Sunday, August 31, 2008


Big promises, Broken dreams

Nurses, nannies, labourers willing to pay big bucks sought out his services, desperate to get to Canada

August 31, 2008
Dale Brazao
Staff Reporter

The Saturday Star detailed the growing problem of human trafficking of foreign workers to Canada. In one case, dubbed the Elmvale 11, a group of skilled Filipino workers came to Canada last summer on promises of good jobs, but ended up forced to work as modern-day slaves. The Star found lax government rules and unscrupulous labour recruiters at the heart of the problem.

Canada has been very, very good to Imtazur Nasser Rahman.

Fresh from a second bankruptcy – leaving his creditors on the hook for $114,000 – he zips around the GTA doing business in a $125,000 Porsche Cayenne Turbo.

He previously drove a Lexus 330 SUV, also leased after declaring bankruptcy.

A velvet-tongued labour recruiter who purchased a phony law degree from a diploma mill on the Internet, Rahman, a.k.a. "Bob" or "Bobby" to his clients, dabbled for a time importing sugar.

But importing people could be much more profitable. Rahman played a role in the Elmvale 11 case, in which 11 Filipino workers were brought to Canada as skilled workers.

In an interview, Rahman, 44, downplayed his role, saying he helped the workers get jobs only because "these people needed help."

"I did it from the goodness of my heart so they could make some money," Rahman said in an interview at a Toronto restaurant.

He said thousands of people around the world want to work in Canada, and his work over the years has always focused on helping these workers improve their lives by getting good jobs.

Rahman's website, Human Link International Inc., boasted of his extensive business acumen, describing him as a visionary who "realized there was a sudden upsurge in the economy and therefore huge demand for manpower." Soon after the Star began investigating, the website was taken down.

Rahman's client list is a long one.

Nurses and nannies from the Philippines, crane operators from Dubai, labourers from India and China – all desperate to come to Canada – sought out his services. All were willing to pay big bucks.

Rahman recently closed down his office at Yonge St. and Davisville Ave. His abandoned business records show the menu of prices; Rahman demanded as much as $18,000 for obtaining a work permit and $30,000 for Canadian permanent residency.

A flyer left behind offered a package deal that included Canadian citizenship and a passport, for $70,000.

As far as the Star could tell, Canadian police and government officials have taken no action against Rahman.

In August 2006 (the year before the Elmvale 11 came to Canada), documents obtained by the Star show Rahman signed a deal with Zhuang-An Economic Development Co. in China to bring 18 labourers to Canada, charging each one $18,000.

The contract guaranteed clients permanent residence visas within a year or their money back. His fees: a $3,000 retainer, $10,000 when the travel visa was issued, and $5,000 soon after the applicant's arrival in Canada. Selling Canadian documents is against the law, said a spokesperson for Human Resources and Social Development Canada.

Rahman took a deposit of $57,000, assuring the labourers quick entry into Canada and vowing he'd visit China to smooth their immigration.

Then he disappeared.

That prompted the manager of the Chinese company to come to Canada looking for him, according to documents obtained by the Star. The workers, many of whom quit their jobs in preparation for immigration to Canada, are still in China – and very angry.

"He owes a lot of people money," said Inayat Kassam, an immigration consultant who shared work and space with Rahman in an office building on Consumers Rd.

Kassam said he is now trying to help those Chinese workers.

"Talk to (Rahman) for an hour and you get 20 different stories," said Kassam, recalling claims that Rahman's father was a diplomat and best friends with the prime minister of Bangladesh.

Others say he boasted his grandfather was Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh's first president.

A spokesperson for the Bangladesh High Commission in Ottawa called those claims "highly dubious and unlikely" given that Mujibur Rahman and most of his family were assassinated in 1975.

During the past three years, Rahman, who lives in an upscale townhouse in Richmond Hill, has travelled to the Philippines, China and India to recruit workers.

One of those trips resulted in a Filipino judge issuing an arrest warrant in April 2006 for Imtazur Rahman "a.k.a. Bob/Bobby" and his associate, Nelma Carrascal, on charges of "illegal recruitment" and fraud.

In an interview in Edmonton, where she has moved her business to take advantage of the job boom, Carrascal said the charges arose after Rahman took a woman's $3,000 deposit, and promised he'd have her working as a caregiver in Canada within three months.

The woman is still in the Philippines.

