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.

caucus meeting: I didn't expect that in two months I could turn the ship around, Singh said Wednesday after his party's weekly caucus meeting on Parliament Hill, according to CTV. On Monday, Liberal Jean Yip retained Scarborough-Agincourt, a riding that had been held by her husband, Arnold Chan, until his death from cancer in September. And the newly minted leader is waving off suggestions that he didn't do enough to help an NDP candidate in the suburban Toronto riding of Scarborough-Agincourt, holding a so-called Jagmeet-and-greet -- billed by the candidate himself as a byelection campaign event -- well outside the actual riding where Brian Chang was trying to win a seat. She captured 49.4 per cent of the vote, followed by Conservative Dasong Zou who pulled in 40.5 per cent. He scraped together fewer than 1,000 votes. Chang wound up with just 5.1 per cent, down almost three percentage points from the NDP's already poor showing in the riding during the 2015 general election. ( As reported in the news.

report: However, those who pose risks to public health and public safety should still be barred from being admitted to Canada, said the committee report, released Wednesday, according to Toronto Star. Our immigration laws unjustifiably violate human rights of certain would-be newcomers to Canada and this is inconsistent with the modern values Canadians associate with contemporary human rights protections, said the committee in a 76-page report. In a groundbreaking report on the controversial practice, the standing committee on citizenship and immigration said the excessive medical demand clause goes against the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and is out of touch with Canadian values. Canadians value diversity and inclusiveness and it should be mindful of all the abilities and contributions of its citizens, newcomers and potential immigrants as it moves forward with reviewing the medical inadmissibility. I have seen how the application of this provision has caused a great deal of hardship over the years. Article Continued Below The recommendation was applauded by rights groups who have criticized what they call discriminatory treatment against people with disabilities. ( As reported in the news.

disaster: Last week, a large crowd showed up in the pouring rain to commemorate the disaster and there was virtual blanket coverage in the local news, according to The Chronicle Herald. Indeed, there were some people who came from all over North America to attend the ceremonies. It killed 2,000 innocent people, wounded 9,000, and destroyed much of Halifax. Meanwhile, the same day, aside from a single sentence about this event on the announcements, there was nothing done to commemorate this at my kids' school Citadel High in Halifax . That's all it merited to them despite the fact that there are undoubtedly students in the school whose families suffered terribly for many years as a result of the disaster. I'm appalled. Nevertheless, all students were forced that same morning to attend a diversity assembly for an hour and 15 minutes, with teachers roaming the halls to round up stragglers to make sure they were all there to hear the preaching these are held quite regularly . Not only does this show the ideological priorities of the progressive zealots running our school system today, but spending so much time having a school-wide assembly about something else on such a significant anniversary rather than any other day is a gross insult to those who suffered and died in the disaster. ( As reported in the news.

refugee quotas: So far, solidarity with front-line nations Greece and Italy, where the refugees land, has been limited, according to Metro News. A mandatory quota scheme was opposed mainly by eastern European nations the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Ahead of an EU summit in Brussels, fresh tensions have surfaced over the perceived need for national refugee quotas. For Europe, the political crisis over migrants is existential, despite the fact that migrant arrivals have dropped dramatically this year. That fueled anti-immigrant parties and the far-right made significant political inroads. As hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees trekked northward from Greece in 2015, some EU nations erected fences, launched police crackdowns and closed borders, forcing migrants onto their neighbours . ID checks were reintroduced in parts of Europe's passport-free travel area, hampering trade, business and tourism. ( As reported in the news.

ullah: He could be seen on the video lying on a hospital bed with his head propped up on a pillow and his body covered up to his neck in sheets, according to CTV. Two assistant public defenders, who stood beside his hospital bed, did not request bail. Akayed Ullah said little during the hearing, which lasted a little over 10 minutes. U.S. Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker, sitting in a federal courthouse in Manhattan, communicated with Ullah via video shown on several monitors in the courtroom. Ullah didn't enter a plea but answered a few of the judge's questions, including answering I can see you when she asked if he could hear her and yes I do when he was asked if he understood his rights. She read him his rights as he nodded his head several times, acknowledging that he understood. ( As reported in the news.

woman-headed households: She says an additional 600,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have poured into Bangladesh since the end of August, doubling the exodus from Burma, according to Toronto Star. The minister says the federal government has now contributed more than 37.5 million to the crisis so far. Bibeau says the federal money will go to humanitarian agencies helping refugees in camps and settlements in Bangladesh and those displaced within Burma. Canada's aid will go towards addressing the needs of women and girls, including survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, pregnant and nursing women and woman-headed households. Canadians continue to show themselves to be generous and compassionate people, Bibeau said in a statement. Article Continued Below The effort will include sexual and reproductive health services, as well as psycho-social counselling. ( As reported in the news.

