Immigration & Diversity news headlines – January 13, 2012


Restricting Chinese-language signs is un-Canadian (Harvey Enchin, Vancouver Sun)
How many diners at Vancouvers tony Cafe Il Nido know that Il Nido is Italian for The Nest? Do we really need to translate Pied-a-Terre, Le Crocodile or Les Faux Bourgeois before eating there? Would you order the ikapiri at Guu without a Japanese phrase book? Most of us have no problem coping with a foreign language as long as it uses the familiar Roman alphabet. But replace it with Chinese characters and people start clamouring for government intervention.

We all benefit from a common language (Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun)
A Richmond woman has been getting the bureaucratic brush-off in her efforts to restrict the predominance of Chinese-language signs in her hometown. Despite Richmond officials acknowledging that many residents are upset by the large Chinese-only signs being erected in the city, Kerry Starchuk has been consistently stonewalled in her campaign, which consists of letters to the editor and buttonholing politicians. But there are many reasons to support Starchuks mission to have the 200,000-resident suburb bring in bylaws that favour English-language signs over foreign-language ones.

Dont write off the Liberals quite yet (Jeffery Simpson, Globe and Mail)
From the time of Clifford Sifton in Wilfrid Lauriers government, Liberals were the immigrants party. They backed a more open immigration policy than the Conservatives, who tended to be the party of white Protestants with a few Irish Catholics. Now theres an all-party consensus on immigration, and the Conservatives, having starting driving up immigration levels under Brian Mulroney, fight for immigrant votes even more forcefully than Liberals.

CRA letters to Canadian Foundation for Tamil Refugee Rehabilitation before revocation (Mark Blumberg, Global Philanthropy)
The Canadian Foundation for Tamil Refugee Rehabilitation was revoked for cause. It was accused of supporting groups that operate as a support network for the LTTE which is a listed terrorist organization.

If not multiculturalism, then what? (Taouba Khelifa, The Carillon)
While Canadians proudly boast about Canadas culturally rich mosaic, the debate questioned the legitimacy of Canadas multicultural façade, and whether it was the best option in building democratic society. With a population of more than 34 million people and a steadily rising immigration rate, Canada has become home to individuals of various ethnic, religious, and racial backgrounds. But Mansur argues that the increase in immigration and a growing cultural mosaic has brought on an increase in multicultural philosophy in Canadian society a philosophy he argues to be meaningless and without any substance. Mansur sees multiculturalism as a lie a delectable lie with little meaning.

Tibollo: Ottawa funds for Italian culture and language
National Congress of Italian-Canadians propose petition to Canadas Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney (Caterina Rotunno, Corriere Canadese)
The culture and language of a people are live, dynamic elements, continuously evolving, and in need of forward-looking support projects not museums and marble statues that freeze memory in the past. Speaking is Michael Tibollo, Canada-wide and Toronto district president of the National Congress of Italian Canadians. The issue up for discussion is the destination of funds from the Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP) program. A decision is scheduled for March. What amount are we talking about?

Concerns mount over new Canadian biometric programs (Third Factor)
Privacy advocates in Canada have been raising concerns over the risk involved in two new biometric programs from the government that result in the sharing of private biometric data with other countries governments and possibly private corporations, according to an Embassy Magazine article. The new programs are modeled after similar programs around the world that collect biometric data, such as fingerprints from immigrants traveling to the country, those traveling with fraudulent documents, wanted criminals and suspected terrorists.

Remembering the Legacy of a Sikh (Sikh Sangat News)
Bhai Meva Singh Ji came to Canada in 1906, a time when thousands of new Punjabi Sikh immigrants were coming to Canada looking for greener pastures and a better life. Like many Sikh pioneers, Bhai Meva Singh was employed in the lumber industry and worked at Fraser mills. In his spare time Bhai Meva Singh Ji used to do seva (selfless service) at the Gurdwara (Sikh temple). Bhai Meva Singh Ji arrived in Canada at a time when racism against non white immigrants was at its peak.

Government to launch programs to better identify immigrants to Canada (Canadian Immigrant)
The Canadian governments introduction of two new programs could involve the sharing of sensitive personal information, such as fingerprints, from government to private-sector companies, and from government to government, which has privacy advocates concerned whether proper safeguards are being used to minimize risk.


Swedish family will be killed if deported: Lawyer (Tom Godfrey, QMI Agency)
A Swedish family who claim they are on the run for their lives from organized crime figures have lost a bid for refugee status in Canada after saying they will be killed if returned to Stockholm.

A refugee’s story (Louisa Taylor, Ottawa Citizen)
When filmmakers Jane Gurr and Ed Kucerak first approached Nimrod Andrew, it was to obtain his help connecting with members of the Karen refugee community in Ottawa. However, as the trio began to plan and film, Andrew’s own story emerged and the focus began to change. “As we became more involved, it was, ‘Forget about the others’ stories, this is a film about Nimrod.’ It just became more compelling,” Kucerak says. ” He has such passion for his people,” but he also has “his own story of pain and loss.”

