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.

asylum-seeker children: Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the last four asylum-seeker children on Nauru would soon be resettled with their families in the United States under a deal struck in the final months of President Barack Obama's administration, according to CTV. Every asylum seeker child has now been removed from Nauru or has had their claim processed and has a clear path off the island, Morrison said in a statement. The psychiatric and physical suffering of children has been the major criticism of the government's policy since 2013 to send asylum seekers who attempt to reach Australia by boat to an immigration camp on Nauru or men-only facilities on Papua New Guinea. The United States agreed in 2016 to accept up to 1,250 refugees. Law firm Maurice Blackburn said it would continue its legal fight until all asylum seekers were removed from the island camps. More than 1,000 others remain on the islands and face uncertain futures. ( As reported in the news.

court filing: He said the government should focus on reuniting children currently in its custody, not those who have already been released to sponsors, according to CTV. It would destabilize the permanency of their existing home environment, and could be traumatic to the children, White said in a court filing late Friday, citing his years of experience working with unaccompanied migrant children and background as a social worker. Jonathan White, who leads the Health and Human Services Department's efforts to reunite migrant children with their parents, said removing children from sponsor homes to rejoin their parents would present grave child welfare concerns. The administration outlined its position in a court-ordered response to a government watchdog report last month that found many more migrant children may have been split from their families than previously reported. It is unknown how many families were split under a longstanding policy that allows separation under certain circumstances, such as serious criminal charges against a parent, concerns over the health and welfare of a child or medical concerns. The government didn't adequately track separated children before a federal judge in San Diego ruled in June that children in its custody be reunited with their parents. ( As reported in the news.

english vocabulary: To meet the English-language requirement, individuals must reach Level 4 of the Canadian language benchmarks, meaning they can understand simple sentences and use basic grammar, according to Toronto Star. Scott Gardner / The Hamilton Spectator file photo Three years ago, a day shy of Valentine's Day, 36-year old Ibrahim and seven family members landed in Surrey, B.C., as part of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's signature Syrian Refugee Initiative. Nose, she proudly pronounces, eager to demonstrate her expanding English vocabulary. She didn't know a word of English, nor could she read or write in her native Arabic. While her mom, dad, grandmother and two school-age brothers are eligible to become citizens this year, she and two other adult siblings, who also never learned to read or write, will not be. Despite taking language classes four days a week, she has a long way to go to meet the English-language requirement for Canadian citizenship. ( As reported in the news.

eritrean backlog: From left, Debretsion amd Senait Abbe and their children, Merken, 9, Merhawi, 10, and Mesuna, 5, according to Toronto Star. They spent three years in a Sudanese refugee camp before arriving in Canada, sponsored by family and friends. Unlike the media frenzy that marked the arrival of the first of 60,000 Syrian refugees to Canada, federal officials have quietly achieved another immigration feat that has largely gone unnoticed They eliminated one of the country's worst refugee resettlement backlogs and ushered in 12,000 Eritreans to begin new lives in Canada. RICK MADONIK / TORONTO STAR Ottawa began tackling the Eritrean backlog in 2015 at the same time world attention was focused on the desperate plight of Syrian refugees. But thanks to an inspired collaboration between frontline visa officers on two continents, most of the Eritrean refugees were resettled in Canada by December. The Eritreans, who fled President Isaias Afwerki's oppressive military regime, had been languishing for years in refugee camps in Sudan, where they, again, were often subjected to violence. ( As reported in the news.

theatre department: A lot of inside jokes came from that and I kind of became the butt of the joke, being the only Black person in the theatre department and I'm playing the slave, Cheesman said, according to Toronto Star. Keshia Cheesman is one of many Calgarians in the local arts scene looking to push aside barriers created by discrimination in the industry. She played Tituba, the slave, and she didn't even want to audition in the first place. Supplied That was nearly 10 years ago, and at the time, she used to laugh along with the jokes to fit in. Before high school, when Cheesman was a dancer, she recalled being regularly cast as male characters. Now I'm realizing how harmful all of that was because there were so many other roles that I just knew I wouldn't be considered for because of my colour or my size. ( As reported in the news.