"Bob took the money and I took the hit," said Carrascal, also known as Nelma de Celis, and more recently Nelma Garcia. "Then I found out he went behind my back and got another $1,500 from her."

Despite his troubles, Rahman is involved in a tidy real estate portfolio, including a townhouse and two condos, and he is a fixture at a restaurant in Toronto's Little India. Those properties are kept in business partner Babylin Pamani's name.

Reached at her condo in Richmond Hill, Pamani, herself a careworker, refused to be interviewed.

Last December, while still bankrupt, Rahman and Pamani offered $280,000 for a Timothy's World Coffee franchise in Richmond Hill.

The offer was rejected by head office, said the current owner of the coffee shop, at Major Mackenzie Dr. and Bayview Ave.

During the coffee shop owner's meetings with Rahman he did not tell her he was bankrupt (which is required by federal law). But he impressed the owner, driving up each time in a beige Lexus SUV.

Rahman declared bankruptcy the first time in January 1994 owing creditors more than $40,000. He was discharged a year later.

In March 2003, he filed again for bankruptcy, this time with debts of $113,924 owing to nine creditors, including Revenue Canada and the Ministry of Social Services.

Two car dealerships registered a total of $82,000 in claims. Downtown Infiniti obtained a $30,000 provincial court judgment against Rahman after successfully claiming he sold one of its cars and kept the money for himself.

Bankruptcy trustee Rea Godbold opposed Rahman's discharge from his second bankruptcy for five years because he failed to provide the required financial records. The records were never provided, but Rahman was eventually discharged.

When Rahman introduced himself to the Elmvale 11 he called himself a lawyer.

His now defunct website boasts of an "arts degree in law" and his office walls displayed various plaques, including a framed law degree from Ashwood University.

The degree, shipped from a diploma mill in Pakistan, is bogus.

On its website, Ashwood University offers to sell everything from high school diplomas to PhDs without the applicant ever taking a single class.

"No need to take admission exams, no need to study. Receive a College Degree for what you already know."

An Australian satirical TV program recently obtained an Ashwood medical diploma for a dog named Sonny.

In the "work experience" section of the application, the intrepid TV hosts of The Chaser's War on Everything said Sonny "has significant proctology experience sniffing other dogs' bums."

In an interview with the Star, Rahman stood by the authenticity of his "Bachelor of Arts in Law," saying Ashwood credited him for his "life experience," including his recruiting business and working alongside a Toronto lawyer, Pamila Bhardwaj.

Bhardwaj, who has known Rahman for 12 years and rented him space, said he travelled with her to Dubai and India, where she held seminars with people interested in living and working in Canada.

Bhardwaj recently became concerned about Rahman's activities after a bank manager alerted her that he had applied for a mortgage and a line of credit claiming to be a partner in her law firm.

"I reamed him out royally when I found out what he had done," Bhardwaj said.

Soon after, she received a text message from Rahman advising her to rent out his office, as he wouldn't need it any more.

In an interview with the Star, Rahman admitted he drove the Elmvale 11 to the isolated farmhouse and turned them over to Bob De Rosa. But he said he did that out of compassion for the Filipino workers, and made no money on the deal.

A week after the Filipinos bolted from his employ, De Rosa, the Star has found, enlisted Rahman to recruit another 191 workers for him, but his efforts to bring in another batch of foreign workers were quashed by Service Canada.

At the time, De Rosa was involved in building a 300-house subdivision called the Wye River Estates, near Elmvale.

An "undischarged bankrupt" at the time, Rahman nevertheless proposed to invest $300,000 in De Rosa's project, promising up to $10 million if he was made an equal partner.

An official with the planning department at Springwater Township said the developers obtained draft approval in 1999, but have yet to break ground on a single home.

In an hour-long interview at the Skylark Restaurant in Toronto's Little India, Rahman said he is through with the recruitment business, which he says resulted in $100,000 in losses for him and a partner.

A friend he wouldn't name owns the Skylark and has given him a job as manager until he gets back on his feet.

Provincial records show Babylin Pamani owns the restaurant.

Repeated attempts to interview him a second time about other aspects of his recruitment business uncovered by the Star were rebuffed by Rahman.

Asked how he could be driving a Porsche while supposedly bankrupt, Rahman said: "I have a friend who owns a dealership. He gives me a good deal on short-term leases."

He is not aware of the warrant for his arrest in the Philippines for illegal recruiting and fraud, he said.

