Maytree news headlines – July 12, 2011


Stephen Harper’s Actions Against Immigration Are Different Than His Words (Huffington Post)
Stephen Harper now has a stronger mandate with a majority government, so what is Harper’s agenda with his new mandate? The answer is that there are two agendas at play. The first is to chart Canada on a fundamentally right-wing course; the second is to establish the Conservatives as the new “natural governing party,” taking this mantle from the Liberals who previously claimed this title.

Montreal’s new Irish wave (Open File Montreal)
After years of incredible growth, in 2008 the Celtic Tiger all but died. Real estate and construction bubbles burst, banks collapsed and a government debt crisis followed. With unemployment at 14% and no jobs, thousands of Irish graduates and young professionals are emigrating to the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Canada changed the working-holiday program for Irish aged 18-35 this year, upping Irelands visa quota from 4,000 in 2010 to 5,000 for 2011 and allowing people to apply for a second year.

Does living in a diverse community make you safer? (The grio)
Residential integration has long been associated with an improved quality of life for people of color in America. Civil and human rights leaders for over a century have elevated the importance of diversity and inclusion in housing as a core component of advancing the promise of our democracy. Recent research conducted by Richard Florida, director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto has found that almost three years into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, crime rates are falling in American cities.

Unreasonable accommodation (National Post)
It is to Canada’s credit that our public institutions, politicians and jurists struggle mightily with questions of accommodating religious beliefs. Reacting too quickly or forcefully in defence of long-held Canadian traditions, or in opposition to those traditions that immigrants have brought with them to Canada, risks needless social strife. In the case of public education specifically, it risks driving minority children out of the public system and into private religious schools. For all of public education’s many foibles, this would be an undesirable outcome -particularly, as in Ontario, where public funding is extended only to secular and Catholic schools.

At least 50 suspected war criminals in GTA (Toronto Sun)
At least 50 suspected war criminals are hiding out in the GTA, but Canadian border officials wont identify them. Canada Border Services Agency officials were quick to cite federal privacy laws when asked for specifics around the 50 war criminals, who are in the country illegally. Theyre being hunted by the CBSA as part of a massive sweep to net thousands of illegal immigrants in the GTA.

Suspected war criminals assured privacy (Toronto Sun)
Who are these 50 wanted war criminals? And could any be hiding next door to you? It seems our government is saying we are not allowed to know. We are unable to give you that information, Canadian Border Service Agency spokesman Vanessa Barrasa told Toronto Sun reporter Terry Davidson. Using Canadas privacy act as the excuse, it was almost laughable that she went on to say unless theyve had public hearings the public is out of luck.

New immigration strategy launched in Ottawa, Canada (Expat Forum)
Officials in Ottawa, Canada, have launched a new immigration strategy to attract more immigrants and support those who are already in the region to integrate into society. The aim is to make Ottawa a city that expats want to move to and leaders said they are happy to compete against other cities to make it easier for people arriving from abroad.

‘Tribalism’ or ‘global tribe?’ Eight questions about immigration (Vancouver Sun)
An author-speaker who is a friend recently chided Europeans and Metro Vancouverites for resenting immigrants and questioning their own countries’ immigration policies. He got a dig in at Metro residents for complaining how the recent influx of wealthy Chinese to the city was driving up housing prices, but noted some Vancouverites are seizing the chance to profit selling to them. He was warning people against “xenophobia” and hypocrisy about immigration. He urged Canadians not to be “ethnocentric,” but to be “worldcentric.” He spoke against “tribalism” and promoted the universal vision of a “planetary tribe.”

Religion in Schools (CCLA)
The debate over whether religion belongs in public schools has picked up again, with regards to whether and to what extent should a school accomodate students religion. The current debate focuses on a public school in Toronto that makes its cafeteria available to its (majority) Muslim students for Friday prayer.

Dealing with CIC: Make Sure your immigrant consultant is registered with ICCRC (South Asian Generation Next)
There is new immigration consultant regulatory body in town. This body is called Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC). The body is effective as of June 30th, 2011. All immigration consultants must register with ICCRC in the next 120 days to legitimately represent their clients.

Cheryl May: Contributing to the conversation of glass ceilings for newcomers A chat with Executive Director of Skills for Change (South Asian Generation Next)
With background in social innovations and bringing 211 to Canada, Ms. Cheryl May, the Executive Director of Skills for Change, has brought a new vision to Skills for Change. To explore how we can use technology better to reach out to people, help everyone feel connected so were really moving into social media, looking at Twitter, LinkedIn. Were redesigning our website so that a lot of activities can take place online so that people can engage with us very easily, said Cheryl in an interview with Generation Next.

Religious accommodation: A new front in Quebecs sovereignty battle? (Globe and Mail)
Quebec stands on the verge of an explosive debate about multiculturalism. And its sparks could be enough to reignite a seemingly moribund sovereigntist movement. The denunciation of multiculturalism by some within the sovereignty movement represents a political expression of Quebecs secular identity. Quebec sees secularism as tied to its distinct identity a marked difference from the Canadian understanding of religious accommodation. The Parti Québécois, for example, has called for amendments to the provinces human rights charter that would place limitations on certain fundamental rights by giving priority to the secular nature of Quebec society.

