2010 Nipawin: Interracial adoptions, a growing fashion

Sask. couple survive Haiti destruction

Last Updated: Sunday, January 17, 2010 | 4:51 PM CT CBC News
Melvin and Melanie Brundage had a joyful reunion with their son Ritchy at the Saskatoon International Airport on the weekend. (Emily Elias/CBC)

A Saskatchewan couple who witnessed widespread destruction in Haiti following a massive earthquake last week have safely returned home.

Melvin and Melanie Brundage of Nipawin said they were at an orphanage just outside the capital of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday afternoon when the 7.0-magnitude quake hit.
‘I didn’t know if the house was going to fall down or not.’
— Melvin Brundage

“It kinda sounded like a big truck. The ground started shaking like a big truck drove by and then all of a sudden it just got more intense and of course it was terrifying,” Melvin said, just minutes after arriving at the Saskatoon airport.

The couple said they were standing on a balcony at the time of the earthquake.

“You kind of fall to the floor and we grabbed the kids … I didn’t know if I was supposed to stay on top or if I was supposed to get through the house. I didn’t know if the house was going to fall down or not,” Melvin said.

“Eventually it stopped and we ran outside and we just stayed outside in the compound for quite a while,” he said.

The couple has a six-year-old adopted son from Haiti, Ritchy, who was not along with them on their trip. They said they were in the country because they’re adopting another boy.
Finding loved ones

In an effort to help people locate friends and relatives in Haiti, CBC News has set up a photo gallery where people can post pictures of the missing and provide information to aid in the search.

However, they elected to leave Haiti – and their little boy – behind after the earthquake, saying they felt they could do more good from Canada then they could by staying there.

“We decided it was best to come back to Canada and just see what we could do from this end and so we could be with our son,” Melvin said through tears.

“It was a very hard decision to make because we were there and we had our other son, but we had to leave him behind.”

The couple said the situation in the country is dire, and the orphanage they were at, which is home to about 140 children, is in need of supplies.

“They’re cut off from supply. They only have about three days of water left, so they are trying to conserve … we’re just asking anyone to help out with supplies,” Melvin said.

The couple said they’ll try to return to Haiti soon to bring their new son home to Canada.

Canada’s immigration policy

Canada’s immigration policy: Who is on the guest list?
Armine Yalnizyan
Last updated Friday, Feb. 18, 2011 2:32PM EST

Migrant workers from Mexico and locals wade through the water at a Richmond, B.C., cranberry farm in this 2008 photo. (JOHN LEHMANN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

Armine Yalnizyan is a senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

This week, the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship rightly noted that immigrants are Canada’s ticket to economic growth in the coming years.

The untold story is this: Canada’s growing reliance on newcomers is increasingly turning to temporary foreign workers — “guest workers” — rather than new immigrants and future citizens to propel growth.

The rise in the number of temporary foreign workers has accelerated over the past decade, most rapidly since 2006. Today their ranks eclipse those of economic immigrants.

Labour market shortages will grow in the coming years, as boomers retire in record numbers. How we bring people into Canada to meet our labour market needs will shape the evolving nature of Canada itself. Immigration and temporary foreign workers are two very different answers to the problem of how to sustain our standard of living.

Immigration is driven by people wanting to settle in this country, and the entry quotas are set by public policy to meet the public interest of Canadians. Temporary foreign work permits are issued to meet the needs of employers who, ostensibly, face labour shortages that cannot be addressed by Canadian workers. This process is not based on quotas. In principle and practice, there are no upper limits.

These workers are brought into Canada as, essentially, the guests of the employer. They have few rights (of which they are often unaware). They have no access to services available to other immigrants. Theirs is rarely a path to permanent residency.

In 2010, Canada allowed 182,322 temporary foreign workers to enter Canada to meet employers’ needs. This is the second-highest number on record, the highest being in 2008.

Some temporary foreign work permits are issued for longer than a year, some only for months. Consequently the total number of temporary foreign workers to address employers’ identified labour market needs is higher than the number of entries in a given year.

In 2010, there were 283,096 temporary foreign workers in Canada, doing work that employers asserted there was no Canadian available to do.