partner mathew: Each cocktail and snack pairing will represent a different element of these fine individuals and give ode to our great city that has brought them and us together!Sponsored by U-Feast a Rafflecopter giveaway Contest ends December 18, according to NOW Magazine. Chef Gerry a native of Mexico sous chef Mandy of Chinese descent and managing partner Mathew a Canadian native all share different ethnic backgrounds, and have come together to create a happy hour that celebrates each of their backgrounds, plus the multicultural diversity of Toronto in a special way...... with 4 drinks 4 snacks for 30!!To bring it all together, each cocktail will be crafted with 100% local Toronto spirits by Last Straw Distillery, which have inspired the special snack pairings. ( As reported in the news.

akayed ullah: But the attack sent terrified commuters fleeing through a smoky passageway, and three people suffered headaches and ringing ears from the first bomb blast in the subway in more than two decades, according to CTV. This was an attempted terrorist attack, Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio said. In the end, the only serious wounds were to the suspect identified as Akayed Ullah, a 27-year-old Bangladeshi immigrant and former cab driver. Thank God the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals. In Washington, President Donald Trump said the explosion highlighted the need to change immigration policies, including the type of family-based visa Ullah obtained to come to the U.S. in 2011. The suspect had looked as Islamic State propaganda online and told investigators he acted alone in retaliation for U.S. military aggression, law enforcement officials said. ( As reported in the news.

akayed ullah: He also told law enforcement officers at the hospital where he was taken with burn injuries to the body and hands I did it for the Islamic State, according to the complaint, according to CTV. His rush-hour attack fizzled in a long walkway used by commuters moving between trains in the city's busiest subway station at Times Square. Akayed Ullah posted a statement on his Facebook account just before the Monday morning attack, stating Trump you failed to protect your nation, the criminal complaint said. Three pedestrians complained of harmed hearing and headaches after the bomb went off. During a search of his Brooklyn apartment, investigators recovered a passport with the words O America, die in rage scrawled in it, the complaint says. Ullah, 27, was expected to appear before a magistrate judge, though it was not immediately clear if he was well enough to go to court. ( As reported in the news.

chelenqo town: Oromia regional spokesman Addisu Arega said the violence in Chelenqo town killed six people and was being investigated, according to Metro News. On Facebook he called the victims innocent civilians. Facebook and Twitter are down Tuesday after reports emerged of killings on Monday by security forces in the Oromia region. The Addis Standard news site reported 15 killed, including women and children. Oromia regional officials have long accused special police from the neighbouring Somali region of committing atrocities against ethnic Oromos. The Associated Press was not able to independently verify the reports. ( As reported in the news.

cnn report: All refugees would only return if they wished it, both countries agreed, according to Toronto Star. Though these terms may sound promising, there are serious underlying legal and political problems to this agreement that must be considered carefully. Neither Bangladeshi nor Myanmar authorities have released a copy of the repatriation agreement, but some details have been revealed to the press.A recent CNN report suggests Myanmar agreed there would be no restrictions on the number of Rohingya allowed to return, and that there would be no legal consequences for refugees who voluntarily decided to return, unless they had been involved with terrorism. On a recent statement from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, indicated it was not a party to the agreement, though it was referenced in the document text. The UN stated that Rohingya people have lost family members, relatives, and friends. Article Continued Below While the UN encouraged both Bangladesh and Myanmar's effort to work on a comprehensive and durable solution, the UN expressed its concerns about many Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh before and after Aug. 25 who have suffered severe violence and trauma. ( As reported in the news.

emailing people: The messages started across Canada a couple of weeks ago, according to CBC. What we're trying to do is put the word out to newcomers that the government doesn't operate by phoning people or emailing people, said Craig Mackie, the association's executive director. The messages claim to be from the federal immigration officials and tell victims they owe money. Maritime Electric warns Islanders of text message scam Immigration surge has newcomers' association seeking more resources See if it is real' A handout the association has posted urges victims not to comply with any demands from callers claiming to be with the Immigration Review Board or RCMP, and to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. Canadian Council for Refugees They can also contact the Association for Newcomers for help, Mackie said. The P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada has put up this anti-fraud poster. ( As reported in the news.

g licence: Luckily, Nadaf remembered exactly where he'd left it and his sister, who was still in their home country, located it for him, according to CBC. Driver's licensing a frustration for some Syrian refugees I had it in my car in Syria. It was only months later, when he arrived in Canada after a brief stay in Turkey, that he realized it wasn't with him and that without it, he would have to start from the very beginning of Ontario's licensing process, unable to get his G2 licence for at least eight months. I left it in my car before I left, Nadaf told CBC News. I don't trust anyone else. I trust my sister. ( As reported in the news.

