Friday, October 31, 2008


Here is a great Op Ed that appeared today in the New York Times. Irshad is also a very articulate, outspoken writer who had to endure the abuses and criticism of Muslim fundamentalists in Canada who wish to suppress her voice.

October 31, 2008

Op-Ed Contributor

Home for Halloween


FOR me and my family, Oct. 31 has always been significant. Not because it’s Halloween, but because that’s the day we arrived as refugees to a free part of the world.

Beginning in August 1972, thousands of Asian entrepreneurs fled the East African country of Uganda after its dictator, Idi Amin, declared us to be bloodsuckers, seized our property and gave us three months to leave or die.

My family and I had only Ugandan passports, so we couldn’t escape to Britain or India like many of our neighbors. We’d been in Africa for two generations; my father and his brothers owned a car dealership in Uganda’s capital, Kampala. We didn’t know where to go, but we knew we couldn’t stay: Amin viciously enforced his 90-day deadline.

By the final week of October, the nations that would otherwise accept Ugandan exiles had exceeded their quotas. My family heard that Sweden and Canada might make room for a few more, and so out of desperation my mother, my sisters and I flew to Montreal, with Dad to follow. We had no guarantee that Canada would admit us.

We also had no guarantee that we’d meet an extraordinary immigration agent. But on Halloween 1972, we did.

Though the middle-aged woman had doubtless been dealing with a flood of Ugandan refugees, and though burnout could have led her to turn us back or indifferently wave us through, she chose to talk with a harried mother shepherding three girls under age 7. “Why do you want to live in Montreal?” the agent asked, en français.

My mother, who grew up in the Belgian Congo, mercifully could respond in French. “Why do we want to live in Montreal?” Mum repeated, buying a few seconds to think. “Well, Montreal begins with the letter ‘M,’ and our family’s name begins with the letter ‘M,’ so maybe God believes we will fit nicely together.”

Sensing my mother’s fear, the immigration agent assured her that this wasn’t an interrogation. “It’s just that I’m looking at your daughters,” she explained, “and I realize that they’re all dressed for tropical weather. Madame Manji, have you ever seen snow?”

Terrified at the prospect of being booted out, my mother blurted out, “No, but I can’t wait to!”

“Then you’ve come to the right country,” the agent assured Mum. “With your permission, however, I’d like to send you and your children to Canada’s version of a mild climate.” Several stamps of the paperwork later, we boarded a plane to Vancouver, where I learned to make peace with rain.

Some would reduce this immigration agent to a shrewd gatekeeper of cheap labor, carting us off to a city that would get rich from the Asian work ethic. And yet she was more complex than a caricature. Instead of simply unloading us on the local authorities, the agent cared enough to ask what we might need more of — peace, yes, but also fleece. Her small act of empathy bucked an ice-cold system.

As an adult, I’ve come to understand why I’m so blessed to have immigrated to an open society. Here, the individual — and the choices she makes — matter. The agent chose to practice the first lesson of human rights: just because a problem doesn’t affect you personally doesn’t mean it ceases to exist.

Mum tells me that she’s never been able to track down the lovely lady who let us into Canada. Still, she won’t be forgotten. As Madame Manji reminded her girls on Halloween in 2002, “When we touched this soil, we won the lottery of life.”

Idi Amin died in Saudi Arabia a year after that. Friends assumed that I’d be cursing his corpse. No. His hatred introduced my family to the gift of choices.

On Halloween, one can be forgiven for obsessing with murderers, but it’s not Idi Amin who will dominate my thoughts. It’s the immigration agent.

Irshad Manji, the author of “The Trouble With Islam Today,” is the director of the Moral Courage Project at the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


'Loan' used to sidestep laws, judge rules

Money used for sham marriage to circumvent immigration rules; claim dismissed

Neal Hall
Vancouver Sun

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A provincial court judge has dismissed a woman's claim against two other people for repayment of a $15,000 loan, ruling the money was paid for a sham marriage to sidestep Canada's immigration rules.

Li Ying Lao, the claimant, sued her sister-in-law, Hui Xia Luo, and Luo's former husband, Rong Jun Li, seeking repayment of the money.

Luo admitted she received the money but denied it was a loan.

She claimed the money she received from the claimant was part of a $35,000 payment in exchange for Luo marrying the claimant's younger brother, who lives in China.

"The defendant Luo claims the marriage was a sham." Judge Maria Giardini said in her reasons for judgment.

"It was only entered into to circumvent Canadian immigration laws and regulations. The marriage of the defendant Luo to the brother allowed the brother to apply to be sponsored into Canada as a family member."

Luo went to China and married the brother on March 9, 2006. The brother's application to enter Canada to live with his wife was refused.

The claimant was asked at trial whether she paid for Luo's air travel to China. At first she denied doing so, but then changed her answer, recalling Luo did not have any cash and therefore she paid for the airfare.

The claimant denied paying about $1,525 to Luo for immigration fees to sponsor the brother to Canada. Lao said she did not know why the brother's application to emigrate to Canada was refused.

The claimant said the brother had a good job in China and there was no need for him to immigrate to Canada. If that was so, the claimant was asked, why did the brother get married to a woman who lived in Canada when he lived in China?

She said Luo and the brother loved each other and after their marriage they had to live together.

The judge concluded: "The claimant has not established, on a balance of probabilities, that the $15,000 she gave to the defendant Luo was a loan.

"Instead, I have concluded the money was given to the defendant Luo as payment for a marriage to the claimant's brother designed to circumvent Canadian immigration regulations."

