Tuesday, September 30, 2008


We are 33,311,389: StatsCan

Immigration feeds the increase, especially in Prairie provinces, P.E.I.

Canwest News Service

Monday, September 29, 2008

CREDIT: Allen McInnis/Montreal Gazette

Canada's population, as of July 1, was recorded at 33,311,389, with the Prairie provinces and Prince Edward Island showing the fastest growth.

Immigration accounted for a spike in the Canadian population during the second quarter of 2008, the largest increase in 17 years, according to a Statistics Canada report released Monday.

Of the 125,800 additional Canadians during the quarter, 91,600 were from another country. That total was the highest number of immigrants Canada has experienced since the late 1980s.

Immigration increased in every province and territory, with new second-quarter records being set in Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Overall, every region of the country, with the exception of the Northwest Territories, saw its population increase during the second quarter.

The population of Canada, as of July 1, was recorded at 33,311,389.

The Prairie provinces and Prince Edward Island were the fastest growing provinces, according to the report. Alberta's growth rate - at 0.78 per cent or more than 27,500 people - was the largest in Canada.

Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia all recorded growth levels above the national average and Manitoba experienced its largest quarterly jump since 1982.

In Eastern Canada, the Atlantic provinces all had population jumps, but P.E.I. increased by 0.60 per cent or 831 people, which was attributed largely to immigration.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

National Post Editorial Board: Goodbye to Lesley Hughes

Liberal Party candidate fired over imbecilic remarks about 9/11

read more | digg story


I will have the distinct privilege of leading my colleagues from around the world in a discussion of "Global Business Immigration Update" at the International Bar Association (IBA) Annual Conference to be held in Buenos AIres, Argentina, from October 13 to 18, 2008. Here is the program:

Global business immigration update

Session Chair
Sergio R Karas

This programme will cover the latest developments in immigration
law around the world, with special emphasis on workforce mobility,
new regulations and policies. The speakers will represent a crosssection
of different jurisdictions around the world.


Shalini Agarwal ALMT Legal, Mumbai, India
David Garson Guberman Garson Bush, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Jelle Kroes Everaert Advocaten Immigration Lawyers, Amsterdam,
the Netherlands
Edward Lehman Lehman Lee & Xu, Beijing, China
Julia Onslow-Cole PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal LLP, London,
England; Council Member, Legal Practice Division
David Ryken Ryken and Associates, Auckland, New Zealand; Vice-
Chair, Immigration and Nationality Law Committee
Gregory Sisskind Sisskind Susser PC, Memphis, Tennessee, USA;
Website Officer, Immigration and Nationality Law Committee
Michael Thornton Thornton Immigration Law, Dandenong,
Victoria, Australia

Thursday, September 25, 2008


A sea change in immigration, met by silence on the hustings

TheStar.com - Federal Election

September 20, 2008
Nicholas Keung
Lesley Ciarula Taylor
Immigration Reporters

When politicians talk about temporary foreign workers, which isn't often, the Conservatives see them as the SWAT team of the global economy, the Liberals as not conducive to nation-building, and the New Democrats as migrants whose wages are exploitative and families fractured.

But no less than the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has decided temporary labour migration is the global issue of 2008. More than 2.5 million temporary foreign workers arrived in wealthy countries in 2006, three times the number of immigrants invited to stay.

It "does not appear to be a foundation on which one can construct a solid migration policy," says John Martin, OECD director for employment, labour and social affairs, in the lead editorial of the 30-country policy group's 2008 report on international migration.

Temporary foreign workers have a role to play, he says, but relying on them while letting an immigration system slog through backlogs and poor integration of immigrants just doesn't work in the long run.

When their visas expire and they stay, temporary workers find themselves in jobs with half the pay of a legal worker. The OECD says the vast majority of illegal immigrants in wealthy countries are working.

And the demand is there: small and medium-sized businesses in Canada say almost a fifth of current job demand is for people with basic skills and labourers. Who are they? Hotel, hospital and nursing-home workers, food-service counter staff, construction workers, truck drivers, cleaners, fish-plant workers and taxi drivers.

