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

court decision: For civic-minded expats whose voting rights have expired under the challenged law, the Supreme Court hearing is the final act in a protracted legal drama that has kept their right to participate in the franchise in limbo, according to CBC. Full disclosure the Canadian American Bar Association, of which I am president, is an intervener in the case. The appeal takes aim at legislation enacted in 1993 but loosely implemented until the Harper government began a campaign of rigid enforcement that deprives most Canadian expats of their ability to vote after they have resided outside of Canada for more than five years. A supposedly 'severed' connection In 2015, a two-judge majority of the Ontario Court of Appeal reversed a lower court decision striking down the law. The Trudeau government is expected to defend the law as a valid exercise of its policy-making discretion, but also to repeat earlier promises to repeal it. It deemed the restriction justified because long-term expats had severed their connection with Canada in pursuit of their livelihoods and opted out of the social contract. ( As reported in the news.

border wall: Democrats say for that amount, DACA recipients and people who might qualify for the program must get more a chance at citizenship.DACA lets immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children stay temporarily and get jobs, according to Metro News. Trump halted the program last fall. President Donald Trump and top congressional Democrats remain shy of an agreement to put language into a government spending bill to protect many young immigrants from deportation.A White House official and a Senate Democratic aide say the White House has offered a two-and-a-half-year extension of President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. In exchange, the White House wants 25 billion for Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico and other security measures. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity to disclose private talks. President Donald Trump has told two Republican senators that he supports adding proposals to a huge spending bill that would provide billions in federal subsidies to insurers to help curb health care premium increases. Jill Colvin 2 40 p.m. ( As reported in the news.

court: Immigration law says that if noncitizens commit a crime for which they can be deported, the government should take them into custody for potential removal when they're released from prison or jail, according to Metro News. A person detained immediately can be held indefinitely. The Supreme Court agreed Monday to consider the issue. The government argues the same is true if the person is released and then later detained for possible removal. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that noncitizens not promptly detained must be given the opportunity to be released on bond. ( As reported in the news.

daca-protected immigrants: About 20,000 young immigrants in Arizona are protected from deportation under a 2012 program started by the Obama administration, according to Metro News. The Trump administration is trying to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but has been blocked by federal courts. The justices did not comment Monday in leaving in place an appeals' court decision in favour of the immigrants who sought licenses. The high court recently turned down an administration request to take on the DACA controversy. Then-Gov. Arizona sought to prevent DACA-protected immigrants from getting licenses. ( As reported in the news.

draft law: This has led some groups to fear it could be used to restrict their work in Burma, according to Toronto Star. The proposed law comes at a time of a wider crackdown on democratic freedoms under Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and her government, as they struggle to deal with the fallout of military operations that have sent nearly 700,000 Rohingya fleeing over the border to Bangladesh since August. The Draft Law on International Non-Governmental Organizations contains a vague definition of the groups it would regulate, proposes monitoring of aid groups' work by Myanmar staff and provides the affected organizations with few safeguards against the government suspending their work. The stated purpose of the law allows government to suppress activities they do not favour and undermines the efforts in advancing democracy and human rights, according to a February presentation reviewed by The Post from the INGO Forum, a coalition of dozens of aid groups operating in Burma, which is also known as Myanmar. It was unclear whether the law would move past the commission or what provisions the final version would include. Representatives from international aid groups and diplomats are lobbying members of the parliamentary committee reviewing the draft to change the wording or to have it withdrawn. ( As reported in the news.

executive director: MCOS has been hosting and partaking in events all month to highlight International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, but next week they will collaborate with organizations such as the Saskatchewan Orchestral Association, Regina Symphony and Summer Stage for various events, according to CBC. The aim is to challenge racism and inspire conversation through the arts. The collaborations are focused around the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is March 21. Rhonda Rosenberg, executive director of the Multiculteral Council of Saskatchewan, says the arts are a creative and powerful way to address racism. These are issues that have been around with us in humanity for a very long time. Rob Kruk/Radio-Canada I actually think that working through the arts is a really powerful and important way of dealing with social issues, said Rhonda Rosenberg, executive director of the Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan. ( As reported in the news.

opening: And the celebration in Windsor marks a difficult anniversary in Syria, according to CBC. The first day of the Syrian revolution started on March 18, 2011, said Musaab Almasalmeh, president of the Syrian Community Center of Windsor. The Syrian Community Center of Windsor SCCW welcomed a few hundred people to its grand opening Sunday at the Caboto Club. We're here because of that event. Jason Viau/CBC A soft opening of the non-profit charity organization was held in January at the centre's location at 1214 Ottawa St. A few hundred people gather to celebrate the opening of the new Syrian Community Center of Windsor. ( As reported in the news.

