Wednesday, 04 January 2017 16:50

Journalism: What is Lost in Translation

by Our National Correspondent in Ottawa

Lucile Davier, currently a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa, has spent many years looking at journalism that relies on translating from a foreign language. In a sense, her work examines the implications of reporters and editors working in multilingual settings. She has authored two studies, both of which looked at journalism in Switzerland, including stories leading up to the 2009 minaret ban in the central European nation. 

New Canadian Media interviewed Davier by e-mail to better understand her findings and any lessons Canada can learn given its own multilingual-multicultural context. 

Questions relating to The paradoxical invisibility of translation in the highly multilingual context of news agencies (2014)

1. Your study focused on two news agencies Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Agence télégraphique suisse (ATS) in Switzerland. Why did you choose these two news agencies?

I wanted to investigate multilingual news agencies based in Switzerland and their coverage of a Swiss political event. The Swiss bureaus of Associated Press (since 2009) and Reuters only produce news in English. This leaves us with two multilingual players: the global Agence France-Presse (AFP), which has a regional bureau in Geneva and produces information in French and English, and the national Agence télégraphique suisse (ats), which covers Switzerland in German, French and Italian, the three official languages of the country.

2. What would you say were your three main findings from this study?

To start with, I think it is important to clarify that these wire agencies are B2B services: they sell their stories to other media outlets, large companies and governmental offices. In other words, their stories are circulated very widely in the media.

First, I confirmed that translation is everywhere in news agencies: editorial meetings are multilingual, reporters deal with sources in a second language every day, most quotations are translated, etc.

Second, I showed that translation is hidden: it is never mentioned as such neither in the stories nor in the newsroom, and it is considered by the staff as simple and straightforward.

This combination of high multilingualism and invisibility of translation may distort the information. When they are not sure they have understood a source correctly, journalists (especially young ones) are afraid of asking colleagues because translation is supposed to be so easy. Moreover, their stories are not subjected to bilingual revision, so inaccurate translations can go past unnoticed. Eventually, journalists avoid sources in a second language as much as possible in order not to have to deal with translation.

3. What do you think are the implications from your findings? What do journalists who work in multilingual contexts need to know about translations in their reporting/editing? Is there something like "lost[to readers] in translation"?

There are important implications for the training of journalists in Switzerland, and possibly in other multilingual countries (I am currently conducting a similar study in Canada). I believe that the language proficiency of journalists should be enhanced during their education. Their translation skills should be developed as well: I am a translator myself, so I can tell that mastering a second language is not a sufficient condition to be able to translate.

I would like to help audiences read news from multilingual media or in a multilingual country with a critical eye. There is a loss in every translation, even good translations, because information gets lost, added and changed when it crosses linguistic and cultural barriers. If you read online news, try to be critical: for example, did the President of China speak in English? Or was his speech translated? By whom? By the Chinese government? By a news agency?

Questions relating to 'Cultural translation’ in news agencies? A plea to broaden the definition of translation (2015)

1. This study examined the role of culture in news translation, in the specific context of a debate in Switzerland (2007-10) over banning the building of Islamic minarets. What do you think were the 3 main findings?

Reporting about a foreign event for a local audience means crossing two borders: a language border and a cultural border. This study specifically looked at cultural borders. Given the time and space constraints newswire reporters face, these changes can be spotted in three textual phenomena.

The most common place for cultural information is background paragraphs. Background paragraphs are mostly situated at the end of a story and give general information about a region or a happening. My study showed that these paragraphs influence the way the readers understand the story. For instance, a paragraph saying that Muslims in Switzerland are “mainly from the Balkans and Turkey” may convey the idea for the readers that Muslims are foreigners.

Journalists also need to categorize sources for readers who are not familiar with them, for example to explain if a political party is left-wing or right-wing. In the case of foreign news in particular, these categorizations cannot include very detailed information and guide the reader towards a biased interpretation.

While reporting about a foreign event, journalists come to grips with culture-specific terms. They can either borrow a foreign reality and explain it (e.g., “the Federal Council – or Swiss government”), or substitute it with a word referring to a known reality (e.g., “the Cabinet”). Replacing a foreign notion altogether with a familiar concept may be easier to understand for the readers, but it also unfairly makes them believe that the notion is similar to what they know. For instance, using the word “referendum” in French refers to a rare political event in Canada and France. In Switzerland, however, a “votation” is a form of referendum but is organized at least four times a year, which is typical of a semi-direct democracy.

2. Do you think the debate over the minarets would have been different had reporters accounted for cultural factors in their reporting/translation of interviews?

This was not covered in the article under discussion, but is the subject of a broader research which will be reported in a book coming out this April. It will discuss how the representations journalists have of translation influence the choice of their sources. To cut a long story short, journalists have negative conceptions of translation: they find it dull and tedious, so they try to avoid it whenever they can. As a result, they unconsciously favour sources able to speak their native language. For instance, French-speaking reporters quoted a disproportionate number of French-speaking Muslim representatives, who traditionally hold more radical views of Islam than their German-speaking counterparts. Had they translated more, they would have given a voice to more moderate visions of Islam in the country. Who knows, it may have made Swiss voters more empathetic towards the Muslim population.

3. What do you think are the implications of this study for journalists working in multicultural contexts like Canada?

Cultural explanations may look more important than “linguistic” translation, but I believe both phenomena are just two sides of the same medal. My study showed that news agency journalists tend to copy and paste the same explanations about an event from one news item to the next one, which can reinforce cultural prejudices. However, if reporters integrate new background information from time to time (let’s be realistic…) by translating it from other stories (from other language communities or regions), they may introduce new points of view and widen the mindsets of their audiences.

Readers could also learn to be more critical about the concise background information they are given in a news report. When you come across cultural explanations, you can try to figure out what information was included or left out given the time and space limitations the journalists need to work with. Could this explanation be a caricature of a more complex reality? Where could you find more detailed background information?

Lucile Davier is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa and a lecturer at the University of Geneva (Switzerland). In 2013, she earned a joint doctoral degree in translation studies and communication studies from the University of Geneva and the University Sorbonne Nouvelle (France). During the academic year 2012-2013, she was a visiting scholar at the University of Leuven (Belgium). Her research interests include news translation, convergent journalism and ethnography of translation/journalism. She has also freelanced as a professional translator (language combination: FR-DE-EN-ES) since 2006. Davier can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in Arts & Culture
Monday, 08 August 2016 15:45

‘We are Just as Safe as a Year Ago’

by Our National Correspondent

Recent terror attacks in Europe have unnerved Canadians and many wonder which nation or what out-of-the-way tourist spot may be the next venue for a suicide bomber. New Canadian Media asked two experts on the evolution of terrorism, Amarnath Amarasingham and Phil Gurski, to give us their latest threat perceptions.

