Immigration & Diversity news headlines – December 14, 2011


Matt Damon, Wyclef Jean, and the Power of Diversity (Julia Moulden, Huffington Post)
Maytree gets this loud and clear. This Toronto-based organization (whose dual mission is to increase diversity and decrease poverty) created a program to encourage non-profit and public-sector organizations to begin reflecting our city’s diversity on their boards. Toronto is one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world; the latest stats show that more than half of us were born outside Canada. The DiverseCity onBoard program, created in partnership with CivicAction (which convenes leaders to catalyze change), is sublimely smart and simple — it matches organizations with eligible candidates. DOB now has more than 1000 participating organizations and has placed over 600 people on boards in the Greater Toronto area.

Diversity Moves Frankfurt (Cities of Migration)
The Diversity Moves Frankfurt (Vielfalt bewegt Frankfurt) campaign was the city’s way to rethink what integration meant to all citizens through a public consultation via the internet. By the end of the consultation, over 47,000 people had participated in the process from a cross-section of Frankfurt society. It meant that a broader view of integration was now part of the public discourse, including the idea that Frankfurt’s diversity was much more multi-faceted than once assumed.

Every Vote Counts Report to the Community – PDF (Ethno-Cultural Council of Calgary)
The Every Vote Counts project began as a modest attempt to understand voting trends among Calgary’s immigrant communities. What resulted was much more powerful. The report tells the story of the incredible realizations and relationships that grew over the course of seven months, five gatherings, and one inspirational municipal election.

Canadian values under threat (Hans Rollmann, The Independent)
So when I first started writing this column, I swore to myself there were certain topics I would just plain ignore. Topics that, no matter how sorely tempted I was, no matter how bewitchingly they seemed to beckon, blazing their barbaric boneheadedness before my breathless eyes, I would flatly refuse to take the bait and write about. The ‘veil’ debate was one such topic. But I also knew that however hard I swore I wouldn’t write about it, the day would eventually come when a Conservative federal government would probably do something so utterly foolish that I would simply have no choice. On Monday, that day finally came.

How The Star justifies the belittlement and subjugation of women (Kelly McParland, National Post)
“To segregate one group of Canadians or allow them to hide their faces, to hide their identity from us precisely when they are joining our community is contrary to Canada’s proud commitment to openness and to social cohesion,” Mr. Kenney said. “If Canada is to be true to our history and to our highest ideals, we cannot tolerate two classes of citizens.” How do you argue with that? Canada is a country in which equality is a cherished value and discrimination is reviled. Equality among men and women is one of the many instances in which this applies. There may not be perfect equality of the sexes yet, but there has been a long effort to bring it about, and Canadians overwhelmingly support the ultimate goal.

How NOT to oppose the Muslim veil (Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun)
One of the most popular arguments against Muslim women wearing face-covering veils in the West is that it’s a sign of female oppression. It’s a viewpoint that Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney cited Monday when he suddenly banned women from wearing niqabs, burkas and other veils while taking the Canadian oath of citizenship. But this is not the strongest point to make against face-covering veils. The first reason it’s not persuasive is that it’s patronizing. The second, more important reason, it’s ineffective is that Muslim women who wear veils usually say they don’t feel oppressed by the practise. Many see it as a political badge of honour. One does not win debates with anyone by maintaining: “I’m doing this for your own good!”

Hate it if you want, but don’t ban the niqab (Sheema Khan, Globe and Mail)
Mr. Kenney is cynically exploiting public fear and ignorance to further stigmatize an easy target. False assumptions abound: Women are coerced to wear it; the niqab has nothing to do with Islam; the women must have something to hide; they must be brainwashed. Yet, talk to a few niqabis and you’ll find the opposite. The majority, while decrying oppression and trumpeting “Canadian values,” is prepared to deny a group of women their fundamental rights.

Full coverage of this story:

Muslim leaders speak out against honour killings (CBC The Current)
Dozens of Imams turned their sermons to the subject of honour killings a few days ago, all in response to the disturbing details of the Shafia trial coming out of Kingston Ontario where a father, mother and son stand accused in the murders of three teenage daughters and a wife. Some worry that the wider Muslim community has nothing to apologize for, others say it is time to confront the issue.

Canadian citizenship denied due to breast cancer (CBC The Current)
On the surface, hers is the kind of application government officials look for: Young, educated, skilled and upwardly mobile, fluent in English, adapting well and anxious to be part of the Canadian community. And for a while it seemed Fatemah Kamkar would, indeed, be welcome here as a Permanent Resident from Iran. But in the years it took between her application and the government’s decision she was diagnosed with breast cancer. And suddenly nothing else matters to Ottawa: She is not welcome.