sex-education professionals: All manner of objections have been raised to it from its age-inappropriateness, and its surprising inclusions gender and omissions internet pornography to its use of private partnering agencies unaccountable to the public, and its dismissal of cultural sensitivities in a multicultural society, according to Toronto Star. The larger point is that sex education cannot be effective without the consent of parents, because sex that will bring people to flourish is intimately related to marriage and the family. It should be repealed and replaced with an effective one. It seems to be a point that sex-education professionals throughout the West are hell-bent on ignoring. And a particularly unfortunate feature of this ideology is that it blames families, even while victimizing them. The failure to desire parental consent isn't only a failure of policy; it is an expression of the ideology of selfish individualism. ( As reported in the news.

toronto couple: Soberano is suffering from renal failure and needs to get on the kidney transplant wait list as soon as possible, according to Toronto Star. The Toronto couple has applied for permanent resident status on humanitarian and compassionate grounds and has been waiting almost four years for a decision. The Mexican migrant says time is running out for her husband, Sergio Soberano Osorio, however. Without permanent residency, Soberano is not eligible to get on the transplant list even though his wife's sister is willing to donate one of her kidneys if she's a match. Hussen has said the current policy must change. The irony is that the processing of their case has been delayed because officials are waiting for the changes to the policy to be finalized, according to an email to the couple's lawyer from the office of their MP who happens to be Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen. ( As reported in the news.

affordability indicator: Will Wai Young scuttle the NPA's mission to win back city hall related Affordable housing worries as huge Coquitlam development moves ahead Speculation tax should be eliminated' in current form, says NanaimoA recently released annual report commissioned by the board is touting the affordability of its real estate in 2017 compared with the Lower Mainland and Greater Victoria presumably with the hope of attracting newcomers to its communities, according to Vancouver Courier. An affordability indicator, calculated by the report authors as a percentage of typical local household income spent on typical local housing costs such as mortgage payments, utilities and taxes reveals the huge disparity between the northern B.C. cities and the two major southern metropolises. The catch You'll have to move to a smaller, northern community such as 100-Mile House, Smithers or Williams Lake, where such properties are still highly affordable.article continues below Trending Stories Billionaire returns to former high school in Vancouver Killarney Serving with pride at Fire Hall No. 5Testing, testing Emergency alert system drill is Mar. 21 at 1 55 p.m. The housing affordability indicator demonstrates the difference between B.C. Northern communities and Vancouver and Victoria real estate. According to the report, the average price of a single-family home sold in northern B.C. in 2017 was about 290,000, while the average Vancouver detached house was more than 1,500,000. Source B.C. Northern Real Estate Board The report stated, In 2017, the Housing Affordability Indicator for Northern British Columbia was 28.9 per cent compared to 115.7 per cent for Vancouver. ( As reported in the news.

bob rae: Of the up to 8.15 million in new aid money, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations and the World Food Program will each be given 1.5 million with the rest going mainly to other non-governmental organizations, the government says, according to National Observer. The funding comes in response to recommendations from Bob Rae, who was appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last October as Canada's special envoy to Myanmar. International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says aid organizations are already overwhelmed by the massive influx of Muslim-minority refugees from neighbouring Myanmar. ; But there are fears the situation will worsen as the region's rainy season approaches. Prior to Friday's announcement, Canada had already committed more than 37.5 million in humanitarian assistance for the region. Calling the situation 'extremely disturbing, Bibeau said Canada's contribution will help improve sanitary services to protect lives and prevent the spread of disease. It is estimated that more than 671,000 Rohingya refugees mostly women and children have fled to Bangladesh since last August to escape violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state. ( As reported in the news.

cold-open sketch: SNL managed to work jokes about events less than 24 hours old into the cold-open sketch about high-profile firings Anderson Cooper Alex Moffat asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions Kate McKinnon why he fired former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe late Friday night, and just before he was about to retire, according to Toronto Star. Hello! Look at me, I still got a job, McKinnon's wily Sessions said. And that was before the show turned its attention to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her botched 60 Minutes interview from last Sunday, in a pointed segment on Weekend Update. Mr. The fake Sessions added Look, I'm always down to clown, but this was sneaky, even for me! I'm just a simple man who wanted to make things bad for immigrants, and here I am taking away the pension of a Christian white. McCabe was in clear violation, because of his lack of candor I don't know, I can't even dance around Trump made me do it! McCabe, he saw too much. ( As reported in the news.

