Category Archives: African community

West Africans claim to be facing stigma of Ebola in Canada

Canadians from west Africa face stigma of Ebola

 Chinta Puxley, The Canadian Press

 

The Ebola virus may not have crossed Canada’s border, but the epidemic sweeping parts of west Africa is taking a toll on many Canadians.

Those with parents, brothers, sisters and cousins in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea say they are living on the edge — filled with anxiety every time the phone rings and dealing with the stigma created by the disease.

Abu Bakarr Kamara, who immigrated from Sierra Leone in 2003 and lives in Winnipeg, said he often lets his phone go to voice mail when it rings for fear of hearing his father or sister have fallen ill.

“I listen to the voice mail before I call back,” he said. “If I don’t hear any terrible news on the voice mail, I say, ‘Thank God.’ That’s our life right now.

“It’s frustrating. It’s terrible. It’s terrifying. Sometimes you go to bed thinking about what horrible news you could get from back home. You just pray. It’s really heartbreaking.”

The World Health Organization estimates the disease has killed more than 4,900 people and infected about 10,000 — virtually all in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. A lack of beds in Ebola clinics is also forcing families to care for relatives at home, risking further spread of the virus, the WHO has said.

“The rate that people are getting infected in the capital city, it’s all so heartbreaking,” said Kamara, vice-president of the Sierra Leone Nationals Association of Manitoba. “It’s like there is no hope, even though we try to hope for the best.”

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In Edmonton, members of the Canadian Liberian Friendship Association are raising money to buy an ambulance for their homeland. President John Gaye said he and many others feel helpless.

Liberian-Canadians are also feeling the effects of the epidemic in their adopted country, he said. People back away suspiciously when they find out someone is originally from Liberia. Others cast suspicion with questions: when were you last there? Have you entertained any visitors recently?

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Abu Bakarr Kamara, a Toronto man from Sierra Leone who has the same name as the Winnipeg man but is not related, said his family back home faced a dilemma when his brother fell ill. No one wanted to take him to the hospital because, if he didn’t have Ebola, he could catch it there.

“Thankfully, he was suffering from malaria,” he said.

Canada’s health-care system is better equipped to contain and deal with the virus, he added. Canadians need to direct their energy into fighting the deadly disease on African soil to ensure it doesn’t ravage other countries around the world

“We live in a global world. People do travel; people do trade,” he said. “It’s better for these advanced countries to go to west Africa and stop this epidemic there rather than just sit here and wait to protect (Canada).

TORONTO: Dr. Oluleke Badmos charged with sexual assault and harassment of patient, police say there may be more victims

Clinic patient alleges inappropriate touching, harassment

CBC News Posted: Oct 23, 2014 1:03 PM ET Last Updated: Oct 23, 2014 11:22 PM ET

Police allege Dr. Oluleke Badmos inappropriately touched and harassed a patient of the CML Healthcare clinic. Police allege Dr. Oluleke Badmos inappropriately touched and harassed a patient of the CML Healthcare clinic. (Toronto Police Service)

A Toronto doctor has been charged with the sexual assault and harassment of a patient, and police say there may be more victims.

Police say a 26-year-old woman went to a clinic at 688 Coxwell Ave., near Danforth Ave., in spring 2013 for a routine medical exam.

Police say she was touched in a sexually inappropriate manner by the doctor. She stopped the examination and left the clinic but, in August 2014, police say the doctor started contacting her against her wishes.

Dr. Oluleke Badmos, 52, was on Wednesday charged with sexual assault and criminal harassment. Police say there may be more victims.

Anyone with information is asked to contact 55 Division at (416) 808-5500 or Crime Stoppers at (416) 222-TIPS. Continue reading

OTTAWA: Cpl. Nathan Frank Cirillo fatally shot in terrorist attack

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo of Hamilton identified as soldier gunned down in Ottawa attack

Cirillo was standing guard at the National War Memorial when witnesses say he was shot at point-blank range. An assailant was later killed.

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At least 30 shots are fired inside the main building of Canada’s Parliament Hill, after a gunman shot and killed a soldier at the Canadian War Memorial in Ottawa.

 By:  Ottawa Bureau reporter,  Ottawa Bureau reporter, Published on Wed Oct 22 2014

OTTAWA — The Canadian soldier who was shot and killed as he stood guard on a bright and chilly morning at the National War Memorial is identified as Cpl. Nathan Frank Cirillo, family and military sources say.

A Parliament Hill security guard was wounded in the chaotic attack Wednesday just before 10 a.m. in the nation’s capital that police believe involved more than one assailant.

Cirillo, of Hamilton, was one of two Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada reservists standing guard in front of the monument when a gunman opened fire Wednesday morning. The shooter was killed inside the Parliament buildings after firing at least 20 shots.

