Arthur said Arab and Haitian drivers incompetent, their cabs dirty

Top court sides with radio host in Montreal cabbie fight

Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier MP Andre Arthur talks to reporters outside the House of Commons in Ottawa, on Monday, April 3, 2006. The Supreme Court of Canada has cleared Arthur of paying damages to a group of Montreal taxi drivers. (Fred Chartrand / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Supreme Court of Canada judgment
The Canadian Press
Date: Thursday Feb. 17, 2011 12:17 PM ET

OTTAWA — The country’s top court has cleared a controversial radio host-turned-politician of paying damages to a group of Montreal taxi drivers, despite racist comments he directed at Haitian and Arab cabbies.

The Supreme Court of Canada, by a 6-1 margin, said Thursday comments Andre Arthur made on radio station CKVL-FM in 1998 about cabbies of Arab and Haitian origin did not result in a personal injury.

“Mr. Arthur made accusations of uncleanliness, arrogance, incompetence, corruption and ignorance of official languages,” Justice Marie Deschamps wrote for the majority.

“By referring to Creole as speaking ‘nigger,’ he disparaged and expressed contempt for the language primarily used by Haitians to communicate with one another. As well, when he called drivers of Arab origin ‘fakirs,’ he made fun of and even ridiculed them.”

However, because Montreal cabbies are a large and “heterogeneous” group, the cabbies did not suffer a personal injury, the court ruled. It nonetheless called his remarks “extreme, irrational, sensationalist.”

The court ruled that right-thinking people would not have taken Arthur’s comments seriously. “He had become known for his distasteful and provocative language,” Deschamps wrote.

Justice Rosalie Abella dissented, saying that the words Arthur used caused injury to the group.

Arthur has since won election to the House of Commons as Independent MP for the riding of Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier in the Quebec City area.

In his 1998 remarks, Arthur said Arab and Haitian drivers were incompetent, that their cabs were dirty and that they obtained their licences by bribery.

That sparked a class-action lawsuit filed by Fares Bou Malhab, president of a taxi drivers’ union, on behalf of over 1,000 Arab and Haitian cabbies.

A trial judge found Arthur’s comments to be racist and defamatory and ordered the radio host and Metromedia CMR, which owned CKVL at the time, to pay $220,000 in damages plus court costs.

The Quebec Court of Appeal, in a 2-1 split decision, later reversed the judgment.

Vancouver: Asian community furious over family reunification cuts

Immigration cuts mean some more likely to die before reaching Canada: lawyer
By Suzanne Fournier, Postmedia News
February 10, 2011

If Immigration Canada is planning to dramatically reduce the number of visas issued this year for family reunification, it’s going to disappoint a lot of people, Vancouver’s Asian community says.
Photograph by: Faith Saribas, Reuters

VANCOUVER — Vancouver’s Asian community is furious over allegations Immigration Canada is planning to dramatically reduce the number of visas issued this year for family reunification.

The reduction in visas in 2011 cuts to the heart of Asian and South Asian families, who especially cherish the contribution of elders to family life.

Seniors are being sentenced to a 13-year wait that many of them won’t survive, say immigration experts.

Thomas Tam, chief executive officer of SUCCESS immigrant services, called the reduced visa numbers “a big surprise and so disappointing — everyone is angry.”

“Traditionally for Asian immigrants, the reunion with grandparents is very important. Parents rely on them for childcare and our community looks after grandparents. They are not a financial burden.”

Immigration Canada is planning for “fewer immigrant visas overall, a reduction from 230,450 in 2010 to 217,800 visas in 2011, a drop of over five per cent,” noted Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland, who obtained the data under an Access to Information request.

“You’re more likely now to get a coffin than a visa to Canada,” Kurland said Wednesday.


Although Kurland notes there will be slight increases in visas issued in 2011 to business immigrants, such as entrepreneurs or wealthy investors, “the only group chosen for the back of the bus are parents and grandparents.”

Particularly hard-hit will be elders from cities such as New Delhi, “which will see the number of its visas drop from 4,500 in 2010 to 2,500 in 2011,” said Kurland.

Charan Gill of Progressive Intercultural Community Services was incensed at the apparent drastic reduction in the numbers of parents being allowed to emigrate from India.

