Tougher Immigration Rules Test Conservative Support in Chinese Community | The Tyee

Political differences among the Cantonese and Mandarin speaking Chinese Canadians:

The battle for votes in Vancouver’s large Chinese community is being complicated by deep divisions over immigration issues here and across the Pacific in Hong Kong.

Chinese-language radio talk-show hosts say callers are more worked up than ever about the federal election.

And their support seems largely determined by where they came from in China and their attitude toward tougher immigration rules introduced by the federal government since the 2011 election.

Cantonese-speakers, mainly people from Hong Kong and southern parts of Mainland China, tend to be staunch Conservative supporters.

But for Mandarin-speakers, from northern China and Taiwan, new immigration rules have become the focus of opposition to Stephen Harper’s party.

Gordon Houlden of the University of Alberta’s China Institute said the link between issues in China and Canada is not entirely unexpected, but still fascinating. I

t’s a reminder that the Chinese community isn’t as monolithic as outsiders assume, he said.

New immigration rules focus more on skill set and education than family reunification, he said, so it makes sense that Mandarin speakers would be upset about the changes. The changes reduce the opportunity for relatives to join family members already in Canada.

On the other hand, the Cantonese community may support tougher immigration rules because it tends to be older and more established.

“If you’ve been here longer and you’re more settled, you may not welcome a wave of people who are similar in some ways, but different in others,” he said.

Houlden said protests in Hong Kong last year over Beijing’s refusal to allow open elections may have added to the divisions between the two groups.

Chen, who is originally from Taiwan, said that Mandarin-speaking Taiwanese immigrants who call in generally also voice opposition to Harper.

“We have the free election right in Taiwan, so we don’t like the government staying too long,” Chen said. “The Conservatives kept power over 10 years, so some Taiwanese people think it’s time to change.”

Source: Tougher Immigration Rules Test Conservative Support in Chinese Community | The Tyee

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Would-be terrorist Chiheb Esseghaier is clearly insane, but should that even matter in court?

The small interesting fact that emerged from the ongoing trial of Chiheb Esseghaier, convicted of terrorism in the Via train plot, subject of a psychiatric assessment and awaiting sentencing:

There are also plenty of mentally ill terrorists, says Paul Gill, a senior lecturer in security and crime science at the University College London. In a recent study, he found 40 per cent of lone-actor terrorists suffered from some kind of mental illness and 40 per cent of those were diagnosed schizophrenics.

“And just because they had histories of mental illness doesn’t make them irrational, spontaneous actors,” Gill said. “Many of them, they were just as likely to engage in really rational, thought-out planning as the guys without mental health problems were.”

Source: Would-be terrorist Chiheb Esseghaier is clearly insane, but should that even matter in court?

The US Anti-Birthright Citizenship Brigade | Mother Jones

Background on some of the lawyers arguing that the 14th Amendment does not provide for birthright citizenship:

Eastman and Graglia, however, may not be the best proponents of their theory. Both have a history of controversial comments and opinions that make them easy prey for Democrats. Eastman, a professor at Chapman University School of Law in California, is the chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, a group that fought bitterly against same-sex marriage, and he once equated homosexuality with “barbarism.” Graglia, of the University of Texas at Austin’s law school, is a longtime opponent of affirmative action and busing programs. His comment in 1997 that black and Hispanic students “are not academically competitive with whites” earned him the moniker “the most controversial law professor in America.”

At April’s hearing, instead of inquiring about Graglia’s views on the Citizenship Clause, Democrats on the committee instead grilled him on these past statements and entered old articles about them into the record. For a Republican Party that hopes to appeal to Hispanic voters in particular, Graglia may not be the best ambassador on the citizenship debate, which many already find offensive. In recent years, the first people to introduce the idea that birthright citizenship is more limited than is commonly understood were two professors, Peter Schuck of Yale Law School and Rogers Smith of the University of Pennsylvania, who argued in a 1985 book that Congress could exclude the children of undocumented immigrants from automatic citizenship.

While they hold to that belief today, they don’t seem particularly pleased with the Pandora’s Box they opened. “This is just NOT an issue that should be occupying the country’s attention at this moment, if ever,” Smith said in an email. “We have far, far more important problems to deal with that we are not addressing, including mounting economic inequalities, persisting racial inequalities, environmental degradation, crumbling infrastructure, a crippled labor movement. That’s why I rarely talk about the issue these days. I believe very strongly that our focus should be elsewhere.”

