China is buying Canada

China is buying Canada: Inside the new real estate frenzy

How China’s affection for Canada’s real estate is reshaping the nation’s housing market well beyond Vancouver

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Paul Shen can tick off the reasons Mainland Chinese people buy property in Canada as surely as any fast-talking B.C. realtor. Some long to escape the fouled earth and soupy air of their country’s teeming cities, he explains, while others are following relatives to enclaves so well-populated by other Chinese expats they hardly feel like foreigners.

The richest, of course, regard homes in the West as stable vessels for disposable cash, but Shen lays no claim to such affluence. Last spring, the 39-year-old left behind his middle-management advertising job in Shanghai to seek the dream of home ownership he and his wife couldn’t afford in their home city. “We just followed our hearts to begin a totally different life,” he tells Maclean’s, adding: “We can make the house dream come true in Canada.”

The starting point was one-half of a modest duplex near downtown Victoria, close to the university where his wife is seeking a master’s degree, and priced about right for their limited means. Selling points ranged from the quiet of the street—perfect for their six-year-old son—to the stunning Vancouver Island vistas all around. High on his list, though, was Victoria’s comfortable distance from the bustling Chinese communities of B.C.’s Lower Mainland. As Shen—betraying his limited knowledge of pre-settlement Canadian history—puts it: “We wanted a place that would allow us to live with the natives.”

It’s hard not to smile at his idealism. Substitute any one of two dozen nationalities, after all, and you have a chapter in Canada’s cherished narrative of migration, settlement and shared prosperity.

But as a Chinese newcomer with a buy-at-all-costs resolve, Shen also personifies a phenomenon dividing those “natives” he’d like to call his neighbours. In the past five years, the flow of money from mainland China into Canadian real estate has reached what many consider dangerous levels, contributing to a gold-rush atmosphere in the nation’s leading cities, while stirring anger among young, middle-class Canadians who feel shut out of their hometown markets.

Its impact on Vancouver’s gravity-defying boom is the best known—and most hotly debated—example, as eye-popping price gains leave behind such quaint indicators as average household income, or regional economic activity. “We’re bringing in people who just want to park their money here,” says Justin Fung, a software engineer and second-generation Chinese-Canadian who counts himself among those frustrated by Vancouver’s surreal housing market. “They’re driving up housing prices and simply treat this city as a resort.”

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Burgers ‘N Fries Forever’s owner says their meat has been halal since ever

‘It’s 2015’: Ottawa burger joint responds to anti-Muslim comments

Burgers ‘N Fries Forever’s owner says responses to halal toppings include: “I’m not going to eat here because you include Muslims.”

An Ottawa burger joint quoted Prime Minster Justin Trudeau to respond to anti-Muslim Facebook commenters who apparently didn’t like the fact that halal beef bacon was an option on the menu.

In a sponsored post on Facebook, Burgers ‘N Fries Forever advertised the burger topping – made from the belly of a cow as opposed to a pig – alongside a photo of three Muslim women wearing a hijab about to take a bite out of a burger.

Jennilyn Morris charged and convicted under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

Remittances: $24 billion a year sent home from Canada

Prison time for first Albertan convicted under refugee protection laws

‘They felt like second-class citizens,’ judge says of exploited foreign workers

By Janice Johnston, CBC News Posted: May 20, 2016 4:59 PM MT Last Updated: May 20, 2016 7:36 PM MT

Jennilyn Morris is the first person in Alberta to be charged and convicted under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. (CBC)

​An Edmonton woman who once told an employee “if you can stand, you can work” has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for exploiting more than 70 foreign workers.

Jennilyn Morris is the first person in Alberta to be charged and convicted under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Teodora Bautista was one of her victims.

The single mother wanted to provide a better life for her five children in the Philippines.

To do that, she came to Canada because she believed she could make as much working one day here as working three days back home.

On April 22, 2009, Bautista arrived in Edmonton as a foreign national, sponsored by Morris.

She signed a contract with Morris that promised her a 44-hour work week doing residential and commercial cleaning for $11.44 an hour.  

Reality was much different.

Bhupinderpal Gill and Gurpreet Ronald charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jagtar Gill, Bhupinderpal’s wife

Co-accused in murder trial were in long-standing affair, conspired to kill, Crown contends

Bhupinderpal Gill, victim’s husband, and Gurpreet Ronald spoke for dozens of hours before killing

By Laurie Fagan, CBC News Posted: May 20, 2016 11:44 AM ET Last Updated: May 20, 2016 4:44 PM ET

Bhupinderpal Gill, left, and Gurpreet Ronald, right, have been charged with first-degree murder in the January 2014 death of Jagtar Gill, Bhupinderpal's wife.