These people are filling a long-term need, says the OECD, and few wealthy countries have created solid programs to recruit and protect them. Canada, in fact, gives work permits to the spouses of high-skilled temporary workers but not the low-skilled ones.

The number of temporary foreign workers – brought in on one-year visas to do specific jobs – has jumped 58 per cent in the past five years. Last year, Canada imported 115,470 temporary migrants for a total of 201,057, just 25,000 fewer than the number of skilled workers brought in as permanent residents and a 58-per-cent increase in five years.

And as the short-term numbers have been rising dramatically, the number of immigrants who get to come and stay drops. Combined with changes this summer that let Ottawa hand-pick newcomers for specific job skills, Canada is closing its borders in a way not seen since the middle of the 20th century.

"There is something cynical about this new model," says Myer Siemiatycki, a professor in immigration settlement studies at Ryerson University. "On one hand, it rules out most workers from becoming eligible for permanent residency. On the other hand, we induce them to come with the Canada Experience Class as bait. But while they are here, they better be compliant, docile and non-complaining employees."

One of the main reasons Canada has been able to avoid the headache of a huge illegal migrant population has been its focus on bringing in skilled workers as permanent residents, says Jeffrey Reitz, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto and expert on immigrant employment and settlement issues.

"Once you have a substantial underground economy, it is difficult to deal with," Reitz notes. "You see the backlash against immigrants in the U.S. If the public turns against immigrants as a result of misperception that people are bending the rules and are not authorized to be here, Canada's (immigrant) development program will be in jeopardy."

He wants the parties to explain:

What they would do to ensure temporary foreign workers leave Canada (we don't currently keep track).

How they would repair the lax system that allows employers to collaborate with recruiters and immigration consultants to exploit the temporary foreign worker program as a "back door to immigration."

How they would protect these workers who are being abused and exploited because their status is tied to specific employers.

"We bring in people for our permanent needs on a permanent basis and for our temporary labour market needs on a temporary basis," says Karen Shadd, spokesperson for Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

"Hogwash," responds Olivia Chow, NDP immigration critic and candidate in Trinity-Spadina. "This looks at immigrants as economic units. The expansion of the program was a band-aid for decades of neglect and a point system that is so perverse skilled trades can't get in."

Compared with other wealthy countries, Canada has carved out a policy that the numbers of who gets to come here should balance: skilled workers, refugees, families of workers, family reunification, temporary foreign workers. (The United States and France, by contrast, make family migrants 44 per cent of their total.) It means only about 25 per cent of Canada's immigrants are actually hand-picked skilled workers.

Another 21st-century phenomenon has skewed efforts to find the right workers: up to 50 per cent of long-term immigrants, the ones brought in to nation build, leave within five years for home or another country, says the OECD – even in countries like Canada, which give them permanent residence immediately and citizenship quickly.

There is much value to Canada's old open-door immigration policy, says Siemiatycki, the one in whichimmigrants were chosen based on professional skills and education, with the assumption they'd be more adaptable in an economic downturn.

"Tying permanent residency to employment is very short-sighted because the jobs that are available to you today might not be there tomorrow."

Citizenship and Immigration Canada praises its temporary foreign worker program as a quick response to rapid changes in the global market, as does Sergio Karas, chair of the Ontario Bar Association's citizenship and immigration section.

"This is the future of international migration, where we reward the highly mobile individuals who have the right skills to integrate quickly into the labour force and discourage those who will not be able to get a job and contribute to the society."

In an interview on Sept. 13, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said; "Our biggest challenge will be labour shortages, not unemployment."

Immigration has been shunted to the back shelf for years, deputy Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff told The Star last week. Immigration critic Maurizio Bevilacqua points out that as Tory spending increased 14 per cent, spending on immigration increased 1 per cent.

The ministry has been "a place where you blow your legs off," Ignatieff says of the five ministers in the past six years.

"This is about the Canadian dream and whether Canada keeps faith with that dream."