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Here is another case of immigration fraud in India. The facts are very "fishy", not in small measure because the "ad visors" appear to be unlicensed consultants acting as "agents" for others, and the type of advice given to the applicants seems odd. Also, it seems that the applicant was perfectly willing to play along, for as long as it could result in a successful outcome for him. The moral of the story: hire LAWYERS only, and stay away from those who offer bargain prices for legal services.

Immigration firm to pay Rs 1 lakh for shattering dollar dreams

Express News Service Posted: Oct 25, 2008 at 0345 hrs

Chandigarh, October 24 The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed an immigration company to pay Rs 1 lakh as compensation after they failed to send a Ludhiana resident to Canada. They have also been directed to pay Rs 5,000 as litigation cost.
The complainant, Lakhwinder Singh, a resident of Ludhiana, said that he and his family had planned to migrate to the province of British Columbia in Canada. For this, they contacted “Canadian 4UR Immigration Services” in Sector 9. They signed an agreement in November 2006. He was then told that he would get approval for immigration within three months and paid Rs 30,000 as retainer fee.

He was also asked to maintain a balance of Rs 6 lakh in his bank, which would be needed once all the formalities were complete.

The complainant, after noticing that there was no movement in his work, contacted the company and was told that they had to shift their office to Canada owing to some problems. The company later refunded Rs 30,000 by transferring the money in his account.

The complainant alleged that the company had deceived them, as they had not deposited the requisite fee with the firm in Canada.

In its reply, the company pleaded that after the complainant had qualified the interview and cleared the requisite norms as laid by the Canadian Embassy, he signed an agreement. An assurance was also given that he would maintain the required balance in his account.

His case was then forwarded to the overseas immigration branch of the company. The company pleaded that it was the complainant who abandoned the company and demanded for the refund of money, which was given to him. They pleaded that an agent in Canada was running their business under the name of Overseas Immigration Services. But their relations were severed after some friction between and hence the delay.

The forum said that the immigration company had retained the amount of Rs 30,000 for 14 months, for the purpose of procuring a job and visa for the complainant, which it failed to procure.

“The complainant waited for his interview call and visa for 14 months. It is argued by the complainant’s counsel that his client could not work during this period. He procured the amount of Rs 6 lakh and deposited the same in the bank. The entire career of the complainant has been ruined. It was a cruel joke played by the immigration company,” said Jagroop Singh Mahal, President, District Consumer Forum.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Another Provincial Nominee Program ( PNP) has come under scrutiny, this time the small Province of Prince Edward Island's effort to attract immigrants is under the gun. This follows on the heels of the suspension of the Nova Scotia entrepreneur PNP, which closed after a scandal. I have always opposed PNPs as useless for the economy,. costly to the immigrants, and attracting the wrong type of people, who do not make a decision based on sound economics but rather on the basis of just tyring to get a visa, while they have no intention to follow through on their commitment to invest in the designated province. It would be much better to fix the entire federal system, abolish the PNPs, and allow applicants to set p businesses wherever they feel it would make economic sense.

Island auditor gives legislature committee OK to probe immigration program


CHARLOTTETOWN — The public accounts committee on P.E.I. has been given the green light by the province’s auditor general to conduct its own probe of a controversial immigration program.
The program, which ended Sept. 2, offered expedited Canadian visas for immigrants willing to invest money in Island companies.
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in the province through the so-called nominee program.
Auditor general Colin Younker decided to launch an investigation after a number of discrepancies with the administration of the program came to light.
Several members of the public accounts committee had expressed concern about launching an examination while Younker was conducting his own probe.
But the committee received word this week from Younker that it is free to proceed

Thursday, October 23, 2008


This one promises to be a contentious issue...and a good way to kill the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP):

Migrants' bid to unionize contested

B.C. labour board certifies unions at two farms - but employers say labour code does not give them that right


October 23, 2008

VANCOUVER -- The union movement among migrant workers in British Columbia is growing, with the first two farms granted certification by the labour board.

Floralia Plant Growers Ltd. became the second farm to unionize on Oct. 10. Workers on 20 more farms are now interested in joining the United Food and Commercial Workers, according to the union. However, a recent move by employers might put the relationship between migrant workers and the union in jeopardy.

The British Columbia Agriculture Council, which represents the interests of the agriculture industry, questions the right of migrant workers to unionize under the B.C. Labour Relations Code.

The council argues that the code does not constitutionally apply to migrant workers, who come to Canada as part of a federal program that operates under the terms of agreements negotiated by Ottawa with the workers' home countries.

BCAC executive director Steve Tompson said that means the provincial labour board cannot legally grant the workers' requests to join a union. "We feel there is a very legitimate question related to the jurisdiction and applicability in this situation and with respect to this particular program," he said.

Such arguments are far removed from the B.C. farm fields, where workers like Rogelio Larios are employed. Mr. Larios worked on an Abbotsford blueberry farm this season. He's saving money to help finance a handmade jewellery business to support his two daughters in Mexico. The living and working conditions on the blueberry farm are good, but he would like his farm to unionize, he said.

"He wants to have a better future for his daughters," said Jamie Block, translating for Mr. Larios. "In Mexico, where he currently lives, there is no work."

Ms. Block works at a support centre in Abbotsford for migrant workers funded by the union, which has been in close contact with migrant workers in Canada since the 1990s. Stan Raper is UFCW national co-ordinator of the Agricultural Workers Alliance, which operates seven migrant-worker support centres across Canada, including two in B.C.

"A number of workers from throughout British Columbia either call or drop in to our centres, Kelowna or Abbottsford, in order to get translation services [for] income tax, parental benefits, workers compensation cases," he said.

Nearly all of B.C.'s migrant workers are from Mexico, and few speak English. When they come to a support centre to find someone to translate Canadian bureaucracy and file their paperwork for them, they are educated about their right to unionize.