That is the highest number of temporary foreign workers on record, but only slightly higher than the number recorded in 2009, during the worst of the recession.

The highest demand for temporary foreign workers stems from the fastest growing economies in Canada: Alberta and Saskatchewan. But every jurisdiction except Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut has at least doubled their utilization of these “guest workers”.

The biggest growth in employer demand has been for basic labour or unspecified skills, especially since the recession. In 2000, 11 per cent of temporary foreign workers performed basic labour or unspecified skills; now 34 per cent of them do. They used to primarily fall into the categories of nannies and caregivers, or seasonal agricultural workers. Employers are now using the temporary work permit program to bring in workers for hotels, fast food outlets, janitorial services and factories — typical Canadian jobs, albeit low-paying.

“The temporary foreign worker program is really about contracting out immigration,” says Yessy Byl, a lawyer who volunteers with the Edmonton Community Legal Centre. “In fact the government is setting the stage for a bizarre non-immigration program because those workers can’t immigrate.”

Whether unintentional or not, the shaping of public policy seems to be increasingly off-loaded to private sector interests rather than handled by those charged with addressing the public interest, which include but are broader than employers’ needs.

Local economic needs are an important factor in shaping immigration policy, and the involvement of employers can and should reduce skill mismatches.

But there’s a danger in allowing employers, alone, to define Canada’s immigration policy: Employers are increasingly looking for average workers, not skilled labour.

Cheap labour, that is. Workers who increasingly depend on the goodwill of their employer rather than the rule of law.

This week, the Law Commission of Ontario, in its ongoing efforts to make the law accessible to all residents, started looking at what can be done about the rise of vulnerable workers.

By allowing employers to drive the agenda based on their own short-term interests, the federal government has dropped the ball on Canada’s long-term interests and has taken immigration policy down a troubling path: the normalization of migrant labour in Canada.

For a country that has grown into one of the most diverse, peaceful and prosperous nations on the planet, this shift in immigration policy signals a troubling new direction.

Throughout our history the long-standing offer to newcomers, through unifying families and providing citizenship, was the promise of becoming full participants in Canadian society.

In its place, official policy increasingly sanctions and supports employers who use newcomers as cheap and disposable labour. It’s bad for diversity, it’s a terrible trend for workplaces, and it affects everyone.

The role of government is to protect the interests of Canadian workers as well as Canadian employers. That includes protecting the powerless from those willing to exploit our vulnerabilities. Backing away from that job turns immigration into a potential source of social tension, just as Canadians increasingly turn to immigrants to assure our economic future.

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Published on Friday, Feb. 18, 2011 2:32PM EST

Calgary: Guyanese Gordon Nedd and Mexican Israel Davila Jimenez deported

2 men deported from Calgary for crimes: CBSA
Last Updated: Friday, February 18, 2011 | 1:04 PM MT
CBC News

Two men with criminal histories were deported from Calgary this week, the Canada Border Services Agency said Friday.

Gordon Nedd, 38, was sent back to the South American nation of Guyana under CBSA escort on Tuesday. Nedd has a long criminal history in Canada for theft, possession of property obtained by crime, breaking and entering and possession of controlled drugs, the agency said.

Nedd also has a history of non-compliance with the Immigration and Refugee Board and with the courts, CBSA said.

The other deportee was Israel Davila Jimenez, who was removed to Mexico under CBSA escort on Wednesday. Continue reading

Egyptian baby-smuggling ring probed by RCMP

Egyptian baby-smuggling ring probed by RCMP
Last Updated: Friday, February 18, 2011 | 3:20 PM ET
CBC News

Julian Assange, shown leaving a British court on Feb. 11, 2011, is the founder of WikiLeaks, a website that seeks out and publishes classified documents like the U.S. diplomatic cable about the Egyptian baby-smuggling operation. (Matt Dunham/Associated Press)

Canadian diplomatic officials in Cairo and the RCMP were probing up to a dozen cases of Egyptian infants being smuggled to Canada in a baby-trafficking ring, according to a U.S. embassy cable published by WikiLeaks. Continue reading

Irineo Odoy faces second-degree murder charge

Murder charge laid in Mill Woods slaying
Last Updated: Friday, February 18, 2011 | 3:50 PM MT
CBC News

A 59-year-old man was charged with second-degree murder Friday in the death of a woman whose body was found in this Mill Woods house. (CBC)
A 59-year-old man has been charged with murder in the slaying of a woman whose body was found Wednesday in a Mill Woods house.