He evoked the memory of immigration minister Jack Pickersgill paying to fly hundreds of Hungarians caught in the revolution to this country 51 years ago. That, says Ignatieff, is what immigration needs to be again.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I recently attended an event sponsored by the "Give a Day" Foundation, an organization dedicated to raise funds to combat AIDS in Africa through local community involvement. Shown in the photo with me are former Chief Justice and Attorney General of Ontario, Roy McMurtry (far left) and former Canadian Ambassador to the UN, Stephen Lewis ( far right). The organization website is www.giveaday.ca

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Here is a story from today's Toronto Star. It concerns the growing problem of "mail order brides", usually marriages of convenience entered into by people overseas looking for a way to gain permanent residency in Canada. From my professional experience, I can not even begin to tell you how much heartache and financial ruin they can cause: I have seen many people in my office telling me how they were "duped" by their "brides" and "grooms". This is happening because spousal sponsorships are not scrutinized as carefully as they once were, and the emphasis is on speedy processing instead. While a Skilled Worker application in Manila is taking an average of three or four years, a spousal sponsorship takes only a few months....no wonder that they are attractive targets for unscrupulous individuals.


Sunday, September 14, 2008


This story is an excellent economic summary of our current situation and shortcomings:



Here we go again: The Liberal Party is making lavish spending promises in the immigration front to pander to ethnic voters. Never mind that the Liberals are the ones who created the immigration mess when they were in power for almost a quarter of a century, with their countless useless programs to please constituents, failing to address the real economic needs of the country, and failing to enforce immigration laws. Under the Liberals, Canada because the laughing stock of the world, and every criminal and terrorist knew that all thay had to do was to reach a Canadian port of entry to get off the hook, stall for years, and receive social assistance, free medical care, etc. At the same time, the Liberals systematically underfunded overseas missions and created artificial "priorities" based not on economics, but on political expediency. Qualified, hard-working potential migrants waited for years, while those in marriages of convenience, bogus refugees, and queue jumpers got the goodies. I find it amusing that the Liberals voted in favour of Bill C-50 just three months ago, and now they say that they would scrap it. Give me a break. This is a joke and a huge waste of money, which would no doubt be coming from taxing Canadians a bit more...what's new in Liberal land? When are this people going to understand that immigration is NOT a social program, bu tan economic tool for the future of Canada?

$800M for immigration backlog Dion's most expensive campaign promise yet

Posted: September 13, 2008, 5:23 PM by Shane Dingman

Liberal honcho Stephane Dion started off small, promising to return $6-million dollars to the Court Challenges program, but in his latest federal spending pledge, he's offering a whopping $800-million to deal with the immigration backlog.

On Friday, Dion unveiled his biggest platform promise to date, a $575-million program to help Canadians make their homes and other buildings more energy-efficient. That at least fits within his Green Shift frame.

But this latest promise, sent out via a Liberal Party e-mail, promises to pour cash on three immigration-related areas:

$400 million to modernize the immigration system, process applications more efficiently and support the admission of significantly more permanent residents to Canada.
$200 million in New Beginnings Canada - an enhanced language training initiative designed to help newcomers master the language necessary to get jobs that match their qualifications; and
an additional $200 million for Bridge to Work - a new initiative that will better prepare newcomers for the workplace through the use of internships, mentorship and work placement opportunities. And we will help get foreign credentials recognized, by providing direct financial support to assist foreign-trained doctors and other professionals in obtaining their Canadian qualifications.
If I didn't know better, I'd say a Tory wrote this. With almost $1.5-billion in new cash out the door in the first week, where can Dion go from here? $10-billion in new programs? $20-billion?

Saturday, September 13, 2008


This article appeared today in the Wall Street Journal and is an excellent short summary of the elction choices for October 14:

Canada's Change Agent

September 13, 2008; Page A12

One candidate believes in low taxes, gun rights and a strong national defense. The other has a dog named Kyoto and promises to levy a new carbon tax on industry. Any guess who is favored to win the Canadian federal election set for October 14?

The answer is Prime Minister Stephen Harper of the Conservative Party, who was elected in January 2006 on a platform to strengthen the military and cut taxes. He has done both. And though he once pledged not to call an early election, he did so on Sunday, explaining that the current parliament has become so "dysfunctional" he can't govern without a new one.

