Australia: Federal police commissioner warns MPs ‘words matter’ in debate on Islam

Wise words. The presence of One Nation in the Australian elected Senate highlights some of the political differences between Canada and Australia:

The Australian federal police commissioner, Andrew Colvin, has warned federal parliamentarians that words matter, emphasising that police rely on good relationships with the Muslim community to keep Australians safe.

Colvin was asked during an appearance on Sky News on Monday about whether he had any concerns about the newly elected One Nation MPs calling for a ban on Muslim immigration, or a royal commission into Islam.

The police commissioner was reminded about previous interventions by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (Asio) warning Coalition MPs to tone down florid rhetoric about Islam because the contributions were considered unhelpful to agencies trying to maintain public safety.

Colvin said he didn’t want to intervene in any political debates but he emphasised that people needed to be careful about their public interventions. “What I have been on the record saying and I will say it again, words do matter,” Colvin said on Monday.

“It’s very important to me that I maintain good relationships with the community. Words do matter. They listen very carefully to what’s said,” Colvin said.

Newly elected senators will come to Canberra on Tuesday for orientation ahead of the resumption of parliament next week. One Nation emerged from the recent poll with a Senate bloc of four.

One Nation’s policy on Islam states that the religion sees itself “as a theocracy, not a democracy.”

“Islam does not believe in democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of the press or freedom or assembly,” the policy says.

“It does not separate religion and politics. Many believe that it is solely a religion, but the reality is that it is much more, for it has a political agenda that goes far outside the realm of religion.”

“Its religious aspect is fraud; it is rather a totalitarian political system, including legal, economic, social and military components, masquerading as a religion.”

US temporarily freezes EB-1 citizenship visa for China and India as applicants hit the limit – Firstpost

Does appear to be shortsighted and the number of 7 percent maximum per country arbitrary:

A sought-after visa that offers a speedy path to US citizenship is temporarily closed to Chinese and Indian nationals. The US State Department announced it would stop processing EB-1 applications from Indian and Chinese nationals until later in October.

Immigration lawyers explained that the EB-1 visa is available to three categories of candidates: people with extraordinary abilities in arts, science and business; researchers and professors; and multinational business executives and managers.

EB-1 visas are typically limited to 40,135 for this fiscal year, and no more than 7 percent can go to immigrants from any one country. Currently, we have a problem because there are too many Indian and Chinese trying to get their hands on the EB-1, exhausting the limit. The last time this happened was back in 2007.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“Why do we continue to artificially limit this program?” asked immigration lawyer David Parker. “It defies logic that we are turning away extraordinary and outstanding artists, scientists and business people from India and China,” he added.

The EB-1 visa typically results in a green card in less than a year — one of the quickest pathways to receive one. And unlike many visas, some kinds of EB-1 visas don’t require applicants to be sponsored by employers. This is a godsend as it gives talented artists and brilliant scientists frustrated with the more traditional path to US citizenship, like the H-1B visa, a speedy alternative.

The H-1B is one of the most heavily used visas by Indian techies and professionals. Demand far exceeds the annual allotment. The H-1B requires workers to be sponsored by an employer and leaves applicants at the whim of lotteries. This year demand for H-1B visas surpassed the entire year’s allocation within five days and the US government ultimately awarded H-1Bs through a computer generated random lottery.

“A lot of people saw the EB-1 as the light at the end of the tunnel,” Shah Peerally, who heads up an immigration law firm in Newark, California, told CNN.

Source: US temporarily freezes EB-1 citizenship visa for China and India as applicants hit the limit – Firstpost

Status of Women list: Modern, minority Canadians unjustly left off

While the criticism of the list is valid as well as noted the mixed record of many of the names, Stephen Hume forgets, in his suggestions, that usually naming of buildings is reserved for the dead:

Our federal government has compiled a list of 29 women it thinks deserve buildings named in their honour but, as a Canadian Press report points out, very little has been done with it.

Read through the list compiled by Status of Women Canada for then-Conservative public works minister Rona Ambrose and one can see why.

The list is overwhelmingly white, privileged and a roster of the establishment.

Emily Murphy may have been the first woman in the British Empire appointed magistrate and one of the “Famous Five” who successfully battled to have women recognized as “persons” rather than the chattels of fathers or husbands.

But in the 21st century should we name a public building for a woman who surreptitiously wrote fear-mongering racist tracts about Asians, blacks, Jews and Ukrainians?

 …Then there’s Nellie McClung, widely celebrated as a witty, eloquent suffragette, adept with the rejoinder in her debates with the Colonel Blimps determined that women should stay out of politics and in the nursery.