This interview was conducted by e-mail. 

NCM: Do recent attacks in western Europe, including some involving refugees, and the anti-immigrant sentiment stoked by Brexit alter your views on the threat faced by Canada?

PHIL: The terrorist threat to Canada is not more significant now than it was a year ago (i.e. during the Paris attacks – see Ralph Goodale’s statement). The recent events in France and Germany do not have a direct bearing on what may happen in Canada: that is why the Canadian government does not tend to raise the level in the aftermath of overseas attacks. The level is set based on intelligence and relates directly to the threat to this country.

 

AMAR: Having said that, I do think many people are worried about copycat attacks, especially by individuals who are already inspired by the ISIS (Islamic State) or AQ (Al Qaeda) message. As we saw in Europe in July, several attacks happened almost back to back. This is often not a coincidence, but involves individuals who see other attacks and are inspired to launch their own. Or, more operationally speaking, see a law enforcement crack down around the corner and speed up their own plans.

 

NCM: As you know, Canada is at the forefront of resetting refugees caught in the Syrian quagmire. Do recent events give you pause?

PHIL: With respect to the refugee issue, my guess would be that the small number of attacks tied to refugees in Europe would not play into the threat to Canada. The situations in Europe and Canada are starkly different. Europe was faced with an onslaught of millions of refugees whom they were not able to screen: hence it was possible for those with ties to terrorist groups to mingle with legitimate refugees. Canada took in far fewer and these were carefully vetted by CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) and CBSA. (Canadian Border Services Agency). While it is possible that an extremist would be able to get through, it is less likely. Here is a link to my blogs on the refugee issue here and here. Canada has never had the same scale of anti-immigrant lunacy we are seeing in the wake of Brexit and I do not think we ever will – at least not in the near future.  Canadians are largely pro-immigration – we have been raised that way.

AMAR: Canadians are certainly pro-immigration, but I think it’s within bounds. As we saw with the last election, most Canadians (and polls confirm this) make a distinction between immigrants and refugees. They see the latter as somehow illegitimate, as people who milk the system, as people who are potentially dangerous and so on. And as we also saw with the last election, when attacks happen abroad, like the Paris attacks, where one of the attackers was rumored to have traveled on a fake passport through migrant networks, it does have an effect here. This happens even though it was one person, and, as Phil says, we are separated from these conflict zones by large bodies of water, which allows us to choose who we let in very carefully.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"][Canadians] see [refugees] as somehow illegitimate, as people who milk the system, as people who are potentially dangerous and so on.[/quote]

NCM: Phil has previously written about radicalization being an "idiosyncratic" process: there is perhaps no pre-determined pathway. Does that make the challenge of dealing with radicalization an impossible task?

PHIL: It is not “impossible” to deal with radicalisation to violence even if the process is idiosyncratic.  The inputs are unique to every person: the outputs (or the signs) are usually quite obvious to those who know what to look for (see my book The Threat from Within for a fuller discussion). I am no longer privy to the “chatter” about Canada.  

AMAR: I agree with most of that, but there’s a difference between whether groups “out there” hate us and whether we are making our citizens feel included and welcome. On the one hand, there is no real evidence that increased inclusion prevents radicalization to violence. In fact, I’ve interviewed fighters who still love the country they grew up in, never experienced racism, etc. They left to fight in Syria because they saw it as a religious obligation to defend fellow Muslims. 

NCM: What's the latest "chatter" about Canada? Are we in the crosshairs of the various terrorist groups or are we less so because of our humanitarian and empathetic response to the refugee crises? 

PHIL: I am no longer privy to the “chatter” about Canada.  In a weird way, Amar is closer to this now than I am. It must be said, however, that there never was much “chatter” about Canada when I was with CSIS or CSE (Communications Security Establishment).  We have never been a primary target of any Islamist terrorist group.  This is not to say we can down tools and lower our vigilance but we will never garner the same attention as the US, the UK, France or others.

AMAR: We are certainly on the radar. Canada often shows up in speeches by ISIS spokesman Adnani, and in some of the jihadist Twitter and Telegram platforms. The question is whether “chatter” constitutes a real threat and something we should put our resources into protecting against. A good example are these “kill lists” that often get published by pro-ISIS hacking groups online. These lists are published in fairly obscure, by mainstream standards, jihadi platforms and the only people who often know about them are people like me and Phil, who have nothing better to do than to watch this stuff. A recent kill list had thousands of names for example. So, yes, we should be vigilant, but we should also be careful not to over-react. 

NCM: Lastly, are we more safe or less safe as a result of the change in government in Ottawa last fall? The Liberals have made "inclusion" a big part of their narrative, including immigrant and refugee inclusion. Does that bode well to minimize the risk of terrorism and radicalization?

PHIL: If you look at the latest Dabiq (#16), you see a section (page 30) where IS tells us why it hates us.  Whether we have a Conservative or Liberal (or even NDP!) government is irrelevant.  Terrorist groups like IS have a laundry list of grievances against everyone and they don’t take the time to read about our more “inclusive” society and change their view.  We are, to put it simply, an enemy because of who and what we are and the likelihood that this will change is next to nil. Still, it must be stressed that we are relatively safe in Canada.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]Whether we have a Conservative or Liberal (or even NDP!) government is irrelevant.[/quote]

AMAR: Phil is right that for some of these groups, the bar for inclusion is quite high – like some of these “Sharia4Belgium” type groups who don’t feel “included” unless they are living under Sharia Law. It’s not a level of inclusion that people in the West are ever going to accept. On the other hand, I think we in Canada are indeed doing something right, even if we can’t really put our finger on what that might be. The challenge is to not screw it up. 

Phil Gurski worked for more than  three decades in Canadian intelligence, including 15 at Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), and is the author of the Threat from Within and the forthcoming Western Foreign Fighters (Rowan and Littlefield).

Amarnath Amarasingam is a Fellow at The George Washington University’s Program on Extremism and tweets at @AmarAmarasingam 

Published in Top Stories

Commentary by Fred Maroun in Ottawa

“Immigration played a role in the Brexit campaign”, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Since there were only four percentage points between the winning side (to leave the European Union) and the losing side, it is likely that this factor was decisive.