Mr. Harper's main opponent is the Liberal Party's Stéphane Dion, a former environment minister who chaired the U.N. climate change summit in Montreal in 2005. The Conservative minority government would have to add 28 seats to its present 127 to seize a majority, and Mr. Harper is on record saying he doesn't expect that. But he clearly believes that, despite a slowing economy and the loss of the 97th Canadian soldier in Afghanistan last Sunday, he can beat Mr. Dion. The reasons are instructive.

Mr. Harper has restored the country's international prestige by demonstrating political courage on Afghanistan. The Liberals had sent Canadian troops there in 2001 but began agitating for withdrawal when things got difficult. Mr. Harper has refused to cut and run, and he has chastised those NATO partners in Europe who have shrunk from the fight. He has also boosted defense spending so Canadian troops are properly armed.

By contrast, Mr. Dion had sought to withdraw Canada's Afghan contingent "with honor" before 2009. His effort failed, even within his own party, and earlier this year Mr. Harper won an agreement with the Liberals to stick it out in Afghanistan until 2011.

Like Americans, Canadians are also worried about the economy and aren't eager for a tax increase. Mr. Harper has cut the corporate tax rate to 19.5% and has a plan to reduce it to 15% by 2012. (The U.S. rate is still 35%.) He has also reduced the national sales tax by one percentage point to 5%. That boost to consumer purchasing power may have helped Canada avoid recession in the first half of this year. GDP shrank in the first quarter by 0.8%, grew a meager 0.3% in the second and may not do better than 1.1% for the year, according to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. Mr. Harper argues that now is not the time to raise taxes.

Mr. Dion has a different view, proposing what he calls "the Green Shift." It would impose C$15.4 billion (US$14.4 billion) of new taxes on Canadian industry for their carbon emissions while cutting income taxes. Mr. Harper calls Mr. Dion's plan "the Green Shaft" and likens it to Pierre Trudeau's 1980 "national energy policy" which, the Prime Minister said last week, "was designed to screw the West and really damage the energy sector." Though he added that there is a difference: "This will actually screw everybody across the country." The fellow can be blunt.

The larger question is what Mr. Harper would do with a real majority. In 2005 his Liberal opponents portrayed him as a far-right extremist. Yet like his countrymen, he has shown little appetite for extreme positions, and if anything he has proven to be a steady leader who until recently has worked effectively across party lines. Even the separatist movement in Quebec seems to have lost its mojo during his tenure. That may be why Canadians are likely to ask him to stay on.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


Israelis targeted in Toronto


Newspaper claims Hezbollah monitored El Al crews on layover at Sheraton Centre

September 05, 2008
Oakland Ross
Middle East Bureau

JERUSALEM–Crew members for Israel's main air carrier are now on high alert while overnighting in Toronto after "terror cells" began monitoring their activities there, according to a front-page report in yesterday's edition of Haaretz, a leading Israeli newspaper.

The unattributed account could not be independently confirmed, but it appeared to emanate from Shin Beit, Israel's domestic intelligence agency.

"Suspected terrorists" were recently detected observing El Al crew members staying at the Sheraton Centre Toronto, according to the newspaper.

The Sheraton is one of various hotels used for overnight stays by El Al personnel operating the airline's daily direct flights between Toronto and Tel Aviv.

A spokesperson for Foreign Affairs in Ottawa said she did not immediately have information available to comment on the Israeli report. CSIS spokesperson Manon Berube declined to comment, saying the agency does not confirm or deny any specific threats.

Israel's leading international airline, El Al, is renowned for its safety record in the air, but its personnel are more vulnerable on the ground, said Efraim Inbar, head of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.

"The crew, of course, are a much softer target," he told the Toronto Star yesterday. "They go to a hotel. They go out to dinner."

Inbar said Hezbollah might choose Canada as a site for launching a reprisal attack against Israelis.

"Canada is an easy country to get into," he said. "Canada is a possibility, but I think there are easier targets in Latin America."

The report is the latest in a recent series of warnings about new dangers faced by Israelis abroad, amid mounting fears the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah is preparing to carry out attacks on soft Israeli targets in retaliation for the assassination of one of its top leaders.

Hezbollah blames Israel for the death of Imad Mughniyeh, who was killed when his car blew up in Damascus this past February. Israel denies any role in the assassination.