A case for compassion (Ottawa Citizen)
There has been a lot of talk this week about immigration and Canadian values. Is it a Canadian value to deny a woman permanent resident status because she developed breast cancer while waiting years for the federal government to approve her application?
The case of Fatemeh Kamkar of Ottawa, first raised last week by Citizen columnist Hugh Adami, is one that ought to strike a chord with Canadians, but the government has done nothing to help her and even the CBC was not overly sympathetic in a radio interview Tuesday.

Canadian values matter in immigration: survey (Katie McDonald, DalNews)
The questions, drafted by Dal faculty members, the Trudeau Foundation and Environics Research Group Limited, revealed native-born Canadians answers were consistent with those of newcomers – immigrants who want to live in Canada should adopt Canadian values like gender equality, freedom of religion, respect for Canadian culture, tolerance for others, English and/or French fluency, etc.–survey.html

Missionaries hope to dispel myths about Islam (Niagara This Week)
Eighteen young Muslims will be spreading the message, and dispelling misconceptions, of their faith Saturday. Terrorist acts have painted the Muslim community in a bad light and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association of Canada is reaching out to communities across Canada to change that image. The organization, which has 65 chapters across Canada, will be sending a group of 18 volunteers to Grimsby Saturday to canvass homes and educate the public about the teachings of Islam and dispel any misconceptions people have about the Muslim community.–missionaries-hope-to-dispel-myths-about-islam

Imam says Muslims being persecuted like Jews (Mark Dunn, Sun News Network)
A Calgary-based Imam says Muslims are being attacked in the same way Jews were before Hitler ordered their extermination. Syed Soharwardy, founder of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, says a regulation change requiring Muslim women to remove their niqabs and burkas when swearing the oath to become a Canadian amounts to Muslim bashing. From intimidating and bad-mouthing the Muslim faith and belittling the Koran and Muslim beliefs, he drew a parallel with the treatment of Jews in Germany.

Calgary Imam defends comments comparing Canada Muslims to Jews in Nazi Germany (Bill Kaufmann,Calgary Sun)
Comparing the plight of Jews in pre-Second World War Nazi Germany with that of Muslims in today’s Canada is “hurtful,” a local Jewish leader said Tuesday. But a day after telling a TV reporter Ottawa’s new policy banning face veils at citizenship ceremonies adds to a climate of hostility similar to what Jews faced in 1930s Germany, Imam Syed Soharwardy didn’t back down from those comments. “What is happening across North America is quite alarming because there are people who create hate against Muslims and then the government gives them ammunition,” said Soharwardy, president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada.

Debate rages over filtering Internet hate speech (Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver Sun)
The B.C. Civil Liberties Association will be among a number of groups arguing this week that the Internet should be open to all kinds of speech, no matter how repugnant. Opposing that position is B’nai B’rith of Canada, which is adamant that hate speech must be kept off the Web. The two sides will argue their positions as interveners this week at a judicial review of a ruling that challenged the constitutionality of hate speech provisions of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Quebec’s population hits new milestone (Marian Scott, The Gazette)
Immigration and a drop in the number of Quebecers who moved to other provinces have boosted annual population growth to one per cent – one of the highest levels in 50 years, Girard said. Quebec gained 76,000 residents in 2010, mostly due to immigration and a slowing of out-migration to other provinces. That marks the highest rate of net migration to Quebec (arrivals offset by departures) since the province started keeping records in 1962, according to the report by the Institut de la statistique du Québec. Immigration is driving the rise, the report said. Last year, the province welcomed 54,000 immigrants from more than 130 countries, led by Morocco, Algeria and France.

A Leading GCC Islamic Bank Plans Entry into Canada (
UM Financial Group Corporation (UM) and a leading GCC Islamic Bank have reached final discussions stage to jointly enter the Canadian market as a finance company. UM Financial Group President Omar Kalair was invited for meetings with the President and other senior management of the Bank over the last few days. Canada presents a growing market with an untapped clientele base, with a Muslim population today close to 1.3 million which is expected to double to 2.6 million by 2030. Currently, UM has over 6,000 registered clients who wish to convert their existing conventional mortgages to a Shariah- compliant solution representing over 1 Billion USD potential market.


Refugee Board to take a month to decide fate of Yemeni woman (Carol Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press)
After waiting 30 years for a reunion with her daughter, having to sit tight for another 30 days or so isn’t what a Winnipeg mom wanted to hear in court Tuesday. Housnia Ibrahim will have to wait to see if her daughter will ever be allowed to come to Canada. An Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator heard her appeal in a Winnipeg court Tuesday but reserved her decision.