Irineo Odoy faces a charge of second-degree murder.

The name and age of the victim will be released later, pending the outcome of an autopsy, police said.

Odoy’s relationship to the victim was not disclosed, although police said Thursday they suspect the slaying may be a case of domestic violence.

The middle-aged woman’s body was found in a basement suite around 4 p.m. Wednesday after police were called to a home at 40th Avenue and Millbourne Road West.

Edmonton: Murderer Keshroy Bristol confesses killing own mother

Man confessed killing, ex-girlfriend says
Last Updated: Thursday, February 17, 2011 | 8:00 PM MT
CBC News

Keshroy Bristol’s first-degree murder trial started Monday in Edmonton’s Court of Queen’s Bench. (CBC)
Keshroy Bristol confessed that he killed his mother, his ex-girlfriend told an Edmonton jury Thursday.

“He told me all the gruesome details,” Delmy Vega-Medrano testified.

“That she fell and he strangled her from behind.”

Bristol, 21, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his mother Beverly Parker. Parker, 49, was slain outside her Edmonton home in February 2008.

Vega-Medrano told the jury she kept quiet about his confession, even after she was also charged with first-degree murder.

Bristol abused her and she was afraid of him, she said. “He belittled me. He threatened me … I was completely disposable.”

The charges against her were later dropped.

Vega-Medrano admitted to the jury she has told a different story before under oath.

When Crown prosecutor Elizabeth Wheaton asked her why she changed her version of events, she replied: “Because now I’m not scared.”

Vega-Medrano will be cross-examined by Bristol’s lawyer on Friday.

The jury was also shown a videotape where Bristol tells a homicide detective he strangled his mother because she wanted to adopt his baby daughter.

.
Corrections and Clarifications
Crown prosecutor Elizabeth Wheaton questioned witness Delmy Vega-Medrano on Thursday. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated her co-counsel, Jason Russell, questioned the witness.
Feb. 18, 2011 | 1 p.m. MT
With files from the CBC’s Janice Johnston

Online Black History Museum

Black history at a keystroke
Published On Fri, 18 Feb 2011

A “room” in the online Black History Museum invites viewers to explore pictures and artifacts from the early days of black settlement in Canada.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada website
Nicholas Keung
Immigration Reporter

If you want to take a peek at the history of early black settlers who fled slavery from south of the border to Canada through the Underground Railroad, you can visit the Buxton Museum near Chatham.

To learn about black migration to the Maritimes, you can’t miss the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia in Dartmouth.

On the Prairies, the Saskatchewan African-Canadian Heritage Museum has a collection that starts with the arrival of Dr. Alfred Schmitz Shadd and reflects the rich black history in the province.

You could travel to see all of these. Or you could sit at home at your computer during this chilly Black History Month and visit all of their key exhibits with a few keystrokes, thanks to the launch of a new online Black History Museum.

“We are three hours from Toronto. We only have 1.5 staff and rely on a volunteer board. We have limited resources for marketing,” said Shannon Prince, curator of the Buxton Museum, where a heritage school, church and barn from the 18th century still stand in the community.

Established in 1967 in the Elgin Settlement, one of four organized black settlements in Canada, the Buxton Museum, among nine other community partners involved in the online project, draws 8,000 visitors a year.

“The virtual museum is a good teaser and offers a sneak preview of what is out here that has helped shape Canada’s mosaic,” said Prince.

The interactive museum, launched this month by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to celebrate Black History Month, is the fruit of a 2009 roundtable meeting in Ottawa among black cultural associations to promote and preserve Canadian black history.

(…)

There are four rooms in the museum, divided by theme: early settlement, Underground Railroad, black military history and noted African Canadian leaders’ civic and political engagements.