office sunday: Ralph Northam clung to office Sunday amid nearly unanimous calls from his own party to resign over a racist photo in his 1984 medical school yearbook, going silent after a bizarre 24 hours in which he first admitted he was in the picture, then denied it, according to Vancouver Courier. The Democrat's stunning about-face at a weekend news conference where he also acknowledged putting on blackface for a dance contest decades ago and appeared to briefly entertain the notion of doing the Michael Jackson moonwalk for reporters only seemed to make things worse.article continues below Trending Stories More than 40 men arrested in underage Vancouver sex sting Vancouver Park Board commissioner doesn't want 4/20 event at Sunset Beach Report reveals chaotic scene at police shooting outside Vancouver Canadian Tire Amanda Tapping on coping with miscarriage The chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus declared that Northam still does not understand the seriousness of his actions. Gov. The photo shows someone in blackface and another person in a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe. Karen Bass, D-California, said on NBC's Meet the Press. ''He knew this picture was there, and he could've come clean and talked to African-Americans that he's close to decades ago. I think he's been completely dishonest and disingenuous, Rep. ( As reported in the news.

kaepernick: The Grammy-nominated rapper told The Associated Press on Friday evening that she had mixed feelings after she declined to take the stage at Super Bowl 53 in Atlanta, according to Toronto Star. She said it was a hard decision since her husband, rapper Offset, loves to watch football, but she felt obligated to stand behind Kaepernick because he stood up for minorities. The Associated Press Sat., Feb. 2, 2019 ATLANTA Cardi B said she received an offer to perform at the Super Bowl, but struggled with the decision to turn down the lucrative opportunity in support of ex-NFL player Colin Kaepernick. Last year, Cardi B, above, said she wouldn't take the Super Bowl stage until ex-NFL player Colin Kaepernick gets a job. His kids play football. Matt Sayles / Matt Sayles/Invision/AP My husband, he loves football. ( As reported in the news.

people force-feed: The man is among a group of nine detainees in the El Paso facility who immigration officials acknowledged Friday are being hydrated and fed against their will under court orders, according to CTV. That's up from six men who were being fed through nasal tubes Wednesday when The Associated Press first reported on the force-feeding. He's put on a bed where he says his arms and legs are strapped down and a group of people force-feed him by pouring liquid into tubes pushed through his nose. They tie us on the force-feeding bed, and then they put a lot of liquid into the tubes, and the pressure is immense so we end up vomiting it out, said the man, who called the AP Friday from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility where he is being held. The pipe is not an easy process, but they try to push it down our noses and throats. We can't talk properly, and we can't breathe properly. ( As reported in the news.

refugee judges: Canada is now fast-tracking asylum claims from selected countries, according to Toronto Star. Allan Woods / Toronto Star File Photo These new instructions are examples of initiatives recently put in place to slow the growth of the inventory and wait times for claimants, refugee board chairman Richard Wex told the Star. On Tuesday, refugee judges began assessing claims under what is known as a file-review process meaning a decision is made based on submissions from claimants without a hearing and a short-hearing process, where there are few disputable issues.A group of irregular migrants two men, a woman and a baby cross the border from the United States into Canada, near the Quebec town of St-Bernard-de-Lacolle, in February 2017. By matching our efforts with the complexity of each claim, we are using our resources more effectively, which will result in more refugee claim decisions. Many of the claims are from asylum seekers who came through the U.S.-Canada border since late 2015 after U.S. President Donald Trump came into the office with a mandate to crack down on illegal migrants. The latest statistics show the board has more than 73,000 outstanding claims and the wait time for a hearing now hovers at around 24 months. ( As reported in the news.

security agencies: In an interview on CTV's Question Period that airs on Sunday, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale initially said that there will be new money for these agencies going forward to do their total job, according to CTV. Sign up for our Capital Dispatch newsletter, for all the latest politics news However, in a follow up comment his office clarified that the new funding would be coming from a pre-announced 750 million that was part of the last federal budget, that is to be allotted to the various security agencies over five years. The announcement was made without any new funding attached, but the minister who oversees many of these organizations is vowing that they will have the cash they need to do the job. We announced Canada's Cyber Security Strategy last year with new funding of 750M. Action against foreign interference is a key part of the package. During the interview, Goodale did not reference this specific funding amount, but said he is currently in the process of making sure that agencies like the RCMP have enough support. Agencies like the RCMP and CSE are receiving major allocations, Goodale said in a tweet on Saturday. ( As reported in the news.