20 years after race riot, faces of power still white (Chronicle Herald)
Halifax has changed somewhat over the years certainly the Muslim and Asian communities have grown but, by and large, the men and women who call the shots here are white. An exception is perhaps the Halifax regional school board. Irvine Carvery, chairman of the board, is black and Gin Yee, the vice-chairman, is Asian. However, the decision-makers in this well-educated municipality of more than 400,000 are clearly not part of a diverse group. For example, there is not a black, aboriginal, Muslim or an Asian person on Halifax council.

Give Canadas visiting brains a boost (Globe and Mail)
As reported by Joe Friesen in Friday’s Globe, Canada is turning away too many people of promise. Romanians Mircea Pasoi and Cristian Strat have venture capital support for their software start-up, but not the required $300,000 in personal assets to qualify as potential immigrants under the federal entrepreneurship program. The capital requirements aren’t the only deterrent. Other things that entrepreneurs value speed, flexibility are missing in the program, which can take as long as eight years to consider a visa application. Jason Kenney, the Immigration Minister, was right to put a moratorium on new applications and to order a review of the program.

Many rush as route to Canada made ‘easier’ (Times of India)
The lure to settle abroad is fast catching on with city residents. And those who dream to settle in Canada are seen rushing to immigration office to fill forms as Canadian government has limited the number of new federal skilled worker applications that are considered for processing to 10,000 a year, beginning July 1, 2010, from the country versus 13,800 as of June 24, 2011. Sources say this limit will help Canadian government align the number of applications with labour market demand. Within the 10,000 limit, a maximum of 500 new applications in each of the current 29 priority occupations will be considered. And out of India’s quota, which is close to 1,000 a year, 25% candidates apply from Punjab itself.

Afghan interpreter who risked life for soldiers gets visa to Canada (Toronto Star)
Canada has finally kept its promise to a brave Afghan interpreter who served alongside Canadian combat troops in Kandahar. Just days after going public in the Sunday Star with his fears of being abandoned as the last Canadians pull out of southern Afghanistan this month, Sayed Shah Sharifi got word that he can have a visa to immigrate to Canada–courageous-afghan-interpreter-gets-his-visa?bn=1

Diaspora Dialogues: a presentation to mentors by Tasleem Thawar (Mentorpalooza)
We are delighted to announce that Mentorpalooza! is made possible in part by Diaspora Dialogues. Consistent with their commitment to mentoring and diversity, DD will present this year’s recognized mentors with a copy of TOK: Writing the New Toronto, books from the series (one through six). Representing DD, Tasleem Thawar, a contributor of TOK, Book 2 and emerging author from Toronto, will be present during the recognition event and at the book presentation to the mentors, which will each be personally signed by her.

Canada To Review Its Ban On Foreigners Convicted Of Impaired Driving (MuchMor Magazine)
It seems that the time has come for Canada to review its ban on foreigners convicted of impaired driving. Citizenship and Immigration Canadas website describes our rule rather succinctly. If you have been convicted of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, you will probably be found criminally inadmissible to Canada. This rule applies to foreigners coming to visit, work, study, or live in Canada. In other words, if you have been convicted of such an offence, chances are you will not be allowed to step foot in Canada. Virtually all countries deny entry to foreigners with criminal records. However, most countries dont consider drunk driving a crime. So admission to those countries is not usually a problem for those previously found guilty of such an offence.

Marriage, Fraud, and Private Detectives (South Asian Generation Next)
Last year, federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenny said that the government would take steps to minimize this undue advantage taken of Canadian immigration through use of more rigorous interview processes and deportation of individuals who violate the immigration laws. He is also considering the introduction of a probationary period after which a sponsored spouse would receive permanent residency. But would this really solve the problem? The sponsored spouse could leave the marriage right after receiving permanent residency in Canada. Others also oppose such measures, immigration lawyers, like Avvy Go says that any crackdown would only aggravate a government approach that already sees immigration officers discriminate against aspiring new residents based on their income and culture. She points out that Family-class immigrants have always been seen as a burden of our economy, because these individuals are allowed to come not because they have skills or money but because they have family ties, and tightening immigration policies would only be a way to reduce the number of family class immigrants. Moreover, The Canadian Bar Association and the Canadian Migration Institute said the new immigration regulations will unfairly add an element of suspicion to arranged marriages, which are common in many parts of the world, including India. Currently, no new laws have been slated but the CIC webpage also acknowledges that Resources are limited, and spending must be prioritized. Additional funds will be needed to cover any new measures or processing times may be affected.

D%$@ Canadian drivers! (Today’s Trucking)
Regardless of people’s perceptions, the decade-long study tracked almost a million new Canadians and compared their crash involvement to that of longtime residents and it turns out, according to researchers, that the newcomers — mostly from India and China — were 40 to 50 percent less likely to wind up in bad smash up.