The BCAC filed its application to the B.C. Labour Relations Board on Sept. 29, asking the board to reverse the union certifications already granted. The union rejects the BCAC's argument that the right to unionize does not apply to migrant workers.

Human Resources and Social Development Canada, which administers the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, is responsible for bringing the foreign workers to Canada but has played no role in union disputes.

"The unionization of workers has no impact on the SAWP; it is a matter between the employer and the union," media-relations officer Jason Bouzanis said in an e-mail. "If the foreign workers are unionized, they must be offered the agreed union wage or the prevailing wage for the occupation in the region, whichever is higher."

The union and the BCAC disagree on whether the migrant workers would benefit from union representation. Lucy Luna, who runs the union's migrant workers centre in Abbotsford, said many of the farms provide poor housing conditions, and some have dangerous environments where workers are not properly trained or provided with safety equipment.

"But basically the complaint No. 1 is they want to be treated with respect, and that's why they came and they signed cards," she said.

Marcus Janzen owns Calais Farm in Abbotsford and said he doesn't think unionizing would change the basic principles the farm operates on today.

"I haven't thought about it much more than that. It's a free country, the workers can do what they want," he said.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


See this...It makes you wonder as to how many criminal convictions a person needs to accumulate in order for the system to kick him out. Thi scharacter has 19 convictions, some very serious! I think I feel safer already...

Ritchie v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and

Stalin Dacosta Ritchie, appellant, and
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, respondent

[2008] I.A.D.D. No. 326

No. TA4-02431

Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Immigration Appeal Division
Toronto, Ontario

Panel: Pamila Ahlfeld

Heard: May 2, 2007, September 17, 2007.
Decision: November 22, 2008.

(24 paras.)


Removal Order

Reasons for Decision


1 These are the reasons1 for decision in the appeal of Stalin Dacosta RITCHIE (the appellant), from the removal order, dated February 5, 20042 issued against him by Member Iozzo of the Immigration Division pursuant to subsection 36(1)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)3. The basis of the removal order is the appellant's conviction dated January 28, 2002 for one count of trafficking in a schedule I substance whereby he received a sentence of four months time served and two years probation4.

2 There was no challenge to the validity of the removal order and the panel finds nothing in the evidence that would render the order legally invalid. Accordingly, the panel finds that the removal order is valid in law.

3 The appellant was represented at the hearing by a designated representative appointed by the panel as the appellant was unable to appreciate the nature of the proceedings.

4 At issue in this case is whether, taking into consideration the best interests of a child directly affected by the decision, sufficient humanitarian and compassionate considerations warrant special relief in light of all the circumstances of the case5.


5 For the reasons outlined below, the panel finds that taking into consideration the best interests of a child directly affected by this decision, there exist sufficient humanitarian and compassionate considerations to warrant the granting of a stay for a period of five years.


6 The appellant was born in Jamaica on February 22, 19716. He was sponsored to Canada by his sister together with his mother and he was landed on December 1, 19777.

7 The appellant's father and two sisters all reside in Toronto. His mother is deceased. He testified that his father is in a nursing home and he has limited contact with his sister.

8 The appellant has a Grade 9 education.

9 The appellant receives a disability pension (ODSP) in the amount of $755.40 a month8. He has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and he is currently in treatment.

10 The appellant has 16 convictions; 4 of them for assaults9, 7 convictions regarding controlled substances, a robbery conviction, possession of a prohibited weapon and various fail to comply convictions10.


11 The panel remains guided in the exercise of its discretion by the factors outlined in Ribic11, approved by the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Chieu12. These factors, which are not exhaustive, are:


the seriousness of the offences leading to the deportation order;


the possibility of rehabilitation;


the length of time spent in Canada and the degree to which the appellant is established here;


the family in Canada and the dislocation to the family that deportation would cause;


support available to the appellant, within the family and within the community; and


potential foreign hardship the appellant will face in the likely country of removal.

12 The panel is also guided by section 3 (1)(h) of IRPA which states:

3. (1) The objectives of the Act with respect to immigration are:


to protect the health and safety of Canadians and to maintain the security of Canadian society.

13 The panel is "alert, alive and sensitive" to the best interests of any child directly affected by the removal of the appellant13.

14 The appellant and the appellant's mental health worker testified at the hearing.

15 The appellant's criminal history is extensive. Unfortunately, the appellant was not able to testify in detail regarding the offences as he did not remember them. He could not for example remember his convictions for assault in 1994 and 1995. His memory of the robbery conviction from 1994 was that he grabbed a man on the street at Queen and Sherbourne and took his money. He could not remember anything about the possession of a weapon conviction but he remembers that he was convicted of selling crack cocaine and marijuana.

16 The appellant admitted he is a long time drug user. A letter from Dr. Vasu Srinivasan reports that the appellant suffers from schizophrenia and is being treated with Risperal14. The doctor also reported that the appellant is developmentally delayed15. It was evident from his testimony that the appellant has difficulties in relaying incidents from his past and he becomes easily anxious.

17 The appellant stated that he has received some assistance in the past regarding his addictions and life skills but these efforts were unsuccessful. He is currently being followed by a number of professionals as follows:


He is seeing Dr. Williams, a psychiatrist on a monthly basis;


He is being case-managed by a mental health worker at Reconnect Health Services in Etobicoke. His participation is voluntary and ongoing since February 2007;


He is reporting to the Toronto Bail Program, Immigration Division since April 200616;


He testified that he completed a 5-day detox program at Toronto Western Hospital a week prior to this hearing;


He is scheduled for an appointment at the Concurrent Disorder Clinic on September 18, 2007 to assess whether he will receive drug rehabilitation treatment in a group or as an individual;


His mental health worker testified that he is seeking through LOFT or COTA, permanent housing for the appellant. For the time being, the appellant is residing with a good friend;

18 In addition to being managed for his probation and health concerns, the appellant is also working daily (volunteer) sorting clothes at Evangel Hall Mission. A letter from Tony Pucci, Volunteer Coordinator, confirms that the appellant has worked with the program since 2004 and he is "well-mannered reliable and efficient"17.