speech: Choosing Greatness is the official White House theme, according to CTV. Addressing the nation at the weakest point of his presidency, Trump will seek to use the ceremonial moment to pitch a unifying vision and reset relations with Democrats. But for the stately speech, he plans to embrace unity -- at least for the night. The prime-time presidential set-piece Tuesday night comes amid a bitter border wall fight that nearly derailed the speech altogether, but Trump is not expected to dwell on the rancour. While Trump may strive for a unifying tone for the evening, harsh rhetoric has been a constant of his presidency. I really think it's going to be a speech that's going to cover a lot of territory, but part of it's going to be unity, Trump told reporters this week. ( As reported in the news.

corruption scandal: The mood is of immeasurable satisfaction, the diehard 28-year-old bolsonarista gushed this week, according to Rabble. It is wonderful to be able to count on the government, to be able to believe that politics can change, that politics can be more honest, that we can trust our leaders Sambugaro continued, heaping praise on Bolsonaro's early relaxation of gun laws and vow to eradicate corruption. A month into Bolsonaro's reign, he remains on cloud nine. The contentment Brazilians are feeling is just gigantic, thank God. Bolsonaro built his populist assault on the presidency on a Trumpian pledge to drain its political swamp after the worst corruption scandal in its history. But as Bolsonaro marks his first month as president on Friday an anniversary overshadowed by a mining disaster that has claimed at least 99 lives and left 259 people missing not everyone is so sure. ( As reported in the news.

full-day kindergarten: The prime minister said he was deeply concerned about comments Ford made Wednesday, refusing to rule out cuts to all-day kindergarten and potentially growing class sizes in the province, according to CTV. Trudeau told the crowd that cuts to education won't help the economy grow or provide opportunity for Canadians. Trudeau made the comments during a wide-ranging town hall meeting Thursday night at a Milton, Ont., high school. But the cuts would also hit home on a personal level, he added. Ford said Wednesday that he isn't guaranteeing that full-day kindergarten will continue beyond the next school year. I'm also a parent who has three kids in the Ontario public school system, he said, adding the potential cuts worry me as a parent who's got his youngest kid in all-day kindergarten right now. ( As reported in the news.

nicolas maduro: Sign up for our Capital Dispatch newsletter, for all the latest politics news Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland will host the meeting two days after Saturday's scheduled national street protests in Venezuela aimed at pressing the country's socialist leader, Nicolas Maduro, to vacate the presidency, according to CTV. Canada has already contributed 2.2 million for the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela that has forced three million people from their homes, sending ripples across the region. The agenda for the gathering of foreign ministers from more than a dozen of Canada's Western Hemisphere allies was still being finalized on Friday, in part because of the speed at which the Venezuelan crisis is unfolding. Sources say Canada won't be adding to that fund because Maduro won't allow proper humanitarian access to the country. One source framed a central question for the talks as How can we continue to pressure Maduro in such a way that he steps down to allow for a new election What more can we be doing in terms of financial support but also general support A possibility is to repurpose billions of dollars of overseas assets seized from the country's corrupt leaders to help countries coping with the influx of refugees and to back Guaido's new government. And while they stress Monday's meeting is not a pledging conference, sources said the discussions will include looking at new political and financial ways to support the politician they see as the country's true interim president parliamentary leader Juan Guaido. ( As reported in the news.

stone: Jackson did not immediately issue an order barring Stone or prosecutors from discussing the case, giving both sides until next week to weigh in, according to Vancouver Courier. She said even if she did issue an order, the talkative political operative would still be free to opine on other matters. She said Stone may have justifiably felt the need to get his story out, but his public statements risk tainting a pool of jurors who may ultimately decide his case. It would not be a bar on all public relations, activities or press communications, but only those related to this case, she said. Stone, 66, who was arrested last week in a pre-dawn raid at his Florida home, is the sixth Trump aide charged in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible co-ordination between Russia and Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. A party could discuss foreign relations, immigration or Tom Brady as much as they wanted. ( As reported in the news.