“Already we have so many families waiting five, six years to bring parents over. Now people will die before they see their family in Canada,” said Gill.

And while Asia/Pacific visa quotas are reduced overall, the City of Beijing appears to have been given an increase.

“That means there will be only 11,200 parents/grandparents come to Canada from China in all of 2011, but one in four of them will be from Beijing,” noted Kurland. “Everyone else has to wait.”

Johanne Nadeau, spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada, cautioned that “the visa targets only serve as a planning tool to help allocate scarce resources, manage applications and minimize processing delays across a global network.” Nadeau said the “visa targets change from year to year” and are “adjusted as necessary.”

It would be “wrong to infer from planning numbers how many people Canada will actually welcome in 2011,” she said.

Nadeau noted that, in 2010, Canada “welcomed the highest level of permanent residents in 50 years.”

© Copyright (c) The Province

Things you might not know about immigration

Does immigration really hurt Canada?
Read these and email us your opinion. We’ll publish them here.
By Centre for Immigration Policy Reform

According to The Centre for Immigration Policy Reform, these are facts about immigration? Do you think they’re accurate? Send us your opinions and we’ll publish them below: Email us:

Did you know?

1. Immigration increases the size of Canada’s population and economy but does not improve Canadians’ standard of living.

2. It is estimated that recent immigrants receive billions of dollars a year more in benefits than they pay in taxes.

3. Only 17% of immigrants admitted each year are fully assessed on the basis of their employment and language skills.

4. While the average age of Canadians is increasing and the proportion of seniors will almost double in the next few decades, immigration will do very little to offset this trend despite the widely held belief that it will do so.

5. There are more than 100,000 parents and grandparents of immigrants who have met requirements and are waiting to enter Canada. They will receive the benefits of our public health care system without having contributed to costs by paying income tax.

6. Most of the quarter of a million people who immigrate to Canada every year are not interviewed by a visa officer to determine if they are well-suited to integrate into Canadian society and its economy.

7. Far more Canadians want immigration levels lowered rather than increased. Despite this, and the lack of economic or demographic benefits to Canadians, we maintain the highest per capita intake in the world.

8. In terms of Canadians’ attitude towards a multicultural mosaic, a 2007 survey indicated that 18% thought that it is reasonable to accommodate religious and cultural minorities while 53% thought immigrants should adapt fully to Canadian culture.

9. The number of visible minority neighbourhoods in Canada’s three largest cities increased from six in 1981 to 254 in 2001.

10. Canada’s acceptance rate for refugee claimants is three times the average of other countries, suggesting that two-thirds of those accepted would probably not be considered genuine refugees by other countries.

11. In 2003 Canada accepted 76% of refugee claims by Sri Lankans while Britain accepted 2% and Germany 4%. That year Canada accepted 1,749 refugee claims by Sri Lankans while all the other countries together accepted only 1,160.

12. Canada, uniquely among nations, allows nationals of many democratic countries with good human rights records to make refugee claims in Canada on the basis that they fear persecution in their homelands.

13. As cities have increased in population, largely because of international immigration, urban expansion has devoured a large amount of Canada’s best, Class 1, agricultural land, consuming 7,400 kilometers between 1971 and 2001 and occupying 7% of the total during this period.

"Vital" for Canada: Marvin Anthony Small "enriches" our society with reggae and drug-dealing

Police officer acquitted of assaulting drug dealer
Published On Wed, 16 Feb 2011

Marvin Anthony Small, pictured in 2010, testified that a Toronto police officer broke his jaw during a confrontation in 2008.
Peter Small
Courts Bureau

A judge has found a police officer not guilty of breaking a drug-dealing reggae musician’s jaw with his knee during an on-street detention.

Ontario provincial court Justice Ann Nelson acquitted Const. Jason Goss, 36, of one count of assault causing bodily harm on Marvin Anthony Small, 31.

Small testified at the trial in July that a police officer kneed him “full force” in the jaw and broke it while he lay handcuffed on a west Toronto sidewalk on suspicion of carrying drugs at around 3 a.m. on April 23, 2008. Continue reading

Etobicoke is sweet home to Nur Chowdhury, assasin of president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

Convicted assassin living freely in Etobicoke
Published On Tue, 15 Feb 2011

Nur Chowdhury was once Bangladesh’s High Commissioner in Hong Kong.
South China Morning Post photo
Amy Dempsey
Staff Reporter

The shots that killed the founding father of Bangladesh early one morning in 1975 came blasting out of a Sten submachine-gun held by a man named Nur Chowdhury.

