How an ethnic-sounding name may affect the job hunt

The study (titled “Why do some employers prefer to interview Matthew, but not Samir?”) found that English-speaking employers in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver – who should have an awareness of the diversity of talent in the work force, given their city’s multicultural populations – are about 40 per cent more likely to choose to interview a job applicant with an English-sounding name than someone with an ethnic name, even if both candidates have identical education, skills and work histories.

(Source : The Globe and Mail)

Under New Proposed Law, Canadian Citizenship Is Harder To Get And Easier To Lose

The proposed changes to the Citizenship Act will create unfair barriers to citizenship and make citizenship inaccessible to many.  The proposed law will:

  1. Grant government officials authority to deny citizenship on sheer speculation that an applicant does not intend to reside in Canada in the future;
  2. Extend the formal residency requirement during which an applicant must live as a permanent resident in Canada from 3 to 4 years.  This represents a hardship, since processing times for citizenship are extremely long.  Applicants today wait 4-6 years to become citizens due to government delay and inefficiency, and may have to wait even longer under the new system;
  3. Make it harder for students, workers, and refugees to become citizens by denying them the ability to count any of their time in Canada prior to becoming permanent residents when applying for citizenship;
  4. Extend the costly language testing process to include applicants aged 14-64, rather than applicants aged 18-55, as under the current system.  Under the new proposed law, children and grandparents would have to pass difficult language tests or risk never becoming citizens;
  5. Dramatically increase the cost of applying for citizenship by tripling the application fee, which will be added to the new cost imposed on applicants a year ago when the government privatized language testing.  As a result, the price of applying for citizenship will now cost 4 times more than it did in 2006;
  6. Remove a right of appeal to the Federal Court for refused citizenship applicants – continuing a theme of greater bureaucratic control over citizenship decision-making and less judicial oversight over the process.  

Citizenship will be easier to take away

The proposed changes to the Citizenship Act will create second-class citizens with fewer rights than other Canadians, whose citizenship will be more insecure. The new law will:

  1. Replace the right to an oral hearing before an independent judge in most revocation proceedings with a written review by a bureaucrat acting under the direction of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration;
  2. Put all naturalized citizens under the implicit threat of having their citizenship revoked, by making it possible for government officials to strip someone of citizenship if they believe that person never intended to live in Canada.  This could happen if a naturalized Canadian decides to study, accept a job, or even move in with a romantic partner outside of Canada.  In contrast, Canadian citizens by birth never have to worry that time spend away from Canada might put their citizenship status at risk;
  3. Allow officials to take away a person’s citizenship based on criminal convictions that occur outside of Canada, regardless whether the regime or judicial system under which the person was convicted is undemocratic or lacks the rule of law;
  4. Bring back the ancient punishment of exile or banishment – abandoned centuries ago – by allowing government officials to strip citizenship from dual citizens based on certain convictions in Canada even though the citizen will already have been properly punished by the Canadian criminal justice system.  This will include Canadians who were born in Canada.

(Source : carl-acaadr.ca)

This white boy in Edmonton only got a scolding from the judge for trying to board the airplane with a pipe bomb. In 2007, Air Canada didn’t let me on the plane because I couldn’t produce the credit card with which I bought the ticket. They told me that I might have stolen that card in order to buy the ticket. On a different occasion, the guy at the counter told me that my last name matches someone who is on the no-fly list, so I need to step out of the line. On another occasion, the security guy told me that, for me, there would be a special screening before I can get on the plane. One other time, I was ‘randomly’ selected for nuclear radiation screening. The RCMP says that this white boy was obviously innocent just from telling by his reaction when they found out that he had a fucking bomb in his bag. Whereas, I am obviously a criminal and terrorist just because of my name and ethnicity.

