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Independent topical weblog of current affairs, opinion and issues, featuring stories making news in Canada from immigrants, newcomers & ethnic communities' point of view and interests.

Alan Kurdi and Tima Kurdi

Canada: The boy aunt, Tima Kurdi, said that after his uncle had applied for refugee status in Canada and was rejected, she had not pursued a planned application for the Alan family, according to CTV. Alexander announced Wednesday that he would temporarily suspended his re-election campaign to look into the case. Alan Kurdi died trying to cross the Mediterranean for asylum in Europe. The story of this little boy and this family illustrates what is happening to people dying as migrants, to people being slaughtered by extremists, but it also reminds us that we need to continue acting, he said. Alexander said Canada has agreed to take 50,000 refugees from the two countries impacted by ISIS, and that over half are here, mostly from Iraq, but the Syrian numbers are scaling up. Alexander said that the application of Kurdi family was not rejected by Canada but was returned to the family because it required additional documentation -- in this case, a convention refugee determination status from the UNHCR. This case was passed along to the department and decided according to the rules that would govern consideration of any application, he said. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Canada and Vietnam

: In Canada, the shadow cast by the Vietnam War meant there were concerns about communist infiltrators, according to Globe and Mail. And despite some progress, there were still reservations about accepting refugees from Asia. Yet even as the crisis grew, there remained a great deal of ambivalence about what to do about those leaving Vietnam on rickety vessels, seeking safety and security from the ravages of postwar violence. Until 1967, immigration laws in Canada had discriminated against Asian migration. A key turning point was the dissemination of images of desperate refugees aboard the rickety Hai Hong ship. In the early days of the crisis, therefore, there were mixed opinions about whether Canada had any obligation at all to assist the refugees. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Canada Immigration

Canada immigration: On Thursday morning, party spokesperson Stephen Lecce sent out a second release saying the event had been postponed to a later date, according to Toronto Star. The announcement came hours after Conservative candidate and former immigration minister Chris Alexander dropped his campaign plans to return to Ottawa to be briefed on the crisis. On Wednesday afternoon the party sent reporters a press release indicating that Conservative candidate Jason Kenney would be in Brampton, Ont. on Thursday to make an important announcement on Conservative efforts to protect the integrity of Canada immigration system and the security of Canada. Disturbing photos of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi body on the Turkish beach have been viewed around the world. Speaking about the migrant crisis at a press conference on Thursday, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair said Canada has failed. His mother and 5-year-old brother also died while trying to make the passage from Turkey. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Catherine Dauvergne and University British Columbia Vancouver

Australian immigration law: She also recalled how Canada reacted rapidly to the call for help from ethnic Albanian refugees in Kosovo during war in the Balkan countries, bringing in 250 people a day between May 4 and 23 in 1999, according to Huffington Post Canada. The response to Syria hasn't met that standard, said Dauvergne, an expert in Canadian and Australian immigration law. "The government is doing very little and the commitments it is making are being largely transferred to the non-for-profit sector, so this response has been markedly different than in the past," she said. Catherine Dauvergne, the dean of law at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, said Liberal and Tory regimes in the 1970s and early 1980s embraced the mission of assisting 60,000 Indo-Chinese refugees fleeing Communist regimes after Saigon fall in 1975. "Canada led the world in terms of a response by the government and the response from the Canadian population," she said in an interview. Immigration Minister Chris Alexander says Ottawa has resettled 22,000 Iraqi and 2,300 Syrian refugees to date, and the federal government has set a target to accept 23,000 Iraqi refugees and 11,300 Syrians. As an example, she points to amendments in 2012 that allow the minister to designate which countries are safe and which are not, creating different procedural rules for each group. However, Dauvergne said changes brought in under the Conservatives through the Balanced Refugee Reform Act and other legislation have made it generally harder for refugee applicants to stay in the country. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Election Campaign and Conservative Government

