$24 billion a year sent from Canada in remittances to immigrants’ homelands

Remittances from immigrants and migrant workers in Canada to family or for investments back home is a booming business

By Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun columnist July 31, 2014 4:36 PM

Every day, thousands of immigrants and migrant workers in Metro Vancouver head to the nearest money transfer outlet to send money home — often to needy family members, sometimes to invest.

These outlets, more often called remittance centres, are on almost every commercial street in Metro — in grocery stores, hair salons, florists, post-office outlets, Safeways, Walmarts and even sports bars.

Some are neat and tidy, some are run down. These remittance centres are the unassuming face of a globalized money transfer industry that has tripled in value in a decade — to $529 billion a year, according to the World Bank.

A recent Simon Fraser University study found more than 300 MoneyMart and Western Union remittance outlets in Metro Vancouver alone. That doesn’t include the many independent remittance centres, operating in dozens of languages.

The amount of money that leaves Canada in remittances is staggering. At $24 billion a year in 2012, according to the World Bank, the sum is equivalent to the annual budgets of 12 Universities of British Columbia. Or enough to buy 70 of Vancouver’s tallest building, the Shangri-La tower.

A Pew Research Center survey reveals immigrants to Canada, and especially temporary foreign workers, send more dollars per capita in remittances out of Canada than immigrants and migrant workers in almost any other nation, including the U.S., Germany and Britain.

The top countries receiving Canadian remittances are middle-income nations — China (which receives $3.9 billion), India ($3.5 billion) and the Philippines ($2 billion). Remittances also often go to poor countries. And sometimes to wealthy ones, to support family or invest in the country of origin.

After China, India and the Philippines, the countries receiving the most Canadian remittances are Britain, France, Lebanon, Vietnam, Germany, Italy and South Korea.

Effects of globalization

Researchers are increasingly assessing the pros and cons of the giant remittance industry — as globalization causes the volume of migrants to rapidly expand.

The United Nations says there are 230 million migrants, people living in countries in which they were not born.

Canada has more than seven million immigrants, who make up 21 per cent of the population (compared to 14 per cent in the U.S.). In Metro Vancouver, 45 per cent of residents are foreign born.

Many who send home remittances are “circular migrants” who move back and forth between their high-income host country and generally low-income homeland. The World Bank says these temporary foreign workers (whose numbers have tripled in Canada, to more than 400,000, under the Conservative government) are responsible for two-thirds of all remittances.
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Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Remittances+billion+year+sent+home+from+Canada/10080290/story.html#ixzz396f38ksm

 

VANCOUVER: Words like “racism” used as scarecrow when discussing the impact of rich Chinese immigrants on greater Vancouver

In Vancouver, race undercuts the discussion on affordability

IAN YOUNG

VANCOUVER — Special to The Globe and Mail

Published 

Last updated 

It helps to have a thick skin when reporting on the nexus between Chinese money and Vancouver’s sky-high property market. It also might help if that skin, like mine, isn’t white.

Accusations of racism flow thick and fast whenever an attempt is made to connect wealth-based immigration, primarily by rich Chinese, and housing prices here. Since influential condo marketer Bob Rennie delivered a speech to the Urban Development Institute in May, in which he said “sensational” stories making that link were “bordering on racism,” an array of industry figures have lined up to support his proposition.

But now, some in the Chinese community are pushing back. “Guys like Bob Rennie, they are trying to stop full conversation and intelligent conversation by using words like ‘racism,’” said long-time Chinatown activist David Wong. “People are afraid to speak when people start throwing that word around.”

Mr. Wong, an architect who has campaigned on behalf of impoverished Chinese immigrants, said it was vital to have a frank discussion about the impact of rich immigrants on greater Vancouver, where average detached house prices top $1.2-million. “Every time people want to talk about this, they get labelled a racist, especially if they are non-Asian,” said Wong. “That’s nonsense. We’ve got to talk about it. The politicians are gutless because they are afraid they are going to lose the so-called ethnic vote.” Continue reading

Suicide bombers in Canada?