Stephen Harper’s “omnibus” strategy to overhaul green laws was proposed by oil industry

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government put hundreds of pages of changes to environmental protection laws in its budget implementation legislation in 2012, weakening rules that protect water and species at risk, introducing new tools to authorize water pollution, as well as restricting public participation in environmental hearings and eliminating thousands of reviews to examine and mitigate environmental impacts of industrial projects.

Previously-released documents have confirmed that government officials wanted to tell oil, gas and pipeline companies that their industries would be “top-of-mind” in the changes to the laws, recognizing that the legislation was “very controversial” and asking industry, before tabling the plan in Parliament, to help to promote it to the public. Other internal records revealed that government bureaucrats recommended telling First Nations representatives before the budget that any news they were hearing about the changes was “speculative.”

(Source : vancouversun.com)

Baird’s support for regime in Bahrain: All part of Canada’s ‘royal’ foreign policy

Rather than challenge Saudi policy, the Tories have deepened military, business and diplomatic ties with the House of Saud. At least seven Conservative ministers have visited the country, including four in the past year. As a result of one of the visits, the RCMP will train Saudi Arabia’s police in “investigative techniques.” Most ominously, in 2011 the Conservatives approved arms export licenses worth a whopping $4 billion to Saudi Arabia.

A General Dynamics factory in London, Ontario, has produced more than 1,000 Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) for the Saudi military, who used these vehicles when they rolled into Bahrain. “The LAV-3 and other similar vehicles that Canada has supplied to the Saudi Arabian National Guard,” noted Project Ploughshare’s Ken Epps, “are exactly the kind of equipment that would be used to put down demonstrations [in Bahrain] and used against civilian populations.”

Already equipped with hundreds of Canadian-built LAVs, the Saudis contracted General Dynamics Land Systems for another 724 LAVs in 2009. (These sales are facilitated by the Canadian Commercial Corporation and Canadian colonel Mark E.K. Campbell oversees General Dynamics Land Systems LAV support program in Saudi Arabia.)

Since the vehicles were scheduled to be delivered weeks after the invasion of Bahrain, the Ottawa-based Rideau Institute called for a suspension of further arms shipments to the Saudis. The Conservatives ignored the call and instead, as mentioned above, they approved $4 billion worth of arms exports in 2011.

One is left to speculate how deep a commitment the Conservatives have to democracy, even here in Canada.

(Source : rabble.ca)

Pakistani-Canadians: Falling below the poverty line

Pakistan-born immigrants are the new face of poverty in urban Canada. The Canadian census revealed that 44 per cent of Pakistan-born immigrants fell below the poverty line making them the second most poverty prone group of immigrants in Canada. While they may project an aura of opulence during their visits back home, their life in Canada, however, is often full of struggle and frustration. Thousands of Pakistani trained engineers, doctors, and PhDs are driving taxis or are working as security guards in large cities.

(Source : dawn.com)

Canada’s tough-guy cop to ‘aid’ world’s poor

Fantino’s job is to ensure that much of these projected military sales will indirectly go toward protecting Canadian mining interests abroad. Canada of course already provides legal safe-haven to the world’s worst corporate offenders of human rights violations. Whether it is in the Central African Republic,Congo DRCEthiopiaTanzaniaNicaraguaColombiaPanamaPeruThailandKyrgyzstan, or a host of other possible examples, Canadian mining companies are facing resistance and militaries are increasingly used to protect them. 

Rather than having these funds drawing on Canada’s military budget, the real goal would be to make host countries pay for it, or at least to wrap it up in “aid” financing, as they did in Mali and then have them buy the necessary defence industry products from us. In Fantino’s words, CIDA is working with companies in developing countries so it does not have to “continually bail them out”. 

"International development" has always been a reflexive action intended to address the negative consequences of a prior form of "development". In Julian Fantino’s image of aid, this reflex gets built right into the prior moment of development. The mining executives get to decide what is needed. Aid ceases to mean something apart from the realisation of profit.