Concerns over immigration have lately been widespread across the West. They seem to have played an important role in Donald Trump’s success in the Republican primaries, and seem to be fuelling the growing popularity of hard right-wing parties in Europe.

These concerns represent a mixed bag. There is undoubtedly some xenophobia, but there are also valid concerns about the risk that immigration places on our liberal values.

I emigrated from Lebanon in 1984. My main motivation was to live in a society that shared my liberal values, where women and gay people are treated more fairly, and where freedom of expression is guaranteed.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]Today, I wonder if Canada and the West in general will continue to be a haven for future generations who are fleeing tyranny.[/quote]

Sharing liberal values

Many of the newcomers do not share the West’s liberal values and do not easily change their outlook once they arrive. As reported in The Guardian in 2009, a Gallup Poll found that “None of the 500 British Muslims interviewed believed that homosexual acts were morally acceptable”.

France fared better in the same poll, and “35% of French Muslims found homosexual acts to be acceptable”.

Both Britain and France have since then legalized same-sex marriage, a step well beyond simply tolerating homosexuality. If Muslims were in the majority in Britain and France, it is unlikely that same-sex marriage would have become the law.

Canadian Muslim reformer, Raheel Raza, wrote in reference to the niqab, “In the 25 years I have called Canada home, I have seen a steady rise of Muslim women being strangled in the pernicious black tent”.

Another Canadian Muslim reformer, Farzana Hassan, wrote in her book “Unveiled”, “To live strictly according to sharia is the goal of conservative Muslim families in Canada. These are the values they are imparting to their young children”.

Equality of cultures

Interestingly, our liberal values often discourage us from fighting back against attacks on these very same values. The politicians who raise concerns about immigration tend to be demagogues, such as Trump and hard right-wingers such as France’s Marine Le Pen, leader of the Front National.

If those politicians come to power, however, we cannot trust them to protect our liberal values. Demagogues pander to whatever political stand will get them elected, and hard right-wingers do not favour equal rights for minorities, a core principle of liberal values.

A claim often made by some liberals is that all cultures are equal and, therefore, we have no right to impose our culture on others. Even assuming that this claim is true, it only means that we should not forcefully go into other countries and impose our values there.

It does not take away our right to protect our own culture.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]This is not a relationship of equals. It is a relationship of subservience.[/quote]

For example, extreme conservative Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia expect visitors to comply with their cultural practices, such as women covering up in public, yet we allow visitors and even immigrants to our countries to disregard our values by wearing the niqab in public.

This is not a relationship of equals. It is a relationship of subservience.

Cowering on the sidelines

Moderate Western politicians must protect our liberal values by taking reasonable measures that respect human rights. For example, many Syrian refugees have been welcomed in the West and many more are expected to arrive.

Yet, as noted by Amnesty International, “Gulf countries including Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain have offered zero resettlement places to Syrian refugees”. The West should demand more participation from rich Muslim countries to ensure that refugees find homes that match their social values.

Another reasonable measure might be screening potential migrants based on their existing values and their ability to adapt to Western norms such as respect for LGBT rights and women’s rights. Once they have immigrated, there should be restrictions on some cultural practices.

As both Raheel Raza and another Canadian Muslim reformer Tarek Fatah have demanded, the niqab and the burka should be banned in public places.

Those of us who believe in liberal values have a right and even a duty to protect them. Centrist and left-wing politicians should be at the forefront of this battle rather than cowering on the sidelines, leaving the floor to illiberal politicians.

Defending our values is important not only for the West, but also to potential immigrants who wish to leave oppressive societies. Refusing to fight for our values is dangerous for us and a disservice to new immigrants.


Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. He writes at http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/author/fred-maroun/ and http://www.jpost.com/Blogger/Fred-Maroun.

{module NCM Blurb}

Published in Commentary

by Alireza Ahmadian in Vancouver

More than 160 Canadians lost their lives, more than 1,000 were wounded, and the government spent over $20 billion during Canada’s mission in Afghanistan.

Stephen M. Saideman, a scholar and the Paterson Chair in International Affairs at Carleton University, re-evaluates Canada’s performance in Afghanistan in his new book Adapting in the Dust: Lessons Learned from Canada’s War in Afghanistan.

Why Afghanistan and Kandahar

“Canada did not go to Afghanistan to turn it into a democracy that respected human rights and fostered functioning institutions,” Saideman writes. Canada’s objectives were to support its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies, particularly the U.S., and change its own international standing.

NATO connects Canada to Europe and gives Canada, at least in theory, equal standing to the more powerful U.S., writes Saideman. It may also prevent American unilateralism, as the U.S. will have to take into account the preferences of other members of the organization.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“Canada did not go to Afghanistan to turn it into a democracy that respected human rights and fostered functioning institutions.”[/quote]

Moreover, Canada has a strong interest in strengthening its relationship with the U.S. given its economic interdependence, limited defence budget and geographic location. The Afghan mission cemented that relationship.

The insurgency was much less intense in northern and western Afghanistan, but Canada decided to deploy to Kandahar in southeastern Afghanistan, which became one of the most violent sites of the war.

The conventional argument has been that the Canadian Forces (CF) had intentionally downplayed the risks associated with a mission in Kandahar. However, Saideman says that the mission in Kandahar met the aspirations of then prime minister, Paul Martin, the CF, and department of foreign affairs, trade and development.

Each was interested in redefining their own role and Canada’s role in the international arena. They also believed they could make a meaningful difference on the ground.

Warriors and/or peacekeepers?

The CF, over the course of the mission, changed its rules of engagement, its culture, and its status, both in Canada and with its international partners, following the adverse effects of the Somalia Affair. The 1993 military scandal involved the death of 16-year-old Somali national Shidane Arone at the hands of two Canadian soldiers during a humanitarian mission in Somalia.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]Saideman is extremely critical of parliamentarians from all political parties in their handling of the mission in Afghanistan.[/quote]

The current generation of CF officers, Saideman says, were keen “to be seen as warriors and not as peacekeepers.” General Rick Hillier, former Chief of the Defence Staff for CF said “[t]he immense frustration at the ignorance of so many who labeled us ‘only’ peacekeepers had disappeared” following the Afghan mission.

Saideman notes the sacrifices made by the CF, but is also critical of characterizations of the Afghan Mission that “were too optimistic.” It is in the CF’s interest, the author says, to address this credibility gap created by its representation of the Afghan mission; “otherwise, it will be ignored as politicians will find its overly optimistic perspectives to be less than useful.”