“Growing up, I didn’t hear any black people and their stories in history class,” said project manager Karen Shadd, of the immigration department’s public education and marketing unit. “Generations coming up now do have roots and heritage. All Canadians need to know that.”

The project is particularly close to the heart for Shadd, who was born and raised in North Buxton, a sixth-generation descendant of the original settlers from Philadelphia and author of I’d Rather Live in Buxton, which highlights the lives and contributions of the Buxton clan.

Raised in a community with a rich family history, Shadd heard bits and pieces of her people’s history but said it is wonderful to have them “compiled all in one place.”

“I am very proud of it,” Shadd said of the online museum, which cost $45,000 to build. “Technology has made history more accessible to youth and adults alike.”

Prince agrees: “We need to remember where we have come from to plan for the future. When kids come to the museum, it reminds them of what their ancestors had endured so we can have freedom and build a better life. This is everybody’s history.”

To explore the online museum, go to www.cic.gc.ca/english/games/museum/index.asp.

Durham: Neyamat Ali allegedly sexually assaulted patient at Rouge Valley Ajax Pickering Hospital

Ajax hospital support worker charged with sexual assault
Published 48 minutes ago

Daniela Germano
Staff Reporter

A 45-year-old Toronto man was charged for allegedly sexually assaulting a patient who was recovering from surgery in an Ajax hospital, police said.

Durham Regional Police arrested the worker Friday after a 22-year-old male patient reported he had been touched inappropriately several times while he was at Rouge Valley Ajax Pickering Hospital on Harwood Ave.

The accused was employed at the hospital to assist staff with an elderly patient, police said. Investigators said there are no other victims.

Neyamat Ali was charged for the alleged assault.

Opponents call Jason Kenney “minister of censorship”

Jason Kenney: The man who would be kingmaker
Published On Fri, 18 Feb 2011

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.
TANNIS TOOHEY/TORONTO STAR
By Linda Diebel
National Affairs Writer

Jason Kenney hardly looks dangerous. He jokes about dropping a few pounds and there’s a cherubic quality to him. On stage at a Canada Immigration Centre in Etobicoke, he throws himself into a speech, bobbing on his toes for emphasis.

It’s a big crowd for a Sunday afternoon in February. Some 400 people, from China, India and the Philippines (among other nations), are jammed into a small auditorium to hear the immigration minister laud his government’s record. The mood is festive; everyone crowds in for photos. Shouting above the din, William Yue leans over to say: “Nice man. He’s a very nice man.”

Nice, huh? Well, that depends where you sit on the political spectrum. If it’s not with the Conservatives, you might be wise to fear Kenney. He doesn’t so much talk about a political party as about a movement. It’s been the fabric of his life since he began working 15 years ago to “unite the right” into a single federal party — indeed, into a way of thinking in Canada.

If Prime Minister Stephen Harper wins his majority in the next election, he owes a debt to Kenney. The MP for Calgary Southeast has become a fixture at dragon boat races, Ukrainian folk dances, Macedonian dinners and Diwali celebrations. He pops up everywhere, tweeting as he goes and earning the nickname (courtesy of erstwhile colleague Rahim Jaffer) “the minister for curry in a hurry.”

His role is to get new Canadians — whom he believes are already Conservative-minded — “tuned into our frequency.” And there are more than anecdotal signs his strategy is working. In one study, McGill University political scientist Elisabeth Gidengil and four colleagues showed an erosion of visible minority support for the Liberals began after the 2000 election. “In fact, minority voters were almost as likely to vote Conservative in 2008 as they were Liberal,” says the study, “The Anatomy of a Liberal Defeat.”

These days, Kenney, 42, practically bunks in the GTA, where Conservatives hope to pick up crucial seats. Liberal Andrew Kania squeaked through in Brampton West by only 231 votes in 2008, while Ruby Dhalla took Brampton-Springdale by 773. Conservatives conclude Liberal ridings won by two or three thousand votes may be winnable, and figure there’s a shot at knocking off Paul Szabo in Mississauga South, Ken Dryden in York-Centre and Joe Volpe in Eglinton-Lawrence.