Conservative government: And last month, at the start of the election campaign, the Conservatives promised, if re-elected, to bring yet in another 10,000 refugees fleeing religious persecution in Syria and Iraq over four years, according to Globe and Mail. Canada could do more. That comes in addition to a vow in 2013 to bring in 1,300 by the end of 2014. But even the modest goals set by the Conservative government are not being met. It wasn’t able to meet its original commitment to bring in 1,300 by the end of 2014. For reasons unknown, Ottawa has been slow to move and reluctant to share information. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Gerry Mills and Federal Government

federal government: We're hoping he is going to be announcing a different response from the federal government," Mills said Thursday, according to CBC. Grassroots sponsorship, from individuals, families and groups, is a time-honoured method of helping to bringing refugees to Canada but it takes too long, she said. Gerry Mills, operations director for the Immigration Services Association of Nova Scotia says the Canadian government must open its doors to larger numbers of Syrian refugees in the same way the country responded to the Kosovo and Vietnamese refugee crises. "We know that Minister Alexander has gone back to Ottawa today. Sponsorship too lengthy "Right now, the process is so lengthy that it can take a year or two for that to happen. We're waiting for that to take place right now," said Mills. What we are hoping is going to happen is that process is going to be sped up and then we can appeal to community members to help. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Greece Aylan

: Perhaps that was the purpose behind yesterdays publication of the photograph of a young Syrian boy named Aylan, whose lifeless body had washed ashore while on a treacherous voyage to Greece, according to Huffington Post Canada. Aylan was dressed like many of his counterparts who would be starting preschool this month. Children also possess an innate power, through their very existence alone, to incite compassion in even the most hardened of hearts. Hours before the photo was taken, his loved ones may have secured the Velcro on his tiny shoes, and perhaps comforted him with words that many of us share with young ones: "it will be ok"; "don't be scared"; "we are almost there"; reassurance that ultimately proved futile. Few news organizations have published photos of refugee and migrant children, with some outlets even banning such photos, possibly as an attempt to dissuade support for these children and their families. Just this morning we learned that Aylan family was left with no choice but to embark on the deadly voyage, as Canada had reportedly denied their application for refugee status. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Immigration System

: A Filipino caregiver degrading experience as a temporary foreign worker, according to Toronto Star. These three migrants are among those whose stories are featured in an innovative multimedia project that puts a human face on the impact of the drastic changes made by the Conservative government to the immigration and refugee system in the past decade. A Mexican journalist battle against Ottawa to prove her country inability to protect her. Their stories in videos, along with a detailed report released this week, are part of an initiative called Never Home: Legislating Discrimination in Canadian Immigration, led by Vancouver-based advocacy groups No One Is Illegal and S**tHarper Did. The entire immigration system has been overhauled by this government. Its purpose is to assess these reforms in the run-up to the Oct. 19 federal election. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Kos Immigration and Lorne Waldman

Canada: Canada response to this humanitarian disaster has been put in the spotlight after the world was exposed to a photo of a three-year-old child on a Turkish beach, who drowned after a boat capsized attempting to travel to the Greek island of Kos, according to CTV. Immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman and Queen University professor Sharry Aiken weigh in on the Canadian government reaction to the crisis facing millions of Syrian refugees. With nations like Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan overwhelmed by the huge influx of refugees, displaced Syrians are seeking asylum in nations across Europe and the rest of the world, including Canada. How does Canada compare to the rest of the world in its handling of refugees Prime Minister Harper is talking about Canada being the most generous country in terms of the number of people we accept a year per capita, Waldman told CTV News on Thursday. What he talking about is accepting 250,000 people a year as immigrants, he said. What we need to understand is that there a difference between immigrants and refugees. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Minister Lena Diab and Family Members

family members: Canadian immigration policies are under fire right now after photos of a drowned Syrian boy went viral Wednesday, according to The Chronicle Herald. It was reported that the boy family was trying to reach Canada, but their application for refugee status was rejected in June. Filling in for Immigration Minister Lena Diab, Whalen spoke with reporters in a scrum after Thursday cabinet meeting. The boy died alongside several other refugees and family members after their rowboat capsized while trying to escape Turkey. We would be willing to take more . We can do more as a country. Nova Scotia donates $50,000 to help Syrian refugees The Syrian refugee crisis Whalen said the federal government needs to work with the province and take action. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Minister Lena Diab and Syrian Refugees