Since Mughniyeh's death, however, Israel's embassies and consulates abroad have been instructed to adopt more stringent security measures, while Israeli businesspeople have been warned to take extra precautions while travelling outside the country. Recent Israeli concerns about possible retaliation by Hezbollah have been mostly focused on Third World countries, especially those with substantial Jewish communities.

Still fiercely opposed to Israel, Hezbollah was founded specifically to combat Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon and finally forced the Israelis to withdraw in May 2000.

Two summers ago, Hezbollah's paramilitary forces fought Israel to what many regard as a standstill, following a month of fierce fighting in a conflict known to Israelis as the Second Lebanon War and to Lebanese as the July War.

Hezbollah is now a major force in Lebanon's fragile government.

Established in 1948, El Al has suffered only one successful hijacking – a 1968 incident in which all passengers were eventually freed – but it has been targeted by extremist groups in recent years.

Two people were killed in July 2002 by a gunman who opened fire on El Al passengers at the Los Angeles International Airport.

A year later, an El Al plane en route from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles via Toronto was diverted to Montreal owing to what was said to be a serious security threat in Toronto.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


The problem of Chinese fugitives accused of major financial crimes has been a thorny one for Canada: after making their way to Canada, often fraudulently with false identities, Chinese fugitives request refugee status, a determination that takes several ye rs, and even when their cases are found not to be meritorious, they manage to stall deportation China for long periods of time on the grounds that China implements the death penalty against financial criminals. This has brought to Canada dozens of the most unsavoury characters from China....but change seems to be in the air.

Chinese fugitive's deportation hailed as landmark move

Co-operation on case of man accused in fraud scheme seen as sign of improving Sino-Canadian relations


From Thursday's Globe and Mail

September 4, 2008 at 5:14 AM EDT

BEIJING — After years of deadlock, Canada and China have taken a small step toward resolving one of their thorniest disputes: the fate of Chinese fugitives who take shelter in Canada.

Deng Xinzhi, whom the Chinese accuse of being a swindler, has been quietly deported from Toronto back to China to face criminal charges for his alleged role in a $3-million fraud scheme. Beijing has hailed it as a landmark move, potentially clearing the way for more than 500 criminal fugitives to be sent back to China from Canada and other countries. It is also seen as a sign of improved Canada-China relations.

Some of the Chinese fugitives have sought refugee status in Canada, triggering lengthy legal battles that frustrated China and provoked a storm of criticism in the Chinese media, where Canada is often described as a haven for Chinese criminals and corrupt officials.

Canada's reputation for giving shelter to alleged Chinese criminals has been one of the biggest stains on Canada's public image in China in recent years. Many Chinese opinion leaders have accused Ottawa of thwarting justice by allowing criminals to stay in Canada for many years without deporting them.

The federal Conservative government denies the charge. "Mr. Deng's removal from Canada further underscores this government's commitment that our country will not be a safe haven for fugitives," Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day said in a statement. "On this, our tolerance level is zero."

Mr. Deng fled to Canada in 2003 and lived in the Toronto area. Chinese authorities say that he and a gang of other suspects had swindled the equivalent of about $3-million from Chinese citizens in 2002 by fraudulently posing as employees of China Life, a major insurance company.

Canadian border security officers escorted Mr. Deng back to China on Aug. 22, during the height of the Beijing Olympics, when few people noticed the move.

But other fugitives - including Lai Changxing, the accused kingpin of a $10-billion smuggling ring who is often described as China's most wanted man - are still living in Canada in defiance of Chinese demands. Mr. Lai fled to Canada in 1999 and has been fighting a marathon legal battle for the right to stay. A federal judge has ruled that Mr. Lai could be at risk of torture if he is deported to China, where such methods are often used.

In another high-profile case, China wants to prosecute three Chinese fugitives who fled to Canada in 2004 after allegedly embezzling more than $100-million from a bank in northeastern China. The three men were arrested in Vancouver last year, but they are still embroiled in a legal battle against their deportation.

"There has been a perception among Chinese people that Canada has been too dismissive of Chinese concerns over Chinese criminals who resettle in Canada with their illegally gotten gains," said Charles Burton, a political scientist at Brock University who specializes in Canada-China relations. "[The deportation] will go a long way to improving Canada's image in China."

