“Protecting Canadian Citizenship” – Citizenship Fraud Update – Numbers Still Small

Citizenship Fraud.037Given the number of citizenship fraud investigations (some 3200), numbers are still relatively low (see my earlier Overstating “Fraud” – New Canadian Media – NCM).

While 300 Notices of Intent to Revoke Citizenship may seem a lot, in the context of an average 140,000 new citizens per year – 2009-13, or the 200,000 plus this year, appears that the rhetoric has exceeded the reality):

Since the beginning of 2014, the Government has revoked the citizenship of 22 people who obtained their Canadian citizenship through fraud or misrepresentation

… Since 1988, the government has revoked citizenship from 119 individuals who were found to have obtained their citizenship fraudulently.

The Government is revoking citizenship on a scale that has never been done before with 300 Notices of Intent to Revoke Citizenship since July 2011.

Protecting Canadian Citizenship – Canada News Centre.

Adrienne Clarkson: ‘I always felt I belonged’

More snippets from Adrienne Clarkson interviews on her book, Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship:

We are often very centred on the Western ideal of citizenship. I wanted to be sure that we looked at the world, not just at the Western Greek ideal, but also that we deal with our own aboriginal gifts in this country, that we deal with an African concept … and that we deal with an Asian Buddhist concept about how you create something that you all belong to. These concepts are valuable to open people’s minds to the idea that in all of the world, people are thinking about these things and they come at it in their different ways.

Ubuntu says you exist because the other exists. You are part of other people. I exist because you exist. I think that’s a wonderful feeling to have because it means we are part of each other and we are part of a kind of understanding of each other, which we don’t feel rationally, but we feel it because we are all human beings. I am human because you are human.

Adrienne Clarkson: ‘I always felt I belonged’.

Hijabi on Parliament Hill My Experience as a Page in the House of Commons

A nice story by Yasmeen Ibrahim about her experience as a page in the House of Commons:

The most important thing that I wish to leave with Muslim youth, especially those who are more visible than others, is that do not assume that just because you are Muslim or that you wear hijab that you will not get the job or get accepted into some program that you applied for. We have all grown up hearing about somebody not getting a job because they wore a veil or being asked to take it off upon accepting a position. For the longest time ever, I succumbed to this and let it be the factor in determining if I should even bother with applying to something or not.

At the same time, we keep saying that we need to increase the Muslim presence on all fronts in order to educate others about Islam and fight Islamophobia. In order to fight stereotypes, we not only need visible Muslims in the fields of engineering and medicine, but also in non-traditional fields like journalism, politics, education, and law enforcement. It was after thinking about this that I realized the only way I can fulfill my part in promoting Islamic awareness is by successfully passing the interview stage and by performing at my highest level in any job I decide to pursue in the future, all while wearing my hijab proudly.

As for youth in general, we all get to a certain point in our lives where we want to make the world a better place. We take part in protests and demonstrations that are dear to our hearts, we sign petitions on issues we feel strongly about, we give motivational speeches about our dreams for the future, and, overall, we become more active citizens. However, politics is the real engine for change in todays world. Laws are what regulate individuals activities and it is through the legislative process that they come to be.

I am not undermining the people that take their concerns to the streets because these individuals do have some sway on political action, but it is mainly up to the government to have the final say. For this reason, it is important that we see those passionate youth, who yearn for change and a better society, possessing a clear understanding of the political process and inside the folds of Canadian government.

Hijabi on Parliament Hill My Experience as a Page in the House of Commons.

Denmark tries a soft-handed approach to returned Islamist fighters, sending them to therapy, not jail

Another approach:

In Denmark, not one returned fighter has been locked up. Instead, taking the view that discrimination at home is as criminal as Islamic State recruiting, officials here are providing free psychological counseling while finding returnees jobs and spots in schools and universities. Officials credit a new effort to reach out to a radical mosque with stanching the flow of recruits.

Some progressives say Aarhus should become a model for other communities in the United States and Europe that are trying to cope with the question of what to do when the jihad generation comes back to town.

For better or worse, this city’s answer has left the likes of Talha wandering freely on the streets. The son of moderate Muslim immigrants from the Middle East, he became radicalized and fought with an Islamist brigade in Syria for nine months before returning home last October. Back on Danish soil, he still dreams of one day living in a Middle Eastern caliphate. He rejects the Islamic State’s beheading of foreign hostages but defends their summary executions of Iraqi and Syrian soldiers.

“I know how some people think. They are afraid of us, the ones coming back,” says Talha, a name he adopted to protect his identity because he never told his father he went to fight. “Look, we are really not dangerous.”

Yet critics call this city’s soft-handed approach just that — dangerous. And the effort here is fast becoming a pawn in the much larger debate raging across Europe over Islam and the nature of extremism. More and louder voices here are clamoring for new laws that could not only charge returnees with treason but also set curbs on immigration from Muslim countries and on Islamic traditions such as religious circumcision.