home value: He leaves behind a rapidly transforming city where the median home value is more than 1.2 million U.S. and grumpy residents are unhappy with homelessness, clogged traffic and frequent auto break-ins, according to Toronto Star. Supporters touted his dedication to building new housing and sending out workers to clean up dirty streets in a city known for its entrenched homelessness. Lee died Tuesday at 65 after collapsing while grocery shopping. Critics said Lee, a Democrat, catered too much to tech companies, citing a 2011 tax break he brokered for Twitter as part of a remake of the city's dilapidated downtown. No cause was given for his death but an autopsy was planned. react-empty 159 He believed in a city where a poor kid from public housing could become mayor, acting San Francisco Mayor London Breed told reporters at a briefing attended by hundreds of city workers and civic leaders. Read more U.S. mayors of sanctuary cities' say they'll fight Trump's immigration plans Article Continued Below U.S. District Court Judge permanently blocks Trump's order to cut funding for sanctuary cities San Francisco claims victory after right-wing group shut out Still, many on Tuesday mourned the city's first Asian-American mayor as a reluctant politician dedicated to civil service who was more comfortable working on details than on delivering the perfect political sound bite. ( As reported in the news.

hotels favoured: Indeed, there are a lot of freebies and ways to cut down on costs without cutting down on fun, according to Toronto Star. From walking among the popular outdoor cafes in the old town and the stunning cathedral where John Calvin helped kick-start the Reformation, to cruising around one of the world's tallest water fountain on swimmable Lake Geneva, there is a lot to do with nothing to pay. With a bit of care, you can enjoy Switzerland's second-largest metropolis without leaving a hole in your wallet. There is no reason to stay in the five-star hotels favoured by visiting celebrities and government officials doing business with the two dozen UN and other international organizations headquartered in Geneva. Meanwhile, all Swiss hotels are clean, regardless of the price, and bargains are readily available. Several of these international bodies, such as the International Red Cross and Red Crescent, operate renowned museums well worth a visit. ( As reported in the news.

times square: The device did not fully detonate, and Ullah was the only one seriously hurt in the Monday morning attack, according to CBC. At the hospital where he was taken with burns on his hands and torso, he told officers, I did it for the Islamic State, according to the criminal complaint. Akayed Ullah, 27, was accused of detonating a pipe bomb strapped to his body in an underground passageway between Times Square the city's busiest subway station and the bustling Port Authority Bus Terminal. Also, a search of his Brooklyn apartment turned up a passport in his name, scrawled with the words O AMERICA, DIE IN YOUR RAGE, authorities said. His court-appointed lawyer did not immediately return a message seeking comment. He was expected to appear before a magistrate, though it was not immediately clear if he was well enough to go to court. ( As reported in the news.

latino immigrant: Ramos is combining his own story of emigrating from Mexico with a critique of Trump's policies, according to Metro News. He calls his book a defence of the open and inclusive spirit he believes Trump threatens. Publisher Vintage Books told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Jorge Ramos' Stranger The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant in the Trump Era will be released Feb. 27. Ramos is a longtime anchor for Univision, the Spanish-language network. Security personnel escorted Ramos, who had not been called on by Trump, from the event. During a news conference in 2015, Ramos confronted Trump about his plans for more restrictive immigration laws. ( As reported in the news.

lee shot: Lee was surrounded by family, friends and colleagues, according to CTV. No cause was given. A statement from Lee's office said the city's first Asian-American mayor died at 1 11 a.m. at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Lee, the child of immigrants, was a staunch supporter of San Francisco's sanctuary city policy toward people who are in the country illegally, a stance he reiterated last month when a Mexican man who had been repeatedly deported was acquitted of murder in the 2015 killing of Kate Steinle. Lee shot back that San Francisco was a city of tolerance and love and acceptance. The case became a flashpoint in the nation's immigration debate, with then-candidate Donald Trump repeatedly referencing it as an example of the need for stricter immigration policies and a wall along the Mexican border. ( As reported in the news.

money: He had provided a clarity that had been missing inside the event, according to Rabble. As we race toward certain and expanding catastrophe, he simply underscored that profiteering off a destructive cycle of production, consumption, shipping, the unnecessary transport of products over vast distances, and continuous growth models, form the basis from which these discussions are framed. Asked what he thought of COP 23, he replied, the climate is in crisis, but here, this is about money. It is as though the elephant in the room, never acknowledged, hides out with few exceptions. In North America, you can try this experiment. We all play along to some extent. ( As reported in the news.