19 Also in the appellant's favor is a letter from Steven Sharp of the Toronto Bail Program. Mr. Sharp, as the Mental Health Coordinator at the Toronto Bail Program, stated in his letter of April 10, 2007 that the appellant "has shown some progress since coming under the supervision of this writer and with community supports can build on this progress"18.

20 I recognize that the appellant has many convictions but it appears that those convictions are the result of the appellant's illness and addiction. I find the appellant's sometimes aggressive behavior appears to have been when he is using alcohol and/or drugs. I am satisfied that he is now getting help around his addictions and his mental issues and I am persuaded if he continues to be managed, he will not pose a threat to the Canadian public.

21 Since the conclusion of the appellant's hearing, I have received written submissions from his counsel that included a letter from Reconnect Mental Health Services and from a therapist at the Concurrent Disorders Service at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)19. The letter from Simon Nnaakirya from the Mental Health & Justice, Prevention Program, Reconnect Mental Health Services at Reconnect, stated that the appellant has consistently met with Mr. Nnaakirya in the community and he attends the CAMH and Toronto Bail program meetings20. The letter indicates that the appellant has been referred to Dr. Balchand who is conducting a psychiatric assessment to determine a course of treatment for him. A letter from Vicki Myers confirms that the appellant has seen Dr. Balchand two times and a treatment plan will be forthcoming21.

22 Considering that the appellant has been cooperative in seeking treatment and the support he has been receiving from a number of professionals, I find it would be extremely detrimental to consider removal at this juncture. I am satisfied from the appellant's testimony that he would like to change his life and become a productive member of Canadian society. I am satisfied that there are sufficient safeguards in place at the current time to assist the appellant in achieving this goal. In her submission, counsel for the appellant made a suggestion that I wait until the treatment plan is finalized by the treating psychiatrist prior to rendering a decision. I am concerned that the treatment plan could take longer than the four weeks suggested. I have, therefore, decided that I will grant the appellant a stay of removal whereby he will have to follow treatment recommended to him as it becomes available and in six months' time, I will review the treatment plan and, if necessary, vary the stay accordingly. Accordingly, an interim review will be scheduled on or about May 2008.

23 Having considered all of the evidence and taking into consideration the best interests of a child directly affected by the decision I find that the appellant has established that there exist sufficient humanitarian and compassionate grounds, which warrant special consideration.

24 Accordingly, I am granting a 5-year stay to the appellant with terms and conditions.


The removal order in this appeal is stayed. This stay is made on the following conditions - the appellant must:

[1] Inform the Canada Border Services Agency (the "Department") and the Immigration Appeal Division in writing in advance of any change in your address.

The address of the Department is:

Canada Border Services Agency, The Greater Toronto
Enforcement Centre,
6900 Airport Road, P.O. Box 290,
Mississauga, Ontario, L4V 1E8.

The address of the Immigration Appeal Division is:

74 Victoria Street, Suite 400, Toronto, Ontario, M5C 3C7.

[2] Provide a copy of your passport or travel document to the Department or, if you do not have a passport or travel document, complete an application for a passport or a travel document and to provide the application to the Department.

[3] Apply for an extension of the validity period of any passport or travel document before it expires, and provide a copy of the extended passport or document to the Department.

[4] Not commit any criminal offences.

[5] If charged with a criminal offence, immediately report that fact in writing to the Department.

[6] If convicted of a criminal offence, immediately report that fact in writing to the Department and the Immigration Appeal Division.

[7] Provide all information, notices and documents (the "documents") required by the conditions of the stay by hand; by regular or registered mail; by courier or priority post to the Canada Border Services Agency, 6900 Airport Road, P.O. Box 290, Mississauga, Ontario, L4V 1E8. It is the responsibility of the appellant that the documents are received by the Department within any time period required by a condition of the stay.

[8] Provide all information, notices and documents (the "documents") required by the conditions of the stay by hand; by regular or registered mail; by courier or priority post; or by fax to the Immigration Appeal Division at 416-954-1165 . Include your IAD file number. It is the responsibility of the appellant that the documents are received by the Immigration Appeal Division within any time period required by a condition of the stay.

[9] Report to the Department in person (with a written report) at the Canada Border Services Agency, The Greater Toronto Enforcement Centre, 6900 Airport Road, Entrance 2B, Mississauga, Ontario, L4V 1E8 on Thursday, April 24, 2008 between 7:30 a.m. to 15:00 p.m., and every six months thereafter on the following dates:

October 23, 2008

April 23, 2009

October 22, 2009

April 22, 2010

October 21, 2010

April 21, 2011

October 27, 2011

April 26, 2012

October 15, 2012

The reports are to contain details of the appellant's:


employment or efforts to obtain employment if unemployed;


current living arrangements;


marital status including common-law relationships;


attendance at meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, or any other drug or alcohol rehabilitation program;


compliance of psychiatric appointments;


meetings with parole officer, including details of any violations of the conditions of parole.

[10] Make reasonable efforts to seek and maintain full time employment and IMMEDIATELY report any change in employment to the Department.

