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Reports of possible terrorist financing increase in Canada after deadly attacks

David Ljunggren, Reuters 

OTTAWA – The number of reports of suspicious transactions in Canada possibly related to terrorist financing have jumped in the wake of two deadly attacks on soldiers last month, an official said on Thursday.

The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC), set up in 2000 to combat money-laundering and ensure the compliance of 31,000 financial entities doing business in Canada, asked institutions to quickly flag possible wrongdoing after the attacks.

“In the last few weeks there has been a notable increase in the reporting of suspicious transactions … related to terrorist financing,” said FINTRAC spokesman Peter Lamey.

“They are also of good quality and comprehensive in many cases. It’s been useful to the work we’ve been doing,” he added, declining to give specific details of the numbers.

Lamey would not say whether any of the reports were linked to the fatal attacks.

FINTRAC said last month that in the 2013/14 fiscal year, it passed on 1,143 cases to law enforcement bodies out of 81,735 potentially suspicious transactions reported by institutions – an increase from 919 the previous year.

Of these disclosures, 234 were specifically related to terrorist financing, up from 157 the previous year.

In an annual report presented to Parliament on Thursday, FINTRAC said it had received 241 requests for information from foreign intelligence units in the 2013/14 fiscal year, up from 202 the previous year.

Canada doesn’t have to accept refugees with serious non-political crimes in their history, Supreme Court rules

By Giuseppe Valiante, National Bureau

 OTTAWA — Refugee claimants who have previously committed non-political, serious crimes in other countries cannot seek safe haven in Canada, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

In a 5-2 decision, Canada’s highest court said the country’s refugees laws apply to anyone who committed a serious crime outside Canada prior to asking for refugee status, whether or not the seeker served time or is a fugitive.

The specific court challenge came from a 59-year-old Cuban citizen, who was striped of his refugee status in the U.S., entered Canada illegally in 2008 and applied for refuge status.

Luis Alberto Hernandez Febles had pleaded guilty twice in the U.S. to violent crimes.

He blamed alcohol for hitting someone in the head with a hammer, and for pointing a knife at another person years later and uttering threats. He was given a two-year prison term in 1984 and in 1993; he completed both sentences. Continue reading

TORONTO: Two men disguised in burkas rob jewellery store

Two men disguised in burkas rob Toronto jewellery store at gunpoint, hauling in $500K in merchandise

 | November 19, 2014 | Last Updated:Nov 19 6:54 PM ETMore from Josh Visser | @joshvisser

The robbery occurred Tuesday and was caught on camera.

TPSThe robbery occurred Tuesday and was caught on camera.

Toronto police are asking for the public’s assistance identifying two men who robbed a jewellery store last month while wearing burkas.

Edmond Bakos, the owner of the York Mills-Leslie Street-area Mona-Clara Jewellers, said he didn’t think twice about the people who walked into his store on OCt. 14 until one them produced a handgun and demanded jewellery in a distinctly masculine voice.

“Three seconds after they walked in, they pulled out a gun and said, ‘It’s a holdup,’” Bakos said.

While one suspect emptied a display of jewellery into his handbag, the second went with a female staff member to lock the entrance.

The pair got away with about $500,000 in jewellery during the five-minute holdup, Holdup squad Staff-Insp. Mike Earl told reporters Wednesday. The robbery took place at about 11 a.m., at a “busy” mall plaza, he said.

Bakos described the incident as traumatic.

Police are asking for the public’s assistance in finding the robbers. The first suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5”11 wearing black clothes.  The second suspect was also male, approximately 6”3 with no description of ethnicity. Continue reading

Express entry immigration system for “skilled workers” starts Jan. 1

Only ‘highest ranking candidates’ will be asked to apply

By Susana Mas, CBC News Posted: Nov 21, 2014 11:00 AM ET Last Updated: Nov 21, 2014 6:21 PM ET

The federal government’s consultations on a new immigration system to give skilled workers “express entry” into Canada starting Jan. 1 included a nine-member group representing some of Canada’s biggest employers — and at least two of those groups say they are taking a wait-and-see approach on the new system.

Skilled immigrants recruited in 50 occupations ahead of ‘express entry’ launch

Under the new online express entry system, skilled immigrants will be matched with vacant jobs in at least 50  occupations based on “scores that reflect their human capital and ability to succeed in the Canadian economy.” Continue reading

Canada to ban immigrants in polygamous, forced marriages

The Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Chris Alexander, has announced that the government will ban people who have taken part in practices that are “incompatible with Canadian values” — such as those in polygamous or forced marriages — from immigrating to Canada.Minister Alexander outlined the government’s position at a news conference with Status of Women Minister Kellie Leitch in Toronto on Wednesday morning. Alexander said that the bill would eliminate premature and forced marriages from Canada’s immigration system and the country as a whole. The bill is expected to pass with full support from the majority Conservative caucus in Ottawa.