watchdog groups: According to advocacy group Grassroots Leadership, Monterrosa said a guard repeatedly touched her breasts and legs without consent, according to Metro News. The group says U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and facility operator Core Civic didn't respond to her complaints. The bureau said Tuesday that it opened a civil rights investigation regarding the case of Laura Monterrosa, a detainee at the T. Don Hutto Residential Center. The Associated Press doesn't usually identify alleged victims of sexual assault, but Monterrosa has come forward publicly to encourage others to follow suit. One group in April said it documented 27 separate complaints. Watchdog groups say the U.S. government isn't doing enough to protect detained immigrants from sexual abuse. ( As reported in the news.

liberals: It's the first time in 70 years that a Liberal has represented any portion of the riding, the boundaries of which have changed a number of times, according to National Observer. Hogg's squeaker victory marks the second upset win for the governing Liberals in as many months. The New Democrat took less than five per cent of the vote. They stole a riding in Quebec's nationalist heartland away from the Tories in a byelection in October. There was some consolation for Scheer in three other federal byelections Monday, in which the Liberals retained safe seats in Newfoundland and Labrador and Toronto, while the Conservatives held onto one of their own safe seats in Saskatchewan. For Andrew Scheer, the outcome marks the second byelection loss since he became Conservative leader in May. ( As reported in the news.

akayed ullah: But the attack sent terrified commuters fleeing through a smoky passageway, and three people suffered headaches and ringing ears from the first bomb blast in the subway in more than two decades, according to Toronto Star. This was an attempted terrorist attack, Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters. In the end, the only serious wounds were to the suspect himself, Akayed Ullah, a 27-year-old Bangladeshi immigrant and former cab driver, authorities said. Thank God the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals. Such visas are incompatible with national security, the president said in a statement. In Washington, U.S. resident Donald Trump said the explosion highlighted the need to change immigration policies, including the type of family-based visa Ullah obtained to come to the U.S. in 2011. ( As reported in the news.

casey: I had a call from an employer last week that was looking for a permanent employee under an immigration program and they didn't know about this program, Casey said, according to The Chronicle Herald. Following the meeting, Casey said he reached out to some employers in his riding who also weren't aware of the program. After a meeting with federal immigration officials last week, Casey said he learned that the number of employers officially designated for the program in rural Nova Scotia is lower than in the Halifax region. Casey also noted that, as reported by The Chronicle Herald earlier this month, New Brunswick seems to have a higher uptake for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project AIPP than Nova Scotia. He said the AIPP is the simplest way for employers to bring in skilled workers and the quickest way for immigrants to get permanent residency, but those benefits need to be better communicated. Casey said he sees huge potential in the program to fill labour needs and grow the population. ( As reported in the news.

canadian winters: For the past two years, it has been absolutely a tremendous change for us, he said, according to CTV. We had to go through a lot of change, but it eventually worked out. The engineering student spoke with CTV News Channel Sunday about the challenges of adjusting to life in Toronto, where he landed with his family in December 2015. Al Masri, who's studying computer engineering, shared what the toughest adjustments have been, such as learning to read a book from left to right instead of right to left, and those nasty Canadian winters. For all the details, including tragic details of his time in Syria, watch CTV News Channel's interview with Al Masri. ( As reported in the news.

churence rogers: With 75 of 199 polls reporting, that contest was still too close to call, according to CTV. Liberal contender Gordie Hogg had an early lead with 47 per cent of the vote, just five percentage points ahead of Conservative Kerry-Lynne Findlay, a former Harper-era cabinet minister who represented a neighbouring riding for one term before being defeated in 2015. But the results were just starting to trickle in late Monday in the one riding -- British Columbia's South Surrey-White Rock -- where the Liberals were hoping to score an upset over the Conservatives. Should Hogg prevail, it would be the second byelection loss in as many months for newly minted Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer. With all polls reporting, Liberal Churence Rogers captured 69.2 per cent of the vote -- 46 percentage points ahead of his nearest competitor, Conservative Mike Windsor, who nevertheless managed to double his share of the vote from the 2015 general election. In Newfoundland and Labrador, meanwhile, the Liberals easily retained Bonavista-Burin-Trinity, the safest Liberal seat in the country. ( As reported in the news.

decision-making bodies: Gender parity but little diversity in Val rie Plante's executive committee Quebec's controversial consultations into systemic racism get new mandate, name Among its objectives are highlighting major issues concerning discrimination and diversity, and identifying what practices need to be put in place, according to CBC. The roundtable will be expected to make recommendations on the best ways to diversify municipal decision-making bodies. Made up of about a dozen members of Montreal's different cultural communities, the roundtable will meet regularly at City Hall during the next year with the goal of making Montreal more inclusive, according to a source within the Plante administration. It will also look at the employment and recruitment of visible minorities in public services and their access to social housing. They will be expected to present a list of recommendations by December 2018. The roundtable is expected to meet with Mayor Val rie Plante, or if needed, her press attach every two months to go over their work. ( As reported in the news.