[11] Engage in or continue treatment prescribed by Dr. Balchand or other treating psychiatrist. (Note: If you withdraw your consent to the foregoing condition, you must bring an application to the Appeal Division forthwith to have this condition removed)

[12] Attend a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program at Concurrent Disorder Service of CAMH and to follow any ongoing recommendation. (Note: If you withdraw your consent to the foregoing condition, you must bring an application to the Appeal Division forthwith to have this condition removed)

[13] Make reasonable efforts to maintain yourself in such condition that:


your schizophrenia will not cause you to conduct yourself in a manner dangerous to yourself or anyone else; and,


it is not likely you will commit further offences.

[14] Not knowingly associate with individuals who have a criminal record or who are engaged in criminal activity, except contact that might result while attending meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, or any other drug or alcohol rehabilitation program.

[15] Not own or possess offensive weapons or imitations of offensive weapons.

[16] Respect all parole conditions and any court orders.

[17] Refrain from the illegal use or sale of drugs.

[18] Keep the peace and be of good behaviour.


An interim reconsideration of the case by the Immigration Appeal Division will take place on or about the 22nd day of May 2008, at which time it may change or cancel any non-prescribed conditions imposed, or it may cancel the stay and then allow or dismiss the appeal. You will receive a notice to appear prior to the hearing date, if the Immigration Appeal Division orders an oral interim reconsideration.


Take notice that the Immigration Appeal Division will reconsider the case on or about the 12th day of November 2012 or at such other date as it determines, at which time it may change or cancel any non-prescribed conditions imposed, or it may cancel the stay and then allow or dismiss the appeal.

"Pamila Ahlfeld"

22 November 2007

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Here is a story from the Times of India . Why are people like this one able to stall for years and walk the streets freely? Why is he not in custody and kicked out unceremoniously after exhausting all his rights of review? What a joke! Go figure...

Sikh man resists deportation to India

18 Oct 2008, 0914 hrs IST, IANS

TORONTO: A Sikh man from India, who has been denied refugee status in Canada, has refused to sign papers to facilitate his deportation.

According to reports, Manjit Singh Rattu, who entered Canada in 1995 and sought refugee status citing danger to his life in India, is currently lodged at the Calgary Remand Centre in Alberta before his deportation.

He was questioned by the police for clues to the killing of Punjabi journalist and Indo-Canadian Times founder-editor Tara Singh Hayer after his arrest in Toronto two years ago.

Hayer, who had agreed to testify as a witness in the 1985 Air India bombing trial, was shot dead at his home in November 1998 even before the trial could begin.

But Rattu's lawyer said his client has been cleared in the Hayer case, even as he faces other charges of lying and fraud, including use of stolen identities, during his stay in Canada since 1995.

Rattu appeared before the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board which has decided that he should remain in custody till his deportation to India.

But the deportation plan has run into a problem as Rattu's Indian passport has expired and he needs a fresh passport to travel back to India. Reports say Ratty has refused to sign the documents to get him a new Indian passport.

A Calgary-based newspaper reported that the Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA) has contacted the Indian High Commission in Ottawa to get Rattu's travel documents without his consent.

It has also been revealed Rattu was once a permanent resident of the US. But since this status expired, the Americans are refusing to take him back.

His lawyer pleaded with the refugee board that Rattu should be conditionally freed so that he could seek revival of his US permanent residence status and return to the US. He said his client faced danger to his life he is deported to India.

"He is escaping from India to save his life," the paper quoted the lawyer as saying.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Immigrants face growing economic mobility gap


From Monday's Globe and Mail

October 6, 2008 at 1:06 AM EDT

Children of Chinese and South Asian immigrants to Canada do dramatically better over time than the offspring of blacks, Filipinos and Latin Americans, new census data reveal.

The findings, released quietly last week by Statistics Canada, suggest a new paradigm for understanding immigrants' integration and success.

The old vertical mosaic – with whites from Britain and Europe at the top and visible minorities underneath – is no longer valid. Instead, second- and third-generation Chinese and Japanese surpass all other groups of newcomers, including whites, while for blacks and other groups, there is little or no economic mobility across generations.

“You can no longer make broad generalizations about how badly visible minorities are doing. Some groups are doing really well, and others are not,” said Jack Jedwab, a historian and head of the Association for Canadian Studies, who wrote a report on the findings.

“We need to rethink the vertical mosaic and look at why mobility is weak among certain ethnic groups.”

The new research, based on the 2006 census, comes as a disappointment – but not a surprise – to Patricia Hines, a teacher and communications expert who emigrated from Jamaica in 2001.

She believes that, while discrimination is a factor, the community could also do more to help itself.

“A lot of us look for schools and communities with black students and teachers so our children won't feel isolated. But that is self-limiting,” says Ms. Hines, 40, who relocated to Toronto with her husband, an accountant.

“If you really don't have an interest in what other people do, or focus overly on your community, then you are limiting your potential,” said Ms. Hines, who owns her own business and works at the Black Business and Professional Association, but noted that her opinions are her own.

The 2006 census data show that first-generation white immigrants with university degrees, aged 25-44, earned $68,036 a year on average – just above the Canadian-born baseline of $65,000. Those from Japan earned $58,294 and those from China $55,270, while black immigrants earned $51,317 a year.

The below-average incomes relate to immigrants' language barriers, lack of Canadian job experience, and difficulties getting their credentials recognized.

The balance shifts, however, with the second and third generation.

The Chinese catapulted ahead, with the grandchildren of immigrants earning an average of $79,022 a year. Incomes for South Asians also increased substantially by the third generation.

In contrast, blacks languished, with third-generation immigrants earning less than newcomers. The incomes of Latin Americans also fell across the generations.

The census findings also suggest that blacks experience more discrimination and difficulties in the labour market than others.

Jeffrey Reitz, a sociologist at the University of Toronto, has researched this area extensively and found that while recently arrived immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa are fairly well educated, their employment outcomes are far worse than other newcomer groups.