Canadian Afghan detainee issue

In 2007, reports emerged that the CF and the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not address reports that Afghan detainees held by CF were subjected to torture after they were transferred to Afghan forces. This could have potentially constituted war crimes.

Saideman is extremely critical of parliamentarians from all political parties in their handling of the mission in Afghanistan. He says that the opposition parties’ fixation on the detainees was at the expense of addressing a much more important issue – the mission’s failure to establish any semblance of good governance.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]Is fighting a violent war in a foreign country to enhance our international standing a Canadian value?[/quote]

He also notes that members of the Standing Committee on National Defence do not have security clearances and are therefore not authorized to see classified documents.

In other words, they do not know what the CF may be doing. This lack of knowledge and context can prevent parliamentarians from holding the Minister of National Defence accountable.

A good start

“If Canada deployed troops to Afghanistan to build a self-sustaining, stable, secure democracy,” its mission failed, writes Saideman.

However, Canada supported its allies, honoured its commitments, and made serious efforts to change things for the better in Afghanistan. Therefore, the mission “was worth it insofar as it constituted significant support for the most important multilateral security organization and its most important ally.”

Saideman’s book is replete with strong analyses. However, it does not study the success or failures of Canada’s Counter-Insurgency principles and efforts. If Canada is to get involved in similar missions in the future, the lessons learned from this effort in Afghanistan will be helpful.

Furthermore, while the author says that deploying troops to Afghanistan “was consistent with Canadian interests and values,” he does not mention what those values are. Are they only to support our allies?

Since Saideman says that helping the Afghans and building a democracy were not Canadian objectives, then we have to ask a tough question: Is fighting a violent war in a foreign country to enhance our international standing a Canadian value?

Saideman’s normative assessment poses moral questions about “Canadian values” and the construction of national interests with regard to the Afghan mission that his book does not answer. His contribution remains a good start to revisiting Canada’s Afghan mission.

Alireza Ahmadian is a Vancouver-based writer and researcher. He has a master's degree of arts in international affairs and diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He has appeared on BBC World News and BBC Persian to discuss world affairs and is published on online forums such as New Canadian Media, BBC, and foreign policy blogs.


{module NCM Blurb}

Published in Books

by Shan Qiao in Toronto

New writers are using mentorship opportunities to create and share more diverse and inclusive stories about Toronto’s history and culture. 

“What we want to do is to create a living history of Toronto through literature [and] make it as diverse as the city itself,” says Helen Walsh, the president of Diaspora Dialogues  – a charitable society made up of writers, artists and performers. 

“I’m not surprised that there are at least 50 to 60 countries represented through Diaspora Dialogues – lots of voices from Asia, Africa and Northern Europe,” Walsh adds. “Often, people write about their own cultural background and we want to bring Toronto to life through literature.” 

Mentoring new writers 

Toronto’s iconic Old City Hall, a national historic site, was the stage for Diaspora Dialogues during Doors Open Toronto, an event that offers access to buildings with historical significance across the city.  

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“Often, people write about their own cultural background and we want to bring Toronto to life through literature.”[/quote]

Jamaican-born and Ottawa-raised emerging writer Dianah Smith is one of 12 writers who presented their work at Old City Hall. As a teacher and arts educator, Smith joined Diaspora Dialogues in 2014 for its mentoring program, in which she paired-up with Jamaican-Canadian writer and media professional Martin Mordecai. 

“For about six months, he helped me to get into [a] schedule of my draft and first novel, finalizing some of the scenes of my manuscript to get it ready for publication,” Smith says about her experience as a mentee. 

“It’s a story about a seven-year-old girl, Jemela Campbell, and her experience in immigrating from Jamaica to Canada and her first year in Canada,” Smith explains. 

The excerpt she reads is from the novel, with a working title The Promise of Foreign, which explores some of the challenges newcomer parents face in Canada such as finding work and keeping jobs. 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“As a racialized person of colour, as an immigrant, you don’t really feel represented in the publishing world.”[/quote]

Seeking recognition as writers 

“As a racialized person of colour, as an immigrant, you don’t really feel represented in the publishing world,” Smith explains. “You have names like Margaret Atwood, mainly white and middle-class people.” 

She says that while Diaspora Dialogues does not restrict white writers from participating, it also tries "to have alternative voices to give immigrants and indigenous people the opportunity to share their stories.” 

Author Mia Herrera adds that working in the Canadian publishing and writing industry is precarious. 

“A writer who publishes regularly makes a salary of about $12,000 a year. You can’t make a living on that,” she says. 

Born to Filipino parents, Herrera now lives in Bradford, Ont. She works in communications and marketing and says she continues to write because it is her passion. 

Smith says she is still in the process of finding an interested publisher for her novel. While her mentorship program ended last fall, she continues to participate in other programs led by Diaspora Dialogues such as Lunch and Learn events, workshops about pitching to agents, as well as mentee book readings such as the one at Old City Hall. 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“These questions arise regularly for her, particularly as she lives in such a racially-charged town as Georgina.”[/quote]

Placing immigrants in Toronto’s history 

After working with her mentor, writer David Layton, Herrera had her first novel Shade published by an independent feminist publisher, Inanna Publications. 

Shade tells the story of a Filipino-Canadian woman named Benni from the small town of Georgina, Ont., and her trip to the Philippines to visit her father. 

“Georgina is a town in York region about an hour-and-a-half north of here that is somewhat notorious for racist acts – disputes about flying the Confederate flag in schools and repeated incidents of racially-driven assaults,” Herrera tells the audience at Old City Hall. 

Georgina was the site of attacks against Asian Canadian fishermen in 2007, which involved car chases, damaged fishing gear, and anglers of Asian descent being pushed into the water. 

The scene Herrera reads is from the beginning of the novel about a breakup between Benni and her long-time Chinese-Canadian boyfriend, Tom. Instead of hearing a proposal, Benni is shocked to learn that Tom has hesitations about their future together because he is concerned about how Benni’s race will affect him and his family’s business. 

“As you will find in this scene and throughout my novel, Benni deals with questions of race and what it means to be a visible minority and second-generation immigrant in Canada,” Herrera says. “These questions arise regularly for her, particularly as she lives in such a racially-charged town as Georgina.” 

“Her experiences in the Philippines allow her to take the long view of not just her life in Georgina, but of her life in Canada, and what it means to be Canadian,” she adds. 