David B. Harris, Special to QMI Agency

A tweet claims to show a picture of the Andre Poulin, who later became known as Abu Muslim. (Twitter)

A tweet claims to show a picture of the Andre Poulin, who later became known as Abu Muslim. (Twitter)

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 They say that when suicide belts explode, they fire the suicide-bomber’s head into the ceiling or sky. This simplifies the forensic work for examiners attempting to distinguish the attacker from his victims. Look for the head.

 This approach should simplify the forensic challenge when suicide bombing arrives in Canada – as, of course, it will.

There are several reasons why it’s coming.

First, we have what Hollywood would call “the talent.”

Our Islamist ranks are hugely reinforced by almost unparalleled, politically motivated – and economically unjustifiable – mass immigration from terror-producing countries where we have no meaningful capacity to do background checks. And the “homegrown” element may have helped Calgary alone contribute about two dozen to foreign jihad. Dozens more Somali-Canadian youth are estimated to have joined al-Shabaab terrorists, the group that destroyed a Kenyan shopping mall. Tellingly, this number outstrips per capita the size of the U.S. cadre that’s gone to jihad in Somalia and environs.

Remember Canadian suicide bomber Salman Ashrafi, who detonated in Iraq? And how about Timmins’ best, convert Andre Poulin who polished himself off in a Syrian death-charge? Let’s not forget the two key Canukistan players in the Algerian gas plant butchery, “martyrs” who had no prospect of outliving their operation.

 

UK commentator Douglas Murray claims “there are now at least twice as many young British Muslims who have gone to Syria” to fight for extremism, as “there are Muslims fighting for Queen and country here in the British armed forces.” One wonders how Canadian statistics compare, and what returning Canadian jihadis will have in mind.

Second, as the cop shows say, there’s intention.

U.S. SEAL operators found documents targeting Canada and a few other nations in Osama bin Laden’s lair. All of these countries have been hit, except Canada. And there’s no end to the Islamist hatred within our borders. Media reports revealed wives of Toronto 18 mass-terror accused held Canadians in searing contempt: “this filthy country,” was the best one could say about it. Another unsuccessfully tried to include as a condition of her marriage an undertaking that hubby would hit the jihad trail at the first opportunity.

Intention is reinforced by ugly propaganda. Look how terror-convict Momin Khawaja’s mummy would read grisly anti-infidel bedtime stories to her junior jihadi. Or Saudi Government Qur’ans, available in Canada, with Riyadh-approved scholars’ annotations about non-Muslims’ spiritual and physical “impurity.” In fact, “filthy as regards urine, stools and blood.”

When the average Canadian’s blood is written off as filthy, you’d better consider that there’s some terminal “othering” going on, the kind that could make you roadkill on someone’s personal expressway to paradise.

How about what moderate Muslims properly deride as the divisive “Muslim victimhood narrative” – exaggerated portrayals of Muslims as constant victims of non-Muslim fellow citizens – summarized in the Islamist-contrived word “Islamophobia”? The spin is a dangerous potential prompter of youth radicalism.

Such concerns triggered extraordinary Globe and Mail condemnations of Canadian Muslim personalities Mohamed Elmasry and Sheema Khan, the latter being the Globe’s own columnist – and founder of the deeply troubling National Council of Canadian Muslims (then called CAIR-CAN). The newspaper said their kind of hand-wringing about largely imaginary “backlash” put them among those “jostling for a spot on victimhood’s centre stage” in “a shamefully equivocal reply to terrorism.”

The third aspect favouring suicide attacks in Canada: location, location, location.

We have target-worthy locations. Canada is an almost absurdly open society with very accessible infrastructure. Shopping malls, office buildings, major events, energy generation and distribution. Think of all the carbomb-ready parking lots beneath city halls, court buildings and other such symbolic targets.

Canada must awaken before someone loses his head.

- A lawyer with 30 years’ experience in intelligence affairs, David B. Harris is director of the International Intelligence Program, INSIGNIS Strategic Research Inc.