"The Philippines is a very tough place to do business," Rahman said, adding he tried to open his own recruiting agency there. "We tried, but it didn't work out."

Parked outside the Gerrard St. E. eatery, the black Porsche Cayenne Turbo sits loaded with boxes of pamphlets promoting the Skylark's new all-day lunch buffet for $9.99

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Rights bodies vulnerable to 'political Islam': B'nai Brith

'Human rights commissions just don't get it'

Joseph Brean, National Post
Published: Saturday, August 30, 2008

Canada's human rights commissions have shown "a disastrous combination of investigative zeal and substantive ignorance" that has left them vulnerable to abuse by "political Islam," the same ideology that has hijacked the United Nations human rights council, according to B'nai Brith Canada.

In a submission to an independent review of the Canadian Human Rights Commission's hate speech mandate, the Jewish human rights group states that "when it comes to this particular threat to human rights, human rights commissions just don't get it."

"Human rights commissions, like generals, are fighting the last war. They do not see new threats until they are overwhelmed by them. If, out of generosity than for no other reason, we should assume ignorance rather than wilful blindness, then the remedy is education and training," reads the report, written by B'nai Brith's senior legal counsel, David Matas.

His central thesis is that political Islam, an ideology that seeks to limit freedoms by marshalling the power of the state in defence of religion, constitutes the gravest threat to Canada's human rights system. He points to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, an international Muslim group that "successfully hijacked UN institutions to impose its own radicalized agenda," and to the utter failure of many UN anti-racism initiatives, which have degenerated into outright anti-Semitism.

The Canadian Islamic Congress, which brought three high-profile human rights complaints of Islamophobia against Maclean's magazine, and has close ties to the OIC, did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.

Tarek Fatah, the co-founder of the reform-minded Muslim Canadian Congress, said Canadians are "not at all" aware that Islamists are "using Western law to attack Western values."

"Neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals have any interest in this. Their effort is to appease these Islamist groups. They don't wish to offend, and therefore the Islamists can walk over and literally blackmail politicians and the liberal intelligentsia into not saying a word about it," he said.

Mr. Fatah described the Islamist strategy as two-fold. Non-Muslim critics of Islam are labelled "Islamophobic," which is equated in the public mind with racism, one of the most serious accusations in civil society. Muslim critics, however, such as Mr. Fatah himself, are labelled "apostates," which he called a "hidden death threat."

It is this context that Canada's human rights commissions have failed to appreciate, the B'nai Brith report says.

It singles out Barbara Hall, chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, for her "egregious" and "appalling" treatment of the complaint against Maclean's, which she dismissed as out of her jurisdiction, but went on to denounce the magazine for racism. Mr. Matas said this "made a human rights threat more acute."

In addition to better education and training, the report calls for substantial procedural reforms, including the awarding of costs to successful defendants, a prohibition on filing the same complaint in multiple jurisdictions, formal guarantees of due process, the right to disclosure and the right to know one's accuser.

Though deeply critical, the report said that to eliminate human rights hate speech laws -- as has been proposed by Liberal MP Keith Martin, with substantial cross-party support -- would amount to "self-inflicted harm."

Free speech is "the media's favourite human right," the report reads, and "those who advocate freedom of expression often go on to deny the equal right to be protected from advocacy of hatred.... The Holocaust did not begin with censorship. It began with hate speech. Auschwitz was built with words. The killing fields of Cambodia were sowed with slogans. The genocide of Rwanda was spread by radio. Bosnia was ethnically cleansed by television."

The report rejects the argument that hate-mongers in Canada are so marginalized that pursuing human rights complaints against them is an

overreaction, saying that this logic fails to appreciate that it was hate speech laws that marginalized them in the first place.

It credits these laws with providing a more direct and less onerous response to hate-mongering than criminal prosecutions, and points to the prosecutions of anti-Semite schoolteacher Malcolm Ross in 1988, Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel in 1996 and white supremacist Terry Long in 1989 as particular successes.

The debate this year over human rights law and free speech has shaken a bureaucracy that had previously operated with little public attention.

Driven by conservative bloggers, notably Ezra Levant, and fuelled by some surprising revelations, such as the apparent hacking of a civilian's Internet connection by a hate speech investigator, the debate has become a voting issue, and prompted the Canadian Human Rights Commission to engage in public soul-searching, while also defending itself as a mere creature of statute, both empowered and hamstrung by Parliament's laws.