When one yelled that the prime minister would quit if ever a woman were elected, McClung retorted, “what a purifying effect women would have on politics.”

On the other hand, McClung advocated removing people with disabilities from the gene pool. The pristine bloodlines of Canada’s sturdy, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant stock, our natural overclass, was not to be muddied by the genes of feeble-minded degenerates.

McClung was for routine sterilization for “young simple-minded girls.” Her arguments helped fashion the Alberta Sexual Sterilization Act. It gave provincial bureaucrats power to order sexual sterilization of undesirable individuals.

….There are folks who will argue that our reactions should be tempered by the times that shaped and defined people. That argument doesn’t cut ice with the Canadian Jewish Congress. It has objected to honours for long-time Ottawa mayor Charlotte Whitton — another on the federal list — as an unapologetic anti-Semite who helped deliberately block the entry into Canada of Jewish orphans fleeing the Nazi Holocaust. Fair point. Would we tolerate naming buildings after a Nazi like Albert Speer because his anti-Semitism happened to be a product of his times but he remained a refined, cultured and artistic man who did public service?

Source: Status of Women list: Modern, minority Canadians unjustly left off | Vancouver Sun

Number of federal inspections under foreign worker program on rise

As the Liberal government considers relaxing some of the requirements for the Temporary Foreign Workers program, it will be important to maintain an active investigation program both to combat misuse as well as ensure public confidence in the integrity of the program:

The number of federal inspections under the temporary foreign worker program is up dramatically this year and two businesses have been added to a public blacklist.

In response to complaints of poor working and living conditions, federal officials investigated Obeid Farms in Vanessa, Ont., where they concluded that 20 temporary foreign workers were consistently working seven days a week.

Officials also took issue with how the travel costs of workers were handled by AYR Motor Express, a New Brunswick-based trucking company.

Employment Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk personally signed off on the decision to publicly ban the two companies from the program temporarily.

The minister’s move comes as the Liberal government is weighing options for a further update to the temporary foreign worker program that will be announced later this year. In spite of sluggish economic growth, Canadian firms from coast to coast and across many sectors and skill levels continue to report labour shortages and insist that there is a genuine need for the controversial program.

Regarding Obeid Farms, a note to the Employment Minister submitted in Federal Court said this is the first time a public ban has been invoked in relation to the seasonal agricultural worker section of the temporary foreign worker program.

“Such determination would therefore have broader implications for this sector. It is likely that a determination of non-compliance will garner significant public and stakeholder attention,” deputy Employment Minister Louise Levonian wrote in a June 17 memo.

The threat of being named and shamed is a major source of anxiety for employers who hire temporary foreign workers. Many firms have hired lawyers in order to manage what are viewed by some as excessive requests for documentation.

Data obtained by The Globe and Mail reveal that in 2014, when the federal government launched a new inspection regime, no inspections were conducted under the new rules. That figure rose to 586 the following year.

However, officials have already conducted 1,537 inspections as of Aug. 15 of this year.

The spike in inspections is a result of sweeping reforms announced in 2014 by the then-Conservative government in response to high-profile cases of abuse in the program, including companies hiring foreign workers when Canadians were available. The 2014 reforms split the program in two, maintaining a smaller temporary foreign worker program while carving out areas like intra-company transfers and student exchanges into a new international mobility program.

The reforms raised the fees for obtaining a permit, called a labour market impact assessment, from $250 to $1,000. The added revenue was meant to cover the cost of increased inspections, with a goal of “thousands” of inspections a year.

Liberal Immigration Minister John McCallum recently told The Globe that those 2014 changes went too far and that the new government will be announcing further updates to the program later this year.

Source: Number of federal inspections under foreign worker program on rise – The Globe and Mail

ICYMI: Le Québec en voie de dépasser ses cibles

One of the more recognized voice of settlement services in Quebec, Stephen Reichhold:

Québec sous-estime le nombre d’immigrants qui seront admis en 2016 et dans les années futures. C’est du moins ce que croit Stephan Reichhold, directeur de la Table de concertation des organismes au service des personnes réfugiées et immigrantes (TCRI).

À l’instar de la plupart des intervenants qui défilent depuis mercredi devant la ministre de l’Immigration, Kathleen Weil, dans le cadre de la consultation publique sur la planification de l’immigration au Québec pour 2017-2019, il penche en faveur d’une augmentation des niveaux d’immigration.

« Les cibles citées sont nettement sous-estimées », note M. Reichhold. Pour 2016, le document soumis à la consultation en cours sur la planification de l’immigration fait état d’un maximum de 6600 réfugiés au total. Or, en date du 8 août, le Québec avait déjà accueilli 6181 réfugiés syriens. La cible initiale est donc déjà dépassée, suppose-t-il, puisqu’il faut y ajouter les réfugiés d’autre provenance.