{module NCM Blurb}

Published in Books

by Danica Samuel in Toronto 

Café Babanussa is a story about mental illness that has never been told before. Through the journey of a young, mixed-race woman exploring Germany in the 1980s, we see how mental instability creeps into the lives of even the most beautiful of characters. 

Living in Germany after its separation following the Second World War, Ruby Edwards must adjust to the racist backlash she receives as a Black Canadian in Europe. 

The book’s author, Karen Hill, had her own struggles. She was unable to maintain a nine-to-five job due to challenges with tasks such as getting dressed, arriving at work on time, and dealing with co-workers. She neglected work, which led to her living in poverty and having to survive on welfare. 

Eventually, she took on creative hobbies such as cooking, art and poetry. As a poet, she became known for her work “What is my Culture?” and “A Breath for you.” 

Café Babanussa mirrors Hill’s life and she debated making it a memoir. She wrote the novel – her first – from 1989 to 2012. 

Hill died in 2014 at the age of 56. Café Babanussa was co-edited after her death by her brother, author Lawrence Hill. 

Freedom from a mental cage 

As a child, the book's main character, Ruby, had reoccurring dreams of a man smothering her that continued to plague her into adulthood. She would write in her diary, lock herself up in her room, and argue with figments of her imagination. 

Now a young adult, Ruby’s need for freedom and independence takes her to Germany, where her past demons and current insecurities intermingle to wreak havoc on her mind and personal relationships.  

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“She became entranced listening to all their voices, searching for some truth in their words.”[/quote]

She explores West Berlin and nearby France. A young man named Werner, a British friend named Emma, and a mysterious drug dealer named Dom – Ruby seeks acceptance from them in a time of racial tumult, as well as an escape from the growing turmoil in her mind. 

After becoming pregnant and not knowing whom the father of her child is, Ruby has an abortion that takes a toll on her mind and body. Dom dies from a drug overdose, leading Ruby to slip deeper into depression. Hill described this process as a form of self-isolation. 

“Ruby was beginning to slowly lock herself up inside her mind. More and more people were prying their way into her head talking to her,” Hill wrote. “She became entranced listening to all their voices, searching for some truth in their words.” 

Ruby later finds out that her mother also dealt with mental illness. Hill reflected on this aspect of Ruby’s life in an essay included at the end of the book. She wrote about mental health problems in her own family and described her personal experience with mental illness as “being crazy.” 

A short reprieve 

Towards the end, we learn the significance of the book’s title. Café Babanussa is a haven where Ruby and her friends go to escape their stressful lives. At the café, she finds solitude for the first time and comfort in being unapologetically Black and ultimately, herself. 

“She felt grateful for having been accepted into the club,” Hill wrote. “The feeling of belonging to one race as opposed to none empowered her.” 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]At the café, she finds solitude for the first time and comfort in being unapologetically Black and ultimately, herself.[/quote]

At Café Babanussa, Ruby meets a new lover, Issam, and becomes pregnant again. She later gives birth to a child and moves back to her parents’ home in Toronto. Her adventure is over, yet her internal struggles continue. 

“The architecture in Toronto seemed so bland – new and ugly,” Hill wrote. “[A]lmost every night she went to sleep crying for what she no longer had [and] for weeks she wrestled with dark clouds that seemed to follow her wherever she went. She was tired and listless.” 

Understanding a common illness 

What makes Ruby’s story so relatable is the fact that we are all familiar with the places that Ruby has encountered on her journey to adulthood. Trying to be encouraged and spirited while dealing with responsibilities, social issues, love and growing-up can be stressful. 

Hill’s realistic portrayal of someone who cannot cope with these pressures provides a better understanding of mental illness. 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]She showed that it is easy to succumb to the bullying thoughts, fears, and demons many of us confront.[/quote]

She did not identify Ruby’s illness as a rare and isolated occurrence, but as a struggle that people often encounter in life. She showed that it is easy to succumb to the bullying thoughts, fears, and demons that many of us confront. 

Before her death in 2014, Hill wrote a letter that talked about her lonely walks, physically and mentally, which was also included in the book. After being out of institutions and hospitals for three years, she had sympathy for those who remained locked-up and suffering as victims of their minds. 

“I feel I have finally reached a place of some stability. From here I can reach out and become a healthier and more active participant in the mental health and wider communities. Sadly, this is still not true for many others who struggle with mental illness.”  

Danica Samuel is a freelance journalist from Toronto. She is a compulsive writer who is constantly searching for new stories on the streets and through social media. Samuel has written for the Huffington Post, New Canadian Media and ByBlacks. She prides herself on her creativity, charisma and provocativeness, while always being committed to content that is memorable, relevant and original.


{module NCM Blurb}

Published in Books

Commentary by Michael Harris

In the wake of Brussels — at least for now — we’re back in the bad old days of the War of Civilizations narrative.

In the face of terror most foul, fury and vengeance are once more in the air. It’s not quite Christianity versus Islam, but it’s close.

Some anecdotal evidence. Two comments on a story in The Independent, worlds apart, suggest that two great swaths of humanity are once again on an unnecessary and tragic collision course.

Bobby said: “All the whole Mideast and ALL their ilk are Hated by me and mine.”

Ceycey replied: “Is your humanity only for Europe?”

Both commenters were responding to a story in the British newspaper written by Yasmin Ahmed in the wake of the terrorist bombings in Belgium.

Ahmed pointed out that just before ISIS operatives set off bombs in Brussels, the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks detonated a car bomb in Turkey near a transportation hub, killing 37 and injuring 70 more. A closely-timed second attack killed four more people. In fact, Turkey has been beset by a spate of bombings by Kurdish separatists and ISIS, who in 2015 alone killed 141 and injured 910 others.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“Do you not see that this indifference to the non-Western lives is EXACTLY what is creating and feeding terror organizations like ISIS?"[/quote]

In both Brussels and Ankara, innocent people were killed indiscriminately by fanatics who believe political causes sanctify murder.

But what struck Ahmed was the profound difference in the Western reaction to these atrocities. In social media there were safety check-ins on Facebook, hashtags on Twitter, and shared cartoons in response to the bombings at Zaventen Airport and Maelbeek metro station. In fact, “Brussels” garnered 17.5 million more Google news results than “Ankara”.

Global media funerals for some, mute indifference for others

While the world mourned Brussels, Ankara was treated as a mere regional event. Case in point: After this week’s Brussels bombings, European countries raised the Belgian flag above their national monuments — a fitting tribute. The Eiffel Tower was illuminated in the colours of the Belgian flag, as was One World Trade Center in New York (though in truth, the colours looked more like red, white and blue). So Yasmin Ahmed posed an awkward question: Why didn’t Downing Street raise the red and white Turkish flag after the atrocities in Ankara?