Temporary foreign worker program ‘strips people of dignity’: Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi

July 22, 2014 Updated : July 22, 2014 | 1:39 pm

Temporary foreign worker program ‘strips people of dignity’: Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi

Canada’s temporary foreign worker program, even with the federal government’s proposed reforms, fundamentally “strips people of their dignity,” Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Tuesday.

“I think people deserve a dignified life,” Nenshi told reporters. “We’ve got to figure out a better way.”

The mayor, whose parents are both immigrants to Canada, said the basic premise of only allowing international workers to come to the country for two years “to serve us our coffee in the morning” effectively treats people “like commodities.” Continue reading

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Caribbean immigration in Canada

‘Disturbing’ crime trends in Caribbean: Report 

BY  ,TORONTO SUN

FIRST POSTED: | UPDATED: 

ross
Cameron Ross, of the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, was in Toronto Tuesday to release a new report on crime in the Caribbean and its impact on Canada. (CHRIS DOUCETTE, Toronto Sun)

But a new report on crime in the Caribbean region puts a spotlight on “disturbing trends” that impact Canada and suggests it’s time we pay more attention to what’s happening beyond the safety of resorts.

“The bottom line is that there are things Canada can do to assist the Caribbean region,” Cameron Ross, of the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, said in Toronto Tuesday.

The author of the report, a retired Canadian Forces major-general, said the Caribbean has a serious crime problem and suggested Canada should learn from what’s happening in the region.

The report, released just days before the city’s 48th annual Caribbean Festival kicks off, looked at the long-standing and highly-lucrative drug trade in the Caribbean region.

But it also highlights the more recent emergence of human trafficking and money laundering, as well as ties between terrorist groups and drug cartels with links to the Caribbean.

In the early 1970s, about 10% of crime in the Caribbean was categorized as violent and Ross pointed out by the mid-80s that number soared to 41%.

He said much of the violence in the region, as it is in Canadian urban centres, can be traced to gangs.

But combatting gangs is “a complex problem.”

Like in Canada, Ross said young men in the Caribbean turn to crime when they are unable to find good paying jobs — largely because they didn’t stay in school. Continue reading

The Liberal Party of Canada on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Commentary: Opinion editorial on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Contributed by admin on Jul 29, 2014 – 02:15 PM

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Commentary from the Liberal Party of Canada

Mayor Naheed Nenshi should be applauded for his recent comments about Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. He not only pointed out that the federal Conservative government’s recent changes to the program will not work for our city, but that it is profoundly un-Canadian “[t]o treat people like commodities that come here for two years and serve us our coffee in the mornings.”

The government created major problems for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program when it began to loosen the rules in 2006; it created an approval process with little oversight that largely amounted to rubber stamping applications, which has directly led to Canadians losing their jobs to temporary foreign workers. Continue reading

MONTREAL: Africans buy stolen bikes and sell them in Africa

These men buy bikes legally, and then sell them to their home countries in Africa for four times the price. (Radio-Canada)

Every year, about 20,000 bicycles are stolen in Montreal

CBC News Posted: Feb 26, 2014 7:11 PM ET Last Updated: Feb 26, 2014 7:11 PM ET

An investigation carried out by Radio-Canada’s Enquête program found that selling stolen bikes is big business in Montreal.

Every year about 20,000 bicycles are stolen on the island, but most victims never report the theft to police. For instance, in 2012, only 1,846 bike thefts were reported.

Philippe and Dominique, whose identity we are not revealing, track down bicycle thieves.

“There are thieves who prowl the night, searching in alleyways and backyards, and simply help themselves,” Philippe said.

It’s estimated that one of of two cyclists in Montreal has had his/her bike stolen at least once.

For sale

Re-selling bikes is big business in Montreal.

A number of unclaimed stolen bikes end up at municipal auctions.

Enquête spoke with a group of men who buy the bikes legally for a small price, and then sell them in their home country in Africa for four times as much.

“I’ve been doing this for 10 years,” one man told Enquête reporters.