family members: Canadian immigration policies are under fire right now after photos of a drowned Syrian boy went viral Wednesday, according to The Chronicle Herald. It was reported that the boy family was trying to reach Canada, but their application for refugee status was rejected in June. Filling in for Immigration Minister Lena Diab, Whalen spoke with reporters in a scrum after Thursday cabinet meeting. The boy died alongside several other refugees and family members after their rowboat capsized while trying to escape Turkey. We would be willing to take more . We can do more as a country. Nova Scotia donates $50,000 to help Syrian refugees The Syrian refugee crisis Whalen said the federal government needs to work with the province and take action. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Randeep Hooda

: These Vancouver gang members are indisputably bad, but Beeba Boys translates as Good Boys, according to Toronto Star. Led by smiling assassin Jeet Johar, played by Bollywood actor Randeep Hooda, they call themselves good with intent both ironic and lethal. They spray bullets as casually as they choose pocket squares for their bespoke suits. It sounds confusing, but it has good company in the Canadian film slate at the 2015 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival , where badasses rule, heroes are tarnished and regular guys have a mess of issues. Beeba Boys is one of the most explosive. The popular image of Canucks as the world meek boy scouts is in for an on-screen mugging, as seen in some of the noteworthy films amongst the dozens of new Canadian movies on offer. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Stephen Harper and Alan Kurdi

: The world attention is on the international migrant crisis this week, in large part due to a single powerful image of dead Syrian boy on a Turkish beach, according to CTV. Canada federal party leaders addressed the death of Alan Kurdi, 3, while campaigning Thursday. The image is lower down in the story. Conservative Leader Stephen Harper told reporters he and his wife Laureen had reacted like any other parent might. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, meanwhile, said it reminded him of ‘Napalm Girl,’ the screaming child photographed after a U.S. napalm attack during the Vietnam War. The first thing that crossed our mind was remembering our own son Ben at that age, he said. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau

Thomas Mulcair: That red shirt, according to Huffington Post Canada. Those little shoes. It the kind of image that shakes something loose. And on Thursday, the photo of three-year-old Alan Kurdi lifeless body on a Turkish beach dominated the conversation in a country the Syrian boy would never get to see. Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, and Thomas Mulcair visibly fought back emotion, offering up a side not often seen by the public. Canada three main federal party leaders reacted — as parents and as politicians — to the image and to the ongoing refugee crisis in Syria. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

The Canadian Press

: The phone in the couple Coquitlam, B.C., home rang hours later to deliver the grim news: Kurdi sister-in-law and her two little boys were dead, drowning as they tried to reach Europe after paying smugglers with the money Kurdi had personally sent to the family from Canada, according to The Chronicle Herald. The dead boy on the beach was her three-year-old nephew, Alan. Their hearts sank. The harrowing photo has since become a heartbreaking symbol of the plight of Syrian refugees. The love of my life is gone and nobody in the world can bring them back, Tima told The Canadian Press, sobbing into her hands as she sat on her living-room couch on Thursday. Kurdi, who came from Syria to Canada more than two decades ago, says she’d hoped to bring her brothers and their families here to escape the horrors of a vicious regime. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Tima Kurdi Abdullah Kurdi and Refugee Crisis

refugee crisis: I couldn't make my voice heard to my wife and kids." Chris Alexander suspends re-election campaign in wake of refugee crisis Focus of election campaign shifts to refugee crisis The death of Kurdi three-year-old son, Alan, who drowned along with his brother, Galib, 5, and mother, Reham, has drawn worldwide attention to the Syrian refugee crisis and placed the Canadian government under fire after it emerged the family had been trying to come to Canada with the help of their aunt, Tima Kurdi, according to CBC. Abdullah Kurdi, 40, father of Syrian boys Alan, 3, and Galib, 5, whose bodies washed up on a beach in Turkey on Wednesday, said he lost his grip on his two sons when the rowboat they were in capsized while trying to cross from Turkey to Greece. Everyone was screaming in pitch darkness. Abdullah Kurdi spoke publicly for the first time Thursday after he identified the bodies of his wife and sons in a Turkish morgue and prepared to take them home to Syria. He said the boat was heavy in the water. "We sailed in the sea for about four to five minutes," he said. "The man steering the boat saw that the sea was high, the waves were high. "We were hit by the first wave and he jumped into the water and escaped away. Kurdi said he got on a boat with 13 people, including the man steering the boat. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Water Hygiene and Islamic Relief Canada