india burst: The issue of Khalistani separatism long since subdued by force in India burst back into mainstream Canadian consciousness after about three decades of existing in private conversations and in-group rallies, according to Toronto Star. It's easy to get lost in the weeds of the issue of a Sikh homeland. What a windfall for the Conservatives. Was it about independence or greater autonomy Was the preacher Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, whose posters appear at rallies in Canada, a terrorist or a saint Should the mass murders of Sikhs following the murder of Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1984 be labelled genocide Is armed resistance/violence justifiable in the cause of self-determination For thousands of Canadians, these questions are not just academic, they are legally fraught and weighed by trauma for the families of innocents killed whether by Sikh separatists, or of Sikh separatists and others caught in the crossfire. He did not denounce Parmar directly, something he belatedly and only recently corrected with a statement. Article Continued Below In a CBC interview in October, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who has publicly held positions on Sikh grievances against the Indian government, was asked for his views on Talwinder Singh Parmar, widely considered the mastermind behind the 1985 Air India bombing that killed 381 people. ( As reported in the news.

control room: Inside a high-tech control room that looks ripped from the pages of a spy thriller, specialists train their eyes on a wall of monitors, tracking one of the scarcest resources in the Middle Eastern nation of Jordan water, according to CBC. The Ministry of Water and Irrigation regularly flies drones to monitor pipelines. Read more stories in the series. The control centre staff are looking for signs of what has become a serious problem water theft. To prevent a water crisis, the kingdom is looking to move past decades of regional animosity as it works to provide water security to its 10 million residents. Jordan, one of the driest countries on the planet, sits in the middle of a region where rivers often run dry and water doesn't always flow when taps are opened. ( As reported in the news.

boy: The child has a high fever and he is very sick, according to CTV. She cannot take the child to the doctor. The family said time is running out to save their lives because the woman who is being called Amena' and her son are hiding in Kabul and the two-year-old boy isn't doing well. The mother herself, she is very ill. CTV News is protecting the family's identity. She is suffering from depression, said the boy's grandmother. ( As reported in the news.

downtown calgary: Recently, he entered an English-language classroom in his agency's building near downtown Calgary, just after a 28-year-old woman had finished describing the screams of a young girl being raped by a Daesh soldier, according to Toronto Star. Suddenly, the woman fell unconscious. Nothing prepared him for the Yazidis. Her eyes rolled into the back of their sockets, her back arched on the floor and she began to hyperventilate, her voice a rising octave until it emerged as a yelp. Don't let her bite herself, said Kheriya Khidir, an interpreter, settling down to hold one of the woman's arms and stroke her face lovingly. She grabbed fistfuls of her hair and snapped her teeth at her forearms. ( As reported in the news.

keith haring: Plenty of pedestrians were getting a look Saturday at the graffiti scrawled in red across the bottom half of his 70-foot-long mural, according to The Chronicle Herald. The mural bearing the slogan Free Zehra Dogan was recently installed on the Houston Bowery Wall, made famous by Keith Haring in the 1970s. It seems somebody added a signature tag to his artful protest of the imprisonment of a Turkish artist and journalist. The mural protests the jailing of Dogan, an ethnic Kurd, after she painted the Turkish flag flying over the rubble of a destroyed town. Banksy's mural shows her jailed behind a set of black tally marks representing her days in prison. Dogan was convicted last March. ( As reported in the news.

pre-election polls: In an interview with the West Island edition of the Montreal Gazette, Leit o said the Coalition Avenir Qu bec currently besting his party in pre-election polls engaged in ethnic-based nationalism, according to CBC. For good measure, he added I'm not afraid of the words. He then stepped back and watched as the predictable happened. This is what it is. The CAQ did not take kindly to the comments. They view the French majority as being under attack from all those foreigners out there. ( As reported in the news.

liberties groups: Canadians lose the right to vote after living abroad for more than five years under rules on the books since 1993, according to CTV. However, it was only under the former Conservative government of Stephen Harper that Elections Canada began enforcing the laws. Civil liberties groups, which argue current rules barring the expats from voting are unconstitutional, and Quebec, which supports the federal government's defence of the restrictions, are among interveners in the closely watched case the Supreme Court of Canada is scheduled to hear on Wednesday. Two Canadians living and working in the United States launched the case after being denied the right to vote in the 2011 election. One way or the other, this is going to get decided and either Canadians will be enfranchised or Canadians will be disenfranchised, Jamie Duong, one of the appellants, said from Ithaca, N.Y. Duong and Gill Frank, an academic in Princeton, N.J., initially won their case before Ontario Superior Court in 2014 but the government appealed. They argue that citizenship, not residency, is the key requisite for voting. ( As reported in the news.

