by Jooneed Jeeroburkhan in Montreal

The cold-blooded shooting of six Muslims following evening prayers on Jan 29 at a Québec City mosque has, predictably, amplified the acrimonious debate over racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia in Quebec – as the suspect, who also injured a dozen others, is a 27-year-old white Québécois university student.

Calls for an Inquiry Commission on “Systemic Racism in Québec” quickly redoubled and political leaders, responding only piecemeal, did not hesitate to label the mass killing an “act of terrorism” – although “terrorism” is not among the six counts of murder the Québec City police have charged Alexandre Bissonnette with.

Never to miss an opportunity, militant secularists, including Muslim ones, chimed in, accusing political leaders, from Quebec’s Philippe Couillard to Canada’s Justin Trudeau, of “Islamizing Canadian Democracy” – while progressive secularists, Québécois mainly, complained some people were heaping collective guilt on all Québécois for the crime of one individual – a role reversal since all Muslims are usually held responsible for each and every terrorist act committed by Takfiris/Salafis, ISIL/Daesh, Al Qaeda…

Skewed against immigrants

And, as usual, familiar noises came from the English North American media about Quebec being “more racist” than the rest of Canada – and the Quebec National Assembly unanimously condemned a Washington Post article, penned by Vancouver-based J.J. McCullough, saying exactly that, adding Quebec’s “history of anti-Semitism” and “religious bigotry” leads to “more massacres” like this one.

The motion was moved by the opposition Parti Québécois, the party whose ethno-centrist “Charter of Values” bill died on the order paper as the PQ was resoundingly defeated by the Liberals (41% to 25%) in the 2014 elections. The Bloc Québécois proposed a similar motion in Ottawa denouncing the newspaper article as “hateful”, but the House of Commons refused to debate it. 

As everywhere else throughout the hegemonic, and increasingly isolationist, West, the playing field, and the rules, remain heavily skewed against immigrants, refugees and all minority communities, yet the ruling communities paint themselves more and more as victims. And this trend has become noticeable in Quebec too in the wake of the Jan 29 shooting.

Re-igniting "reasonable accommodation"

To be fair, a huge mass of Québécois remain committed to an open and plural society, welcoming of diversity and militant in solidarity, as tens of thousands made it clear by attending a public meeting next to a mosque, and in snow and deep sub-zero temperature on Jan 31, in the heavily immigrant neighbourhood of Park Extension in Montreal, home of our very own Little South Asia.

Heart-warming as this demonstration was, it is highly unlikely that the discourse resulting from the Québec City shooting will help in putting to rest the old debate over “reasonable accommodation” in Quebec. If anything, it has re-ignited it. And police and media secrecy and selective leaks have only fed suspicion and distrust.

In the early hours following the massacre, media reports quoting informed sources, even witnesses, suggested there were two masked gunmen, and they shouted the Muslim cry of “Allah o Akbar”. The first-named suspect was a Muslim from Morocco, and stories suggested it may have been a settling of accounts between two neighbouring mosques of rival denominations.

The police then announced the Muslim man was “only a witness” and that the prime suspect was Alexandre Bissonnette – who apparently called police himself and gave himself up on the bridge linking Québec City to Orléans Island. The media then posted the photo of a suited and clean-cut boyish looking Bissonnette – who we were told was known in local social media circles as a pro-Fascist, anti-Feminist, anti-Immigrant, Islamophobic admirer of US President Donald Trump. But the police remains silent – and the media has stopped digging.

Appearing Feb 6 before the Senate committee on national security, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson refused to give details of the inquiry into the Québec City shooting. He instead voiced concern that the “caustic tone” of “political discourse” in Canada may contribute to “radicalize criminal extremists”. For its part, CSIS has warned of the recent development “of a Canadian online anti-Islam movement, similar to ones in Europe.”

As in the US and Europe, Quebec and Canada are in the throes of a major global re-balancing of power, marked by a decline of century-old global Western hegemony. The rise of xenophobia, particularly Islamophobia, and of right-wing populism and fascism, is a by-product of this momentous crisis – and the Québec City shooting, like the election of Donald Trump to the White House and the rise of Marine Le Pen in France, are its symptoms.