Ahmed’s unease was mirrored by a young woman who knows a thing or two about being victimized by terrorism. Malala Yousafzai blazed to international fame after standing up for education for girls in Afghanistan and getting shot by the Taliban for her defiance.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]Has the West’s accusatory finger moved from ultra-extremist groups like ISIS and al Qaida to designate the members of an entire religion — again?[/quote]

She too has spoken out about the dangers of dividing the victims of terrorism between East and West, providing global media funerals for some, mute indifference to others.

“Do you not see that this indifference to the non-Western lives is EXACTLY what is creating and feeding terror organizations like ISIS? … If your intention is to stop terrorism, do not try to blame the whole population of Muslims for it, because that cannot stop terrorism,” she said.

And that raises an interesting question. Is the West mute on the subject of innocent lives lost to terrorists in Turkey because the motivations behind those attacks were different from the reasons behind the killing in Europe — or because Turkey is 98 per cent Muslim? Has the West’s accusatory finger moved from ultra-extremist groups like ISIS and al Qaida to designate the members of an entire religion — again?

In this season of presidential politics in the United States, the answer is, sadly, ‘Yes’.

Trump and anti-terrorism: Zero experience

CNN, which fielded carpet-coverage of the Brussels bombings in a way that repeated rather than advanced the story for three gruesome days, has already come up with a poll showing that Republican frontrunner Donald Trump is now the first choice of Americans on anti-terrorism matters.

That is astonishing for a few reasons. First of all, Trump has zero experience in fighting terrorism in any official capacity. He has never held public office, and his chief advisor on foreign policy is The Donald. Trump has been widely denounced by military, national security and senior police leaders for his unconstitutional, illegal and flatly dangerous approach to some of America’s deepest problems.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"][Trump] has added that he wouldn’t rule out using nuclear weapons against ISIS. That’s right — nuclear weapons.[/quote]

The list is well known. So far Trump has proposed banning all Muslims from entering the United States, deporting 12 million illegal aliens, building a wall on the Mexican border, bringing back torture and instituting racial profiling in Muslim communities in the U.S. Now he has added that he wouldn’t rule out using nuclear weapons against ISIS. That’s right — nuclear weapons.

In the flash of two bombs, the world is suddenly standing back in the rubble of 9/11 with President Bush repeating his With Us or With the Terrorists ultimatum. All the old, familiar and — I might add — failed solutions are once more being put forward by a real estate mogul who is being embraced as though he were King Solomon.

Though there are many particulars to the new fundamentalism for defeating terror, it comes down to the familiar mantra of guns, gates and guards. If the police just had enough unconstitutional powers, if free citizens just gave up enough civil liberties, if the West could just exert enough hard power against Islamic terrorists, if only there could be more forced regime change, if only Muslims would begin denouncing the evil-doers in their communities, the world would never have to see the cities of Europe and the United States burning again.

Those answers have been tried for 15 blood-soaked years and all the West has to show for it is millions of deaths, trillions in squandered treasure — and ISIS.

The time has come to recognize solidarity with all the victims of terror. As James Taylor, a U.K. citizen living in Ankara, posted on Facebook, “You were Charlie, you were Paris, will you be Ankara?”

Apparently not.


Michael Harris is a writer, journalist, and documentary filmmaker. He was awarded a Doctor of Laws for his “unceasing pursuit of justice for the less fortunate among us.” His nine books include Justice Denied, Unholy Orders, Rare Ambition, Lament for an Ocean, and Con Game. His new book on the Harper majority government, Party of One, is a number one best-seller and has been shortlisted for the Governor-General’s Literary Award for English-language non-fiction.

Republished in partnership with iPolitics.ca.

Published in Commentary

by Alexander Tesar

For more than a year, Canadian CF-18s have been striking ISIS targets with laser-guided bombs and air-to-ground missiles.

Airstrikes began in Iraq in November 2014, but the Conservatives voted to expand the fight into Syria last March. In total, Operation Impact has conducted 1,750 sorties so far. The Liberals made an election promise to end Canada’s bombing campaign early, arguing that we should send personnel to train local troops instead.

But then terrorists attacked Paris last month, killing 132 people and injuring hundreds more. There has since been discussion in Europe and the U.S. about invoking Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty — the article that enshrines “collective defense,” where an attack against one ally is considered an attack on them all.

But does a terrorist incident qualify as an “attack,” and could Canada be forced into escalating a war against its will?

[quote align="center" color="#999999"][C]ould Canada be forced into escalating a war against its will?[/quote]

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded on April 4, 1949 to combat the expanding Soviet Union.

At the time, countries throughout Europe saw the Soviet Union as a threat to their sovereignty — the previous year had seen a coup in Czechoslovakia, civil war in Greece, and an attempt to starve West Berlin into submission.

Article 5 was meant to give the agreement teeth. Especially for smaller, weaker countries, a military alliance with the United States promised protection from marauding communists within and without.

But the Cold War eventually thawed out. The first and only country to ever invoke Article 5 is none other than the United States, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In response, NATO scrambled the jets and began Operation Eagle Assist. Crew from 13 countries flew 360 surveillance missions over U.S. airspace, patrolling the skies for eight months. Some of NATO’s naval forces were also sent to the Mediterranean to fight terrorism — an operation that has lasted almost 15 years and is still going on to this day.

Article 5 deliberately vague 

Canada sent soldiers to Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, but Article 5 did not compel them to do so.

That’s because Article 5, despite its impressive rhetoric, can’t really compel anyone to do anything. The wording is deliberately vague. Though many today associate the U.S. with bloated battles in exotic locales, it once shunned all conflicts beyond its borders; the stars and stripes arrived late to both the First and Second World Wars.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]Article 5, despite its impressive rhetoric, can’t really compel anyone to do anything.[/quote] 

According to their constitution, only Congress can actually declare war, and politicians in 1949 were justifiably concerned that a mutual-defence treaty could draw them into a fight they didn’t pick — over the previous 50 years, Europe had developed a habit of spontaneously exploding into armed conflict.

So when it came time to negotiate, the U.S. insisted that collective defence did not mean an automatic declaration of war. Instead, each country would assist with “such action as it deem[ed] necessary, including the use of armed force.” The countries that needed the most protection were not in a position to dictate terms, and the terms have not changed since then.