C’est « l’effort humanitaire exceptionnel » envers les Syriens qui explique ce dépassement, a indiqué au Devoir le ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI).

Mais tout indique que la tendance ne fléchira pas dans les prochaines années. « Ce qu’ils proposent ne correspond plus à la réalité », soutient le directeur de la TCRI. Il cite notamment l’objectif fédéral de 300 000 nouveaux résidents permanents en 2016, dont au moins 51 000 réfugiés, annoncé en mars par le ministre fédéral de l’Immigration, John McCallum. Ce dernier a réitéré mercredi ses intentions de ne pas faire fléchir cette tendance dans le cadre d’une série de consultations.

Le Québec possède ses propres pouvoirs en la matière, mais il reçoit une proportion de réfugiés correspondant à son poids démographique en vertu de l’Accord Canada-Québec relatif à l’immigration. Si le nombre de réfugiés augmente, et que l’immigration économique doit représenter 63 % du total en 2019 comme le souhaite la ministre Weil, les seuils totaux devront être gonflés.

Planification et français

« Il faut revoir les niveaux proposés », conclut M. Reichhold. Une estimation plus juste permettra de mieux planifier les programmes de francisation et d’intégration, juge-t-il.

Source: Le Québec en voie de dépasser ses cibles | Le Devoir

Where’s the Outrage Over Nun Beachwear? – The Daily Beast


Go to any public beach in Italy and chances are you’ll eventually see a woman wearing a veil and long skirt. But she likely won’t be a Muslim in a version of the controversial burqini. She will almost certainly be a Catholic nun in her summer habit either watching children in her care or, God forbid, just enjoying some sun, which is considered a human right here in Italy, where the sea defines the majority of the borders.  

No one in Italy would dare blink an eye at the sight of a habit-wearing sister at the seaside or even in the water

“We have nuns on the beach all the time,” Marco Beoni, a barista at a coffee bar along the sea near Sabaudia, about an hour south of Rome, told The Daily Beast. “They go in the water in their skirts and sit on blankets just like everyone else. Who cares what they are wearing. What’s the problem?” 

 In fact, most Italians are at odds with edicts at several French beach resorts banning women wearing the burqini (also spelled burkini), as the modest full coverage swimwear is called. Even Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls has waded into the debate in Paris, declaring the wearing of the burqini is “not compatible with the values of France and the Republic.”

Italy’s interior minister, Angelino Alfano, himself no great fan of immigration or integration of non-Italians into the country, said he thought France was making a mistake by banning the burqini. “We aim to avoid certain prohibitions that can be interpreted as provocations that could trigger retaliation towards Italy,” he said when asked if Italy would follow France in banning what has been interpreted as religious wear on the beach. “After all, the ‘French model’ of integration has not yielded great results.”

It should be no surprise at all that the Catholic Church, for its part, doesn’t see any problem whatsoever with modest swimwear. The head of the Italian bishops, Monsignor Nunzio Galantino said that caution is understandable, but only when tempered with common sense. 

“It’s hard to imagine that a woman [in a burqini] who enters the water is there to carry out an attack,” he told the daily Corriere della Sera in a far-reaching interview on the topic. “I can only think of our nuns, and I think of our peasant grandmothers who still wear head coverings.” 

Making an analogy with the wearing of a cross or a kippah, Galantino said, “The freedom to be granted to religious symbols should be considered on a par with the freedom to express one’s beliefs and to follow them in public life. And, let me tell you: I find it ironic that we are alarmed that a woman is overdressed while swimming in the sea!”

7 Countries Where You Can Buy Citizenship – Insider Monkey

The list: Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Cyprus and Malta. Also a useful passport index in terms of the number of visa-free countries citizens can travel to:

The other option is citizenship-by-investment programs. They are a controversial subject in many countries, especially in the European Union. The Brussels administration is trying to force EU members to cancel them or at least limit them in scope, so if you’re planning to move to the Old Continent, you might want to hurry while these are still available. There aren’t many countries in the world that offer this kind of programs, but unlike the golden visa category, they guarantee a citizenship, provided you pass the government background checks and meet other conditions.