The trials and traumas are bound to get worse before they get better.


Jooneed Jeeroburkhan, 70, is a journalist, writer, human rights activist, feminist and grandfather living in Montreal. He came to study in Canada, on a Commonwealth scholarship, 50 years ago from Mauritius. He retired from the Montreal daily La Presse in 2009 after 35 years as a reporter and analyst on international affairs, visiting some 60 countries in the process. He published a book of essays, in French, on his native country, in 2010, titled Un autre Maurice est possible (Another Mauritius is Possible). 

{module NCM Blurb}

Published in Commentary

by Rosanna Haroutounian in Quebec City

Racial profiling by police is not a new phenomenon. The ability to now document aggression by law enforcement against African Americans and other racialized people and broadcast the footage around the world makes this long-standing injustice hard to ignore.

Along with meaningful discussions though, these images are also sparking retaliation by some members of the targeted communities.

These acts of aggression, the feelings they create, and the history they are grounded in, are hard for adults to understand, let alone explain to a young person.

Thanks to the Internet and technology, children and youth today have the world at their fingertips. Yet defining how prejudice and racism continue to have implications in different realms of society are ongoing topics of research, policy discussions and public debate.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]Chuck and other people who have black skin must live, learn, and play separately from those with white skin.[/quote]

Making children aware

Books like The Stone Thrower by Canadian author Jael Richardson are one way to start a conversation with children about the historical roots of some of the prejudice we continue to see today against African Americans.

The illustrated book tells the real-life story of Chuck Ealey, starting from when he was born in Portsmouth, Ohio, in 1950. He grows up in the city’s North End neighbourhood without most of the opportunities that many other children in America enjoy.

Because of racism against Black people in America — which often revolves around the idea that all Black people have characteristics that make them inferior to Caucasian Americans — Chuck and other people who have black skin must live, learn and play separately from those with white skin.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“It’s an unbeatable story that amazes me, even though I’ve heard it all before, because Chuck Ealey happens to be my father.”[/quote]

Chuck’s mother works long hours for little money, yet still has time and energy to instill in her son the drive to get educated and follow the train tracks that go beyond the North End.

“How could he get out of the North End if they didn’t even have enough money for food?” Chuck wonders.

He begins visiting the train tracks regularly to practise throwing stones at the passing freight cars. It helps him on the football field, and eventually his high school coach asks him to play quarterback during a game.

On the field, he is taunted by the rival team, but maintains his focus and determination to win.

The team’s victory is the start of Chuck Ealey’s long and successful career in high school and college football. After that, though, his time as a football player in the United States is over.

“The National Football League didn’t believe that he could be a great quarterback because of the color of his skin,” writes Richardson.

So instead, Ealey moved to Canada to play in the Canadian Football League (CFL). In his first year as a quarterback for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, he led the team to the Grey Cup championship and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player and the CFL’s Rookie of the Year.

Colourful pages tell ugly history 

“It’s an unbeatable story that amazes me, even though I’ve heard it all before, because Chuck Ealey happens to be my father,” Richardson explains at the end of the book. She has also written about her father’s story in a 2012 memoir called The Stone Thrower: A Daughter’s Lesson, a Father’s Life, which was the subject of a TSN (The Sports Network) documentary.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]The Stone Thrower’s colourful and animated pages tell of a history that was much uglier, hateful and violent.[/quote]

Chuck’s story is remarkable, yet his experience with racism is not unique. Racial segregation was a reality for a huge segment of the population only about 50 years ago — in both the United States and Canada.

Children can relate to parts of the book about playing outdoors, practising sports and being part of a team. What might come as a surprise is that there was once a time when not all children could enjoy these things equally.

The Stone Thrower’s colourful and animated pages tell of a history that was much uglier, hateful and violent.

The difficult legacy of race

While segregation was not enshrined in Canadian law, it still existed in all facets of social life. The story of Viola Desmond being arrested for sitting in the whites-only section of a New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, movie theatre is just one example.