Some Chinese media have suggested that the deportation of Mr. Deng last month could "accelerate" the deportation of Mr. Lai and other alleged Chinese criminals. "I'm convinced it's the trend for the future," one legal expert told the China Daily this week.

Canada's decision to deport Mr. Deng was praised by China's Public Security Ministry, which said it "appreciated" the move and hoped for further "co-operation" with Canada in the future.

But other Chinese media commentators say the Deng case is unlikely to become a precedent. They note that Mr. Deng had much less money than Mr. Lai and was unable to mount as extensive a legal battle. And there is still no extradition treaty between Canada and China. To think that the Deng case will pave the way for Mr. Lai's deportation is "wishful thinking," said one Chinese blogger who specializes in Canada-China issues.

In some deportation cases, Canada has obtained a promise from Beijing that it will not execute a suspect who is deported from Canada to China. It is unclear whether any such promise was obtained in the case of Mr. Deng.

On forums on the Internet, many Chinese people commented that Canada is still a "haven for criminals," despite the Deng deportation. Only if Mr. Lai is deported to China will Canada lose that reputation, they said.

"To deport a small fish and keep the big fish - isn't that just a show?" asked one person on a popular website, sina.com.


Immigrants bypassing Toronto to follow money West, study finds


From Thursday's Globe and Mail

September 4, 2008 at 4:50 AM EDT

A new study shows immigrants earn more money in Calgary, Regina and Saskatoon than they do in Toronto, a significant trend that could help explain why the city's share of immigrants is steadily declining.

While Toronto remains overwhelmingly the dominant hub for newcomers, its proportion of Canada's total annual immigrant intake dropped to nearly one-third in 2007 from half in 2001. In contrast, the numbers settling in western cities such as Calgary, Edmonton, Regina and Saskatoon have increased every year in the past five years.

"This represents a significant shift in immigration patterns," said Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies, which released the study on immigrant family income this week.

"We think of Alberta and Saskatchewan as a place for internal migration, but now the West is drawing immigrants as well."

Immigrants often settle where family members live, but are also drawn by economic opportunities. The oil and natural-gas booms in Alberta and Saskatchewan have led to huge labour demands and a rise in wages as business owners struggle to fill jobs.

In 2005, the average annual income for an immigrant family in Calgary was $102,118, which is $33,000 more than in Montreal, $22,000 more than in Vancouver and $12,000 more than in Toronto, according to the census data analyzed in Mr. Jedwab's paper.

The average income was $92,932 in Regina and $91,356 in Saskatoon. Between 2001 and 2005, Saskatchewan moved from the bottom three provinces to the top three in terms of average income for immigrant families, behind Alberta and Ontario.

The wage differential between non-immigrant families in Toronto - who earned on average $139,926 a year - and those born elsewhere was 55 per cent. In contrast, the gap narrows to 33 per cent in Calgary, where non-immigrant families earn on average $136,380, and 19 per cent in Edmonton.

In Regina and Saskatoon, non-immigrant families actually earn 1 per cent less on average than their immigrant counterparts. The income gap reflects social mobility. "People are asking the question, 'How am I doing as an individual, and how am I doing compared to others?' " Mr. Jedwab said.

For his study on family incomes, all foreign-born Canadians were considered immigrants. But more recent cohorts of arrivals show a similar trend. Their wages are substantially lower than for the overall immigrant population; however, they still fare much better economically in the West, as well as in some smaller Ontario cities such as Oshawa and Ottawa, than in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

For example, the average annual income for an immigrant family who settled in Calgary between 2001 and 2005 was $69,148. The only city where they earned more money was Sudbury, while in Toronto, the average annual family income was $57,239; in Vancouver $53,028; and in Montreal $45,435.

Ottawa's goal has always been to disperse immigrants more evenly across the country and avoid concentrating too many new arrivals in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. In 2007, cities outside the "MTV" received nearly one in three of Canada's total 236,000 newcomers.

This trend is healthy, said Myer Siemiatycki, a Ryerson University professor of immigration and settlement studies, although he noted that Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver still receive the lion's share of immigrants and Montreal has actually increased its share.