For the most part, these refer to the origin of the money being invested and the applicants’ country of origin. If your country is under any form of international sanctions, you will most likely be rejected. These regulations were tightened after US Department of Treasury issued a warning about Iranian citizens using St Kitts and Nevis citizenship-by-investment program to obtain entry to the US and make investments, despite the sanctions imposed against that country. Of course, if your money is lawfully earned and you’re just looking for a second passport, you have nothing to worry about. If your goal is to avoid US taxes, a word of warning, though. Just because you don’t live in the United States doesn’t mean that the IRS will let you out of their money-grubbing paws. As long as you are US citizen, you owe them money. The only way to be free of them is to renounce your citizenship and most people aren’t willing to go to such lengths just to avoid paying taxes. There are examples, though, like the Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, who gave up his citizenship in 2012.

So, here are 7 countries where you can buy citizenship. Four [five] of them are Caribbean countries  and two are EU members . Interestingly enough, all 6 are rather small island nations. They also lack natural resources, which is one of the main reasons for the institution of citizenship-by-investment programs. We listed them according to each country’s passport power rank, found here.

Canadian woman’s case galvanizes Chinese moms in custody battles – The Globe and Mail

Another reminder of some of the risks related to international custody battles. Global Affairs Canada is working on over 300 known cases worldwide (the actual number is likely higher):

Ms. Dai is now midway through an appeal, her final avenue for securing access to her son.

She has borne the costs alone. Like Alison Azer, the Courtenay, B.C. woman whose children were allegedly abducted to Iran, Ms. Dai has struggled to get help from home. She has written Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion and multiple people at the Canadian embassy in Beijing. One told her to call local police if her child was in danger and declined her request for a letter of support she could use in court: “this would involve the Government of Canada in a private legal matter, which is not part of our mandate as consular officials.”

Ms. Dai said she sees that as “a message to other Canadian mothers” in China that “if they get in any sort of trouble, be aware that no one can help.”

In an e-mail, Foreign Affairs spokesman François Lasalle said officials are providing Ms. Dai “consular assistance,” and “work hard” to support more than 300 Canadian families worldwide in similar circumstances. A new Chinese domestic violence law, enacted this year, “is a significant improvement” but “still has important shortcomings,” he said.

“We are committed to ensuring the promotion and protection of women’s and girls’ human rights,” he said.

Ms. Dai, however, has found greater support from others in China after she took her fight public, galvanizing other mothers to confront weaknesses in their legal system and advocate for change in a country where fast-rising divorce rates are approaching U.S. levels. Ms. Dai has made advocacy a full-time job, securing a small office in Beijing and hiring three assistants.

Her story has been published by more than 200 media outlets and she has been interviewed on national television shows. She has hired the lawyer who represented Kim Lee, an American woman beaten by her famous Chinese husband, a hotly discussed case that drew national attention to domestic abuse problems in China.

The pain Ms. Dai suffered “is more severe” than what Ms. Lee endured, her lawyer, Qi Lianfeng, said in an interview.

Ms. Dai says her former husband, movie stuntman Liu Jie, slapped her, pushed her to the ground, stomped on her face and once wrenched her leg so badly she had trouble walking.

In a trial last year, however, Mr. Liu argued that Tristan should stay with him because Ms. Dai “is irresponsible, doesn’t care about the son or want to raise him” and was too busy working, according to a summary contained in the verdict released this spring. The judge found that Mr. Liu had hit Ms. Dai, but gave him custody nonetheless, citing “the principle of benefiting his healthy physical and mental growth.”

Reached for comment, Mr. Liu said “it’s a family matter,” and asked for privacy.

The stakes in China are high for fathers and their families. The long-standing one-child policy means a child, especially a son, is expected to “carry on the family blood,” said Li Ying, a lawyer and director of a Beijing legal assistance agency.

When those families seize their children, they also gain an advantage in court, where judges tend to view leaving the child in place as less disruptive, heavily emphasizing possession.

Courts also have little power to enforce custody rulings. And authorities try to keep problems quiet. Ms. Dai was visited by police before holding a recent conference on custody issues, and subsequently asked a Globe and Mail reporter not to attend to avoid further problems.

Still, custody problems are not unique to China, which is moving to ensure a new domestic violence law, enacted this year, creates real change. Officials are currently drafting detailed guidelines for its enforcement.

“In the future, things will be better, particularly in custody matters,” said Yang Xiaolin, a lawyer who was part of a special team at Nanjing Normal University examining problems with child custody.

But, he said, attitudes must first change.

“The Chinese legal system has yet to treat juveniles seriously,” he said. To decide custody, “a child’s needs must be taken into account. Not only their material needs, but also emotional ones.”

Source: Canadian woman’s case galvanizes Chinese moms in custody battles – The Globe and Mail

Counselling as important as criminal charges for radicalized Muslims returning to Canada: Report

Sensible recommendations:

Ottawa needs a more humane approach to effectively deal with terrorism cases, including court-ordered therapy for at-risk individuals and counselling — not just criminal charges — for those coming back from Syria and Iraq, according to a new report.