(Source : aljazeera.com)

People like to think that Canada has been a peace-keeping nation. However, if you look at the facts, yout will notice that Canada is not even in the top 20 coutries who provide peace-keeping troops to the UN. At the same time, Canada happens to be in the list of top 10 arms manufacturers. 

Canadian support for Israel goes way back. Lester Pearson was a key figure in the UN’s partition plan, so much so that he was called by the Israelis the Balfour of Canada. The recent and hyper visible Canadian stance in favor of Israel was initiated by Paul Martin, who was a Liberal Prime Minister. It is objectively false to say that it is only because of Harper that Canada supports Israel so much. In doing so, Canada’s prior history when it comes to its relations with Israel is obfuscated and Canada is made to appear as a country that was once innocent and Harper is now changing that. Canada was never innocent.

- Jahanzeb Hussain

Canada’s First Nations protest heralds a new alliance

What remains unspeakable in mainstream politics in Canada was recently uttered, in a moment of rare candour, by former Prime Minister Paul Martin:

"We have never admitted to ourselves that we were, and still are, a colonial power."

The evidence – and source of the current anger and unrest – is hard to dispute. While Canada has the world’s largest supply of fresh water, more than 100 aboriginal communities have tapwater so foul they areunder continual boil alert (pdf). Aboriginal peoples constitute 3% of Canada’s population; they make up 20% of its prisons’ inmates. In the far north, the rate of tuberculosis is a stunning 137 times that of the rest of the country. And the suicide rate capital of the world? A small reserve in Ontario, where a group of school-age girls once signed a pact to collectively take their lives.

Such realities have not stopped politicians and pundits from prattling on about the sums supposedly lavished on aboriginal peoples. The myth that aboriginals freeload off the state serves to conceal the real scandal: that most money pays for a sprawling government bureaucracy that keeps aboriginals poor, second-class, and dependent. The widespread notion that First Nations mismanage and squander what funds they do receive is simple prejudice: government reports acknowledge that communities are buried under a mountain of strict accounting; they areno more corrupt than non-native municipalities.

Billions have indeed been spent – not on fixing housing, building schools or ending the country’s two-tiered child aid services, but on a legal war against aboriginal communities. Every year, the government pours more than $100m into court battles to curtail aboriginal rights – and that figure alone went to defeating a single lawsuit launched by two Alberta First Nations trying to recover oil royalties essentially stolen by bureaucrats.

Despite such odds, the highest courts of the land have ruled time and again in favour of aboriginal peoples. Over the last three decades, they have recognized that aboriginal nations have hunting, fishing and land rights, in some cases even outright ownership, over vast areas of unceded territory in British Columbia and elsewhere. And that the treaties Chief Spence is starving herself to see upheld – signed by the British Crown in the 1700 and 1800s, and the Canadian government until the early 1900s – mean the land’s wealth should be shared, not pillaged.

Federal and provincial governments have tried to claw back these rights using every means at their disposal: unilateral legislation and one-sided negotiationsspying on and demonizing aboriginal activists, and, when all else fails, shuttling troublesome leaders to jail.

Parliament will soon debate a bill that would break up reserves – still, mostly, collectively held – into individual private property that can be purchased by non-native speculators. The undeclared agenda of government policy is the same as it was a century ago: a grab for resource-rich lands, and the assimilation of aboriginal nations.

Canadians have often turned a blind eye, having been taught to see the rights of aboriginal peoples as a threat to their interests. Dare to restore sovereignty to the original inhabitants, the story goes, and Canadians will be hustled out of their jobs and off the land. Or more absurdly, onto the first ships back to Europe.

Canada gets human rights failing grade from Amnesty International

For Canada’s international human rights standing, 2012 was an annus horribilis.

This year three UN expert committees rated the country’s performance on meeting rights commitments — and returned a failing grade.

“These mandatory reviews are carried out every four or five years, and it just happened that this year Canada was the focus of three,” said Alex Neve, who heads Amnesty International Canada. “It’s a wake-up call that although we have things to be proud of, there are many fronts where we have long-standing issues that need to be addressed.”

