Immigration & Diversity news headlines – January 18, 2012


Son of slain Chinatown restaurant worker thanks Toronto, pledges to carry on (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Enbo Cui last saw his mother in 2007, when she left China for Toronto to pursue the familys immigrant dream. Nearly five years later Cui, 22, finally arrived on Canadian soil to see Guang Xia Lu. But sadly, it was for the 45-year-old womans funeral. Ever since her arrival from Shandong province, Lu had been toiling in Chinatown restaurants, saving money for Cuis education in Australia. Her dream was to reunite with her son and see him succeed.–toronto-immigrant-s-dream-cut-short-by-chinatown-stabbing

Commons recommendations could ease adoptions in Canada (Tonda MacCharles, Toronto Star)
Ease immigration hurdles to allow Canadas adopted children to pass on Canadian citizenship to their future children who are born abroad. The law now disallows that. It means the grandchildren of adoptive parents today could find themselves stateless.–commons-recommendations-could-ease-adoptions-in-canada

City vows to curb racial profiling (CTV)
With the Montreal police long dogged by accusations of racial profiling, Mayor Gérald Tremblay announced the creation of a new committee on Tuesday to curb profiling at all levels of municipal governance. “The fight against racial and social profiling is a major stake for our administration and all municipal areas share in our efforts to end such profiling,” Tremblay said in a statement.

Concrete steps in the fight against racial and social profiling (Canada Newswire)
The mayor of Montréal, Mr. Gérald Tremblay, the director of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), Mr. Marc Parent, and the chairman of the board of the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), Mr. Michel Labrecque, announced today the course of action taken by the City and its services in the fight against racial and social profiling.

Gatineau immigrant guide draws human rights complaint (CBC)
A Moroccan immigrant living in Gatineau, Que., whose personal information was shared among city officials and leaked to him via email, has filed a formal complaint with Quebec’s Human Rights Commission regarding an immigrant values guide. Kamal Maghri became privy to details officials dug up on him in mid-December, a couple of days after he first wrote an email to the City of Gatineau Dec. 10 saying he would file a formal complaint regarding an immigrant “statement of values” released Nov. 28.

Chinese-only sign debate 2: Three Chinese Canadian voices (Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun)
The debate over Chinese-only signs in Richmond and elsewhere in Canada rumbles on. I have had many emails responding to my argument in Fridays newspaper. Thats where I wrote that most regions of Canada need to emphasize English-language signs because we need a common language to build bridges and understanding across diverse cultures. My Vancouver Sun colleague, Harvey Enchin, offered a counterpoint on the same page of that days paper, which can be found here. Surprisingly or not, the three people of Chinese background who have written to me all agreed, more or less, with my position. That includes the owners of Richmonds famous Chinese-oriented Aberdeen Centre. Excerpts from their letters are below.

Francophone community grows (Mia Rabson, Winnipeg Free Press)
Immigration is helping change the face of Manitoba’s francophone community.
Of the French-speaking immigrants in Winnipeg, half are Caucasian, just over one-tenth are Asian and more than 25 per cent are black. Winnipeg has the highest proportion of black francophone immigrants of any city in the country outside Quebec. Manitoba and Saskatchewan have a higher proportion of blacks among French immigrants than any other region, other than Quebec.

Distance hurts personal connections (Carol Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press)
CANADA relies on immigration to grow and grease its economic engine — and expects its newcomers to leave loved ones behind. Most hope that, once they’re on their feet in Canada, family will join them, at least for a visit. No one tells them they may wait so long to see each other again, their relationships won’t survive.

Gideon Bible Distribution in the Schools (CCLA)
The issue of public school boards distributing Gideon Bibles is once again before some Ontario school boards. CCLA has previously expressed concerns about this practice and wrote about the issue to the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) on a number of occasions. The WRDSB subsequently rescinded their policy on the distribution of non-instructional religious materials and ceased the practice of allowing the Gideons to distribute Bibles to students.