Source: The Anti-Birthright Citizenship Brigade | Mother Jones

NDP’s hidden immigration pledge a concern: Candice Malcolm

From SunMedia’s Candice Malcolm, an indication of a likely NDP immigration priority (pending publication of their full platform or a more formal citizenship and immigration policy announcement):

While their immigration policies are not displayed anywhere on their website, the NDP has begun privately touting their plans to boost the number of parents and grandparents sponsored to immigrate into Canada.

Just last week, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair told a group of South Asians in Surrey that family reunification for grandparents would be a top priority for him as Prime Minister.

These types of promises rarely make the evening news, but you can certainly read about them in ethnic media and community newspapers.

Meanwhile, the NDP have repeatedly opposed the Conservative governments requirement that sponsors must purchase private health insurance before bringing their parents and grandparents into Canada. The Tories paused new applications for parents and grandparents sponsorship in order to deal with a backlog of applications, but also created the “super visa” – a 10-year multiple entry visa to allow seniors to visit Canada but not drain our country’s social services.

Thomas Mulcair’s vision – the one he’s laid out when visiting ethnic communities but doesn’t promote elsewhere – is to bring more elderly immigrants into Canada to enjoy the benefits received by Canadian seniors.

No doubt, seniors have it good in Canada. And for good reason. Most have worked incredibly hard to build a life for themselves and their families. They can only expect to receive the retirement benefits they’ve been paying into their whole lives.

But is it fair for a person to come to Canada, having never worked or paid taxes in our country, to receive the same benefits as those who’ve been working and paying into the system for most of their lives? Will our healthcare, pensions and social services survive under ever increasing demand?

Source: NDP’s hidden immigration pledge a concern | MALCOLM | Columnists | Opinion | Tor

The Real Muslim American Threat? It’s Against Us – The Daily Beast

Dean Obeidallah on white extremism against American Muslims:

We have alarmingly reached an ugly place in America with anti-Muslim sentiment. And while Donald Trump has not targeted Muslims with his rhetoric (at least not yet), his fear mongering will no doubt embolden others to spew hate versus various minority groups, including Muslims.

And worse, this type of divisive language can inspire violence as we saw last week in Boston when two men attacked a Latino homeless man. After the assault, one of the attackers told the police: “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.”

Interestingly one of the two Boston attackers had also been convicted of a hate crime for assaulting a Muslim man shortly after 9/11. Thus again proving that bigots tend to hate more than just one minority group.

I would predict we will see even more plots to kill Muslims in America or at least attempts to gin up the hate toward the Muslim community. This, of course, makes ISIS ecstatic because the terror group would use any attacks on American Muslims as proof that the West hates Islam and that Muslims should join them.

I wish I could be more optimistic, but I’m a realist. My only hope is that our media starts covering these terror plots to make it clear that the threat of “radical Americans” is very real.

Source: The Real Muslim American Threat? It’s Against Us – The Daily Beast

What was it like meeting the national defence and multiculturalism minister of Canada? | CanIndia NEWS

Interview with Minister Kenney with Indo-Canadian media. He provided the best government explanation for the removal of pre-Permanent Resident time credit towards citizenship to date (the explanations by both Minister Alexander and officials during C-24 hearings were unconvincing):

He spent about forty-five minutes in the Can-India office as we quizzed him on important issues—national security, immigration (he was previously immigration minister) and of course jobs and multiculturalism which are my pet peeves. The minister was well-prepared and easily navigated the tough questions we had.

No, he said foreign students will not reduce the job opportunities available to our kids. Nor will attaining PR status be easy for them. I was both surprised and happy to hear Mr. Kenney acknowledge that some institutions have made education a business and want to increase enrolment of foreign students but it didn’t assuage my fears that it would happen anyway. The government knows, I thought to myself, now when will they do something about it. It’s a huge concern that many parents with college and university-going kids like me, have today.

He brought up the subject of many new Canadians not even being aware that a federal election would soon take place because they were not engaged. Naturally I asked how the Conservative Party had planned to address that. Mr. Kenney’s answer was neat though evasive and a bit contradictory. He said today immigrants were more aware and that jobs and economic progress was the best way to engage them. I agree with his philosophy a successful person will integrate better and naturally be more engaged. While it is largely a game of chance, it is my observation that it takes newcomers at least five years to find their groove (if they are lucky that is). What happens to political and community engagement in the meanwhile? What about the hundreds who have been here for years and are still disillusioned, will they ever be brought into the fold?