Richard Moon, a University of Windsor law professor who was appointed by the CHRC and is expected to publish his recommendations on hate speech in October, said few of his contributors have given him briefs as formal and substantial as B'nai Brith's. Instead, he has engaged in informal meetings, e-mail correspondence and phone calls.

"The time constraints on me, and resource constraints, too, meant I haven't been able to do anything comprehensively. So what I've really aimed to do is just make sure I spoke to a representative group -- those who have grave reservations and those who support the idea -- so that I would hopefully get the full range of perspective," Prof. Moon said.

B'nai Brith is uniquely placed to contribute to that perspective, in that it has experience on all sides of the issue. They are an intervenor in a prominent hate speech case against far-right propagandist Marc Lemire, in which they support the hate speech provisions used against him.

They brought a hate speech complaint, now resolved, against the Victoria- based Web site pej.orgover its writings about the "Jewish Lobby." And they are a respondent in a hate speech case in Manitoba, over their sponsorship of a conference about terrorism for emergency responders. That case, brought by a Winnipeg Muslim leader who did not actually attend the conference, has taken almost five years to investigate. That experience has led to their current stance, which is deeply critical, but fundamentally supportive.

"Our overall conclusion is that condemnation of human rights law's jurisdiction over hate has become surrogate for criticism which is more properly directed elsewhere; to abusive complaints, lack of training for human rights commission staff, and procedural flaws in the system," the report reads.

Friday, August 29, 2008


This is ridiculous. We have reached the pinnacle of political correctness and stupidity in this country. Freedom of speech is in imminent danger and has become a casualty of innuendo and false accusations by those who use the very institutions they seek to silence to destroy reputations and cause public harm. Zealots are now in charge of the process. Enough is enough.

B'nai Brith accused of hate speech

Body accuses Manitoba rights commission of withholding facts

Joseph Brean, National Post
Published: Friday, August 29, 2008

B'nai Brith Canada revealed yesterday it is the defendant in a hate speech case at the Manitoba Human Rights Commission that is based on anonymous and vague accusations of Islamophobia and has taken nearly five years to investigate.

"The [Manitoba] Human Rights Commission itself is supposed to be promoting human rights, but in our view in this process it's violating some pretty basic rights: a secret proceeding, a faceless accuser, failure to disclose documents. These are basic procedural rights that are being violated," said David Matas, a prominent human rights lawyer and senior legal counsel to B'nai Brith.

The Jewish human rights group has long been co-operative with and supportive of Canada's human rights commissions, but has recently called for reform to prevent their hijacking as a political platform. This is the first and only time it has been named as a respondent in a hate speech case.

At issue is a conference B'nai Brith sponsored at Winnipeg's city hall in October, 2003, for first responders to acts of terrorism, such as police, firefighters or paramedics.

A central topic was Islamic terrorism, and the presenter was the Higgins Counterterrorism Research Center, a consultancy based in Arlington, Va.

B'nai Brith had a representative there, but did not attend all the sessions, and although it was not publicly advertised, there was no formal security to keep people out.

Four months later, a complaint was filed with the MHRC by Shahina Siddiqui, the Winnipeg-based executive director of the Islamic Social Services Association of the United States and Canada, and a member of the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Her complaint alleged a violation of section 18 of the Manitoba Human Rights Act, which prohibits statements that "incite, advocate or counsel discrimination."

"Based on comments from some in attendance that the presentation was biased against Muslims, I conclude that the content of the seminar presented a negative prejudice about Muslims in terms of being probable terrorists. This prejudiced picture would encourage and support racial profiling by first responders and law-enforcement agencies dealing with possible terrorist incidents," the complaint reads.

Ms. Siddiqui did not respond to messages left yesterday at her office and home.

She did not attend the conference, and B'nai Brith has not been told the identities of her informant or informants.

In the ensuing investigation, Mr. Matas said the MHRC provided B'nai Brith with more specific information about "some of the things that might have been said," although not direct quotations or even complete sentences. He did not disclose them, but described them as "a word or two taken out of context."

He said their own investigations failed to turn up anyone who remembered hearing anything discriminatory.

"Who knows? If we had a legitimate complaint where we actually had a whole sentence and we knew who said it and we knew who complained, who knows? Maybe there's something there. Hard to say. It's just shadow boxing in the current context," he said.

In a submission sent today to Richard Moon, a law professor conducting a review of the Canadian Human Rights Commission's hate speech mandate, Mr. Matas said this case has led to violations of the right to full disclosure of evidence, and to face one's accuser.