“The intention [of the bill] is very clear,” said Alexander. “We will be enhancing the ability of the immigration system to detect and then to act on cases of polygamy. There are many cases — at least hundreds across the country, maybe even more — of people who have come here with multiple wives without that fact being confirmed in the immigration system and without anything having been done about it, even when it’s detected later.

“We will give ourselves the tools to act. Polygamists are not welcome in this country and, if and when they are found in our immigration system, they will be removed from this country.”

TORONTO: Haheen Afzal becomes citizen in spite of catastrophic citizenship test results

‘Comedy of errors’ lets woman become Canadian citizen despite abysmal results on citizenship tests

Republish Reprint | November 20, 2014 | Last Updated: Nov 20 8:41 PM ET
More from Adrian Humphreys | @AD_Humphreys
A Canadian citizenship ceremony. Before someone can become a Canadian citizen, they are required to demonstrate linguistic competence in either of Canada’s official languages and show an adequate knowledge of Canada’s social, civic and political norms.

Matthew Sherwood for National Post/FileA Canadian citizenship ceremony. Before someone can become a Canadian citizen, they are required to demonstrate linguistic competence in either of Canada’s official languages and show an adequate knowledge of Canada’s social, civic and political norms.

TORONTO — A would-be Canadian who received a grade of zero out of six on her citizenship language test and four out of 20 on the test’s knowledge component was nonetheless granted a Canadian citizenship certificate.

A “series of administrative errors” put Haheen Afzal — despite her abysmal results on the tests — before a citizenship judge in Hamilton, Ont., swearing an oath to the Queen and being issued a citizenship certificate.

When the mistake was discovered, Ms. Afzal did not want to surrender her citizenship and fought to keep it. Continue reading

RICHMOND,B.C.: Members of Immigration Watch Canada protest Canada’s immigration policy

Video update: Protestors blame immigration numbers for traffic woes

PHILIP RAPHAEL / RICHMOND NEWS
NOVEMBER 19, 2014 10:55 AM

The gathering of about a half dozen people unfurled a large, yellow and black-lettered sign stating “Fight gridlock: cut immigration” for northbound commuters to see.

Dan Murray, spokesman for the group said the level of immigration in Canada is unwarranted and wants the federal government to reduce the numbers, which he believed would help lessen the impact on city streets.

“More people, more cars,” said Murray. “Every two people who come in as immigrants bring another car onto the road. That’s how it works.” Continue reading

Reis Pagtakhan: In the fight against racism, tolerance is not enough

Reis Pagtakhan: Should we really be just ‘grudgingly enduring’ our neighbours?

By Reis Pagtakhan, for CBC News Posted: Nov 19, 2014 8:34 PM CT Last Updated: Nov 20, 2014 6:45 AM CT

When discussing issues of racism and discrimination, governments, academics and civic leaders often promote “tolerance” as a way to combat these problems. As the argument goes, if Canadians tolerate people of different races, religions, sexual orientations and backgrounds, Canada will be a much stronger society.

A number of years ago, I read an article in which someone argued that merely tolerating someone else is an extremely low bar. By definition, when a person has to tolerate someone or something, that person has to endure or accept someone or something they find to be, at best, unpleasant.

People tolerate things ranging from pain, abuse and depression to minor annoyances such as boring movies, noisy neighbours, insects and inclement weather. Continue reading

HALIFAX: Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services changes name to avoid sharing the acronym with terrorist group


Stephanie Taylor/ for Metro Employee Mehmet Iskin poses for a photo next to the newly unveiled sign at ISANS, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia

ISIS, better known in Nova Scotia as Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services, has a new name.

Director of operations Gerry Mills said the reason why the Halifax-based organization, which works to support new immigrants, made a name change to the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia on Wednesday is “pretty obvious.”

She said many clients and community members felt the old name —which shared the same acronym as the terrorist jihadist group — should be changed so as not to confuse or trigger anyone. Continue reading

More condos needed to keep up with immigrant demand, CIBC says

Bank says Canadian immigrants form a significant chunk of potential condo buyers

By Pete Evans, CBC News Posted: Nov 19, 2014 10:46 AM ET Last Updated: Nov 19, 2014 11:45 AM ET

Fears that Canada is building far more condominiums than it needs are overblown because of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who are moving here in increasing numbers, one of Canada’s biggest banks says.

“Ask any real estate developer in any of Canada’s major cities about the risk of overbuilding, and the first line of defence would be immigration and its critical role in supporting demand,” CIBC economist Benjamin Tal said in a report Wednesday. “It turns out that at least for now, this claim is more valid than widely believed.”

Immigrants already represent about 70 per cent of Canada’s population growth at the moment — and half of those who come to Canada are in the prime homebuying age range of between 20 and 45. Continue reading

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