Islamic Relief Canada: Its CEO, Zaid Al-Rawni, said donations are critical right now, as the number of refugees coming over the Mediterranean is overwhelming, according to Globe and Mail. Islamic Relief Canada focuses on acute care – solving the short-term needs of refugees, such as food, water and hygiene. One of these is Islamic Relief Canada. Mr. Help us make sure that those migrants aren’t just sleeping rough, eating from rubbish bins, not eating at all, he said. Al-Rawni call for donations focuses on those needs. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Canada and Wayne Robertson

: If Canada can help these families Canada should help right now, according to Hamilton Spectator. By waiting and not acting Canada makes the whole mess worse for all concerned. I never thought Canada should take any refugees at all until I saw this scene. If we cannot defeat the foe right at this time then action must be taken to help those displaced ASAP. If Harper really wanted to be elected he would actually do what he says because here in Canada we all have heard the barnyard crap before with no results. Wayne Robertson, Camden Township Being born and raised in Canada this is the first time after more than 60 years I can honestly say go and help these poor devils now, this is the time to bring in people who actually want to work and make a safe life for themselves being productive in Canada. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Christina Kramer and Adult Kids

adult kids: Almost half of them said supporting their adult kids is hampering their ability to save for themselves, while 20 per cent say it has actually delayed their retirement, according to Toronto Star. Parents may have the will to help their adult kids but they may not always have the means, said Christina Kramer, executive vice-president of retail and business banking at CIBC. One in four parents said they spend more than $500 a month to cover their adult kids’ rent, groceries and other bills. The CIBC survey has found that two-thirds of Canadian parents polled say they’re feeling the financial impact of supporting their adult children. The top two expenses are groceries and other household expenses and cellphone bills. It considered accurate within plus or minus three percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The survey of 1,054 randomly selected Canadian parents was conducted two weeks ago. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Christina Kramer and CIBC

adult kids: Almost half of them said supporting their adult kids is hampering their ability to save for themselves, while 20 per cent say it has actually delayed their retirement. "Parents may have the will to help their adult kids but they may not always have the means," said Christina Kramer, executive vice-president of retail and business banking at CIBC. One in four parents said they spend more than $500 a month to cover their adult kids' rent, groceries and other bills, according to Hamilton Spectator. The top two expenses are groceries and other household expenses and cellphone bills. The CIBC survey has found that two-thirds of Canadian parents polled say they're feeling the financial impact of supporting their adult children. The survey of 1,054 randomly selected Canadian parents was conducted two weeks ago. The most recent data released by Statistics Canada in 2011 showed that 42.3 per cent of adults aged 20-29 lived at their parental home, "either because they never left it or because they returned home after living elsewhere." In 2006, 42.5 per cent of young adults lived at home, a marked increased from previous decades . Monica Boyd, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto who researches the reasons young adults live with their parents, told the Star the rising rate is linked to several factors, including school attendance, postponement of marriage ages and family structures. "Living at home is highly associated with going to school, and unlike the United States, a lot of young adults who are attending schools don't go very far away. It considered accurate within plus or minus three percentage points, 19 times out of 20. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

European Union and Aegean Sea

Aegean Sea: Today image is just one distressing scene from Europe growing migrant crisis, according to Globe and Mail. There is no simple solution to the crisis. This part of the Aegean Sea has long been a playground for European holidaymakers, but in the past few months it has become a highway, and also a graveyard, for an increasing number of far more desperate travellers. But one thing at least has become clear: Europe is mishandling it, badly. Bankrupt and depression-ridden Greece, where many refugees are landing, cannot afford for them to stay. The European Union can no longer reconcile labour mobility inside the open-borders, passport-free Schengen zone with the Dublin Regulation, the rule that an asylum-seeker must make his application in the EU country where he first arrived – and normally must stay there until his case is resolved. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Francois Legault and Quebec