"We know who's repeating the rumour, but that's all," he said. "We shouldn't be left with 'Somebody heard something' and we've got to answer what they heard."

This year, with the case apparently stalled after four years, the MHRC appointed an independent expert to make a determination on the case, which will inform its decision whether to reject it or send it for a tribunal hearing. Despite repeated requests, Mr. Matas said the MHRC refused to identify that expert.

Patricia Knipe, communications director of MHRC, said all will be revealed in a forthcoming investigation report.

She said investigations usually take nine or 10 months, but can be longer due to complexity of issues or failure of parties to co-operate. Five years is unusual, she said.

She said the MHRC "works within the legislation the government has. So we don't really have an opinion on whether it's good or bad or indifferent."

"We just follow the code as it is legislated now," she said, adding that there are "safeguards all along the way."

"I've read all the articles about the situations and what is being said across the country [about human rights complaints and free speech], and I think everyone has to work out their own solution," she said.

Ezra Levant, a blogger who leads the campaign against human rights commissions, said in an e-mail that B'nai Brith, which has intervened to support hate speech laws in other cases, "has been a party to some of the grossest violations in due process themselves."

"All I can say is: What goes around comes around," he wrote. "It's a bit rich for [B'nai Brith] to discover their love of natural justice now."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Ottawa to ease immigration rules for workers, students


From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

August 12, 2008 at 9:54 PM EDT

OTTAWA — The Harper government is creating a new fast-track immigration route for skilled foreign workers and students who've already proved employable in Canada: an effort to prevent an erosion of talent as global competition heats up for higher-value labour.

Unlike existing programs, the Canadian Experience Class immigration stream will make work experience in this country a key criterion for vetting applicants. It will also allow temporary foreign workers and students living here to apply from within Canada rather than having to leave first.

It's expected to grant permanent resident status to 12,000 to 18,000 economic immigrants in the first year, a figure that's forecast to rise to 25,000 annually over time. But it's not expected to increase the number of economic immigrants, which last year totalled 50,000.

The goal is to improve the quality of immigrants and retain the most valuable workers and educated students: arrivals who've already proven they can integrate into society and meet labour market needs.

“If we're going to compete internationally for the best and for the brightest, we need to improve the way that we attract and retain those who want to work in their fields and contribute to Canadian society,” federal Immigration Minister Diane Finley explained at a Waterloo, Ont., news conference.

Immigrants granted permanent resident status can eventually apply for citizenship.

Canada is revamping its approach because rival destinations such as Australia and the United Kingdom already have similar programs, Citizenship and Immigration spokeswoman Danielle Norris said.

“We're stepping up to the plate,” she said. “We're becoming as competitive as other countries.”

Canada is suffering from a major immigration approval backlog and the new program is part of Ottawa's solution. The concern is that skilled foreign workers and highly educated students who've been trained and educated in Canada will leave permanently if more effort isn't made to keep them.

To be eligible, foreign workers must have two years of legal work experience in Canada. Foreign students must have completed a program of study lasting at least two years at a Canadian university or college and have one year of work experience.

NDP immigration critic Olivia Chow said the new program is elitist and unfair to unskilled or lower-skilled labourers who comprise the vast bulk of foreigners in Canada on temporary work permits.

“They're good enough to work here, but we don't want them to become Canadian citizens,” she said. “That's 90 per cent of the 165,000 temporary foreign workers who are working in Canada right now.”

A Citizenship and Immigration official said lower-skilled foreign labourers can apply for permanent resident status if the province they're working in recommends them under what's called the Provincial Nominee Program.

Ottawa believes the new program will increase Canada's economic competitiveness.

“With nearly full employment, an aging population and skill shortages, there is an immediate need to ensure Canadian employers can access the skills they need,” Ottawa said in a statement on the changes.

It predicts that selecting immigrants who've already got a proven track record here will yield workers with higher incomes later. Ottawa estimates that the average annual income of people selected under this new program will be $60,000 after 10 years, compared with $42,000 for someone who hadn't worked or studied in Canada first.