So, what will Canada do if France or another NATO country invokes Article 5? Basically, whatever it wants.

Although France is well within its rights to invoke the article — the only precedent for using it is, after all, a terrorist attack — it does not specify any action that must be taken beyond aiding the country in question.

Trudeau’s commitment to train local forces, while probably less effective than airstrikes, fulfills Canada’s treaty obligations. Whether it fulfills public opinion remains to be seen.


Alexander Tesar is a Krembil Fellow at The Walrus.

Re-published in partnership with The Walrus

 

Published in Commentary

by Maria Ikonen in Gatineau, Quebec

People running across the borders, others hanging for their lives on an overcrowded boat and a three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a beach. These are just some of the chaotic images reported to us by the media on the Syrian refugee crisis. 

European newspapers have been giving space to cover the crisis, but the actual voice of refugees has not been heard. Not until a Danish newspaper, Dagbladet Information, let 12 journalist refugees take over the newspaper for one day last month.

The initial idea

Anders Fjordbak-Trier, news editor of Information, says that the idea came up during a meeting with the editorial staff. “Only by getting to know each other we can start building bridges in Europe. There is no chance of a constructive dialogue if you talk through razor wire.”

“Basically we felt the need to give a voice to the group of people whom everyone in Europe talk about, but never actually listens to – the refugees. Its a democratic responsibility and a journalistic virtue to give the speechless a chance to answer,” Fjordbak-Trier told New Canadian Media over e-mail.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]Letting the journalist refugees work on the newspaper inspired the creation of a significant amount of content.[/quote]

One of the journalist refugees, Lilas Hatahet from Syria, is a member of a small network of refugee journalists in Denmark established recently by The Danish Union of Journalists and International Media Support.

She wrote over e-mail that the experience with Information was a unique opportunity to be working again in a professional context and “to reconnect with your own professional identity, which for all refugees, not only journalists, is so difficult to maintain.”

According to Fjordbak-Trier, finding the journalists was easy because of social media and other networks. Letting the journalist refugees work on the newspaper inspired the creation of a significant amount of content.

“We normally print 20 pages on Fridays. This Friday it was 48. If we had the resources to do it, we could easily have made a much larger paper, but Dagbladet Information is a pretty small organization, so we did what was possible for us.”

Hatahet describes the idea to give refugees their own voice as exciting.

“It was a chance for us to speak directly to readers in our new country of asylum, in which we want to get a normal life in freedom as respected and contributing citizens.”

According to Hatahet, working together with other refugees and with the colleagues at Information resulted in a strong unity.

She says the work process carried “an important positive message in itself at this tense moment of increasing stigmatization of refugees even in a small Scandinavian country like Denmark,” says Hatahet.

Importance of refugee voice

Information’s idea was not just to put refugees in the mainstream limelight.

“It is important to state that in making this paper the refugees were not only opinion makers. They were the editors of the day,” says Fjordbak-Trier. “It was their stories, their journalistic selection of what the paper should cover.”

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]"Instead of being perceived as just victims they will appear as willing and able to engage actively in their new society.”[/quote]

Hatahet finds it extremely important to counter the persistent, dehumanizing image of refugees that is often portrayed in the media.

“How can a western audience understand and deal with ‘the refugee crisis’ without having heard the experience and perception of those who are risking their lives in a desperate search for rightful protection in accordance with the international conventions,” she puts forward.

Hatahet explains another important aspect of the idea.

“Last, but not least, when refugees are given a chance to be heard in mainstream media, it will be clear how resourceful many of them are. Instead of being perceived as just victims they will appear as willing and able to engage actively in their new society.”

Reactions worldwide

Information’s Oct. 9 edition became a sought-after item.

“After reading, people passed it on to the next reader, but only if they promised to return it,” says Fjordbak-Trier. “We measured the digital version and the amount of readers exploded these days. For example, our reach on Facebook this week was 60 per cent higher than the week before.”

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]"I hope, it will serve as an inspiration to other media, not only in Denmark.”[/quote]

From Hatahet’s perspective, the readers’ reaction might imply that the idea was making a strong impact.

“I think the many reactions, reflections and comments we have seen already clearly shows that the initiative taken by Information has struck something very essential in people’s mind. I hope, it will serve as an inspiration to other media, not only in Denmark,” she says.

As a result of this endeavour, Hatahet hopes to see an increased acceptance of refugees as active participants in the debate in all countries of asylum.

“I hope that media everywhere – radio [stations], TV stations and newspapers – will see the merit of following this idea, of giving the refugees a voice and thereby making the debate more nuanced and comprehensive.”

Fjordbak-Trier says Information is listening to the public and is “already working on the next project.”


Vancouver-based journalist Leah Bjornson mentored the writer of this article through New Canadian Media’s mentorship program.

{module NCM Blurb}

Published in International

by Silke Reichrath in Ottawa

The refugee crisis in Germany has flooded the media with coverage on the diverse aspects of the situation, from negotiations among European nations about refugee flows, registration and distribution to the logistics of housing the rapidly increasing number of newcomers.

In contrast with the overwhelming surge of solidarity with the migrants, there is evidence of violence among refugees in crowded shelters and anti-immigrant attacks by the local population.
 
Although the scale is very different - Germany is looking at accommodating a refugee per 55-100 inhabitants, depending on the estimate, whereas Canada is looking at 1 per 1,400 - many of these incidents serve as inspirational as well as cautionary tales to Canadians confronting the challenge of bringing in 25,000 refugees - a number that is being questioned at the same time for not being enough, given the magnitude of the crisis, as well as being too many, given Canada's available infrastructure.  
 
Public support has to be channeled
 
The Tagesschau, a German national and international television news service, mapped over 600 volunteer projects to help refugees, in addition to large numbers of German volunteers helping refugees settle in, visiting, collecting clothes and toys, translating and helping out informally in other ways.

The Berlin-based national daily Die Welt (03/11/2015) reports that food banks have been accepting the new clientele, but are strained without additional resources. Child services are monitoring the situation of 40,000 unaccompanied minors, but are likewise overwhelmed by the added case load.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]81 per cent of the 2015 refugees [in Germany] have no formal qualifications, and an additional 400,000 welfare recipients are expected in the coming year.[/quote]
 
German industry is calling for unity among the governing coalition and for an orderly processing of the refugees. They talk of 600,000 positions waiting to be filled and call for a quick integration of the newcomers, including language instruction and training for the labour market.

