Immigration & Diversity news headlines – July 26, 2012


Kenney is stripping away compassion (Andrew J. Brouwer, Embassy)
Elimination of medical care, imposition of mandatory detention rules, five-year bars on family reunification: if these and other controversial immigration reforms left any doubt about how the Conservatives feel about refugees and immigrants, have a look at how Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is systematically stripping compassion from Canada’s immigration system. Immigration and refugee law and policy can be harsh at the best of times. Rules designed to select the most deserving quarter-million immigrants each year from a field of millions and to exclude the rest, applied by civil servants with varying degrees of competence and care, naturally end up unjustly excluding some applicants. That’s why, for decades, Canadian immigration law has permitted applicants to seek an exemption from the strict application of immigration law on “humanitarian and compassionate” grounds.

Immigration essential for Canada (SP Journal)
Immigration has been and will continue to be an important asset for Canada. With a relatively small population of 30 million over a large land base and many rural areas such as St. Paul struggling to attract and retain professionals – immigration is the only answer for some of Canadas labour woes. There are people like Frank Stronach and Robert Herjavec who left their home countries to make a life in Canada. These are immigrants whove amassed great personal wealth and business capital in this country and whove created more wealth and jobs for Canadians as a result.

Initiative helps out isolated seniors (Rebecca Connop Price,
The city of Nanaimo is spearheading an initiative to prevent elderly immigrants from feeling isolated in their communities. Nanaimo’s aging population includes people from a diverse mix of backgrounds, and not all of them have been able to connect with their neighbours and the wider community. The initiative will find a way of reaching out to the isolated seniors to help them engage with other residents. Nanette Leather, who works at Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Centre, said they can see immigrant seniors often become isolated.

Cuts could cripple immigration to North: MP (Sudbury Star)
Last month’s closure of Sudbury’s Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) office could cripple immigration in Northern Ontario, a local MP said. At Tom Davies Square on Wednesday for a roundtable discussion of Sudbury’s immigration service needs, Sudbury MP Glenn Thibeault said because of the closure, his office has already seen a dramatic increase in immigration-related casework. I don’t even know if we’ve been able to keep track (of the numbers), he said. I would say it’s increased tenfold in terms of the number of cases relating to immigration that we’re seeing on a day-to-day basis. The June 1 closure, announced by the Conservative government a few months ago, affected four local employees and 19 offices across the country. The Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay offices were also shut down. People in Sudbury who need to access immigration services now have to travel to Toronto.

Take a step back to see my Scarborough (Michael Thompson)
Scarborough has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. Now is a good time to take a step back from the hyperbole surrounding last weeks shooting and put this part of Toronto in perspective, in support of a place I love and serve. Scarborough is on the leading edge of Torontos march toward greater cultural and economic diversity.

In diversity, harmony: Do we talk differently than Americans? (Yonge Street)
During a break, Philadelphia city councillor Bill Green seemed a little jealous of how Canada’s immigration policies have fueled Toronto’s growth and diversity. “That’s a huge competitive advantage that doesn’t exist in the rest of the English-speaking world.” The buzz and vitality of Toronto’s core also caught the attention of delegates. Originally from Waterloo, Ontario, Amy Wilson left Canada for the US in 1995 and hasn’t been to Toronto for a while. The associate vice president of university development for Widener University said the city has become much more dynamic. “I always thought Toronto was low key,” says Wilson. “Now there’s so much growth here, but they’re not suffering from the same polarization we have in the US. That’s great to see.”

Endangered Languages (Grace Austin, Diversity Journal)
According to UNESCOs Atlas of the Worlds Languages in Danger, designed to raise awareness and help safeguard the worlds linguistic diversity, 2,500 languages are approaching extinction status globally. Sub-Saharan Africa, South America, and Melanesia have the greatest amount of endangered languages. In Australia specifically, only 145 of more than 250 known indigenous languages are still spoken. More than 100 are threatened by extinction. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) efforts to save linguistic diversity root back to more than a decade ago. In 2001, the global organization adopted a framework to tackle the growing problem. It cited the important role language takes in the expression and transmission of living heritage and in overall cultural diversity. In essence, unique cultural knowledge developed by a culture can be lost when its last speakers die.