Ottawa police would not confirm a CBS News report that has identified the dead shooter as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. A high-ranking federal officer confirmed his identity to The Canadian Press. He was born in 1982 and is believed to be Canadian, the American news outlet reported, quoting U.S. officials. Continue reading

TORONTO: Thousands gather to honour life of Eritrean coummnity leader Nahom Tsehaie Berhane stabbed to death on September 27

Slain Eritrean community leader Nahom Berhane honoured by thousandsThousands of Eritreans gathered to honour the life of young civic leader Nahom Tsehaie Berhane who was stabbed to death last week.
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Mourners from the Eritrean community weep outside the funeral of civic leader Nahom Tsehaie Berhane, who was stabbed to death last week.

OLIVIA CARVILLE / TORONTO STAR

Mourners from the Eritrean community weep outside the funeral of civic leader Nahom Tsehaie Berhane, who was stabbed to death last week.

By: Olivia Carville Staff Reporter, Published on Sat Oct 04 2014

Hundreds of members of Toronto’s Eritrean community chanted in grief for more than an hour as they honoured the life of slain civic leader Nahom Tsehaie Berhane on Saturday.

The women, wearing traditional white head scarves, wept during the service.

The men, in black suits, bowed their heads.

Berhane, 34, was stabbed to death as he was walking with friends along Danforth Ave. near Greenwood Ave., on Sept. 27.

The father of two was well-known in the city’s Eritrean community and the Medhane Alem Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church, near Dufferin St. and Eglinton Ave. W., was overflowing with mourners Saturday morning. Continue reading

EDMONTON: Refugees facing “unprecedented” challenges finding affordable places to rent

Low vacancy rates ramp up challenges for new refugees in Edmonton

By Andrea Huncar, CBC News Posted: Sep 19, 2014 7:00 AM MT Last Updated: Sep 19, 2014 7:00 AM MT

Refugees arriving in Edmonton are facing “unprecedented” challenges finding affordable places to rent, says an agency that works with newcomers.

“People are paying regularly 50 to 85 and sometimes even up to 90 per cent of their income going towards rent,” said Kathryn Friesen, program manager with Catholic Social Services.

Refugee families receive a monthly allowance from Ottawa for up to a year after moving to Canada. If they have children, they also qualify for the Child Tax Benefit.

But high rents exacerbate an already challenging situation, said Friesen.

She said refugees eager to succeed are instead forced to leave important English language and skill training to take on two or three jobs in order to make ends meet, while some of their children even drop out to work.

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It’s a financial struggle that can also lead to health problems or re-traumatize those who have endured war or torture, she said.

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“We don’t want people to arrive and be crushed by challenges that seem insurmountable.”

‘A good place to stay’

Abdurashid Osman Adan, his wife and four children moved to Edmonton from South Africa in April.

“It’s a good place to stay,” said Adan, who is excited to be upgrading his skills and English so he can get to work.

“And we are glad for Canada to give us a resettlement. Everything’s alright.”

Adan is unwaveringly upbeat, despite the hardships he has faced. For the first three months after he arrived, he had just 138 dollars left over for food and necessities after he paid rent.

“It was very difficult – the life. But you know, I’ve got some friends here in Edmonton so that I just borrow some stuff from them so that when I receive the tax … I’m going to pay back them. ”

Even now that his Child Tax Benefits have kicked in, rent still gobbles up more than half of his total income.

Adan’s friends continue to help him out by supplying halal meat from their shop, as well as rides and clothing. He also still relies on the Edmonton Food Bank.

Low vacancy rate creates additional challenges

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At 1.4 per cent, Edmonton’s vacancy rate is one of the lowest in the country.

High rents continue to be driven up by an influx of newcomers, with fewer units existing today than 15 years ago, said Jay Freeman, executive director of Housing and Homelessness with the City of Edmonton.

More than 50 new affordable housing units, currently under construction at 127th Street and 144th Avenue, will become available next month, said Freeman.

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CALGARY: HIV positive Sudanese man withheld his health condition from woman he married

Sudan: HIV/AIDS prevalence was 2.6 percent in 2012

KEVIN MARTIN | QMI AGENCY

CALGARY – Passing his HIV virus to his unsuspecting new bride was a criminal act, a judge ruled Friday in finding a Calgary man guilty of aggravated sexual assault.

Provincial court Judge Gord Wong said the man, who can’t be named to protect his victim’s identity, withheld his health condition from the woman.

As a result, Wong said the woman’s consent to sexual contact with him was gained through fraud, making it a crime.

Because the offender put the woman’s life at risk, the offence constituted an aggravated sexual assault – a crime that carries a maximum punishment of 14 years.

The 30-year-old Sudanese native met the victim at a party in May 2011.

Within days of their first contact he began talking to her about marriage and they wed in July, Wong noted.

By October, the woman suspected she was with child and went for a pregnancy test.

“Tests were conducted, which confirmed she was pregnant,” Wong noted.