Thirty-five years later, the assassin who pulled the trigger on president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman lives quietly in a modest condo building in Etobicoke.

He has never been punished for his crimes.

Chowdhury was sentenced to death for his role in the military coup that killed the president, his family and others in a massacre that catapulted the country into chaos.

But here in Canada, the death penalty is exactly what is keeping the 61-year-old man safe: Ottawa doesn’t deport people who face execution.

For that reason, Chowdhury remains here in limbo, even though Bangladesh wants him to face justice at home.

His refugee claims have been denied and courts have ordered him removed from the country, but that is not likely to happen anytime soon.

Chowdhury, who has lived in Canada since 1996, was tried in Bangladesh in absentia. He and 11 others were convicted and sentenced to death in April 2001 in a series of trials that Amnesty International declared were fair and unbiased.

Five of Chowdhury’s co-conspirators were hanged in Bangladesh last January after a much-delayed trial and lengthy appeal process.

According to court evidence, Chowdhury and a companion shot and killed the president with their submachine guns.

In a statement submitted to the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, Chowdhury submitted an alibi for the day of the assassination, claiming he was helping his future wife and her brother finish a rush order of T-shirts for use at an upcoming rally in support of the president.

The board rejected his defence and called the coup “a carefully laid out plan to eliminate a whole family.”

Though the Canadian government obtained a court order to have him removed from the country several years ago, officials have since advised Bangladesh that Chowdhury will not deported as long as the death sentence sticks, according to sources who spoke to Maclean’s.

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2001 that Ottawa cannot extradite fugitives unless the government obtains assurances they will not be executed.

If Bangladesh dropped Chowdhury’s punishment to a lesser sentence, extradition could be granted. But senior officials at Bangladesh’s High Commission in Ottawa told Maclean’s that Dhaka can no more undo the decisions of its high court than Canada can.

Bangladesh foreign minister Dipu Moni is expected to raise the issue when she visits Ottawa this week.

Assan Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi journalist living in Toronto who is unrelated to Nur Chowdhury, said it is no secret in the local Bangladeshi community that he has been living here.

“I think most people think that he’s a criminal,” said Chowdhury, who also works for Bangladeshi-Canadian Community Services. “Whatever they may have thought in 1975 they think he’s a criminal now. And he should be sent back.”

According to court records, Nur Chowdhury and several truckloads of soldiers went to the president’s lakeside home in Dhaka in the middle of the night wearing battle fatigues and bearing firearms.

The group had conspired to assassinate Mujib and his family members and install a military-backed leader in his place.

Chowdhury was 24 at the time, had recently left the military and only joined the plot two days before the attack, according to reports.

The group entered the house shortly after 5 a.m. According to evidence, after finding the president inside, Chowdhury and a companion killed him.

The group of assassins also slaughtered several other members of the leader’s family, including his wife, eldest son and two newlywed daughters-in-law. When they found his 10-year-old son hiding behind a chair, they took him outside and shot him as well.

The perpetrators weren’t held to account until 1996, when Sheikh Hasina Wazed, daughter of the assassinated leader, became prime minister.

Chowdhury and others were then recalled from diplomatic posts abroad, where they were stationed in the aftermath of the coup.

But Chowdhury never returned to Bangladesh. He and his wife, Rashida Khanam, landed in Canada the next month and were granted visitor status. They filed refugee claims soon after.

In 2005, Chowdhury and Khanam bought a $185,000 third-floor condo in central Etobicoke and have lived there peacefully since.

Residents in the well-maintained three-storey building said they see Chowdhury around but don’t know him very well. One woman said he always says hello when he passes her in the hallway.


Chowdhury, who has surrendered his Canadian passport, must pay weekly visits to immigration authorities in Toronto because he is technically under a deportation order, which means he must keep the government aware of his whereabouts.

Years ago, Chowdhury used to be seen at some Toronto Bangladeshi community events, Assan Chowdhury remembers.

“In one case, I think, one person slapped him. You can’t just go and slap someone in Canada, even if he’s been charged with killing several people.”