An Amnesty report released Wednesday says that committees on racial discrimination, prevention of torture and children’s rights found “a range” of “ongoing and serious human rights challenges,” especially for indigenous peoples.

“By every measure, be it respect for treaty and land rights, levels of poverty, average life spans, violence against women and girls, dramatically disproportionate levels of arrest and incarceration or access to government services such as housing, health care, education, water and child protection, indigenous peoples across Canada continue to face a grave human rights crisis,” it said.

The Amnesty report was one of three reports this week that pointed a warning finger at the treatment of aboriginal people.

The B.C. government’s final report from its Missing Women’s inquiry charged that there was a disproportionate number of missing or murdered indigenous women and girls on Vancouver’s downtown East Side from 1997-2002, and that their cases did not receive equal treatment by police.

In addition, Human Rights Watch’s women’s rights researcher Meghan Rhoad said that “the epidemic of violence against indigenous women and girls in Canada is a national problem and it demands a national enquiry.”

The report welcomed changes to immigration and refugee laws in the past year that allowed for refugee appeals, but said they have also created two new classes of migrants and refugee claimants whose rights have been restricted.

Those designated “irregular arrivals” — such as the Sri Lankan refugee claimants who arrived in B.C. — face mandatory detention, with intermittent reviews, and if accepted as refugees are barred from travelling outside Canada for five years.

Under the new Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, those who are accused of crimes, found guilty or labelled security threats — including permanent residents who have lived in Canada for years — will be deported without appeal. That now includes those who have committed relatively minor crimes with six-month sentences.

Meanwhile, Canadian law continues to allow deportation to countries where those rated as security threats may be tortured. And Ottawa’s refusal to bring the security certificate process in line with international fair trials standards means that people deemed security threats are denied access to key evidence and witnesses.

Amnesty said that the Harper government has “dramatically undermined and rapidly dismantled” support for public policy debate in which diverse views are aired. At the same time, whistleblowers on nuclear safety, RCMP oversight, prisoner transfers in Afghanistan and veterans’ rights have been “dismissed or publicly derided by senior members of the government.”

Human rights have also been stonewalled in international trade, the report said. There are no binding legal standards for the conduct of Canadian companies operating overseas and human rights standards are seldom written into trade deals.

“It’s time for us to grapple with the fact that we have a broken system,” said Neve in an interview earlier this week. “We don’t expect to be perfect, but it has gotten worse. How can we criticize Iran or Congo if we ourselves are failing to do what the UN is asking?” 

An Open Response to Jason Kenney (Canada’s Immigration minister)

Dear Jason Kenney,

We are not your friends, we are your critics.

We are writing to you in response to the mass email we received from your office on September 21st 2012. None of us have ever signed up to receive emails from your office and we wonder how our names ended up on your propaganda spam list. The more important issue, however, is the content of the email.

In this email you congratulated yourself and your government on working to make Canada “a safe haven for Iran’s persecuted gay community.” This is not the first time you have engaged in such blatant self-congratulatory behaviour. We were similarly disturbed earlier this year when your office generated a petition to “Thank” you, Jason Kenney, for cutting off refugee claimants from access to health care (see: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/07/09/jason-kenney-petition-refugees-immigration_n_1659899.html).

Your most recent campaign is a poor attempt at “pinkwashing” the Conserative government’s obvious desire to encourage war with Iran (as evidenced by the recent closing of the Canadian embassy in Iran and the expulsion of Iranian diplomats from Canada See: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2012/09/20129715451813503.html).

By inflating and exaggerating claims about your government’s concern for LGBT rights, it seems that your office is attempting to instrumentally highlight the homophobia faced by LGBT people in Iran in order to generate, ahead of any declaration of war, a negative shift in public opinion surrounding Iran. This is a crudely transparent move to target mostly radical activists, queer-identified people and people of colour who have opposed your government’s policies in the past. What this campaign signifies is a temporary and instrumental invitation to LGBT people and refugees to join in the nationalist sentiments of a government that is in need of a wide support base for its hawkish foreign policies.