“Blacks do fairly well in terms of education, but black men especially stand out with strikingly lower incomes. They report experiences of discrimination on a much higher level than other racial groups,” he said.

Canada's black community has struggled with racial stereotyping and higher-than-average rates of poverty. The high school drop-out rate for blacks in the Toronto public school system has been estimated at about 40 per cent, almost double the rate for non-blacks, prompting the school board to create an alternative Afrocentric school.

An articulate professional, Ms. Hines observed that she never encountered discrimination until she began studying for her master's degree at the University of Toronto. She was shocked to discover there were no other black students or lecturers.

When the class was asked to write the names of five black people, many could only come up with Lincoln Alexander, Ontario's former lieutenant-governor, and Michael (Pinball) Clemons of the Toronto Argonauts football team.

“It made me realize that even though Canada is so diverse, the different ethnic groups don't really mix or understand one another's culture,” Ms. Hines said. “It is hard to talk about this. What are South Asian and Chinese immigrants doing that somehow gets them ahead?”

The census data found that 60 per cent of second-generation Chinese immigrants had university degrees, compared with 52 per cent of South Asians, 36 per cent of Filipinos, 32 per cent of blacks and 23 per cent of Latin Americans.

The higher education levels among Chinese and South Asians appears to reflect the values of their parents – middle-class, educated newcomers who may be underemployed when they arrive, but who expect their children to advance.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Parties get sophisticated in bid for immigrant vote

Voter-profile tool identifies individuals' backgrounds, values and political support, allowing strategists to hone their messages


October 7, 2008

For the first time in a federal election, three of Canada's five main political parties are using a sophisticated new micro-targeting voter-profile tool, which outlines people's ethnicity, social values and income level, cross-referenced with their political support.

The tool, developed by Environics, allows political strategists to fine-tune their message for voters at the neighbourhood level, helping candidates win key battleground ridings in Ontario and British Columbia, many of which have large ethnic communities.

"This tool not only gives you the big picture, but goes to a riding level and tells you which percentage of voter groups live in the riding and whether ethnicity is an issue," said Jan Kestle, president of Environics Analytics.

She said client confidentiality prevented her identifying which three political parties are using her services.

There is a sudden demand for multicultural research tools such as this one, as Canada's ethnic communities grow in size and political importance. Now that immigrants no longer vote exclusively for the Liberals, all parties are reaching out to them.

A thousand more votes for the Conservatives in Newton-North Delta, where 60 per cent of residents are visible minorities, could help the party win one of the extra 28 seats it needs to form a majority government. In 2006, Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal won the suburban Vancouver riding with 34.3 per cent of the vote, compared with 30.6 for the Tory candidate, and 32 per cent for the NDP.

"It's a numbers game. The election can turn on a dime. Ethnics play a key role in this and happen to be living in the ridings that are close," said David Crapper, president of Genesis Public Opinion Research Inc., the Conservatives' official pollster in the 2006 election.

The Conservative Party would not say whether it was using Environics' new tool. But the party is targeting certain ethnic groups, and has assembled a detailed database of voters in battleground ridings, and given fictional names to demographic segments in the electorate.

The Environics program breaks down voters into 18 groups, including suburban upscale ethnic and urban downscale ethnic, and provides a map of where they live in each of the 308 constituencies. Residents are assigned to a group based on their income level, age, job type, family type, ethnicity, and social values. The program then analyzes the 2006 election results through this lens to understand how much support each party received from each voter group, how large each group is, and where each one lives.

For example, in Newton-North Delta, suburban upscale ethnic voters comprised 64 per cent of eligible voters in the 2006 election. However they were 68 per cent of the Liberal vote and only 54 per cent of the Conservative vote in the riding.

Suburban upscale ethnics are described as recent immigrants from China, India, Pakistan and the Philippines, with white-collar and service-sector jobs. They tend to have children who play outdoor sports, own lots of computer electronics and enjoy rock concerts and amusement parks. They aren't interested in ecology or status recognition, but are global in outlook, tend to be savers, and enjoy trying new products and services.

"This information helps candidates with messaging, how to talk to these people and what their core belief systems are," said Ms. Kestle. For example, a candidate could emphasize crime, but not environmental issues, when talking to a suburban upscale ethnic audience.

Campaigns already have a good sense about the demographics of their supporters, through their own data bases and polls. But this tool allows them to go deeper, on a street by street level.

In Don Valley West, a highly diverse riding in northeast Toronto, a quarter of the riding's voters were urban downscale ethnic in the 2006 election. Half of them supported the Liberals, while 21 per cent voted for both the Conservatives and the NDP.

Urban downscale ethnics are defined as young and single, or divorced single parents living in high-rise rental apartments. They are not interested in the environment, and don't have a keen sense of social responsibility. However they are concerned about crime, have a strong need to escape the stresses of ordinary life and enjoy eating out.

This is just one of many new tools political parties are using to connect with immigrant voters. Parties are also placing ads in ethnic media, conducting Internet surveys aimed at tech-savvy newcomers who prefer to read rather than talk, and running focus groups in Punjabi and Mandarin.

Multicultural political polling and research has gone on for years in the United States, where Hispanics form 15 per cent of the population. In Quebec, research firms also ensure pollsters conduct interviews and focus groups not just in French, but in Québécois French, otherwise they get high refusal rates.

In the rest of Canada, it has been more difficult - and expensive - to conduct national surveys of immigrant voters in their mother tongue because of the diversity of languages.

Viewpoints Research, a Winnipeg-based polling firm, conducted focus groups in Punjabi and Cantonese for the NDP in the 2005 provincial B.C. election in Surrey, Burnaby and parts of Vancouver to understand the priorities of new Canadians.