These injustices continue to have repercussions that are felt today. While the days of slavery are over, poverty in Black communities and videos of police brutality against Black people are remnants of what U.S. President Barack Obama termed “the difficult legacy of race.”

The NFL can no longer bar Black athletes from playing football, but law enforcement, employers and the justice system are still realms in which race matters. The Stone Thrower is a reminder of how far we have come, and how far we have yet to go.

However, Ealey’s story is also a much-needed reminder for children and adults alike of what is possible when we work against division and towards inclusion. Through a basic retelling of how one man overcame injustice to be treated fairly, we see how difficult it is to explain and justify segregation and inequality.

On the other hand, we see how easy it is to defend everyone’s basic right to work, play and live without discrimination.

Rosanna Haroutounian is a freelance writer and the assignment editor at New Canadian Media. She studied journalism and political science at Carleton University and now splits her time between Quebec City and Peterborough, Ont.  


{module NCM Blurb} 

Published in Books

by Rosanna Haroutounian in Quebec City

A trip to an organic dairy farm in Ontario was enough to inspire a former Wall Street banker to launch a global search for better ways to treat farm animals. 

“This was an organic farm, but the cows still weren’t treated well,” recalls author Sonia Faruqi. “They were indoors two-thirds of the year and outdoors only one-third of the year, and while they were indoors, they were chained to stalls, which is really unnatural for cows, who are grazing animals.” 

After volunteering for two weeks at the dairy farm, Faruqi visited other Ontario farms, but not without resistance from farmers, who she says are part of a tightly knit community. 

“Everyone they know is a farmer, so if you’re someone who comes from a city, or who’s brown, or even a woman in a very male-dominated industry, you're immediately very different,” explains Faruqi, who was born in Pakistan and raised in the United Arab Emirates. 

She worked at an investment bank on Wall Street in the United States before the 2008 economic crisis, after which she joined her family who had just immigrated to Canada. 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“Everyone they know is a farmer, so if you’re someone who comes from a city, or who’s brown, or even a woman in a very male-dominated industry, you're immediately very different.”[/quote]

Faruqi says she used her savings to visit and volunteer at farms in several countries, including the United States, Malaysia and Mexico. 

Her first book, Project Animal Farm: An Accidental Journey into the Secret World of Farming and the Truth About Our Food, documents her experiences abroad and what can be done to create a farming system that is better for farmers, animals and consumers. 

A world view on farming 

While Faruqi says she witnessed many examples of animals being mistreated, such as chickens being kept in overcrowded cages and pigs covered in their own feces, she also visited farms where animals were well treated and healthy. 

In Belize, Faruqi stayed on a farm with female Mennonite missionaries, who she says have a holistic view of the land and do not refer to raising livestock as agriculture or business, but as “animal husbandry.” 

She says the women named their cows and allowed them to graze in fields with ponds and other animals. 

“It was interesting for me to see that kind of affection for the animals and the land.”  

Faruqi also compared the farming practices between Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore to explore how industrialization affects the treatment of animals. 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“It’s all changed to an extremely industrialized, very low-cost system.”[/quote]

She explains that in Malaysia, which has recently experienced rapid economic growth, the popularity of fast food chains like KFC and McDonald’s has led to an increase in factory-farm practices, including artificial insemination, antibiotic use and corn-based diets. 

“It’s all changed to an extremely industrialized, very low-cost system,” she explains. “Local farms, breeds, and knowledge that people have of animals and of the land – all of it is eradicated.” 

By contrast, in Indonesia, which is less industrialized, Faruqi witnessed hens walking freely in villages that only visited their owners’ homes in the mornings for breakfast. 

“I noticed people walking their cows,” she adds. “It was interesting to see that bond that people have with animals.” 

She notes that at some of the farms she visited in Ontario, farmers didn’t visit their farms and relied on automated systems to update them on their animals. 

The many downsides to factory farming

Faruqi says that despite the downsides to factory farming, the government in Malaysia promotes fast food because it symbolizes industrialization and development. 