We are not fooled. We oppose your government’s imperialist foreign policy and war-mongering propaganda against Iran. We remain critics of your racist, imperialist, and homophobic immigration policies. We remember the hundreds of asylum seekers, refugees, and other migrants who were denied refugee status in Canada based on the homophobic judgements and assumptions of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). These were and are our friends, lovers, family members, and community members. We have in the past and will continue in the future to fight for the rights of LGBT refugees and migrants.

We are especially critical of the recently passed Bill C-31, the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, introduced on February 16th of this year. This bill introduces a list of “Designated Countries of Origin,” so called “safe countries,” countries considered “nominally democratic”. As queer people, we know that homophobic violence exists and kills, including in so-called democratic countries like Canada. We also know that the denial of an appeal process for refugee claimants from these countries will have a particularly harmful impact on LGBT refugee claimants who often are dependent on the appeal process for any chance of receiving refugee status, due to the homophobic assumptions and attitudes of many IRB judges. (See http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/ANALYSIS_Unpacking_the_latest_refugee_reform_bill-11611.aspx) Indeed, we remember that it was you who appointed openly homophobic Doug Cryer to the IRB (See http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2009/03/17/8774856-sun.html).

We will continue to stand in solidarity with LGBT people around the world, including those in Iran and those fleeing persecution from various states, even so-called “safe countries”. We will also continue to stand in solidarity with ALL Iranian people by opposing your government’s rush to invade and declare war on Iran.

Sincerely,

Your faithful critics.

Raneem Azzam

Johannah Black

Kavita Bissoondial

Aruna Boodram

Gunjan Chopra

Elena Chou

Sarah Ghabrail

Zoya Honarmand

Mao Minh

Dana Olwan

Lauren Pragg

Deepa Rajkumar

Rajeevan Rasenthiran

Melanie Richter-Monpetit

Alan Sears

Nishant Upadhyay

Caren Weisbart

Israel loves Israel. But the US loves Israel more than Israel loves itself. And Canada loves Israel and US more than they love themselves. 

Silencing Dissent: The Conservative Record

Over the past five years, exercise of the fundamental freedom of speech in Canada has been curbed and discouraged by a federal government increasingly intolerant of even the mildest criticism or dissent. Particularly affected have been organizations dependent on government funding which advocate for human rights and women’s equality. Their voices have been stifled, some completely silenced, by cuts to their budgets. Also financially throttled have been individuals and groups that speak out for reproductive rights, humanitarian immigration policies, and for changes in Canada’s foreign policy in the Middle East.

(Source : policyalternatives.ca)

New book backs justice for Omar Khadr

And from Mr. Edney, his 2010 address to students at King’s University College in Edmonton, Alberta. There he blamed Islamophobia as one of the reasons that citizens in both the US and Canada have acquiesced to government claims that “drastic measures must be taken in the interest of our security,” and have accepted that “our security is such a priority that it means the suspension of civil liberties, a limitation on ethics, and infringement on the rule of law — for the greater good of our society.”

Communications scholar Yasmin Jiwani also points to “guilt by association” as the reason that Canadians did not respond with outrage to the violation of Omar’s Charter rights, as outlined by the Supreme Court of Canada.

Khadr’s treatment at the hands of the Canadian government, condemned by many of the book’s contributors, including lawyer Robert Diab and academic Alnoor Gova, represents a “lasting shame.” Not only are Omar’s rights neglected, but within the country’s rich mosaic, Canadian Muslims are left to wonder about the value of their own citizenship. “We argue instead that the lingering ambiguity — the uncertainty as to why Canada has committed and then neglected to address a series of similar human rights violations involving Muslims — does violence to our very idea of citizenship, multiculturalism, and liberal democracy,” they write.

(Source : rabble.ca)