Surrey Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal wants people older than 55 years old to become Canadian citizens without taking the language proficiency test

B.C. MPs call for change to immigration language requirements

Some MPs say the test prevents many otherwise deserving immigrants from becoming Canadian citizens

By The Early Edition, CBC News Posted: Feb 12, 2016 2:22 PM PT Last Updated: Feb 12, 2016 4:48 PM PT

Surrey Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal is calling on the federal government to allow people older than 55 years old to become Canadian citizens without taking the language proficiency test.

Surrey Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal is calling on the federal government to allow people older than 55 years old to become Canadian citizens without taking the language proficiency test. ((Sukh Dhaliwal))

Several BC MPs are calling on the federal government to ease restrictions on the English or French language proficiency test new immigrants must pass in order to become Canadian citizens.

The Conservative government passed Bill C-24 or the Strengthening of Canadian Citizenship Act in 2014, making the language test more difficult. It also expanded the age range of people required to take the test, to 65-years old, up from 55.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to repeal the bill, which also allows the government to strip Canadian citizenship from dual citizens who are convicted of terrorism-related offences.

RICHMOND, B.C.: Condo-owners insist all meetings be conducted only in Mandarin

Mandarin-only condo meetings provoke human rights complaint in Richmond

Capture_2-richmondbcdemogrA group of Richmond condo owners has filed a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal after allegedly being discriminated against by a new Chinese-speaking strata council.

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A group of English-speaking condo owners in Richmond say they’ve been squeezed out by other owners who insist all meetings be conducted only in Mandarin.

The dispute is being taken to the B.C. Human Rights Council, with the English owners saying they’re victims of race-based voting manipulation.

 

Here’s an excerpt from a Richmond News story by Graeme Wood:

A group of Richmond homeowners has filed a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal after allegedly being discriminated against by a new Chinese-speaking strata council.

Andreas Kargut, who filed the claim on behalf of several other Wellington Court strata members, told the Richmond News a group of Mandarin-speaking homeowners purposefully voted to expel non-Mandarin speaking members from council.

Since then, the new council has moved to conduct all official business, including council meetings, in Mandarin.

“Anyone they deemed who was non-Mandarin speaking, they ousted,” said Kargut.

Sheila Lemaitre says her husband was used as scapegoat by Mounties after death of Polish immigrant at Vancouver airport in 2007

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KEITH ANDERSON / THE CANADIAN PRESS

By: The Canadian Press, Published on Fri Jul 31 2015

Pierre Lemaitre leaving the Braidwood inquiry, where he testified in 2009. ((CBC))

VANCOUVER — The wife of an RCMP officer who killed himself two years ago claims that her husband was used by the Mounties as a scapegoat in the death of Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver’s airport in October 2007.

In a statement of claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court, Sheila Lemaitre said her husband, Pierre, was told he would lose his job if he tried to correct misinformation given to the media about the night Dziekanski died.

The sergeant was the media relations officer who released information about the incident where the Polish immigrant was jolted with a police Taser and died on the floor of the arrivals area.

The lawsuit claimed Lemaitre wanted to correct the information, but was ordered not to say anything.

“As a result of this incorrect information, his immediate removal as RCMP spokesman, the subsequent public release of the private video . . . he was brought into public contempt where he was accused in the public of being the ‘RCMP liar’ and/or the RCMP spin doctor,” the statement said.

The bystander video released after the Dziekanski confrontation with police was much different that the original version of events given to media by RCMP.

In fact, the four officers involved were later charged with perjury for testimony they gave at the public inquiry looking into the death.

The officers were all tried separately and two were convicted, while two were acquitted.

(…)

___________

CIR

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/widow-of-pierre-lemaitre-rcmp-s-robert-dziekanski-spokesperson-sues-mounties-1.3174902

5 key cases of police shooting deaths involving mentally ill individuals

Mental Health Commission of Canada releases recommendations on improving police interactions

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/5-key-cases-of-police-shooting-deaths-involving-mentally-ill-individuals-1.2748257

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C.: Punjabi community needs Punjabi signs as members can’t read English

Officials at two Sikh temples have asked city council for bilingual signs in their areas

By Daybreak North, CBC News Posted: May 27, 2015 8:35 AM PT Last Updated: May 27, 2015 8:35 AM PT

Narinder Singh Pawar, president of the Guru Gobin Singh Temple Association in Prince George, holds an example of a street sign that would include English and Punjabi. Narinder Singh Pawar, president of the Guru Gobin Singh Temple Association in Prince George, holds an example of a street sign that would include English and Punjabi. (CBC/Audrey McKinnon)

Prince George city council is moving forward with two requests to add Punjabi to some signs in the city. The requests came from officials at Guru Gobind Singh Temple and Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh Temple who say their buildings can be tricky to find, especially for native Punjabi speakers.