Bhupinderpal Gill, left, and Gurpreet Ronald, right, have been charged with first-degree murder in the January 2014 death of Jagtar Gill, Bhupinderpal’s wife. (CBC)

The husband of a woman who was found beaten and stabbed to death in their home in 2014 “hated his wife” and didn’t consider divorce an option, the Crown alleged during opening statements on the first day of a high-profile murder trial in Ottawa.

Bhupinderpal Gill, the husband, and Gurpreet Ronald, a neighbour, are each charged with first-degree murder in the death of Jagtar Gill and have pleaded not guilty. Both worked as bus drivers for OC Transpo.

The two accused are being tried together, but each have their own defence lawyers.  ​

Crown prosecutor Jason Neubauer told Ontario Superior Court that Ronald and Bhupinderpal Gill were involved in a long-standing affair of a year and a half and that they conspired to kill Jagtar Gill, whom Ronald hated as well.

Phone records show the co-accused spoke for about 48 hours during hundreds of calls in the 28 days leading up to the killing and met each other repeatedly, Neubauer told court.

Previously deported Nigerian student back into Canada

Previously deported Nigerian student looks forward to convocation in Regina

Victoria Ordu and Favour Amadi hid in churches more than 450 days before being deported for working off-campus

CBC News Posted: May 13, 2016 9:18 PM CT Last Updated: May 13, 2016 9:18 PM CT

Victoria Ordu has completed her degree at University of Regina and will attend a convocation ceremony in June.

Victoria Ordu has completed her degree at University of Regina and will attend a convocation ceremony in June. (Radio-Canada)

Earning a university degree is no easy feat, but Victoria Ordu is especially proud to convocate this spring, after her studies became the subject of national news. She spent time in hiding and was eventually deported during the time she was planning to work on her degree.

“By this time two years ago, I didn’t think I was going to be done with school or my major graduating. I’m like, ‘Oh my god, my life is over,'” she said in an interview with CBC. “But here I am, I’m still breathing.”

The international student first arrived at University of Regina from Nigeria in 2009. In 2011, she and another Nigerian student, Favour Amadi, worked a couple of weeks at a Wal-Mart store off-campus before learning their student visas didn’t allow it.

Seeking sanctuary in Saskatchewan

That’s when Canadian Border Services got involved— and so did officials, including the Canadian and Saskatchewan governments and the University president, among others. Facing deportation, and communicating through an immigration consultant working on their behalf, the women hid in churches around Regina for more than 450 days while officials outside argued about their situation.

RCMP hired Lebanese man suffering from PTSD

Mountie says son was masochist, torture trial hears

MEGHAN HURLEY

FIRST POSTED: | UPDATED:

A Mountie on trial for torturing and starving his shackled, naked son in a Kanata basement believed the boy was a masochist — someone who gets gratification from pain — a psychologist testified Wednesday.

He also believed he was educating the 11-year-old in order to protect the rest of the family, said the psychologist, who saw the Mountie more than 50 times for one-hour sessions.

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The 44-year-old man and his wife are both on trial for confining the boy and failing to provide him with the necessities of life. The boy’s father is also on trial for aggravated sexual assault with a barbecue lighter.

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When the Mountie confined his child in the basement of his Kanata home before he escaped on Feb. 12, 2013 in search of water, he viewed his child as his “main enemy” and imagined that his son was possessed by the devil, the psychologist testified.

The Mountie suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from the “extremely barbaric” scenes he witnessed at a young age when he lived in Lebanon, the psychologist testified. He was also the victim of sexual assault — a common occurrence at his school in Lebanon, court heard.

“It marked him,” the psychologist testified.

Before moving to Canada, the Mountie was a child when he left school one day to take a taxi to his mother’s apartment in Beirut but was asked to exit the vehicle by militia at a check point. The Mountie had to lie about his name in order to save his life, the psychologist testified.

A few days after he arrived in Beirut, the Mountie injured his arm when a car bomb exploded, court heard.

The Mountie was also traumatized by the kidnapping of his parents, court heard.They were eventually released when it became clear his family had no money to pay a ransom, the psychologist testified.

The psychologist testified he believed the Mountie was sincere when he told him about his difficult past.

The Mountie’s PTSD led him to become “hyper-stimulated” and something as simple as a smile from a woman could be viewed by him as sexual assault, the psychologist testified.

When he came to Canada, one of the worst things that could have happened was getting hired by the RCMP, the psychologist testified. With the job came danger that was constantly stimulating his PTSD.

The test the RCMP administered when he was hired showed a “small problem” but the service decided to look the other way, the psychologist testified.

The psychologist’s testimony continues Thursday.

mhurley@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/meghan_hurley