Tories promise loans to help immigrants upgrade skills, get credentials (Toronto Star)
It’s no coincidence that he picked the GTA to speak about foreign credential recognition. It’s one of the most perplexing problems facing new Canadians, who often don’t have the necessary job skills to enter the workforce and, as a result, can’t raise the money to remedy the problem. It has led to Toronto being known as a gathering place for doctors, scientists and engineers from abroad who are working in menial jobs to support their families.–tories-promise-loans-to-help-immigrants-upgrade-skills-get-credentials

Tories pledge financial help to upgrade immigrant skills (Calgary Herald)
The Conservative proposal, which the party says will cost $6 million a year, is welcomed by Meza and some local immigrant agency officials. They say training is an expensive prospect for a newcomer with little savings and no credit rating. Still, some note the issue of foreign credentials has many complicated aspects that are difficult to tackle.

Full details from Conservative website –

Tories emerge from the closet (South Asian Focus)
The Conservatives have been courting the newcomer ethnic vote by seeking to appeal to common traditional values. Against this background, last week the Government of Canada said – just before it was toppled in a non-confidence motion – it would help those fleeing persecution due to their sexual orientation.

Generation social media (The Vancouver Observer)
A large crowd packed into the Alice McKay Room at the downtown Vancouver Public Library last night for #NETCulture: Stories of Culture and Diversity in Social Media… The forum addressed two Canadian obsessions: multiculturalism and social media. How do social media like twitter, Facebook and Skype help diverse cultural groups get stronger? Can the power of social media be harnessed by people for whom English is a second language, or by older immigrants? Audience members from all different ethnic backgrounds and age groups were eager to find out.

Receiver Communities (Belonging Community)
Saunders concluded saying each of these have to be done in concert. No matter if it seems costly, Saunders said. Building the infrastructure to support them, including such basics as childcare, will save greater expenses later. Arrival cities have the potential to be the next middle class or to be a continual source of problems. His analysis and solutions, Saunders acknowledged, would be unsatisfactory to those people seeking a market solution and, also, to those looking to state actors to solve societal problems. It is, probably, why his solutions will work.

Aaj Tak, Headline Today launched in Canada (
Canada’s huge Indian diaspora Tuesday welcomed the launch of news channels Aaj Tak and Headline Today in the country. Welcoming the news channels at a gala party here, Canadian Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said the launch “could not have come at a better time when Canada and India are deepening their relationship very fast”.’

Newcomer centre celebrates official opening (
Some of Canada’s newest residents gathered at Oakville’s Centre for Education and Training Thursday to celebrate the official opening of the Newcomer Information and Language Assessment Centre at 171 Speers Rd. The centre is a walk-in centre, which offers immigrant families free and accurate information and referral services regarding settlement, credential evaluations, employment, housing, health services, legal issues and various social, community and recreational services.–newcomer-centre-celebrates-official-opening


Human-smuggling bill still part of Tory governing plan: Harper (Vancouver Sun)
The Conservatives will not abandon their proposed human-smuggling legislation, even if they govern with another minority after the May 2 vote, Stephen Harper said Wednesday. Opposition parties have rejected the proposed legislation — and have said they’ll continue to oppose it.

Migrants face hearings for human smuggling (Globe and Mail)
The first migrant from the MV Sun Sea to face an admissibility hearing and possible deportation for human smuggling will appear before the Immigration and Refugee Board on Thursday. The man – who can’t be identified because of a publication ban – was one of 492 Tamils who arrived in B.C. last August. All made refugee claims, but 41 have been referred to the IRB for an admissibility hearing. Those deemed inadmissible are ordered deported.

Helping gay refugees (
Through the project, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will work with the Rainbow Refugee Committee to share the cost of sponsoring gay, lesbian, transgender, transsexual and bisexual refugees overseas to Canada.

New refugee policy condemned for lacking compassion (The Catholic Register)
Changes to Canada’s refugee system are being denounced by the sponsorship community as a cap on compassion and generosity. A February letter from Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to churches and non-profits that sponsor refugees revealed plans to limit the number of refugees Canadians would be allowed to sponsor under the Private Sponsorship of Refugees program. Kenney calls it a “different kind of stewardship.” The government is also unilaterally altering its contracts with Sponsorship Agreement Holders, ending all agreements as of Dec. 31, 2011.

Case of the Curious Conservative Campaign (
Despite a hefty 14 per cent lead in recent public opinion polls, the Conservative Party is intent on taking absolutely unnecessary risks by bashing the environment and refugees, moves that seem sure to cost them votes in the urban ridings they need to win for a majority government.


Hire Canada’s indigenous peoples before foreign skilled workers, says chief (Regina Leader-Post)
Businesses should be looking to hire Canada’s indigenous peoples before going overseas to look for skilled workers, says the chief of one of the country’s most successful First Nations. “(When) First Nations people have the same unemployment rate as the non-native people . . . , then sure the federal government should make changes to the immigration laws and be looking for workers from overseas,” Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band in B.C. told the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association annual meeting Wednesday.


Thursday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to Transit, TCHC, Architecture & Development, Police & Crime, Urban Green, GTA Politics and Other News.

Parties must reveal plans for cities, federation says (CTV)
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is calling on the federal party leaders to reveal what they will do to help cities and communities if elected. The federation president says 40 per cent of municipal funding will expire in the next 36 months, so it’s critical to know how the next government will help them compete in the global economy.

Complete FCM election platform – PDF –
More –

City renames Metro Square to honour David Pecaut (Toronto Star)
The large public space — bounded by Roy Thomson Hall, Metro Hall, King St. W. and Wellington St. W. — is to be renamed for the late city-building guru, David Pecaut.


Social Innovation – Doing More With More (Al Etmanski)
The phrase social innovation is surfacing everywhere. The European Union has just launched Social Innovation Europe. The UK has multiple initiatives around social innovation. President Obama has an Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. The Canadian Government has established awards for social innovation. The British Columbia Government has created an Advisory Council on Social Entrepreneurship, “to maximize social innovation.” Some, naturally will be suspicious. Is this new rhetoric for the same old same old? Is this an attempt by governments and their apologists to off- load responsibilities to communities without additional resources?


Focus on Human Trafficking (Forced Migration Current Awareness Blog)
A collection of events, papers and conference proceedings on the topic.

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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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