In a country that vividly remembers the violent backlash in the Muslim world after a Danish newspaper published cartoon images of the prophet Muhammad in 2006, many here want Aarhus to crack down on — not cajole — extremists.

“They are being much too soft [in Aarhus], and they fail to see the problem,” said Marie Krarup, an influential member of Parliament from the Danish People’s Party, the country’s third-largest political force. “The problem is Islam. Islam itself is radical. You cannot integrate a great number of Muslims into a Christian country.”

Aarhus is treating its returning religious fighters like wayward youths rather than terrorism suspects because that’s the way most of them started out.

The majority were young men like Talha, between 16 and 28, including several former criminals and gang members who had recently found what they began to call “true Islam.” Most of them came from moderate Muslim homes and, quite often, were the children of divorced parents. And most lived in the Gellerupparken ghetto.

A densely packed warren of mid-rise public housing blocks, Gellerupparken is home to immigrants and their families who arrived in the waves of Muslim migration that began in the 1960s. Unemployment — especially among youths — is far higher than the city average. At one point, crime was so bad that even ambulances needed police escorts. It made a perfect breeding ground for angry young men at risk of becoming militants.

On a quest to change that, the city is in the midst of a major overhaul of the ghetto. Better housing could improve conditions and lure more ethnic Danes, contributing to integration. New thoroughfares and roads, meanwhile, would link it more closely to the rest of the city.

Context in Canada is different with many radicalized coming from middle class backgrounds and appearing relatively well-integrated in their early adulthood but programs for re-integration of returning fighters, when there is not sufficient evidence to prosecute, should be part of the “toolkit.”

Denmark tries a soft-handed approach to returned Islamist fighters, sending them to therapy, not jail

South Korea: Xenophobia and Discrimination

Apart from the part about the multiculturalism museum and foreign envoys, some interesting aspects about xenophobia and racism:

After a weeklong investigation into racism and xenophobia here, U.N. Special Rapporteur Mutuma Ruteere said on Oct. 6 that it was clear South Korea faced challenges related to its growing foreign community.

In addition to encouraging the government to pass antidiscrimination legislation, “South Korean authorities need to fight racism and discrimination through better education, as well as ensuring that the media is sensitive and conscious of the responsibility to avoid racist and xenophobic stereotypes,” according to a press statement on the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

But just days after he left South Korea, Donga Ilbo, one the country’s largest news dailies, published a report on Oct. 10 that warns Korean women “to be wary of foreign men” buying them a drink at a night club. The report warns all Korean women of “foreign men,” based on innuendo and two vague allegations.

Examples of racial insensitivity here have recently garnered international attention. In August, a bar in Itaewon tried banning “Africans” from entrance “due to Ebola.” Earlier this year, an advertising campaign for a cigarette brand, This Africa, featured a chimpanzee dressed as a news broadcaster. Periodic incidents of performers wearing blackface on major TV networks here to solicit cheap laughs attracted international attention this year.

To its credit, the government investigated recent reports of overt discrimination against migrant workers hired as low-paid, unskilled manual laborers. It was those complaints that instigated the visit by the U.N.

Envoys come out for multiculturalism.

Ottawa should allow the niqab at citizenship ceremonies – Globe Editorial

Globe editorial forgets that accommodation requires flexibility on both sides. And citizenship requires participation, even if at least symbolic.

Religious freedom is not absolute, like other freedoms needs to be balanced against other freedoms and responsibilities:

We think she should have accommodated. But we’re not her. A religious freedom is a religious freedom; it’s not something you practise only when it’s convenient to the broader society – except in the most particular cases. Canadian courts have recognized that it may be important to require Muslim women to remove their niqabs when testifying in criminal court cases, but only if doing otherwise would jeopardize a fair trial. Is the ceremony of the citizenship oath equally critical? Hardly.

Ottawa should allow the niqab at citizenship ceremonies – The Globe and Mail.

Richmond, B.C., considers banning Chinese-only signs amid uproar over city’s ‘un-Canadian’ advertisements

More on the debate over Chinese-only signage in Richmond (over 50 percent Asian origin, mainly Chinese). And striking, but not atypical, that most of Richmond’s municipal council is white, in contrast to provincial and federal representation:

Henry Yao, a Chinese-Canadian independent candidate, said he is supportive of a “well-redeveloped regulation” for Richmond signage, in part because it would end the ”racism, discrimination, and anger” spurred by the sign debate.

Nobody will dispute that the number of Chinese-only signs in Richmond is increasing, but the vast majority still feature English text.

“There aren’t really that many signs that are Chinese-only in the city overall,” said Judy Chern, a lifelong Richmondite with a passing understanding of Chinese characters.S

he noted that the city’s Chinese signs are largely placed on businesses that are uniquely targeted to Chinese clients: Chinese apothecaries, Chinese-language DVD stores and purveyors of feng shui products.

“I don’t think they’re purposely trying to exclude anyone. I’m a second-generation Taiwanese-Canadian and I don’t use these services either,” she said.