Since then, Chowdhury said, “he’s kept a low profile.”

With files from San Grewal

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to cut visas for skilled workers

Visas for skilled workers set to drop
Immigrants needed as economy improves, industry groups say
Last Updated: Wednesday, February 16, 2011 | 3:44 PM ET
By Louise Elliott, CBC News
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney boasted this week of a huge increase in immigration to Canada in 2010. But new figures show the department plans cuts to overseas visas in 2011. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Employment and industry groups are reacting negatively to a government plan to cut substantially the number of visas issued for federal skilled workers this year.

New figures obtained through Access to Information show the government will cut all economic class visas by nearly seven per cent, and federal skilled worker visas specifically by 20 per cent, in 2011.

“The notion of reducing the number of skilled workers we aim to take in 2011 is certainly a move in the wrong direction given where we expect the economy right across the country to be heading,” said Elsbeth Mehrer, director of research and workforce strategy for Calgary Economic Development.

In question period Monday, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney noted that in 2010 Canada hit a record high by welcoming “281,000 permanent residents to Canada, 106,000 more than the Liberals did shortly after they came to office and cut immigration levels.”
Overseas visa targets 2010 2011 % change
Federal skilled worker visa 69,915 55,900 – 20

Provincial nominees visas 36,650 40,300 + 9
Total economic class visa 161,630 151,000 – 6.6

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada/Access to information release

And when asked about his department’s cuts to another category, visas for parents and grandparents, Kenney responded by emphasizing his long-standing effort to boost economic immigration.

“There are tradeoffs. And this government is focused on the priority of Canadians, which is economic growth and prosperity,” he said. “Mr. Speaker we need more newcomers working and paying taxes and contributing to our health-care system. And that’s the focus of our immigration sytem.”

The problem is, the government isn’t robbing Peter to pay Paul — it’s robbing them both, says Richard Kurland, a Vancouver immigration lawyer.

Kurland, who obtained the target numbers through Access to Information, notes the government is not boosting economic visas overall. In fact, across all categories (including federal skilled workers, provincial nominees, Quebec skilled workers, and the Canadian experience and business classes) there will be 6.6 per cent fewer economic class visas issued this year over last.

“The 2011 targets dramatically show the substantial reduction in federal skilled workers and a slight increase in provincial selection,” Kurland says. “We really should be targeting more skilled workers to make up for Canadians’ inability to demographically reproduce. We need the young workers to pay the taxes to support the pensions for Canada’s aging population.”
Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland obtained details about planned cuts to overseas visa targets through Access to Information. (CBC)

Officials at Citizenship and Immigration caution that the targets found in the documents do not represent the final number of immigrants to be accepted this year. That’s because the targets are for overseas visas only and do not include inland claims.

However, experts say the extent of the cuts — specifically to parents and grandparents and skilled worker categories — mean there will undoubtedly be significantly fewer immigrants accepted in those categories this year.

Michael Atkinson, head of the Canadian Construction Association, says the cuts to the federal skilled worker category won’t affect the construction industry directly, because those companies have had trouble for years getting workers through the point system, which is heavily skewed toward post-secondary education and language proficiency.

But Atkinson is still concerned about the government’s motivation for cutting the economic visas overall.

“If the motivation behind reducing those target levels is, ‘Well gee, the economy is improving, we don’t need as many skilled workers,’ then I would suggest that is a huge mistake, given the fact that just our aging workforce, our aging population, our low fertility rate shows us and other industries that it is only going to get worse.

“We are facing bigger challenges in the future with respect to building our workforce and training them than we ever have before,” Atkinson says.

He adds his industry expects to face a shortfall of 400,000 workers by 2018 if government policies — both federal and provincial — don’t move with the times.


The irony, according to Mehrer, is that the government has managed to reduce wait times for federal skilled workers through a new system of ministerial instruction brought in in 2008. Workers under the old system still wait for years for a decision, but new applications that fit one of a list of 29 occupations are being processed in seven to eight months.

That success is leading many employers to believe the government’s current motivation is a political one, rather than a policy decision.

“It’s really difficult to say, but certainly the speculation I hear from employers here is that it’s based on political pressure that may be coming from other parts of Canada, where the unemployment remains higher and where the understanding of the labour market dynamics in Alberta and in much of the west are less clear,” Mehrer says.