“We think we need signs in Punjabi and English because we’ve got community living here, lots of people (who do) not read English,” said Pal Bassi, secretary with the Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh Society.

If the proposals move forward after city staff reviews the associated costs, signs on Highway 97 North and South, Highway 16 West, Ospika Boulevard, and Davis Road, all in the vicinity of the two temples, would have Punjabi added to the existing English.

“If (people) go by, they don’t know about the Sikh temple, if they see the sign they can come if they need food, a cup of tea, or overnight, we can arrange something,” said Narinder Singh Pawar, president of the Guru Gobin Singh Temple Association.

Prince George mayor Lyn Hall supports the idea of multi-lingual signs and said they would be reflective of the growing cultural diversity in Prince George. 

“I see it as a big opportunity … we just need to look around and see how multicultural we are,” Hall said.

Prince George city staff will report back to council with the cost of adding Punjabi to the streets signs at an upcoming meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

with files from Audrey Mackinnon and Andrew Kurjata

Calgary residents propose alternatives for ELL students struggling in Calgary schools


Photo: Jennifer Friesen
Daljit Parhar, left, and Ismail Dandia talk about their struggles growing up as ELL (English Language Learner) students in Calgary.

Two Calgarians are working to remove roadblocks for English-language learner (ELL) students floundering in the city’s public-school system.

Stemming from their own struggles as former ELL students in Calgary, Ismail Dandia and Daljit Parhar launched Eroodyt, an online platform that aggregates tutors in a variety of fields.

Dandia said their focus narrowed to tutors for ELL students when they first heard about the 3.1 per cent cut to funding for ELL students in the Alberta government’s March 2015 budget.

“Hearing about the budget cuts hit hard for us because our parents are immigrants,” Dandia said. “English was pivotal to our careers, and we definitely faced a lot of challenges through the school system, especially in grade school.”

Hetty Roessingh, a professor of education at the University of Calgary, has heavily investigated issues surrounding the lack of supports for ELL students in primary schools and how that can dramatically impede academic growth.

Roessingh said the problem is often these children seem like they’re progressing — they can print, read and speak clearly — but end up hitting a wall around Grade 4 when academic demands heighten.

TORONTO: Peer Mohammad Khairi, who almost decapitated wife, loses appeal

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By: Diana Mehta The Canadian Press, Published on Wed Apr 22 2015

Ontario’s highest court upheld the second-degree murder conviction of an Afghan immigrant who nearly decapitated his wife, calling the woman’s death a “horrific” killing in a decision released Wednesday.

Peer Mohammad Khairi, a father of six, had argued that the judge who presided over his trial made several errors, and asked the appeal court for a new trial.

If a fresh trial couldn’t be ordered, Khairi had asked that his period of parole ineligibility — currently set at 15 years after he was sentenced to life in prison — be lowered to 10 or 11 years.

He was turned down by Ontario’s Court of Appeal on both fronts.

“The conviction appeal is dismissed. While we grant leave to appeal the sentence, the sentence appeal is dismissed,” the court’s decision said.

Khairi had admitted to killing his wife in March 2008, it was the circumstances of the death that had been in dispute at his trial, the court noted.

“He contended that he lacked the intent for murder due to mental health issues. Alternatively, he claimed that he stabbed his wife in the heat of passion, caused by her allegedly provocative words and conduct,” the appeal court wrote.

A jury deliberated for three days in 2012 before finding Khairi guilty of second-degree murder.

In his appeal, Khairi argued that the trial judge erred by not declaring a mistrial after what was allegedly an “improper” opening statement from Crown prosecutors, whose effect was allegedly to prevent him from receiving a fair trial. He also claimed the prosecution’s closing address was inflammatory.

The appeal court agreed that the Crown’s opening statement was improper, but found that the trial judge adequately instructed the jury that the Crown’s remarks exceeded the scope of a proper opening statement.

(…)

Khairi, who was born in Afghanistan, immigrated to Canada with his wife and children in 2003 after having spent the previous 15 years in India.

The family settled in Toronto but due to the couple’s limited education and inability to speak English, neither of them could find work, court documents have noted.

In 2006, the family had financial troubles and the relationship between Khairi and his wife became strained, the documents said.

(…)