Veils: who are we to judge? (Anne Kingston, Maclean’s)
No item of female apparel summons more attention, animosity, debate or censure in Western society than the veil covering Muslim women. Thats saying something in a culture inured to the sight of sweatpants with Juicy on the backside, Abercrombie & Fitchs padded push-up swimsuit tops for eight-year-old girls, and women teetering on skyscraper porno heels as hobbling as the chopines worn by 16th-century Venetian prostitutes. Governments are racing to restrict the veil in its various declensions: hijab, chador, abaya, niqab, burka. France and Belgium banned face-and-body concealing burkas and niqabs last year; similar legislation is in the works in other European countries, echoing campaigns to rid cityscapes of minarets. Last June, Muslim women were singled out by FIFA, the world soccer body, which banned players from wearing Islamic headdresses on the grounds they could cause a choking injury. The Canadian federal government drew its first line in the sand last month when Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced a ban on face veils during the swearing-in of the citizenship oath. Quebecs Bill 94, which would deny essential public services to women in niqabs in the name of public security, communication and identification, is wending through the legislature.

Canada’s tightening immigration policy may be felt in U.S. (Kim Murphy, L.A. Times)
For years, Canada has had one of the most generous immigration policies in the world, welcoming tens of thousands of asylum applicants who claim to be fleeing persecution in their homelands. But the Conservative government has begun rolling up the welcome mat, stepping up efforts to track down and deport thousands of asylum-seekers whose applications have been denied. The clampdown is likely to be felt not just across Canada, but in the United States.

Thomas Mulcair defends dual citizenship (CTV)
Thomas Mulcair says Stephen Harper’s apparent disdain for Canadians who hold dual citizenship has exposed the prime minister’s parochial, insular and hypocritical approach to politics. The NDP leadership hopeful went on the attack Tuesday after Harper appeared to question Mulcair’s loyalty to Canada. Mulcair told The Canadian Press he’s proud to hold both Canadian and French citizenship.


An extended glimpse into an increasingly vital community (Margo Goodhand, Winnipeg Free Press)
They don’t call us the ‘heart of the continent’ for nothing. Winnipeg sponsors more refugees than any other community in Canada. And Africans are our newest and fastest-growing group of refugees. Today we present the Africa edition, a Free Press editorial project designed to explore the city and province’s ties to the continent.

Faces of Africa (Winnipeg Free Press)
Former African residents share their first impressions of Manitoba.

Altona feels like home (Bill Redekop, Winnipeg Free Press)
Refugees counter myths by settling permanently outside urban areas.

Refugees find freedom in Tom Denton’s smiling face (Gordon Sinclair Jr., Winnipeg Free Press)
They have a saying in the refugee rescue community when newcomers from Africa first inhale the freedom of Canada and the frost of a Winnipeg winter in the same breath. “There are no bullets in the weather.” That doesn’t necessarily make the fear go away. “I can see it in your faces,” I tell the teenage brother and sister from Congo. It’s evident in the wary way they take their seats on a couch in a church-operated North End house where they live with 14 other African refugees. Their fear is really apparent when they say they don’t want their photos taken or their names used.

Housing refugees’ top challenge (Melissa Martin, Winnipeg Free Press)
Hundreds of refugees arrive in Manitoba each year, each one trying to carve out a home in a city where there are too few homes to go around. And while social-service agencies push to find their clients safe places to stay, the housing gap leaves many refugees from Africa and elsewhere stuck in a catch-22 that can put their new life on pause for months.

Refugee camp spawns worst nightmares (Christian Weah, Winnipeg Free Press)
Today I can openly say the prime minister of Canada is not a good man without fear of being killed or prosecuted. I would have never thought it was possible to speak against a government official openly and go free. Canada made it possible. There are numbers of refugees out there wishing that this chapter will someday be written in their lives.