He dwelt on how communities create ghettoes that prevent new Canadians from fully integrating and assimilating. It’s what I have gone about at length… how ethnic ties are stronger and far outweigh loyalty to Canada. I support his staking a stand on the matter. Why is it a party ideology and not a national strategy? Current trends indicate that many politicians seem to have adopted the approach of businesses towards their multicultural clients—that of trying to cater to communal needs and sentiments in order to ‘hook’ them.

Source: What was it like meeting the national defence and multiculturalism minister of Canada? | CanIndia NEWS

Debate about the women’s debate missed a bigger point: Antoinia Maioni

Provincial_Under-Representation_of_WomenIn addition to federal under-representation, the chart above indicates provincial representation. Of note, British Columbia and Alberta have achieved gender parity in cabinet:

If we really want to raise consciousness about women in this election, let’s start with the glaring fact that women are still sorely under-represented in politics and that the face of this election campaign is dominated by male politicians. Notwithstanding that three of Canada’s provinces are now led by women premiers, federal politics has yet to become gender-friendly. The presence of Elizabeth May as leader of the Green Party is the exception that proves the rule: powerful parties (as in, parties that expect to gain power in Ottawa) are not populated or led by as many powerful women as men.

By international comparison, as my colleague Elisabeth Gidengil has pointed out, women are still few and far between in Canadian politics (we rank 49th worldwide in terms of women elected to legislatures). There are myriad reasons why women are less likely to choose, or be successful at, a political career, that range from obvious societal realities (family and children) to more subtle yet significant reasons (workplace culture and boys’ clubs) to enduring structural obstacles (money, power, influence). And in the Canadian case, these are exacerbated by a political system that concentrates power at the top, and a first-past-the-post electoral system that allows fewer entry points for women seeking office.

Even though political parties have worked toward recruitment – or even quotas – the presence of women is relatively weak. One aspect is the plight of so-called “sacrificial lambs”: tabulating data from the past five Canadian general elections, political scientists Melanee Thomas and Marc-André Bodet found that female candidates are still more likely to run in ridings their parties expect to lose. Another is “the higher you go, the fewer you find” phenomenon of women in political party leadership that Sylvia Bashevkin revealed decades ago.

Today, some of the key party players behind the scenes are powerful women; the national campaigns are being led by Jenni Byrne (Conservatives), Anne McGrath (NDP) and Katie Telford (Liberals). But for voters, the election is not about who is in the backroom, the war room, or even the pundits’ panels. And for us, the public persona of political leadership – the faces and voices that we see and hear – remains resolutely male.

The real women’s issue in this election campaign should not be about the merits of a separate debate, but how these issues matter to all Canadians and why the main leaders debating them are all men.

Of course, under-representation of visible minorities is also an issue:

Provincial_Under-Representation_visible_minorities

Source: Debate about the women’s debate missed a bigger point – The Globe and Mail

Which party is ready to deal with Canada’s aging demographics? – The Globe and Mail

Daniel Muzyka and Glen Hodgson of the Conference Board of Canada on labour market, including immigration, policies (assume at some point they will further flesh-out their specific immigration-related recommendations 3 and 4):

Labour market policies are another key area, and there are a number of policy options available if the problem is properly diagnosed. These include:

  1. Ensuring that Canadian workers have the knowledge and skills needed in tomorrow’s work force. In a world with accelerating technological and competitive pressures, all Canadians will need access to continuous education, training and development within a philosophy of life-long learning.
  2. Improving labour-force flexibility and mobility to fully utilize the existing work force and to allow individuals across the country to pursue opportunities that present themselves.
  3. Providing an opportunity for all citizens, notably underrepresented groups (such as aboriginals and recent immigrants), to fully participate in the work force.
  4. Continuing to develop and implement effective approaches to immigration and the full integration of immigrants into Canadian society.
  5. Creating the best incentives for individuals arriving at retirement age to stay engaged in the work force and for organizations to make innovative use of their knowledge and skills.

The message is that aging demographics are already having a negative impact on our economy’s performance. Those who wish to occupy 24 Sussex Dr. should be asked to define their policy ideas for strengthening Canada’s growth potential.