“The same way people wear jeans and listen to American music, they’re also eating American foods, which are hamburgers and fries and actually not good for you,” she says. 

“There’s tens of billions of farm animals in the world and most of them are being made to suffer to produce cheap food for people, who should not be eating that much meat, milk and eggs to begin with.” 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“When people move here, they really want to integrate to the extent that they leave their own food heritage.”[/quote]

Faruqi says consumers have the power to promote good farming habits by eating less animal products and demanding that the animal products they do eat be produced in healthier ways. 

“There’s a misconception that you have to be white and wealthy to even think about this, which is not true, because in the end, everyone’s health is important.” 

A disproportionate impact on immigrants   

She notes that while language or income barriers might prevent newcomers from making healthy choices, many of them come to Canada practising healthy eating habits that they don’t retain. 

“When people move here, they really want to integrate to the extent that they leave their own food heritage.” 

The vegetarian diet that is popular in India is an example that Western societies can learn to value, she says. 

She notes that immigrants can also be disproportionately affected on the production side, because factory farms employ many immigrants in slaughterhouses. 

“Part of the reason is that these are jobs non-immigrants don’t want, for clear reasons,” she says. “Workers have mental and physical health issues, which are not really treated.” 

Faruqi advocates for more government oversight of factory farms and regulations to protect animal rights, as well as the inclusion of more women in agriculture. 

She says that under current laws in Canada and the U.S., a pig has the same rights as a table, “which is really ridiculous when you think about it, because one is an animate being with instincts and interests and desires, at the very least, to not suffer.”


{module NCM Blurb}

Published in Health

by Rosanna Haroutounian in Quebec City 

The 75th anniversary of the Battle of Hong Kong is being commemorated across Canada by veterans and survivors of Japanese occupation and their families. About 2,000 Canadians fought to defend Hong Kong against Japanese occupation in Canada’s first combat mission of the Second World War.

“They were relatively inexperienced. A lot of them were new recruits,” says Patrick Donovan, curator of the exhibit Hong Kong and the Home Front at the Morrin Centre in Québec City, Quebec. “A lot of them learned to fire their rifles on the boat ride over.”

The Royal Rifles of Canada, Quebec City’s main English-speaking regiment, and the Winnipeg Grenadiers were sent to Hong Kong in fall of 1941 to join a battalion of commonwealth forces totalling 14,000 troops.

On December 8, 1941, Japanese aircraft began attacking Hong Kong. A day earlier, they had attacked Pearl Harbor. The defence of Hong Kong ended almost three weeks later when Canadian and other defending troops were forced to surrender. Among Canadian troops, 290 were killed and 493 were wounded.

Hong Kong and several other countries and territories were occupied by Japan for the duration of the war. On November 4, 1948, the International Military Tribunals for the Far East found 25 Japanese military and government officials guilty of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Second World War.

Personal experiences of war

“The occupation is something we never talk about,” says Sovita Chander, whose father grew up in Japanese-occupied British Malay. The former president of the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec, which runs the Morrin Centre, Chander says she learned about this period of her father’s life through his memoirs.

“I can't imagine my own children — now in university — having to go through that, and my heart goes out to my parents who were so young at that time,” says Chander.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“A lot of them learned to fire their rifles on the boat ride over.”[/quote]

Her father’s memoirs describe how at the age of six, he and his family spent a day in an underground shelter as the Japanese army passed overhead. The next day, he watched his father stay with a dying Indian soldier, who he buried the next day.

A poster recalls the Battle of Hong Kong to enlist new recruits to join the Royal Rifles of Canada, based in Quebec City. Source: Canadian Museum of History.

“Despite the atrocities, horror, and depravation, he held no animosity for the former occupiers,” says Chander of her father, noting that Malaya was also a British colony. “He developed an international outlook that was liberal and tolerant.”

Chander says it’s important to tell the story of the people from the Québec City region who were in Hong Kong, including some people who were involved with the Morrin Centre at the time. 