Monday, August 4, 2008


This is quite unbelievable...The Liberals, and in particular their incompetent bungling "leader", are playing the "immigration card" to get the immigrant vote. Of course, we are in the dire predicament that we are now, because during 14 years of unchecked Liberal rule, they implemented immigration policies that did absolutely nothing for the economy, brought hundreds of thousands of immigrants who can not function in a market economy while jobs go begging because they lack the right skills, but instead delivered votes for the Liberal party, which views immigration as an ethnic reward program and a way to get elected. Unsurprisingly, they are up to their old tricks again...Now they want to abolish legislation they just voted for, because they were too afraid of getting their clocks cleaned by the Tories if they triggered an election. I think the Liberal Party policies can be summarized in one word: moronic. Stephane Dion and company think the public is stupid and can not see the mess they crated. Go ahead, Mr. Dion...if you an election...Let's see how many votes you will get with your dumb polices. Yes, Mr. Dion..Canadians are lusting for an incompetent Prime Minister, so they can be taxed to death, you cna spend money on useless programs, and you can keep bringing Liberal votes, while thousands of skilled jobs go begging because you and your party are more concerned with wining an election and promising the moon to your ethnic supporters than with doing what is right for Canada. You want to bring us people who will end up in welfare, when we need engineers, nurses and computer programmers...sounds like a great policy!

Playing the immigration card will come with some risk for the Liberals


E-mail Lawrence Martin | Read Bio | Latest Columns
August 4, 2008

This will look a bit strange.

In the spring the Liberals acquiesced in the passage of the Conservatives' immigration legislation. In the fall they will bring forward a plan to have that very same legislation scrapped.

Liberal sources say the repealing of the immigration section of the government's budget implementation bill will be part of an overhaul of immigration policy they are planning for their election platform.

Campaigning against legislation you have in effect supported only months ago will constitute a rare spectacle in Canadian politics. But the Grits, who are firmly opposed to the Tory approach, feel they have no choice but to risk the ridicule.

Their alternative new immigration plan is still in the making, but sources spoke of some features likely to be found in it. One would see newcomers settled outside the major urban areas where the vast majority of immigrants now go. "More people going to Saskatchewan and Manitoba," a prominent party member said. "You can say that the provincial nominees' programs, wherein provinces determine the local needs, will be expanded under our plan."

The Liberals say they want to address skills shortages in the labour market quickly. Immigration will be given a big push under the plan. "It's a focus on nation-building. You'll see the elevation of new Canadians."

Immigration numbers, if temporary workers are excluded, have gone down under the Conservatives and would go up under the Liberals.

The legislation that was passed with the help of the Grits allows the government to fast-track the applications of the types of immigrants it wants or to freeze the types it doesn't want. Critics said it represented a radical shift, giving too much prerogative to the immigration minister.

The Liberals' immigration critic is Maurizio Bevilacqua. He is an expansionist who advocated major immigration increases during his bid for the Liberal leadership. His plan was to immediately increase the annual immigration target to 1 per cent of the population or roughly 325,000 from the current 250,000. By 2016 he wanted the number to jump to 1.5 per cent or 490,000.

You won't see those kinds of increases in the election platform, but it appears some of Mr. Bevilacqua's views are being heard. His nation-building concept sees population growth fuelling economic growth. With an aging population and low birth rate, the economic future, he contends, isn't bright without greater numbers of newcomers, including many under the age of 35. When they're here, he wants barriers removed so that immigrants can realize what he has called the Canadian dream.

The Liberals held their noses in the spring and allowed the immigration bill to pass by absenting themselves from the chamber in order to avoid being forced into an election they did not want at that time. They did so on other bills as well, leaving them open to charges of hypocrisy if they come forward now and start undoing what they approved.

They will counter that looks can be deceiving - that they made it abundantly clear that they didn't support, ummm, the legislation they in effect supported.

Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion, in the lead-up to the vote, said he was "adamantly opposed" to the Conservative bill. He went so far as to quote a 20-year-old Reform Party document authored by Stephen Harper that said immigration should not "radically or suddenly alter the ethnic makeup of Canada." Their bill, Mr. Dion said - in what some saw as a veiled reference to racism - "may look like an attempt to deliver promises made by the Reform Party 20 years ago."

While the leader's Green Shift plan will be the centrepiece of the Liberals' campaign, party members are looking to other big-ticket items to supplement it. The economy is moving to the top of the block, as they will argue that the country's economic stewardship under Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin compares more than favourably with the current government's.

But many Liberals want immigration to be a major plank as well. The immigrant vote, certainly in modern times, has been a Liberal vote. It's a key issue for them, but it will take some doing to get out from under the cloud of hypocrisy the Tories will hang over them.