canadian press: And a growing number of rural town councils are adopting resolutions denouncing the registry or calling for it to be scrapped entirely.A growing number of Quebec's rural town councils are adopting resolutions denouncing the province's law on gun registry or calling for it to be scrapped entirely, according to Toronto Star. Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS The Canadian Press confirmed Wednesday that at least 15 towns recently passed such resolutions. As the deadline to register shotguns and rifles passed this week, 75 per cent of the long guns believed to be in the province had not been registered. Philip Tetrault, mayor of Warden, a town of 400 residents about 100 kilometres east of Montreal, said the registry is useless and will end up like the federal version, which was dissolved by the Conservatives in 2012 following major cost overruns. The registry might be popular in Montreal and Quebec City, but the majority of people in Warden are against it. In a few years, it'll be abolished, Tetrault predicted in an interview. ( As reported in the news.

immigrant children: Uzma Jalaluddin with her father Mohammed, according to Toronto Star. Uzma wanted to become a writer when she was a child, but like the parents of most immigrant children, her father did not encourage to follow her artistic passion but to get a day job. Get a day job.I share this story because it captures so much about the way that many immigrants view a career in the arts as something that other people's kids pursue, usually after they've failed to get into medical school. Today her father has changed his tune. I also happened to be a shy bookworm who knew her way around every library within a 30 km radius. Meanwhile Uzma has made writing her hobby. handout I was a straight-A student, I earned academic awards and praise from teachers. ( As reported in the news.

land speculation: Funding is secured and planning is underway to build a Skytrain extension along the corridor from Commercial Drive to Arbutus St., which should be by 2025, according to Toronto Star. But the University of British Columbia, some business groups and Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart want to extend it all the way to UBC. Stewart said the line to UBC could open by 2030 with council's endorsement. Denis Star Metro Vancouver Wed., Jan. 30, 2019 VANCOUVER City council endorsed a 3.8-billion plan to extend a subway line all the way to UBC along the Broadway corridor, but promised to not repeat mistakes of the past when it comes to rampant land speculation and impact on businesses. Passengers cram aboard a Broadway B-Line bus in September 2018. During the construction of the Canada Line, small businesses struggled and the Metro Vancouver Regional District highlighted a growing disconnect between high-density development of condos near transit stations, which tend to be far out of the price range of the lower-income people who actually use transit. Vancouver city council approved an extension to a planned Skytrain route along the Broadway corridor all the way to UBC. David P. Ball / Star Metro Vancouver It is so important to have you with me when we're negotiating with senior levels of government, Stewart told councillors as the vote was about to pass. ( As reported in the news.

task force: The suspects, who had refugee status in Germany, had been under surveillance for some time by a task force of around 200 investigators, said Holger Muench, the head of Germany's federal police, according to CTV. The case shows that the threat of Islamic terrorism is still present, Muench told reporters. Federal prosecutors said Shahin F. and Hersh F., both 23, and Rauf S., 36, were taken into custody in an early morning raid by a police SWAT team in the area of Dithmarschen, near the border with Denmark. It wasn't immediately clear when the suspects came to Germany. The involvement of several asylum-seekers in extremist attacks or plots has helped boost support for the anti-migrant Alternative for Germany party. More than 1 million asylum-seekers entered Germany in 2015-16, most from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. ( As reported in the news.

term wall: Yet in a series of tweets and statements, he issued conflicting messages about what he'd need to declare victory and suggested that merely repairing existing structures along the boundary could be a major component of a triumph, according to CTV. Amid signs that Trump's leverage in Congress is atrophying, he seemed to aim one tweet at his conservative followers. Trump, who in recent weeks has expressed indifference to whether the term wall or something else is used, clung with renewed tenacity to the word that became his campaign mantra, declaring, A wall is a wall. He wrote that Democrats are not going to give money to build the DESPERATELY needed WALL. I've got you covered. If the president wants to call that a wall, he can call that a wall, she told reporters Thursday. Wall is already being built, I don't expect much help! Pelosi, D-Calif., left the door open for an accord that could finance some barriers, citing what she said was already existing Normandy fencing that blocks vehicles. ( As reported in the news.

years: Click to read the complete agreed statement of facts The 30-year-old told the families he can't imagine what they are going through and realizes he took the most valuable things of your life, according to CTV. Provincial court Judge Inez Cardinal heard lawyers argue for sentences ranging from 1 1/2 years in jail to up to 10 years in prison. It happened because of my lack of experience and I'm so, so, so, so sorry, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu said Thursday in front of dozens of the victims' relatives in a Melfort, Sask. courtroom. She said she will hand down her decision March 22. The bus was torn into three pieces and the rig, carrying two trailers loaded with bales of peat moss, flipped onto its side. The judge was told that Sidhu was an inexperienced driver, travelling for the first time in a rural area near Tisdale last April, when he barrelled through a stop sign and into the path of the oncoming bus carrying the junior hockey team to a playoff game. ( As reported in the news.