The recommendations are contained in an in-depth account of how a group of young Muslims from Quebec were, according to police allegations, radicalized by charismatic preachers, peer pressure and polarizing political debates, and attempted to flee the country in 2015 for the ranks of Daesh, the terror group also known as the Islamic State.

Eleven of the people who are the focus of the report — six females and five males — attended the same school, Montreal’s Collège de Maisonneuve. Four of them were among 10 stopped at the Montreal airport just before boarding a flight for Turkey, which borders Syria, police have alleged. Two others are facing criminal terrorism charges in Quebec.

But five students who disappeared in January 2015 made it to Syria and Iraq and some of them now regret their decision and want to return home, said Benjamin Ducol, head of research for the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence, which prepared the report.

“That leaves us with some issues in terms of how we are going to bring them back. Do they pose a security threat? I’m sure some of them have been really traumatized by what they have seen and what they have done there,” he said.

The report, which was commissioned by Collège de Maisonneuve, is based on interviews with family, friends and acquaintances of the students, as well as officials at the school.

The report estimates that up to 250 Canadians have travelled to Syria and Iraq, including up to 30 from Quebec.

Some may want to return because of remorse or family pressures, disillusionment with life in a war zone, fear of injury and death, or due to more nefarious plans to conduct attacks in Canada, the report says.

 But they may waver out of fears they will be arrested or killed by the groups they try to desert, or the likelihood of arrest upon their return to Canada, the report said. Others may be worried about being labelled a national security threat or having to pay back the financial debts incurred to fund their initial voyage, it read.

There must be legal consequences, the report said, but it is folly to prosecute young radicals without also trying to reason with them and offer rehabilitation.

“The conviction of radicalized individuals cannot be society’s end goal,” it says. “Our system of justice has long recognized the importance of working towards the social reintegration of offenders.”

Source: Counselling as important as criminal charges for radicalized Muslims returning to Canada: Report | Toronto Star

Le collège de Maisonneuve se dote d’une équipe anti-radicalisation | Le Devoir

Sensible initiative, one that the government can learn from, whether it succeeds or not:

Le collège de Maisonneuve, qui a été aux prises avec l’extrémisme religieux au cours des derniers mois, s’apprête à embaucher cinq professionnels dans l’espoir de désamorcer les idées « radicales » des étudiants.

Selon ce que Le Devoir a appris, la direction du collège prépare l’embauche de trois travailleurs de corridor et de deux autres spécialistes de la radicalisation en vue de la rentrée scolaire. Les cours commencent lundi prochain, mais le processus de sélection des cinq professionnels sera terminé dans deux semaines.

Ce projet-pilote de 400 000 $ survient après une série de cas de radicalisation d’étudiants du collège. Certains ont tenté d’aller faire la guerre en Syrie pour le groupe armé État islamique, classé comme terroriste par le Canada. Sabrine Djaermane et El-Madhi Jamali, deux anciens élèves du collège de Maisonneuve arrêtés en 2015, font face à la justice pour avoir planifié un attentat à Montréal, en plus d’avoir cherché à aller faire le djihad en Syrie.

Des tensions, des bagarres sont aussi survenues entre des groupes du collège au cours des derniers mois. De jeunes musulmans se sentent exclus et stigmatisés.

« Les travailleurs de corridor seront sur le terrain pour recueillir la parole des étudiants. Leur défi est de se faire accepter, de gagner la confiance des jeunes pour les aider », dit Line Légaré, porte-parole du collège de Maisonneuve.

En plus des trois travailleurs de corridor, deux autres professionnels seront embauchés pour appuyer les étudiants et le personnel du collège. Ces experts, formés en relations interculturelles ou qui ont un profil de psychologue ou de travailleur social, aideront la communauté du collège à comprendre et à réagir aux idées « radicales ».

Gare aux dérapages

Cette initiative est un bon point de départ pour rétablir un climat serein au collège de Maisonneuve, estime Cécile Rousseau, pédopsychiatre et directrice de l’Équipe de recherche et d’intervention transculturelles (ERIT) de l’Université McGill. Il existe tout de même un risque : il faut éviter que ces travailleurs de corridor deviennent des informateurs de la police, prévient la spécialiste.

« Le pire qui puisse arriver, c’est qu’on invite un jeune à s’ouvrir et qu’il se sente trahi. Le programme sera un échec si des jeunes se retrouvent fichés par la police ou par les services de renseignement après s’être confiés à un travailleur de corridor », explique Cécile Rousseau.

Source: Le collège de Maisonneuve se dote d’une équipe anti-radicalisation | Le Devoir


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