A Conservative campaign insider suggests the gold standard is the 1995 sweep of the 905 by former Conservative premier Mike Harris. Half of the 82 ridings he took were in the GTA. They study the belt of former Harris seats that ring pre-amalgamation Toronto — in Scarborough, Willowdale and Etobicoke — and dream about the federal tide turning blue again. They see portents in some of Mayor Rob Ford’s geographic breakthroughs.

“The next election is theirs to win,” says a GTA Liberal, declining to be named. Put Liberals on the couch and here’s the analysis: “The problem, and it may sound strange, is we still haven’t understood — really understood — that we’ve lost.”

Every time Kenney does an event in a local riding, argues the insider, the Conservatives tick up 2 percentage points.

Liberal pollster Michael Marzolini says he “vaguely remembers a Toronto MP suggesting that 2-per-cent idea to me, but I don’t buy it. Nobody can visit a riding and cause an immediate 2-point positive shift in support. It just doesn’t happen.

“Jason is certainly enthusiastic and active among the ethnic communities, but in the manner of a backroom organizer, not as an icon for the Conservative party or a vote magnet,” continues Marzolini. “People vote for a party leader, not a visiting cabinet minister.”

Kenney would agree. He’s faithful to the boss.

Despite that loyalty he is tagged by political insiders as the front-runner to replace Harper. Super-ambitious, goes the gossip, willing to sell his mother for the job. Kenney deflects the question. “I’m completely absorbed in my current responsibilities,” he says, adding: “He (Harper) has my full support as long as he continues to serve as our leader.”

Kenney’s an intellectual in a party that likes to portray itself as anti-intellectual. He says he has never owned a TV set and casually uses words and phrases like risible, de novo, meme and the politely formal “as you please” to the Toronto waiter who’s arranging his tea service.

(…)

Not Kenney. He can be in-your-face controversial, which is why smart editors have a soft spot for him. Boring? Never. From a richness of examples, we choose his recent accusation that Federal Court judges and lawyers undermine Canada’s immigration system by allowing interminable appeals from would-be refugees trying to manipulate the system. An exasperated sigh is almost audible in his comments: “We need the judiciary to understand the spirit of what we are trying to do.”

“Inappropriate,” argues Toronto immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman. “I find the remarks of deep concern because they disclose a lack of understanding of our constitutional order and balance of power . . . .If he disagrees with any decision of the Federal Court he has the power as a member of the Executive to propose amendments to Parliament.”

Kenney has other critics. They call him “minister of censorship” and bemoan his rigidity. Protests followed his 2009 decision to ban fiery former British MP George Galloway from speaking in Canada over his apparent support of Hamas. Similarly, ’60s radical William Ayers, a Chicago university professor, was turned around at the border en route to a speech in Toronto.

His critics see him as dangerous in ways well beyond smart politicking. It’s fear of Big Brother.

Born in Oakville , he grew up with two brothers in a home full of conversation, laughter, music and rigorous debate. When he was 8, his father Martin became president of Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask., and Kenney would graduate from the Catholic, co-educational high school. “A great raconteur, an extravert,” he says of his late father. His mother Lynne, who worked as Notre Dame’s unofficial organizer, is “a formidable, dignified, hard-working and marvellous lady” — the reason he, too, is a workaholic.

He reveres his grandfather Mart who led a popular dance band of the 1930s, ’40s and beyond with the theme song, “The West, A Nest and You Dear.”

From the back seat of a staffer’s car en route downtown from Etobicoke come the deep-throated lines once so comforting to radio listeners: “Live from the baronial Banff Springs Hotel in the majestic Canadian Rockies, it’s Mart Kenney and his Western Gentlemen.”

He looks like his grandfather, minus the moustache. Same round face, jet black hair and jovial air. “He was a big influence in my life,” says Kenney, whose grandfather always wanted him “back in the (Liberal) party of Louis St. Laurent.”