Wanted: One large van (Winnipeg Free Press)
Three years ago, Winnipeg high-school teacher Paul Kambaja started giving up his summers to help new refugee kids at loose ends get ready for school in the fall. Now, there are 117 young people in the Summer Transitional School for Immigrants in St. Boniface, and he needs a bigger vehicle to get them there.

Artist group fights for deportee (Hamilton Spectator)
Their message was clear: let Silvia and her family stay in Canada. In a last-ditch effort to draw attention to their friends pending deportation, members of Artists for Social Change papered the corner of James Street North and Cannon Street with posters overnight Thursday. Timing it to coincide with Fridays art crawl, they are calling on the Canadian government to allow the Slovakian Roma and her family to remain in the country.–artist-group-fights-for-deportee

Immigrants were too busy on the day of election, survey finds out (The Link)
Among immigrants with Canadian citizenship who had landed within the previous 10 years and who indicated they did not vote, 35% said they did not vote because they were too busy. An additional 13% said they were not interested, while 8% said they were not on the voters list.

Escape from the killing fields (Winnipeg Free Press)
For 36 despairing years, the father thought his wife and seven children had been murdered; the family believed their father and husband had died. “It’s a complicated story, a complicated life,” Peou said quietly, sitting in his Lindenwoods home. For the past year, Peou has been the chairman of the political department at the University of Winnipeg. “My life has been a long journey, from being a survivor of the civil war, to being a survivor of the killing fields, to being a refugee in Canada,” said Peou.


Keeping the community in Toronto Community Housing (Opening the Window)
What then? It is a bit ingenuous for Mr. Ootes to say, its up to the Province. He has already said accurately I believe that we cant expect the province to rescue TCHC from its capital backlog. The current Liberal Government has not showered poor neighbourhoods with benefits; a Conservative government is even less likely to do so. And, if City Councils service review is any sign, we can expect city-funded institutions to shrink rather than grow. This is where social housing can step forward not as social services, but as tenant champions. Im not suggesting social housing should provide one-on-one services to tenants. Ootes is right to suggest that home care and case management should be funded through our health system not our housing system.

Regional poverty bodies established, province says (Telegraph-Journal)
New Brunswick has completed the first step in its plan to cut poverty by 25 per cent by 2015. Created last April, the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation joined grassroots organizations, the business community and government in the fight against poverty, dividing New Brunswick into 12 “regional inclusion networks.” Now, the province has announced all 12 networks have officially been established.


Bridge Training Programs help new Canadians get jobs in their fields (South Asian Generation Next)
Ontario is investing $8.8 million to renew 12 programs across the province. Provincial funding is being renewed for 12 bridge training programs, including three at Ryerson University for internationally-educated dieticians, social workers and midwives. Bridge training programs help internationally trained workers adapt their experience and skills to the Ontario job market without having to repeat previous education or training. Through these programs, newcomers develop the technical, cultural and language-related skills needed to succeed.


Tuesday’s Headines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to City Hall – Budget Cuts, Transportation – TTC & Cycling, Development and Other News.

AT ISSUE: ‘Open streets’ would make a difference in Thorncliffe Park (InsideToronto)
A new Liveable Community Report for Thorncliffe and Flemingdon released this spring contains several recommendations that would make Thorncliffe Park a greener, friendlier and safer place for the thousands of residents who call it home. Nearly 20,000 people live in three square kilometres in mainly mid- and high-rise buildings. They are hungry for a more liveable community and they have several ideas on how to make that possible.–at-issue-open-streets-would-make-a-difference-in-thorncliffe-park

Turns out its not all gravy (Globe and Mail)
If there is anybody left in Toronto who still thinks the city can solve its money troubles simply by stopping the gravy train, the results of the citys core service review should disabuse them. The review of city public works programs by KPMG consultants gave Toronto its first good look at what it will take to get city finances in line and it has nothing to do with cutting back on hired chipmunk suits, overpriced plant waterers or any of the other fluff that Rob Ford went on about during last years election campaign.

City Building at Whos Expense? Planning for equity (Wellesley Institute)
City planning is a complex and multi faceted undertaking that requires much collaboration between public and private stakeholders it is an opportunity for policy makers to shape a space that fosters community, health, and equality. To this end, crafting cityscapes is a task that requires dialogue, careful planning, and dedicated consideration of local priorities.

City to offer nearly 50,000 workers buyouts (National Post)
a city memo leaked to The Globe and Mail says nearly 50,000 city workers will be offered a lump sum of up to six months pay if they quit their jobs. All union and non-union workers, except those of the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters Association, will have until Sept. 9 to apply online for the new Voluntary Separation Program, according to the memo. It says union members will be awarded three weeks pay for every year they have worked at the city. Managers will receive four weeks for every year of service.


Ontario Expanding Infrastructure Loan Program (Ontario newsroom)
Ontario is expanding the eligibility of Infrastructure Ontario’s Loan Program to include additional not-for-profit sectors that provide infrastructure for families and people in local communities.

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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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