Source: Which party is ready to deal with Canada’s aging demographics? – The Globe and Mail

Lutte contre la radicalisation: les cégeps irrités par le plan de Québec

As always, the challenge lies in implementation, so I can partially understand their reaction:

La Fédération des cégeps se dit insultée que le gouvernement Couillard, dans son plan de lutte contre la radicalisation, se donne un pouvoir d’enquête et de sanction envers toute école – y compris un cégep – où seraient propagés des propos haineux ou qui serait le théâtre de comportements inquiétants.

«Nous, on se pose encore des questions sur la meilleure façon de contrer la radicalisation. Si le ministre [de l’Éducation], lui, sait quoi faire, qu’il nous le donne, le guide!», lance en entrevue avec La Presse Bernard Tremblay, président-directeur général de la Fédération des cégeps, qui entend bien présenter un mémoire aux auditions sur le projet de loi 59, qui se tiendront dans quelques semaines.

La question de la radicalisation se pose avec une acuité particulière dans les cégeps depuis quelques mois.

Cet hiver et ce printemps, deux jeunes qui fréquentaient le collège de Maisonneuve ont été arrêtés, tandis que quatre autres ont bel et bien mis le cap sur la Syrie. Il y a aussi eu cette controverse autour des locaux loués à Adil Charkaoui, qui a menacé le collège de Maisonneuve de poursuites quand le cégep a envisagé de mettre fin au contrat signé avec lui.

Dans la mesure où les cégeps se sont de tout temps ouverts à la communauté, à qui peut-on louer des locaux sans crainte? Qui risque de propager un discours haineux? Ne risque-t-on pas des poursuites si l’on refuse de louer des locaux aux uns mais pas aux autres?

Ces questions donnent de sérieux maux de tête aux contentieux des cégeps. La réponse appropriée est d’autant moins claire que les personnes qui demandent à louer des locaux ne se présentent pas toujours sous leur vrai jour, mais se décrivent parfois «comme des personnes qui viennent donner des cours de yoga ou d’impôts», relève M. Tremblay.

Dans l’immédiat, au collège de Maisonneuve, des enseignants et d’autres membres du personnel ont été formés pour être à l’affût de tout comportement problématique. Le collège de Maisonneuve travaille aussi avec la psychiatre Cécile Rousseau, directrice de l’Équipe de recherche et d’intervention transculturelles à McGill, pour tenter de mieux dépister les jeunes qui risquent d’être attirés par des gens radicaux. Cela dit, il n’y a pas que le groupe État islamique qui pose problème. Comme l’indique la Fédération des cégeps, les propos de droite véhiculés par les skinheads sont aussi très préoccupants. Et les cégeps, comme la population en général, ne sont pas à l’abri de l’islamophobie, dont il faut aussi se garder, a fait remarquer M. Tremblay.

Source: Lutte contre la radicalisation: les cégeps irrités par le plan de Québec | Louise Leduc | Éducation

Court backs Conservatives’ funding cut to ‘anti-Semitic’ Arab group

Finally picked up by the English language press:

An appeal court has upheld the Conservative government’s decision to cut funding to a “radical and anti-Semitic” Arab-Canadian group once headed by a Liberal candidate.

In 2009, then-Citizenship and Immigration minister Jason Kenney cut $1 million in annual funding to the Canadian Arab Federation, arguing that the group’s leadership had repeatedly expressed support for Hamas and Hezbollah. The Federation had a long track record of “expressing hateful, antisemitic views, and glorifying terrorists,” said Kenney in a Wednesday email to the National Post.

The group has subsequently failed in two lawsuits to have the funding reinstated. The Federal Court upheld Kenney’s decision in 2014, followed more recently by the Federal Court of Appeal.

“I have been on public record disagreeing with the approach taken by the current administration of the Canadian Arab Federation,” said Omar Alghabra, Liberal candidate for Mississauga Centre and a president of the group between 2004 and 2005.

He added, “at the end of the day, it’s government’s prerogative to make decisions on what to fund and what not to fund.”

The Canadian Arab Federation had been paid an annual sum of $1 million in exchange for providing language-training services to new immigrants.

In severing ties with the group, Kenney’s office had cited several specific incidents, including a CAF executive attending a Cairo conference where Hamas and Hezbollah delegates were present, and a CAF-organized rally in which the Hezbollah flag was flown. Last year, a decision by Federal Court Justice Russel Zinn wrote that, based on the Ministry’s evidence, “CAF appears to support organizations that Canada has declared to be terrorist organizations and which are arguably anti-Semitic.”

Source: Court backs Conservatives’ funding cut to ‘anti-Semitic’ Arab group