Resource: Mental Illness, Criminal Offences, & Deportation from CLEO (Settlement AtWork)
Last winter CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario/Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario) in partnership with Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO), produced Mental Illness, Criminal Offences, & Deportation. This resource is for front-line workers and includes tips on how to help clients with mental illnesses who may be at risk of deportation because of their involvement with the criminal justice system.

How to use the 211 service (Denise Hansen, Canadian Immigrant)
A 2010 study of immigrants in York Region, an outer suburb of the Greater Toronto Area which includes Newmarket, Aurora, Markham and Vaughan, found that less than a third of recent immigrants have used settlement services. While for thousands of newcomers and Toronto residents alike, the services provided by community-based non-profit organizations are life-changing, life-affirming, even life saving, many newcomers to Canada are reluctant, confused or simply unable to sort through the hundreds of organizations that provide such services as home care for the sick and elderly, shelter for victims of abuse and homeless people, settlement assistance for immigrants and refugees, training and employment supports for the jobless, and a variety of other services for vulnerable groups.

Fasting in the kitchen: Muslim restaurant owners face a unique challenge (Toronto Star)
Youd think the customers at Somethin 2 Talk About are the ones fasting. They look so hungry, eager to eat. But the people fasting for the month of Ramadan are the ones preparing the food. Salah Abderrahman and his wife Ahdela Akoojee, both 45, greet the last-minute customers rushing into their little family-owned restaurant. Abderrahman, the chef, tends a home-made burger sizzling on the griddle. His customer, Kelly Shaw, is hungry. Shaw knows both Abderrahman and Akoojee havent had anything to eat or drink since sunrise, just after 4 a.m. She admires their ability to be surrounded by tempting treats, waiting until nearly 9 p.m., when the sun sets, to break their fast. I tried (fasting) once before and its hard, says Shaw. It takes a lot of discipline.–fasting-in-the-kitchen-muslim-restaurant-owners-face-a-unique-challenge

Muslim Community Services: Collaborating with Service Provides for Newcomers Benefit (South Asian Generation Next)
The employment market is definitely not doing great at the moment but we do provide the new immigrants the advantage of expanding their social and professional exposure. A newcomer brings another language, a new experience, exposure to international market which can be used as an asset to the companies here. Muslim Community Servicesis an organization of diverse professionals dedicated to enhancing newcomer community engagement. It was established in 1987 as a non-profit organization to serve and work with newcomers to facilitate their settlement and integration into Canada. We offer a wide range of services and learning opportunities to connect newcomers to a better future in the ever changing Canadian society. GenerationNext got in touch with Janice Hubbard to askhow this organization is making a difference in the lives of new immigrants.

Tough road for African immigrants, refugees in Winnipeg: report (Shane Gibson, Metro Winnipeg)
Immigrants and refugees from often war-torn parts of Africa face an up hill battle after settling in Canada, and Winnipeg in particular, according to a report authored by a former child soldier from Southern Sudan now living in the city. The report, titled Integration and settlement: The experiences and expectations of African immigrants and refugees, was written by Reuben Garang, and it sheds light on some of the challenges facing Africans in Canada including poverty, excessive drinking, marital breakup and youth involvement in gangs. Because I came here and I know people who came here from migrant communities I see the challenges, explained Garang, who is currently taking a masters of development at the University of Winnipegs Global College, and spent three years working on the study. Its very complex, its more about reaching out to society and telling them that were struggling here.