Canada: The party spoke about a referendum; not a referendum to separate, however, but one to renew Quebec relationship with Canada, according to CTV. CAQ Leader Francois Legault said he wants a new deal with the federation, with Quebec gaining more power over language, immigration and environmental protection. As is wraps up a two-day conference in the Beauce, the party said more clearly than ever that it believes in Canada – or the idea of Canada. Legault said the Liberals are too subservient to Ottawa while the PQ is harping about an imaginary country that Legault said Quebecers are convinced they do not want. He added, though, that the current labels ‘federalist’ and ‘sovereignist’ don't fit the CAQ. The word ‘federalist’ in Quebec is attached to the status quo for Quebecers. Once a PQ cabinet minister and an ardent sovereignist, the former businessman said he, like many Quebecers, has moved on. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Justin Trudeau and Liberal Government

Syrian refugees: Harper has failed completely so far to do just that." Justin Trudeau repeated his party position that Canada would, under a Liberal government, take in 25,000 Syrian refugees, according to Hamilton Spectator. He also accused the Conservative government of not living up to its "meagre" commitment to accept refugees from Syria and elsewhere. "We need to provide the support we can, and we need to be making this situation better in various ways that, quite frankly, we're not doing at this time," Trudeau said. Both the NDP and Liberals said scenes of desperation playing out overseas make it clear the federal government must do something to aid the thousands of people flocking to the continent, although they offered no new policy proposals. "Hundreds of thousands of people fleeing horrors: We've got to step up to the plate, we've got to be part of an international solution, we've got to start doing our fair share," NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said. "Mr. Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, who has committed during the campaign to allow 10,000 more Middle East refugees into the country over the next four years, said Wednesday that simply granting asylum to the desperate won't fix the crisis. "We have plans to do more, but I would say repeatedly that as we are doing more, we can't lose sight of the fact that refugee resettlement alone cannot, in any part of the world, solve this problem," Harper said. The Conservative government promised in January to accept 10,000 refugees from Syria over the next three years. The extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is at the root of the problem, he said. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland: My mother was the only child of an immigrant from Northern Ireland and a Saskatchewan farmer daughter, according to Globe and Mail. Eleanor Monan grew up in Regina, spending summers at the family farm. Born on April 9, 1925, in Regina; died on April 9, 2015, in Burlington, Ont., of natural causes, aged 90. That house held a treasure trove for her: bookshelves filled with works by Thackeray, the Brontes and Margaret Mitchell, among others. She would occasionally put the wrong answers on exams, noting later that we pay a high price for approval sometimes. Although she loved to learn, she hated school because she got good marks effortlessly, which drew the resentment of classmates. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair

: They are coming from countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Eritrea, often risking their lives in the process Speaking about the crisis while on the campaign trail, the NDP and Liberal leaders said Canada should be doing more, according to Toronto Star. Both took the opportunity to slam Conservative Leader Stephen Harper record on the issue. Already this year 332,000 refugees have streamed onto the continent, overwhelming the government response in some areas. Hundreds of thousands of people fleeing horrors: We’ve got to step up to the plate, we’ve got to be part of an international solution, we’ve got to start doing our fair share, said NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, who was campaigning in B.C. Mr. Mulcair, however, offered few specifics on how Canada could contribute more. Harper has failed completely so far to do just that. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.

Tom Mulcair

Justin Trudeau: Mr, according to CTV. Harper has failed, Mulcair told reporters in Kamloops, B.C. Conservatives can’t be trusted on this. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau accused the Conservative government Wednesday of failing to live up to its promise to resettle thousands of refugees from Syria and Iraq. This is the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War. Mulcair said the NDP takes the situation extraordinarily seriously and will do our part to help refugees, but he did not outline specific solutions. The images are horrific. (www.immigrantscanada.com). As reported in the news.
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