Books shaped his life. At 14, he read The Great Conversation by Robert Maynard Hutchins, which he describes as “a fascinating, compelling invitation to read the Western canon of great works.” Which he did, going on to study at the University of San Francisco, a Jesuit college offering a Great Books program.
(…)
His life took similar turns to Harper’s. Both were early Liberals who worked for private organizations and became passionate about a unified political right. When Kenney joined the nascent Canadian Taxpayers Federation, he said he didn’t even know what an RSP was, but understood how to be a critical thinker and rose to be CEO.

In 1997, Harper left Parliament to join the National Citizens Coalition, while Kenney headed to Ottawa as a Reform MP.

They had a seminal meeting that winter. Kenney told the future PM that “the success of the Conservative movement in Canada had to lie through new Canadians. . . . When he formed a government in 2006, the prime minister took me aside and said, ‘Remember that conversation we had 10 years ago? Now I want to ask you to try to prove your theory right, go out and try to build the relationships.’ ” (Kenney stresses the theory was hardly de novo in Conservative tradition, but had never been sustained.)

It’s been a slog, he says, riding by riding, samosa by cheese perogy by pot sticker dumpling. “Ya gotta want this. Ya gotta really have fire in your belly,” he says, sounding rather un-Kenney-esque.

The exigencies of politics rob a man who bubbles with enthusiasm for books and is passionate about music, architecture and the pleasures of travel. He plays piano and twice managed to slip out to see The King’s Speech. But it’s telling — a little sad, perhaps — that on New Year’s Day he tweeted, “You know you have been in politics too long when your New Year’s resolution is just a verbatim recitation of partisan talking points.”

Without personal travel, he depletes his store of adventure yarns, like the road trip in Ireland with James Rajotte, former roommate and Edmonton-Leduc Conservative, and then-PMO staffer David Curtin.

Somewhere in County Mayo, an old Irish farmer likely still has a good giggle over the three Canadian dolts who got themselves stuck on Corkscrew Hill with a flat, and lacked enough savvy among them to change it.

Rajotte recalls they laughed at what counted for “brain power of two politicians and the prime minister’s speech writer.”

Luckily, Stephen Harper doesn’t rely on Jason Kenney to change tires.

London: Second child of Moe Maraachli and Sana Nader born with same disease as their first one

Windsor, Ont., parents lose fight to take terminally ill baby son home to die
By The Canadian Press | The Canadian Press – Thu, 17 Feb, 2011 6:38 PM EST

Moe Maraachli poses for a photo with his thirteen-month-old son Joseph, who suffers …

LONDON, Ont. – Moe Maraachli and Sana Nader know that their son Joseph doesn’t have much time left.

But the Windsor, Ont., couple is now facing the prospect of watching him die what they say will be a painful death in hospital instead of peacefully at home.

“They want to kill (the) baby,” Moe Maraachli said Thursday in an interview from London, Ont., after losing a court fight to stop doctors from taking 13-month-old Joseph off life support.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Helen Rady ordered the parents to comply with the doctors’ decision to remove the boy’s breathing tube by 10 a.m. Monday.

Maraachli and Nader wanted Joseph, who suffers from a rare, progressive, neurological disease, to undergo a tracheotomy so he could breathe on his own and they could take him home for his final days.

“We (want to) help him die peacefully with mom, dad at home,” said Maraachli.

Doctors at the London Health Sciences Centre have refused to perform the procedure on Joseph.

According to Geoff Snow, the couple’s lawyer, doctors say the baby is in a vegetative state and the procedure won’t treat his condition. But the couple fears their son will die a painful death if the breathing tube is removed.

Maraachli and his wife have been through this heartbreak before. Their daughter had the same disease and died almost nine years ago at the age of 18 months. She received a tracheotomy and lived at home for six months.

“When she passed away, she was in my arms, peacefully,” said Maraachli.

The judge agreed with an earlier decision by Ontario’s Consent and Capacity Board.

“What can we do? If I want to fight for my baby and keep him, they’ll put me in jail,” said Maraachli, who also has a seven-year-old son.

Maraachli said he and his family will spend as much time as possible with Joseph between now and Monday to say their goodbyes.

— By Pat Hewitt in Toronto

An immigration database