I’m playing in the big leagues now (Michael Coren, Catholic Register)
So, Ive made it. Im in the big league, Im a player. Its like being awarded the Order of Canada, but important. Ive got a major death threat. Ive had a few in the past, but this one is serious. Here it is: Islam doesnt allow honour killings, but yeah, people like Pamela Gellar and Coren, oh yeah, totally allowed, arent there any Muslims in the U.S. and Canada who can kill these pigs? Any Muslim? Please for the sake of Allah, can someone plz kill these pigs. And then, Guns can be bought in sports shops in the U.S. and Canada, people get mugged and even killed in the cities, cant any Muslim kill these pigs? Ayan Hirsi, Pamela Gellar and Coren? So, there it is. A member of the religion of peace calls for me and some much braver and bolder people to be killed. Why? Because I allow Islam to speak for itself, expose itself, explain itself. The police have been informed, the FBI alerted, but Im not losing any sleep about it. Frankly, Ive been threatened by better people than this. But it speaks of far more than its mere words. Its self-evident, and almost redundant, that venomous and vile things are said about Christians, and in particular Roman Catholics, on a daily basis. In the past months alone, arsonists set fires at two Canadian Catholic churches and a convent was vandalized. These criminal acts were given hardly any publicity at all.


Activists protest Canadian Minster of Health’s address at International AIDS Conference (
Dr. Philip Berger was among the protestors and held a sign in support of refugees living with HIV — addressing the impact of the Harper government’s cuts to refugee health in the Interim Federal Health Program. Dr. Berger had tried to question to Minster about cuts to refugee healthcare coverage at the conference yesterday, but was pushed away by her security team.

Video: Minister of Health questioned at AIDS conference by doctors over cuts to refugee health (AIDS Action Now)
Dr. Philip Berger gets pushed away by security as he tries to question Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s Minister of Health. Dr. Mark Tyndall then asks the Minister about the Harper Government’s cuts to refugee health in the Interim Federal Health Program. Aglukkaq tells Tyndall to “do more research”, despite both doctors presenting her with the Government’s documented plan, which outlines the cuts.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harpers Bill C-38 is an Affront to your Feminist Sensibilities (
Bill C-38 Does not like Healthy Refugees I am all for improving the health and lives of girls and women in Canada, but I recognize that at least Canadians have access to free healthcare, unlike, say, refugees. That’s right, the Conservative budget has cut funding to the Interim Federal Health Program, which provides healthcare to refugees while they await to see if they will be granted asylum in Canada.


Personal Attention Reduces Poverty (Phuong Ly, SSI Review)
The model for fighting poverty has long focused on providing for a persons immediate needs: food, clothing, and shelter. With Circles, advocates help the person develop financial literacy skills and supportive relationships, which become the foundation for rising up. The participants are called leaders, emphasizing that they are taking charge of their lives. The National Circles Campaign developed from a 1995 project in Ames, Iowa, to help families get off welfare by matching them with support groups. In 2003, Circles began seeding programs in other communities, and now operates 65 sites across the country from its base in Albuquerque, N.M. Communities can start and sustain a Circles initiative by raising $200,000 to $400,000, and last year the costs for all the sites totaled about $7 million, according to founder Scott Miller. The 190 funders range from national philanthropies, such as the W.K. Kellogg and Bill & Melinda Gates foundations, to local churches and banks.

A tale of poverty in two provinces (Povnet)
The blog for the Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) has an interesting article comparing the poverty reduction strategies for Newfoundland and Labrador and British Columbia. Twelve years ago, the two provinces shared the distinction of having some of the highest poverty rates in the country: BCs was the highest at 15.1 per cent while Newfoundland and Labrador was a not too distant fourth place at 13.2 per cent.

Samara TV: Watching Occupiers & Legislators (Samara)
Last month we were proud to publish our latest research for the Samara Democracy Index, “Occupiers & Legislators: A Snapshot of Political Media Coverage,” which examined some deeply held beliefs about the state of political media. Today we’re excited to share with you “Samara TV” in the form of two short videos that summarize the report’s findings. We encourage you to share these videos on your website, blog or Facebook by copying the embed codes provided below. If you have any feedback on the study, we’d love to hear from you.

What Is Voter Equality?
Voter equality is the principle that all votes should have equal weight. Why don’t we have voter equality in Canada?


Video: What is the government doing to help entrepreneurs new to Canada? (Globe and Mail)
In this video filmed at The Globe’s Small Business Summit in Calgary, Devesh Dwivedi looks at what the federal government is doing to make it easy for immigrant entrepreneurs to do business in Canada and what else needs to be done.


Thursday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on TCHC, Crime, Caribana, Hospitals and Other News.

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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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