“Unfortunately, those same tests showed that she had been infected by the HIV virus,” he said.

The offender became infected with the life-threatening illness before coming to Canada in 2004 and learned of his condition a year earlier.

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TORONTO: Franklin Afrifa arrested in killing of Olatoyebi Waheed; Benard Asante still at large

 

Police are searching for Benard Asante, aka Benard Kissi, 24, of Toronto in connection to a fatal drive-by shooting near Jane and Eglinton earlier this week. Police have arrested Franklin Afrifa, 25, on charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder. He is scheduled to appear in court on Monday. Asante is wanted on the same charges.

Man arrested in fatal drive-by shooting

One man has been arrested and police are still searching for a second in connection to the shooting on Aug. 19, which killed a Toronto man.

By:  Staff Reporter, Published on Sun Aug 24 2014

A man has been arrested and one man is still wanted in connection to a fatal drive-by shooting earlier this week.

EMS was called to the area of Jane St. and Eglinton Ave. W. around 6:45 p.m. on Monday, to what appeared to be a targeted drive-by shooting on a busy North York street.

Olatoyebi Waheed, 24, of Toronto, was killed in the shooting, and a 23-year-old man sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

Toronto Police executed two search warrants at residential addresses in Toronto on Sunday.

Franklin Afrifa, 25, of Toronto, was arrested at one of the homes. He faces charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder, and is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

Police are still searching for Benard Asante, also known as Benard Kissi, 24, of Toronto. He is wanted on the same charges.

Asante is described as black, five feet five inches, and 130 lbs. He has his hair in cornrows. Continue reading

LASALLE, QC.: Family from Cameroon fears FGM if deported

September 7, 2014 6:24 pm

Fearing female circumcision, Lasalle family fights deportation

Billy ShieldsBy Reporter

LASALLE – Hilary Fuh-Cham’s father was known as a “sub-chief” in his native village of Cameroon, a tiny place about 20 km outside the town of Bamenda, in the eastern part of the country.

But when his father died, his world turned upside down, triggering a series of events that left him,  his wife and three children in Canada fighting off deportation.

“The only time I said that I could not continue was when they told me my wife and my daughter would have to be circumcised,” he told Global News.

Fuh-Cham converted to Roman Catholicism when he was still quite young, but his father remained wed to indigenous beliefs.

When Fuh-Cham had to take up the role of sub-chief after his father’s death, it meant the women in his family had to undergo circumcisions and other practices they staunchly opposed, he said.

In December 2007, they arrived in Canada with their daughter in an attempt to gain refugee status.

“My main fear was losing my life,” said Yvette Fuh-Cham.

“I remember seeing my sister-in-law circumcised, the pain she had to go through. Just believing that’s going to be done to you, you have to leave, you have to hide.”

Their cause is being taken up by the Saint Jean Brebeuf parish in Lasalle.

“To my mind it’s like persecuted by the government, the federal government,” said Father Gerry Martineau, the pastor of the church.

“A lot of people will be extremely sad, his presence is felt. He’s very integrated into our community.”

The Fuh-Chams say they’ve attempted on three occasions to obtain the right to stay in the country either on refugee or humanitarian grounds, but have yet to get a result that keeps them in Canada – even though two of their children were born in Canada and have never been to Cameroon.

They say they have a little more than a month before they’ll be deported.

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© Shaw Media, 2014

GATINEAU: Child returned from Sierra Leone tested for Ebola

Child in Gatineau tested for Ebola virus

Published on: Last Updated: 

A young child from Gatineau who recently returned from Sierra Leone was being tested for the Ebola virus, according to Santé Outaouais.

She was being assessed in isolation Friday at a hospital in Gatineau while public health officials investigated the case.

Karelle Kennedy, a spokesperson for the Outaouais region’s public health authority, confirmed the child had developed a fever and was isolated Friday morning as a precaution. Test results were expected to come back by Saturday afternoon. Continue reading

HALIFAX: ‘Muslim Canadian of African descent’ Mohamed Yaffa claims discrimination because of his ‘race, national or ethnic origin, colour and religion’

Halifax man alleges discrimination at Air Canada’s hands

Mohamed Yaffa, who specializes in diversity and inclusion, testified in ongoing case he faced “enhanced security screening” due to his skin colour and religion.

By:  Staff Reporter, Published on Tue Aug 19 2014

Mohamed Yaffa, a diversity and inclusion co-ordinator in Halifax, is demanding to know whether Air Canada trains its staff on just that: diversity and inclusion.

In a case currently before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, he alleges the airline subjected him to “enhanced security screening,” including “enhanced questioning,” on six different occasions from March to June 2010 because of his race, national or ethnic origin, colour and religion.

Yaffa, who describes himself in tribunal documents as “a Muslim Canadian of African descent,” is the diversity and inclusion co-ordinator for Capital Health, which provides health services in the Halifax region. He did not return several requests for comment. Continue reading

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