Legal aid being cut off to Roma, lawyer says (Don Butler, Ottawa Citizen)
An Ottawa refugee lawyer says Legal Aid Ontario has started to deny funding to most Roma asylum-seekers, but won’t explain why. Russell Kaplan, who has represented hundreds of Roma refugee claimants over the past dozen years, said legal aid used to regularly approve funding so Roma claimants could hire lawyers to argue their cases at the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Roma refugees seek class-action certification (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
A class action would be more efficient in dealing with a slew of lawsuits by Czech Roma refugees against Ottawa for institutional bias, the federal court was told Monday. Otherwise, the court would probably be inundated with hundreds of individual cases on similar allegations, said lawyer Rocco Galati, who represents 16 Roma asylum seekers and has 15 similar complaints against the federal government in the queue. On Monday, the Roma refugees asked Justice James Russell to certify their lawsuit as a class action against the federal government, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and former Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon.

Feds keep deportation pressure on (Sue Montgomery, The Gazette)
The Canadian government reiterated its determination Monday to deport suspected Rwandan war criminal Léon Mugesera after an immigration and refugee board member ruled he was a flight risk and should stay locked up until all his legal battles are done. Last week, Mugesera was on the verge of being deported from Canada – after almost 20 years in the country – when he ended up in hospital for three days due to stress and anxiety. As soon as he was released Saturday, Canada Border Services Agency arrested and detained him.

Canadian refugee claim reforms endanger American cars, says (Steve Mertl, Yahoo! News)
The irreverent gossip site has discovered a connection between an alleged serial arsonist and Canada’s tough new refugee policy. “Canadian politics used to be a cute, inconsequential thing that occurred somewhat north and to the left of New York, where people with slightly funny accents debated how to most efficiently prove they were not American while travelling,” Gawker’s Taylor Berman says in a piece this week. But the Conservative government’s plans to reform the refugee-determination process this year to cut a 42,000-case backlog has Berman worried. Look no further than the case of Harry Burkhart, now in custody in Los Angeles for allegedly torching perhaps dozens of cars. “Well, it turns out Burkart had recently lost his three-year bid for refugee status in Canada, so he decided to come to LA and light a bunch of cars on fire instead,’ says Berman.


Routes TO Employment (Toronto Workforce Innovation Group)
This site, created by the Toronto Workforce Innovation Group, has Toronto-specific labour market information to help internationally educated professionals find a way into Toronto’s labour market. The site has information about Toronto’s leading industrial or employment sectors, the programs that help people move into those sectors and the training and education programs that connect to those sectors. The site is linked to many other resources.


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

Ford loses the gamble (Royson James, Toronto Star)
Tuesday was supposed to be a day of total triumph for Mayor Rob Ford. Instead, it was the day that signaled he may have lost control of the citys agenda. City Council approved a 2012 budget that will spend fewer property tax dollars this year than last an unheard-of accomplishment that the mayor sought. But, in ignoring the concerns of moderate city councillors, most of them rookies, Ford gambled and lost.–james-ford-loses-the-gamble

Full coverage –

IMFG Lecture Series – Shared Spaces: Funding and Managing Libraries and Parks in Tough Times (IMFG)
This series of three lectures will explore the importance of shared public spaces such as libraries and parks to the health of our city. In an era of fiscal restraint, shared spaces are often vulnerable to funding cuts. To date, however, there has not been extensive public conversation on the long-term solutions to the funding problems. Are there new models of public, private, and hybrid funding to meet these challenges? What are the conditions for success and what are the pitfalls? Where are innovative models being implemented and are they viable in the GTA?


Alleged pimp charged with human trafficking (End Modern-Day Slavery)
A man who police say forced a teenage girl and a young woman into prostitution has been charged with human trafficking in Toronto. Mark Anthony Burton, also known as Ricky Downey, appeared in court on Monday via video from Toronto East Detention Centre. Burton, 43, was charged with two counts of procuring a person to become a prostitute, living on the avails of prostitution and procuring illicit sex. He was also charged with human trafficking.

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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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