people: I have lost everything because I no longer have my wife nor my children, he says, according to Metro News. I cannot eat nor sleep. The 71-year-old, who also lost all 40 of his cattle in the violence, was forced to flee on foot some 90 kilometres 56 miles to safety in the town of Bunia. I'm afraid that this fighting is as bad as the war in 1996-2002. Another 28,000 have also fled into Uganda, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Violence between Nzafi's Hema community and the Lendu ethnic group in Congo's northeast has now killed at least 150 people and has forced more than 32,000 people to flee to Bunia, where humanitarian assistance is strained and the suffering are eager for improved conditions. ( As reported in the news.

student: The former student leader, who became famous in the province during the 2012 Printemps Erable student strikes, won with 70 per cent of the vote, according to CTV. His QS co-spokesperson Manon Masse said she believes he has a good shot at re-election. Nadeau-Dubois, 27, will run in Gouin, the riding where he was first elected in a by-election two years ago. I'm pretty sure that he will win, because he still has the support of his community, she said. It's a prediction echoed by political analyst Phillippe Fournier. Remember, two years ago, he won by a very, very big gap. ( As reported in the news.

ticket counters: In their hands, they clutch a single suitcase, each filled with the only possessions they brought with them to their new country, according to CBC. What would they pack And what do those items say about them One battered suitcase took inspiration from the story of a Roma woman. Immigrants walk past worn wooden benches and ticket counters in the wood-frame building as they prepare for their new lives in Canada. Margaret Gallagher/CBC Those questions inspired a special art and social studies project from Grade 10 students at Burnaby North Secondary. Erbil, Seattle, Vancouver why one asylum seeker walked across the border into B.C. We wanted to pull immigrants and immigration out of a dark 'blob' of people you fear, that are unknown, said museum coordinator Markus Farher. Students thought about what they would bring if they could only pack one suitcase and those suitcases are now on display at the Port Moody Station Museum. ( As reported in the news.

ardi veliu: Each had paid from 9,750 to 30,000 for the forgeries, according to Metro News. In addition to those arrested, 12 people are still at large, including two Bulgarians. Police chief Ardi Veliu said Saturday that, after months of an international investigation, authorities have identified seven criminal structures in ten countries in Europe and overseas that helped Albanians emigrate illegally by falsifying travel and identity documents of European Union countries. Police have also confiscated computers, cellphones, vehicles, cash, different documents and weapons in the case. Fighting organized crime and illegal trafficking remain key challenges for Albania, a NATO member since 2009 which is hoping to launch EU membership negotiations this year. ( As reported in the news.

attendant problems: We see that Canada, in recent history, has admitted huge numbers of primarily non-Christian newcomers, many of whom are refugees with the attendant problems of disrupted lives and having had little or no access to education, according to Toronto Star. Their children have entered the public system, not the Catholic. We need only to look at our immigration stats for the answer. The refugee/immigration explanation also explains the EQAO data showing more special-needs students in the public system. If, as a result, these imbalances now exist between the two systems, it is hardly surprising. Countries in a state of political upheaval and/or war do not have their citizens' health and/or educational needs as a priority. ( As reported in the news.

business owner: But that's more true for Saskatoon's Gerard Burke than most, according to CBC. The business owner left the Celtic Tiger behind and came to Saskatchewan nearly a decade ago. Patrick's Day. It was a period of rapid economic growth in Ireland, spurred on by foreign investment. He came to Saskatchewan through the province's skilled workers program along with his wife, who grew up in Saskatoon, according to a profile of Burke on the Government of Saskatchewan's website. We were a little wary of having left that behind and moving to Saskatchewan, Burke said. ( As reported in the news.

chicago: The mother was released from detention earlier this month, according to Metro News. Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, said the woman was allowed to travel to Chicago from San Diego on Tuesday, after a DNA test requested by the government confirmed she was the girl's mother. The daughter had been placed in a Chicago facility while the mother was held in San Diego, about 2,000 miles 3,200 kilometres away, after they entered the U.S. in November and turned themselves in to U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. He says the daughter was released late Friday and brought to a Chicago shelter where she and her mother will be staying. It was just incredibly emotional. They were hugging each other and sobbing, Gelernt said. ( As reported in the news.