"It helped the party win back a lot of seats in the Lower Mainland that they had lost in 2001," said Leslie Turnbull, a partner with Viewpoints, the NDP's official pollster. She found that immigrants from Hong Kong are concerned about access to health care and postsecondary education.

The Liberal Party has conducted polls in other languages at the riding level, says Michael Marzolini, president of Pollara, the Liberal Party's pollster. "Every market segmentation you can find is important, be it ethnic background, income level, education, gender, home ownership," he said.

In the past two years, retail giants such as Coca Cola, the Bank of Montreal and Microsoft have also invested in multicultural research and polling to understand the immigrant consumer. "The Chinese community likes to get to know the interviewer, so you have to build in 10 minutes of chit chat," says John Wright, senior vice-president of Ipsos Reid, which has a division to conduct multilingual polls. "East Indians find face-to-face interviewing more important than phone interviewing."

Greg Lyle, managing director of Innovative Research Inc., also does multilingual polling on behalf of corporate clients, including the B.C. Securities Commission. "Immigrants may be more reluctant to speak to a stranger about finances or political views than with someone who comes from their culture," said Mr. Lyle.

"Political parties are becoming more interested in ethnic enclaves as they have grown, and different parties try to break into these groups."

Multicultural marketing

Three of Canada's five main political parties are sharpening their campaigns in key battleground ridings in Ontario and B.C., using a sophisticated tool that identifies and profiles ethnic voters.


Turnout of 61.33% (43,821 voters)

Suburban upscale ethnic: 64%

Other: 35.76%

Urban downscale ethnic: 0.24%


The Environics program breaks down voters into 18 groups.

Here's how it describes the two most critical voter groups

in the battle for Newton-North Delta:

Urban downscale ethnics can

be seen as a gateway community

for new immigrants. They are:

{bull}Young and single, or divorced single parents

{bull}Live in high-rise rental apartments

{bull}Less interested in the environment

{bull}Don't have a keen sense of social responsibility

{bull}Concerned about crime

{bull}Enjoy dating services, health clubs and restaurants

Suburban upscale ethnics are:

{bull}Recent immigrants from China, India, Pakistan and the Philippines

{bull}Have white-collar and service-sector jobs

{bull}Aren't interested in ecology or status recognition

{bull}Tend to be savers

{bull}Tend to have children of varying ages who play sports, own lots of computer electronics, go to rock concerts and amusement parks


Saturday, October 4, 2008


The Great Wall of the United States


From Saturday's Globe and Mail

October 4, 2008 at 12:22 AM EDT

Stephen Harper has said that, if he is re-elected, he wants a "fresh start" with the new U.S. administration on dealing with the border, to see if ways can be found to reassure the Americans on security while easing restrictions that are causing costly delays for Canada.

John McCain, who made the unusual gesture of delivering a campaign speech in Ottawa in June, said he recognizes that the backups caused by new security measures "can pose a serious impediment to trade." Barack Obama has wanted nothing to do with Canada since a Canadian official embarrassed him by leaking one of his adviser's private reassurances over NAFTA, but he too is likely to be sympathetic to the Canadian concerns.

There is little reason, however, to think that dealing with border issues will be any easier after the elections in both countries; indeed, it is likely to become harder.

Canada and the United States long defined what it meant to have an open border. The orange cones that were placed at night across rural border crossings from Vermont to B.C. symbolized an extraordinary level of trust, rarely achieved by two neighbouring nations. That trust permitted ever deeper, and in some ways riskier, economic ties, from an automobile industry that grew up in virtual disregard of the border to a free-trade agreement that set rules since imitated on a global scale.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, we no longer live in a high-trust world. In the eyes of many Americans, 9/11 was a failure not of its foreign and military policies, or even of its intelligence agencies, but rather of its open borders. In seven years, the United States has doubled the number of its Border Patrol agents and tripled its enforcement expenditures and it is now deporting more than 250,000 illegal immigrants a year, all in the elusive quest for border security. On the Canadian border, it's known as "thickening"; on the Mexican border, it comes closer to warfare.

In the months after 9/11, some in the Bush administration turned to Canada in the hopes of building what they called "the border of the future" - one that would be open to trade and tourism but impervious to terrorists, drug smugglers and illegal immigrants. The virtual shutdown of the border after the terrorist attacks had been disastrous for the auto industry and the regions that relied on it, and both Ottawa and Washington were determined to prevent anything similar in the future. Tom Ridge, the White House homeland-security czar, had grown up on the shores of Lake Ontario and, as a former Pennsylvania governor, he understood the value of trade with Canada.

The result was the 2001 Smart Border accords, a laundry list of measures that was a remarkably cool-headed, sophisticated response to the trauma of 9/11. Its architects on both sides of the border believed two seemingly contradictory things: that the safeguards against terrorists crossing the border had to be maximized, but that barriers to legitimate cross-border traffic must be minimized for the prosperity of both countries. The way to do so was to "manage risk." By using modern information technologies and co-operating closely, the two governments would be better armed to recognize threats to security. Low-risk traffic — the commercial truck filled with auto parts or the nurse crossing daily from Windsor to Detroit — would be sped through, saving precious inspection resources that could instead be devoted to more suspicious targets.


That model was, and remains, the only way to square the circle of security and commerce, but the Smart Border Declaration has never quite delivered on its promise. There are many reasons why; most have to do with lack of trust. One promising idea, for instance, was to begin moving inspection facilities away from the bridges and other chokepoints. NEXUS and FAST lanes are a fine thing, but not if the backups are so long that preferred travellers must wait in line just to reach them. Ottawa had offered land inside Canada for U.S. "preclearance" facilities. But after more than two years, negotiations fell apart last year, although the Harper government was willing to take the politically risky step of allowing U.S. Customs inspectors to carry guns on Canadian soil. Washington, though, wanted its agents to have full powers under U.S. law to take fingerprints and make arrests inside Canada, a concession no sovereign country could offer. So we are left with the crowded bridges.