Well-educated newcomers may be faring better in smaller cities such as Regina because there is less competition for high-paying jobs. "Saskatchewan traditionally had problems attracting high-end talent," Prof. Siemiatycki noted.

As well, the economy is not as robust and dynamic in Toronto and Montreal as it has been in Alberta and, more recently, in Saskatchewan.

Ratna Omidvar, executive director of the Maytree Foundation, a charity that aims to reduce poverty and inequality in Canada, said Toronto is still a huge draw, as are surrounding cities such as Brampton and Mississauga.

"For sure, there are fewer immigrants coming to Toronto, but they are going to the outlying suburbs comprising the city region," she said.


New Roots

Where new immigrants are finding work and putting down roots in Canadian cities.

The number of foreign permanent residents is rising in these communities:

Charlottetown: +50.2%

Halifax: +44.8%

Moncton: +74%

Edmonton: +52%

Calgary: +32%

Montreal: +36%

...while declining in these cities

Toronto: -20.8%

Vancouver: -1%



Monday, September 1, 2008


Heritage department takes aim at religious radicals

Multiculturalism plan under scrutiny

From Monday's Globe and Mail

September 1, 2008 at 3:41 AM EDT

The federal culture department wants to fight religious radicalization in Canada.

Canadian Heritage officials, who are responsible for the promotion of citizenry, say the country has moved beyond the "mosaic" model of the 1970s and entered an era of "integrative multiculturalism" that requires, in part, a battle against youth extremism.

In a presentation to a federal national security advisory board, Andrew Griffith, Canadian Heritage's director-general of multiculturalism and human rights, raised a series of issues including the question: "What is the appropriate role for Canadian Heritage and its Multicultural Program in countering radicalization?"

"Are traditional government objectives [civic participation, anti-racism/cross-cultural understanding, inclusive institutions] enough to address radicalization, or are radicalization-specific initiatives required?"

His PowerPoint presentation offers no concrete answers, but hints that shifting demographics mean the government must "adjust multiculturalism programming" in order to "advance core Canadian values."

The "Canadian Multiculturalism Act is flexible," the presentation notes.

The slides point out that Islam is, by far, the fastest growing religion in Canada and that the Middle East and Asia are, by far, the biggest source countries for immigrants.

The presentation was given in March to the cross-cultural roundtable on security, an advisory group drawn from government-appointed Canadians who come from a wide array of ethnic and religious backgrounds.

"Members were briefed on program and policy changes related to multiculturalism that better supports ethno-cultural minority participation and inclusion," reads a short synopsis of the meeting that is posted on the roundtable's website.

According to the Heritage presentation, 1970s- and 1980s-era initiatives geared toward "celebrating differences" and "accommodation" should now promote "rights and responsibilities" and the "Canadian identity." And compared with earlier problems such as "prejudice" and "systemic discrimination," a "clash of cultures" is highlighted as a major issue faced by immigrants today.

The presentation notes that Australia, the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands have all been taking steps to integrate immigrants and combat religious extremism.

Jeffrey Reitz, a University of Toronto professor and expert on immigration, said Canadian Heritage's multiculturalism program has had limited reach. Successive governments have cut funding for the general multicultural program to less than a dollar a year from each Canadian, he said.

The professor said official multiculturalism has become a value so ingrained in the Canadian psyche that changes to programs should be debated by society as a whole. He argued that radicalism, to the extent it might exist, remains a problem best dealt with by police.

CSIS and the RCMP officials have become increasingly outspoken about how they see radical youth as a major problem, including several ongoing cases where they've never managed to arrest anyone.

Canadian Heritage's multiculturalism branch is distinct from its arts-funding branch that has lately been a source of controversy for the Conservative government. The Tories are denying allegations that ideology is playing a part in their plans to cut $45-million in artist grants.

It is difficult to determine what amount of money - if any - might be going toward the multiculturalism branch's deradicalization initiatives.

Spokespersons for Canadian Heritage were last week unable to formulate replies to questions The Globe and Mail asked about the department's stated objective of "addressing issues of cultural social exclusion [parallel communities] and radicalization" - a test now applied to applications by community groups for grants to promote multiculturalism.