She adds that the economic recession is no argument for the cuts, as things are improving rapidly out west.

“We’re already starting to see re-employment of Canadians and Albertans who lost their work during the recession,” Mehrer says.

“I’m already hearing from some industries who recognize that their talent pools are shrinking in terms of the skill set they are going to need. So as much as they may not be in foreign markets right now looking for talent, we certainly expect that by the latter half of this year there will be certain skill sets we simply won’t have available in the province.”

Louise Elliott is the immigration reporter for CBC Ottawa. She can be reached at

After living illegally in Canada, fraudster Han Lin Zeng finally deported

Millionaire loses bid to stay in Canada
Published 1 hour 27 minutes ago
Nicholas Keung
Immigration Reporter

A failed refugee claimant who feared an unjust trial and possible death penalty in China has lost his last bid to stay in Canada.

Han Lin Zeng, 65, was put on a direct flight to Beijing at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday after the Federal Court of Canada denied him a chance to stay his deportation order this morning.

“The applicant’s arguments are speculative as there is no evidence that the death penalty or torture can reasonably be anticipated in this case,” Justice Richard Boivin wrote in a three-page decision.

Zeng, who once owned one of China’s largest private enterprises, faces “contract fraud” charges amounting to $13 million from a business merger that went sour.

He has claimed that he was framed for fraud by corrupt officials there, who sided with his business partners.

“My client is quite stoic,” said his lawyer, Daniel Kingwell, who broke the news to Zeng. “He’s resigned, devastated and frightened.”

Fearing an unfair trial, Zeng fled to Canada in 2000 while local authorities in Sichuan initiated an investigation. He is on Interpol’s wanted list.

After staying in Toronto illegally for four years, Zeng filed a refugee claim in 2004. The refugee board declined his asylum request due to his potential criminal involvement.

An immigration pre-removal risk assessment deemed Zeng safe to return to China.

“I have real concerns that my client will face death penalty. Our expert witness believed Mr. Zeng has ‘a high likelihood’ that he’d face death penalty if returned to China,” said Kingwell.

Zeng’s lawyers have asked Canadian officials to ensure assurances from China that Zeng will not face execution in China before putting him on a flight. Government officials have not responded to their request.

Montreal: Funeral for Bad News Brown to be held Monday

Funeral Monday for slain Montreal rapper
February 16, 2011 3:41 PM
Paul (Bad News Brown) Frappier.
Photograph by: ., Facebook image

MONTREAL – A funeral for the late musician and rap artist Paul Frappier, also known as Bad News Brown, will be held Monday in St. Henri.

Family and friends will gather at St. Zotique Church, 4565 Notre Dame St. W., at 10:30 a.m. for the service.

Frappier, 33, was killed Friday night in Little Burgundy after leaving his girlfriend’s house to meet someone. Police have not made an arrest in the case.
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Montreal: Terrell Lloyd Smith and Carey Isaac Regis face five charges each

Preliminary inquiry begins into murders in Old Montreal
Montreal Gazette
February 15, 2011

A preliminary inquiry began Tuesday at the Montreal courthouse in a murder case where two men are charged with killing two people in a brazen shooting at a clothing store in Old Montreal on March 18. Continue reading

Toronto: Arrest warrants for first degree murder issued for Aasif Patel and Wariskhan Pathan

Police issue warrants for suspects in fatal shooting
Toronto Police have issued arrest warrants for Aasif Patel, 19, and Wariskhan Pathan, 19, in the shooting death of Lorenzo Martinez.

Date: Tuesday Feb. 15, 2011 4:37 PM ET

Toronto Police have issued arrest warrants for two suspects in the shooting death of a young Toronto man.

Shortly before 8 p.m. on Friday, police responded to a call about a shooting at an apartment building at 70 Stevenvale Drive.

When they arrived, they found a man in the lobby suffering from a gunshot wound. He died en route to hospital.

On Monday, police identified the victim as 23-year-old Lorenzo Martinez.

On Tuesday, investigators issued arrest warrants for first degree murder for Aasif Patel and Wariskhan Pathan, both 19 years of age.

Police are warning members of the public not to approach the men, who are considered armed and dangerous. They are asking the two suspects to contact a lawyer and turn themselves in.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS.

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