In addition, they point out that the arrival of newcomers is stimulating consumer demand (Der Tagesspiegel, 03/11/2015).
 
However, an estimated 81 per cent of the 2015 refugees have no formal qualifications, and an additional 400,000 welfare recipients are expected in the coming year (Junge Freiheit, 26/10/2015), which points to the importance of literacy and adult education programs.
 
The reception process has to be well managed
 
Merkel has been pushing for a more orderly process through reception centres and refugee processing at the place of first arrival in the European Union and for quotas to distribute accepted refugees, or applicants from countries with high asylum recognition rates, among member states (Die Welt, 03/11/2015).

Internally, the governing coalition is discussing measures to limit the numbers of refugees through transit camps for refugees with a low likelihood of recognition and faster deportation for rejected claimants (Tagesschau, 03/11/2015).
 
The sheer volume of migrants may dwarf the Canadian commitment to bring in 25,000
 
A record 218,000 refugees crossed the Mediterranean in October, fleeing the escalating war in Syria and other conflicts, just as winter is approaching.

European institutions are overwhelmed and struggling to respond. Hungary has put up a border fence, redirecting refugee flows from Serbia and Croatia to Slovenia. Slovenia and Austria are threatening to do the same as transit camps are filled well above capacity.
 
Germany is expected to take in 800,000 refugees - other sources now expect up to 1.5 million.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]Refugee hostels are overcrowded and outbreaks of violence, mass fights and sexual assaults are becoming more frequent.[/quote]

 

An estimated 50,000 are housed in tent cities while the government is looking for more accommodation. Others are housed in former military barracks, hotels, fire stations, schools, factory halls, portables and other housing, often in rows of bunk beds with no privacy (Tagesschau, 03/11/2015).

Centres for newcomers are overwhelmed and most recent arrivals sleep outdoors for several nights before being assigned to an accommodation, as hostels do not accept their vouchers any more (Die Welt, 03/11/2015).
 
Refugee hostels are overcrowded and outbreaks of violence, mass fights and sexual assaults are becoming more frequent as refugees spend their days waiting and standing in lines (Der Spiegel, 6/10/2015).

Access to medical care is uncoordinated and dependent on volunteers until refugees are registered and issued health cards (Der Tagesspiegel, 03/11/2015).
 
The backlash must be pushed back, and dealt with proactively 
 
Chancellor Merkel's policy of an open door for all refugees is under mounting pressure, with the anti-immigrant Pegida gaining in popularity and support for Merkel evaporating.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]Politicians are receiving death threats and hate speech is growing on social media.[/quote]

 

Politicians are receiving death threats and hate speech is growing on social media (Der Spiegel, 23/10/2015). The number of attacks on refugees and refugee shelters in the first nine months of 2015 has been double that of all of 2014 (Tagesschau, 22/10/2015).
 
Just in one day, Nov. 4, the headlines in Die Welt cover a fatal stabbing at a refugee accommodation, a case of aggression by a train conductor against a refugee, an incident where a fire fighter refused to fight fires set to refugee accommodations, a projection of social problems caused by migration by 2025, and the loss of political support of the Christian Democrats over its response to the refugee crisis.
 
The prominent national weekly Der Spiegel reports on a wave of anti-immigrant attacks on refugees, politicians, volunteers, police officers and journalists; calls for surveillance of the anti-immigrant organization Pegida; Chancellor Merkel's increasing political isolation over the issue, and a series of commentaries about the mass arrival of refugees, the politicians' response, and growing xenophobia.
 
Some of these concerns are being echoed in the Canadian ethnic media
 
The Canadian ethnic media has been overwhelmingly positive to the proposal to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year (e.g. Red FM Punjabi, 04/11/2015). The Hispanic El Centro News (29/10/2015) points out that this is a significantly smaller number than that taken in by smaller countries like Germany.
 
However, some commentators and some settlement agencies are voicing doubts that Canada can bring in this number while maintaining security standards and allowing for an organized settlement process (e.g. Radio Rim Jhim, 04/11/2015).

Darpan Magazine (04/11/2015) points to the logistical challenges of getting them here and housing them upon arrival — and the lack of time to get it done.
 
Sinoquebec Chinese Newspaper (30/10/2015) points to the challenges of insufficient time for background checks, insufficient settlement resources, a negative impact on the processing of other refugee applications and the labour market impact and concludes that it may be "better not to do it rather than do it wrong."

[quote align="center" color="#999999"][M]ost sources seem optimistic and highlight offers of assistance from the provinces.[/quote] 

Polish papers like the Merkuriusz Polski and Zycie (29/10/2015) hold up the German example as a warning hope that the Liberal government will learn from the German experience and not create an open refugee policy for all asylum seekers from the conflict zone ... because just the processing of refugee cases will cost $200 million.
 
Nevertheless, most sources seem optimistic and highlight offers of assistance from the provinces: "Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said that Alberta will join Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan in opening its door to refugees" (Canadian Chinese Express, 04/11/2015). NGO and church initiatives are also highlighted, including Lifeline Syria in Toronto, Project Hope by the Toronto Catholic Archdiocese and Refugee 613 in Ottawa.
 
Several Chinese sources support the proposal to use military transport and military barracks for temporary housing (e.g. Fairchild Ontario, 30/10/2015). Certain Arabic sources also support this and point to a Canadian Council for Refugees suggestion to prioritize refugees with family in Canada (Voice of Egypt in Canada, 01/11/2015).
 
The ethnic media was quick to react to Minister John McCallum’s appointment to the immigration portfolio.

Red FM 93 Punjabi in Vancouver (04/11/2015) commented that immigration issues caused many ethnic Conservatives to vote Liberal because of their promises. Top of the list of promises is the settlement of 25,000 refugees.

Other South Asian, Chinese and Spanish media outlets across Canada - like Noticias Montreal or CINA Sun Shine Radio and Tamil Canada Mirror in Mississauga - also focus on the refugee issue and intend to hold the new government to its promise.


Published in partnership with MIREMS (Multilingual International Research and Ethnic Media Services).

Published in Top Stories
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New Canadian Media provides nonpartisan news and views representing all Canadian immigrant communities. As part of this endeavour, we re-publish aggregated content from various ethnic media publishers in Canada in an effort to raise the profile of news and commentary from an immigrant perspective. New Canadian Media, however, does not guarantee the accuracy of or endorse the views and opinions contained in content from such other sites. The views expressed on this site are those of the individual writers and commentators, and not necessarily those of New Canadian Media. Copyright © 2019 All rights reserved