The investigative program also found there were suspicious transactions taking place at L’Accueil Bonneau, a homeless shelter in Montreal, where one man bought several bikes last summer.

Similar situations are occurring in some parks or streets.

One Enquête employee was offered a bike for $40 — although it was worth $600.

The seller said he stole it about a month earlier near Cadillac metro station, in Montreal’s east end.

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Vancouver House Tower condos reserved for Asian buyers will have “asset management” program for absentee owners

 BY SAM COOPER, THE PROVINCE JULY 27, 2014

With its twisted sculptural design, the “iconic” $500-million Vancouver House is being marketed across Asia as a symbol of Vancouver’s future.

The 52-storey Westbank project alongside the north end of Granville Bridge is slated to open in 2018 and is being aggressively marketed in Asia, with up to half of the owners expected to buy from outside Canada.

According to the South China Morning Post, two sales offices were opened in Hong Kong in June.

Sales agents then visited China’s largest cities in search of buyers. And in July, Vancouver House units were marketed in Singapore. According to Singapore publications, Vancouver House condos were reserved for overseas buyers.

This week, Singapore-based website Property Guru reported there was an “overwhelming response” to the launch of Vancouver House, one of “Canada’s iconic buildings.”

“Vancouver House … saw more than 30 units transacted — far more than expected,” according to Property Guru.

“The response surprised us and surprised the developer,” an “excited” Singapore agent was quoted telling Property Guru, which reported a second “showcase” event was planned this week in Singapore. In mid-July The Business Times reported that of “388 units in the 52-storey tower, 30 units are reserved for the Singapore market, said Westbank’s marketing director Michael Braun.”

Westbank spokeswoman Jill Killeen said an initial September date to start selling to locals had been brought forward after Westbank received its disclosure statement last Thursday, ”making it legal to sell.”

“Our tracking indicates that more than 50 per cent of buyers will come from the Vancouver marketplace,” Killeen said in a prepared statement. Sales for local buyers will begin this week. Killeen said Westbank had been marketing to locals through print and television and had hosted an arts event under the bridge to generate interest.

In a story featuring an interview with Vancouver House developer Ian Gillespie, the South China Morning Post noted the building will have an “asset management” program for absentee owners, with staff periodically turning on taps and appliances in unoccupied units.

Gillespie said Vancouver House will be the most expensive building ever in Vancouver and units will be for art-collector-like buyers looking for “live-in sculpture.”

Vancouver House’s star architect, Bjarke Ingels, suggests the building — which will include revitalizing the space under the Granville Bridge at the 1400-block of Howe Street — is symbolic of “a giant curtain, at the moment of being pulled back to reveal the world to Vancouver and Vancouver to the world.” Continue reading

VANCOUVER: Chinese non-profit plans to build orphanage in Congo

 With the rustle of envelopes and the flutter of butterfly wings, a Vancouver organization’s dream of building an orphanage in the Democratic Republic of Congo came one step closer to reality.

About 300 butterflies soared into the air outside an East Vancouver church Sunday, raising $1,500 for Light and Love Home, a non-profit that works closely with the Church of God near East 6th and Main and operates community and charity services in developing countries.

Josh Yu, a Grade 10 student at Tupper Secondary who bred the orange-and-black Painted Ladies butterflies, led the mass release.

“Releasing butterflies creates of a symbol of hope and freedom,” said Yu, who began breeding butterflies three years ago and sells them for weddings and other events.

“I’ve heard many of the people who came back from missions and I wanted to do my part to help them even though I can’t help in person.”

In January, Light and Love home purchased six hectares of land outsideLubumbashi, the Congo’s second-largest city, for $25,000. It needs another $100,000 to build the orphanage and other buildings.

The planned orphanage will include dormitories to house 30 kids — ranging in age from 4 to 18 — a school, and a community centre. It will also have some farm land and a solar power plant that would help the orphanage be self-sufficient.

Violet Chan, vice-president for outreach programs for Light and Love, said the group was approached by a Congolese charity called African Children of Hope, which ran two orphanages but was struggling to stay open.

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