Documentary puts a face on Karen refugee experience (Louisa Taylor, Ottawa Citizen)
Nimrod Andrew had a story he wanted to tell. So did Jane Gurr and Ed Kucerak. When the Ottawa refugee met the two local filmmakers, an entirely new story unfolded, leading to a poignant documentary that weaves one mans journey into the political turmoil of his homeland. Gurr and Kucerak are the writer and director, respectively, behind Kublacom Pictures. In 2008, they had just finished a documentary about the Rideau Bakery and were looking for another project, when Gurr began to read about a newly arrived group of refugees from Burma, also known as Myanmar.


Income inequality: an effective measurement or just the flavour of the month? (Zoey Duncan, OpenFile Calgary)
Calgary’s image certainly isn’t blemished by regularly boasting of its “highest personal income in Canada” status (Source: Calgary Economic Development [PDF])heck, it’s almost catchy enough to be the new city slogan. Yet, a new way of looking at the wealth of a city is emerging. Media, poverty groups and economic organizations are increasingly focusing and voicing concern over “income inequality” as a measurement of a population’s well-being. But is it just the flavour of the month, or is it actually a valuable measuring stick?


Connecting immigrants with SMEs (Canadian Immigrant)
Such business owners often dont think about the qualified pool of immigrants in Canada, or dont have the resources to deal with issues such as foreign credentials, according to Maytree Foundation president Ratna Omidvar. Similarly, newcomers often want to work at large companies they are familiar with and dont think about approaching smaller companies. Part of our challenge is that new immigrants dont tend to go to SMEs, she says. To address this issue, Maytrees Assisting Local Leaders with Immigrant Employment Strategies (ALLIES) recently released a report with ideas on connecting the two, drawing on an examination of programs, policies and organizational efforts aimed at SMEs in 10 provinces and 20 cities as well as more than 50 interviews with key stakeholders.

January is mentoring month (TRIEC)
If you need a resolution to inspire and motivate you, consider becoming a mentor to a skilled immigrant. Theres no time like the present. Thirty per cent of mentors commit to mentor again, so its clear they gain as much as they give. Each of us can pinpoint a mentor formal or informal who made that difference in our lives. So, why not pay it forward?

Diversity is essential in business (
Like we havent heard that a million times. However, diversity IS essential for most businesses today, and a necessity for survival. Whether your company has thousands of employees or just a few individuals, diversity plays an important role in the actions and decisions your business makes. Once an underfunded program run to appeal to the public, most diversity programs now grasp a larger understanding of business and the beneficial effects that diversity can have on it.

Rally for Respect: Demand a Toronto for Everyone (Workers’ Action Centre)
Are you concerned about proposed cuts to city services and programs that we all rely on, including library hours, recreation centres and TTC services? City councillors will be voting on the budget cuts on January 17th and 18th.

Canada should change immigration focus to highly skilled out-of-work Europeans (Matthew Fisher, Vancouver Sun)
Canada must not be shy about taking advantage of Europe’s financial distress. The Harper government should target some of the continent’s best and brightest as immigrants and prospective future citizens. Spain is a case in point. According to data from the European Union, it had an unemployment rate of 22.9 per cent last fall, followed by Greece with 18.8 per cent.

Canadian dream lies in tatters (Marian Scott, Montreal Gazette)
When Mustapha Benkada imagined his new life in Canada, he never saw himself lining up in the cold outside an eastend food bank. After all, with a PhD in chemistry and biology from the University of Nantes in France, and a promising postdoctoral position at a Quebec university, Benkada had every reason for optimism. But there he was Thursday, pushing a plaid shopping cart and swallowing his pride as he waited for a handout of Kraft Dinner, bread, breakfast cereal, lettuce, a few kiwis and canned peaches. “It’s very degrading,” said Benkada, as snowflakes accumulated on the hood of his parka. “Even as a student, I never got this low.”


Thursday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round up of mainstream media coverage including City Hall, Budget Cuts, Transit and Other News.

Library use in Toronto surges in 2011, new figures show (Patrick White, Globe and Mail)
As city councillors spend the next week mulling reductions to branch hours, libraries across the city have just tallied up their busiest year ever. New user stats released to the Globe and Mail show that the Toronto Public Library system circulated 33 million books, e-books, DVDs and other items in 2011, up one million from 2010.


Peter Block – What Am I Skating Towards? Unoccupied Space (Al Etmanski)
I am always attracted to unoccupied space. Realms where the dominant culture has not advanced its patriarchal or empire narrative. The fresher areas that have drawn me over the last few years are Journalism, Economics and now Religion. The journalism focus is to advance an alternative story to the scarcity, crime, fear, ‘there is something wrong with us’, political divisive conversation that has dominated journalism from its inception. The new journalism covers stories of what works, abundance, the aliveness, possibility and integrity of urban centers. It will consider these news instead of human interest. Put investigative reporting in the middle section of the paper beneath the fold, and mention for two minutes in the twenty first minute of the evening news.

Social Impact of Islamic Finance – Myth or Reality? (Part 1) (Farooq Shaikh,
What is the scale of social benefits of Islamic finance? Can conventional social finance learn anything from its principles?

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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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