The new U.S. identification requirements under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative make considerable sense from a security perspective. It's hard to manage risk if you're not sure that someone crossing the border is who he says he is. But Canada's concerns over the implementation of WHTI have largely been ignored. And more is coming; the Department of Homeland Security is moving ahead to implement a law that will not only require Canadians and others to identify themselves every time they enter the United States, but every time they leave, too. The hope is that by embedding fingerprints and other personal data in remotely readable travel documents, these new security mandates will produce only minimal additional delays, but the technological complexities are immense. The only silver lining in the recession that is now likely to hit both countries is that cross-border traffic will fall further, allowing border inspectors some breathing room to work the bugs out of these new systems.

Canada has certainly tried hard to accommodate U.S. security concerns - probably too hard. After 9/11, for instance, Ottawa agreed to co-ordinate its policies on refugees with Washington. Canada has always been more generous than its neighbour in admitting refugees, but to assuage concerns that this could be a loophole for terrorists, Canada has since 2004 refused to consider refugee applications from anyone who originally lands in the United States. This decision has condemned many to languish for months in American prisons, due to new U.S. policies under which most refugee seekers, and their families, are incarcerated while their claims are considered.


But the measures the Washington is taking to harden its border have little to do with what Canada has or has not done to shore up it defences against terrorists. Canada is facing a tamer version of the same thinking that is leading the United States to build hundreds of miles of steel barriers on its Mexican border. It is the quest for perfect security.

Alongside the risk managers surrounding Mr. Ridge, there was a different, and more powerful, faction in the Bush administration that was convinced that protection from terrorist attacks would come only once the United States had taken total control over its borders. In part, the terrorism rationale was hijacked by those in the administration and Congress whose real aim was to crack down on illegal immigrants, but it had a certain logic: If illegal migrants can find holes in the border, how can Americans be sure that terrorists will not do the same? Turning that reasoning into reality, however, would be an unprecedented feat, especially for a big, rich country that attracts large numbers of immigrants. One former senior official in the Department of Homeland Security told me: "In the history of the world, nobody's ever secured borders. The Great Wall of China didn't work. It's never worked, and we are trying to do it." Despite the inauspicious historical record, he was supremely confident that his country would succeed.

It won't, and at some point Washington will need to reconsider, but a chorus of "we told you so" from north of the border will not be terribly persuasive. Instead, the next Canadian government will have to sit down with the next U.S. administration and gently try to nudge it back to the spirit of the Smart Border accords. Ottawa will have to try to persuade the new White House to separate the northern border issues of security versus commerce from the far more complicated southern border stew of drugs, gangs, corruption and illegal immigration. They will have to point out that a modern, global economy cannot function without a high degree of trust.

It will be a hard sell. The American public is scared, feeling betrayed over 9/11, over Katrina, over Iraq, over an economy that has delivered little to its middle classes, and now over a massive bailout of Wall Street financiers that will not save the homes or jobs of ordinary people. They are desperately seeking security, in whatever guise it is offered. At other such times in its history, the United States has turned inward, not recognizing that its openness is its greatest strength. Canadians, too, are less than likely to be in a generous mood after their election, as the economic downdraft from the United States will again raise long-standing questions about whether Canada's economic fortunes should be tied quite so tightly to its southern neighbour.

But making some effort to rebuild the waning trust is critical for both countries. The two nations have a long history of showing others what it means to co-operate across borders. The obstacles to doing so today are perhaps greater than they have ever been, but the stakes are higher as well. We know what the alternative is, and good fences do not make good neighbours.

Edward Alden was the Washington bureau chief of the Financial Times, and the newspaper's bureau chief in Toronto from 1998 to 2000. He is currently a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington and author of The Closing of the American Border: Terrorism, Immigration and Security Since 9/11.


Power of the immigrant vote

Vancouver Sun

Friday, October 03, 2008

As Canada moves closer to election day, our most topical issues are being debated with increasing intensity. The subject of immigration isn't among them. Given its relevance in modern Canadian society, this seems curious.

Perhaps some answers can be found in the Sept. 29 Issues & Ideas article by James Bissett, former executive director of the Canadian Immigration Service. In it, he wrote that "there is only one reason why our political parties push for high immigration intake, and that is they see every new immigrant as a potential vote for their party."

A rather bold statement, but perhaps he's on to something.

The fact is, our mainstream political parties have been buying immigrant votes for decades. The Liberals have been most successful in using immigration to their electoral advantage. A 2005 poll found that 44 per cent of minority community members identified most closely with the Liberals, compared to six per cent identifying with the Conservatives. In the 15 ridings in Canada with the largest immigrant populations, the Liberals claimed victory in every one.

Economically speaking, there has yet to be a study produced showing a positive economic contribution from Canada's immigration policies. There does exist, however, a 2005 study by a Simon Fraser University economics professor pointing out that the 2.5 million immigrants who came to Canada between 1990 and 2002 received $18.3 billion more in government services and benefits in 2002 than they paid in taxes. All major parties advocate an increase in annual immigration numbers. The New Democrats are calling for an annual increase from 237,000 to 333,000. The Conservative party numbers are more modest, while the Liberal party recommendation is 490,000 immigrants annually by 2016.

A 2004 government-sponsored study, Counting and Courting the Immigrant Vote, states that "at no other time in our country's history has the foreign-born elector been so fundamental to whether there will be a majority or minority government in Canada." Perhaps it's time for immigration to take its rightful place among Canada's primary political issues.

Brad Saltzberg

North Vancouver