Robin Hood reversed – Income-splitting benefits mainly wealthy breadwinners (Jody Dallaire, Straight Goods)
Income splitting is favoured by those who say that one-earner couples are not treated as well as two-earner couples, a notion that many tax experts have blown out of the water. Jonathan Kesselman shows that the one-earner family at any income is better off financially than those with two working adults: the one-earner family has lower work-related expenses including child care, housecleaning or other household needs, has more home-produced services, and lower payroll taxes. As commentator Geoffrey Stevens reminds us, the Conservatives want this measure for political reasons: “The poor vote less than the more affluent; young people vote less than older people.” The Caledon Institute calls income splitting “a perfect wedge issue” for the Conservatives, “reducing the size of government while giving most of the benefit to their base.”


Engineering firm offers facility tour to members of professional immigrant networks (TRIEC)
In November KELK partnered with TRIEC’s Professional Immigrant Network (PINs) initiative to offer an information session and company tour for nine internationally trained engineers from three networks: the Canadian Colombian Professional Association (CCPA), the Canadian Network of Iraqi Engineers and Architects (CNIEA) and the Association of Romanian Engineers in Canada (AREC). AREC holds all their member meetings at KELK and has done so for years.

Western premiers want Ottawa to address immigrant, labour shortages (Karen Kleiss, Edmonton Journal)
Western premiers on Tuesday announced a joint mission to Ottawa to press for a Canadian Energy Strategy, discuss greenhouse gas regulations and urge the federal government to address urgent immigration and labour shortages.

The Occupational Classes: Not All Jobs are Created Equal – Conclusion (Martin Prosperity Insitute)
Too often, the creative and service occupational classes are misrepresented as being in opposition with each other. This series of snapshots has established that the classes are hardly homogenous, and emphasized that considering them as such obscures some very real/worthwhile differences both within, between, and among the classes. This series has explored the dynamics and characteristics of each of the creative and service occupational classes in terms of: education, sex, benefits, workweek, self-employment, and multiple jobholders.

Emigrant Networks Are Colossal Boon To Global Economy (Robert Lenzner, Forbes)
I gained a vital, powerful insight into the future of the global economy by reading “Borderless Economics” a most provocative first-hand journalistic migration around the globe by the intensely inquiring Robert Guest, Economist Business Editor. People who cross borders for education and business opportunity are a unique driving force for economic growth.


Report: “cutting My Backyard” City Of Toronto Service Review Impacts (Social Planning Toronto)
Urban Solutions Inc. was approached by Social Planning Toronto, an organization which advocates for the enhancement and protection of community services through research linked with community engagement, in an attempt to drive policy change and create solutions to problems faced by citizens in the City of Toronto. This report is a study undertaken by Urban Solutions Inc. on the potential impacts that a number of proposed service cuts would have on both a City-wide and Ward-specific level in the City of Toronto.“cutting-my-backyard”-city-of-toronto-service-review-impacts/

If Our Cities Are to Improve, the Feds Need to Get Out of Their Way (Steve Lafleur, Huffington Post Canada)
Canada’s cities are facing dire infrastructure problems that threaten to undermine their productivity and quality of life. This isn’t news to anyone. But what is rarely discussed is how diverse the needs of various cities are. Federal Transport Minister Denis Lebel knows a thing or two about this. As former mayor of Roberval, Quebec, he has had to deal with these issues directly. The minister recently announced a timetable for consultations with the provinces and municipalities to establish long-term funding from the federal government to meet these challenges. While it is understandable that the former mayor of a small, cash-strapped city would see the federal government as a revenue source for the cities, this approach is prone to politicization and favouritism. If the federal government is going to be involved in infrastructure financing, it must not pick winners and losers. It must be neutral between cities and give them the flexibility to fund the projects they need.

Pecaut Centre brightens our future (Martin Knelman, Toronto Star)
Wednesday marks the second anniversary of David Pecaut’s death. In 2011 his memory was honoured when Metro Square was renamed David Pecaut Square. But in 2012, Toronto’s great problem solver and master of brilliant new ideas will be honoured with an even more significant development — the creation of a well-funded nursery for developing the kind of social-improvement schemes that Pecaut virtually patented.–knelman-pecaut-centre-brightens-our-future


Volunteer Consulting available for Non-Profits (Settlement AtWork)
Endeavour Volunteer Consulting for Non-profits has offered free management advice to 47 non- profit organizations in the last 5 years. Endeavour is currently accepting project applications from non-profit organizations for Spring/Summer 2012 consulting engagements.


Savation Army tackles prostitution, human trafficking (Mark Ribble, Leamington Post)
Leamington’s Salvation Army Captain Pastor Corey Vincent is on a mission. His mission begins with raising public awareness about human sexual trafficking. It ends with helping those who need help getting out of this ever-growing lifestyle. The Salvation Army is spearheading a campaign to end human trafficking and prostitution and recently began a push to tackle the issue across North America.

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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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