caretaker mode: The objective is to have a plan to inform people if needed, without being seen to be interfering in the campaign, according to CTV. Sign up for our Capital Dispatch newsletter, for all the latest politics news This will be done through what's being called a Critical Election Incident Public Protocol that will be overseen by five senior level non-political government officials. One key measure is a new plan to inform Canadians about serious meddling attempts during the campaign in an impartial way. During campaigns the government runs in a caretaker mode where decision making is limited and why this plan is being set in advance. It is comprised of the Clerk of the Privy Council, Canada's National Security Adviser, and the deputy ministers of the Justice, Public Safety, and Global Affairs departments. The members of this new high-level group will be responsible for deciding when, and how they decide to inform Canadians about concerning online behaviour or content that comes to their attention. ( As reported in the news.

church-wellesley village: For example, the terms of reference for the review stipulated that Epstein could not examine any facts after Sept. 1, 2017, when police first identified McArthur as a person of interest in the disappearance of Andrew Kinsman, according to CTV. The terms of reference also explicitly prohibited her from examining any of the police contact with or consideration of Bruce McArthur before or after Sept. 1, 2017. In July, the Toronto Police Services Board brought in the retired judge to conduct an external review into the force's handling of missing persons cases in the Church-Wellesley Village, but a number of restrictions were placed on her probe to ensure that it would not jeopardize the criminal prosecution involving McArthur. The idea behind the restrictions was to protect McArthur's right to a fair trial, but in the wake of his decision to plead guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder on Tuesday, Epstein is now seeking to have her mandate widened. I think it will ensure the people of Toronto and the board that our review is truly an exhaustive and comprehensive one, Mark Sandler said. On Wednesday, a lawyer for the missing persons review told CTV News Toronto that Epstein has written a letter to TPS board chair Andy Pringle requesting that the terms of reference for her work be amended. ( As reported in the news.

immigration system: Shen was last seen alive on July 18, 2017 at a Burnaby Tim Hortons, according to CTV. Five hours later, her body was found in Burnaby's Central Park. Protesters supporting Marrisa Shen, the 13-year-old Ali is accused of killing, have been outside the court for all of Ali's appearances. We're not here for any reason other than to remember and honour a little girl Marrisa Shen, one demonstrator told CTV News. Holding signs such as Hold Trudeau Accountable and We Want Justice, Law and Order, some demonstrators blamed Canada's immigration policies for Shen's death. But the crowds have turned Shen's death into a larger debate about Canada's immigration system. ( As reported in the news.

history: Jean Augustine, according to NOW Magazine. While the commemoration of Black History Month dates back to 1926 in the U.S. and unofficially in Canada shortly thereafter, it was only in December 1995 that the House of Commons officially recognized February as Black History Month in Canada, following a motion introduced by Jean Augustine, the first Black Canadian woman elected to federal Parliament. Here are 11 things to know about Black history in Canada. In 1790, a statute effectively allowed settlers to bring enslaved persons to Upper Canada. Slavery was officially abolished throughout the British colonies on August 1, 1834. But, by 1793, an anti-slavery bill passed in Upper Canada, although it was not a complete ban. ( As reported in the news.

day sign: Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day Sign up here, according to Rabble. On the roster Harris fumbles on health insurance - Dems embrace left wing for Trump rebuttal - Dems delay vote on attorney general - Biden's non-campaign rolls on - Pittsburgh vs. Kamala Harris under fire for suggesting private health care plans be abolished under her 'Medicare for All' plan. All yinzHARRIS FUMBLES ON HEALTH INSURANCE Imagine if the Los Angeles Rams had to play the Super Bowl against the Patriots and the NFC Championship against the Saints at the same time. We think of the primaries and the general election as two different games, but the truth is that whomever Democrats nominate is already auditioning for the general electorate including loosely attached Democrats, independents and even some Republicans. That's what running for president is like. ( As reported in the news.