Last year, city councillor Bill McNulty conducted an informal survey of the city’s signage. He found only about half a dozen that were exclusively Chinese.

The Richmond Chamber of Commerce, for its part, has maintained that the city’s sign issue is best left to free enterprise: If local businesses want to exclude the nearly two million Metro Vancouverites who cannot read Chinese, that’s their prerogative.

“We’ve always had the same position on this … we don’t feel a bylaw is the right answer,” said Gerard Edwards, chair of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce.

It is a view echoed by the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses. “The market can correct itself pretty fast on this type of thing,” said Dan Kelly, the group’s CEO.

This has been the case at Richmond’s Aberdeen Centre, a prominent Richmond mall that is a hub of Asian stores and eateries. To keep the clientele base as large as possible, though, the mall strictly mandates that all signage be at least two thirds English.

“I trust the entrepreneur to know what is in the best interest of their business,” said Mr. Kelly. He warned that language laws — however well intentioned — “are regularly taken to their ludicrous extremes.”

Richmond, B.C., considers banning Chinese-only signs amid uproar over city’s ‘un-Canadian’ advertisements | National Post.

Statistical black hole opens door to foreign workers

While more of a “footnote” in relation to some of the broader concerns regarding the Temporary Foreign Workers, an important one given the need to increase employment opportunities for aboriginal peoples. Paras below indicate the difference that including reserves make in the calculations:

In the Prince Albert and northern Saskatchewan economic region, for example, the unemployment rate for 2013 was 5.7 per cent. That’s just low enough to meet the government’s cutoff. As a result, employers in Prince Albert are still able to hire TFWs for low-skill jobs. A government list obtained by The Globe under access to information laws shows several businesses in Prince Albert, which has a large aboriginal population, employ a high proportion of TFWs. Two restaurant owners in the area who spoke to The Globe recently said they prefer to hire TFWs because they consider them more reliable than Canadian workers.

But if reserves were included in the calculations, it’s clear the unemployment rate for the region would be much higher than 6 per cent. The 2006 long-form census data, which offers some of the only reliable data on joblessness on reserves, shows nearly 2,600 people living on 35 area First Nations declared themselves unemployed. The average unemployment rate on those reserves was nearly 30 per cent. In a region where roughly 100,000 people are employed, adding on-reserve First Nations to the equation would increase the jobless rate by at least two percentage points, well into high unemployment territory.

Statistical black hole opens door to foreign workers – The Globe and Mail.

Literacy Class Visited by Manitoba Minister of Multiculturalism and Literacy

Practical illustration of settlement services and general literacy training in Manitoba:

[Minister of Multiculturalism and Literacy, Flor] Marcelino continues to be inspired by all the success stories that come out of the English and Literacy classes.

“We have 85 or so robust, working, active learning and literacy centres that are truly, truly helping the communities where ever they are. They have transformed so many people’s lives and have opened many doors and offered people many opportunities. And for that were very thankful to all the teachers and administrators and also the students who believe in themselves and in pursuing goals for themselves and their families – and the results are encouraging, amazing and inspiring!”

Marcelino will finish visiting the centres in the Pembina Valley and the South Eastman, then the Winnipeg area in December or January. She promises to work hard in obtaining more support for literacy and learning centres during her term.

Executive Director of South Eastman English and Literacy Services, Jireh Saladaga-Medina, says this non-profit, charitable organization provides free classes for Canadian citizens and landed immigrant adults improve their English speaking, listening, reading and writing skills, as well as free literacy classes for those who want to upgrade their reading, writing, math and basic computer skills. Free child care is provided. To contact Jireh at South Eastman English and Literacy Services, call 204-326-4225.

Eastman Immigrant Services helps newcomers to settle in Manitoba. Services include: reception and orientation, employment counselling and special events. For more information on settlement services phone 204-346-6609.

Literacy Class Visited by Minister of Multiculturalism and Literacy – Local News – Local News – SteinbachOnline.com.

Australia’s Parliament House Lifts Face Veil Ban – NYTimes.com

Update on earlier story and follow-up to PM Abbott’s expression that ban was wrong:

The announcement was made a few hours before the end of the final sitting day of Parliaments last two-week session and had no practical effect.

Hours before Parliament was to resume on Monday, the Department of Parliamentary Services, or DPS, said in a statement that people wearing face coverings would again be allowed in all public areas of Parliament House.

It said face coverings would have to be removed temporarily at the security check point at the front door so that staff could “identify any person who may have been banned from entering Parliament House or who may be known, or discovered, to be a security risk.”

“Procedures are still in place to ensure that DPS security manage these procedures in a sensitive and appropriate manner,” the statement said without elaborating.

The ban on face veils in the public galleries had been widely condemned as a segregation of Muslim women and a potential breach of federal anti-discrimination law.

Australia’s Parliament House Lifts Face Veil Ban – NYTimes.com.

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