Remembering tragedy

“We tend to focus a lot on the victories of the war and it tends to glorify the whole business of war,” says Donovan of the Centre’s exhibit. “It's important to look at some of the defeats, and this story is a tragedy.”

He says the soldiers who were not killed were held in Japanese Prisoner of War camps for the duration of the War. Many prisoners died of malnutrition or diseases related to lack of food.

According to Veterans Affairs Canada, more than 550 of the almost 2,000 Canadians who went to Hong Kong never returned.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“It's important to look at some of the defeats, and this story is a tragedy.”[/quote]

“The Japanese still have not come to terms with what they did in the Second World War,” says Judy Lam Maxwell, whose mother lived under Japanese occupation in Hong Kong as a child.

“She had told me that because her father was a doctor, he could hide the kids in the hospital and they would be safe from harm,” says Lam Maxwell. “My mom, her siblings, and her mom are fortunate to have survived.” She says that her grandfather, or Goong Goong, was tortured by the Japanese, but also survived.

Commemorating the Battle

Lam Maxwell heard the stories of other survivors when she travelled to Hong Kong with ex-servicemen from Canada several years ago. She collected newspaper articles from Canada and Hong Kong that will be part of an exhibit at Centre A in Vancouver, B.C. later this year to commemorate the Battle of Hong Kong.

“Many of the Canadians and immigrants from Hong Kong living in Canada do not know this history and it’s important for museums and historians to share the significant link between Canada and Hong Kong,” says King Wan, president of the Chinese Canadian Military Museum Society.

The Chinese Canadian Military Museum in Vancouver will showcase “Force 136” on May 14 as part of Asian Heritage Month to commemorate Chinese-Canadians who joined the Special Operations Executive in East Asia during the war.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]Many prisoners died of malnutrition or diseases related to lack of food.[/quote]

He notes that at the time, people of Chinese descent were prohibited from joining Canada’s armed forces. While many were rejected, recruiters who were eager to meet quotas accepted some Chinese-Canadians who enlisted.

The policy against Chinese recruitment was rescinded after the British government pressured the Canadian government to recruit Chinese-Canadians, as they could easily assimilate into East-Asian society and work for the army undercover. More than 700 Chinese-Canadians joined the Canadian army, mostly in British Columbia.

The museum will also commemorate the Battle of Hong Kong with another exhibit in the fall.

For Wan, whose family immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong, he feels these events are especially important so that we remember the service of both Chinese and Canadian soldiers who served in Asia and in the Battle of Hong Kong.

A poster recalls the Battle of Hong Kong to enlist new recruits to join the Royal Rifles of Canada, based in Quebec City. Source: Canadian Museum of History.

 {module NCM Blurb}

Published in History
Saturday, 20 February 2016 20:39

Robert Lepage’s 887 Transcends 1960s Quebec

by Hadani Ditmars in Vancouver 

When a last minute e-mail alerted me to a change in curtain time for the opening night of Robert Lepage’s 887, I grabbed my iPhone and called a taxi. 

The immigrant cabbie who arrived spoke little English and hadn’t heard of SFU (Simon Fraser University) downtown. In my mild panic, I recalled scenes from other Lepage productions like Far Side of the Moon, where a flustered protagonist rushes to get to a talk on time. 

Unbeknownst to me, the scene in the taxi was a fitting prelude to 887. 

Soon I was to enter into the world of Lepage’s childhood in Quebec City, at a time when driving a cab was still a white man’s job and his French-Canadian father worked long hours to make ends meet.  

The next 90 minutes took the audience on a sentimental journey through 1960s Quebec that encompassed the quiet revolution, class struggle and pop culture, and explored the connection between personal and collective memory. 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]The play, like the poem, speaks to larger universalities of oppressors and oppressed.[/quote]

Speak white

The plot – if one can even use that term for the rambling poetic narrative of 887 – centres around Lepage’s struggle to memorize the 1967 famous Quebecois poem "Speak White" by Michèle Lalonde for a public performance. 

The poem’s title was inspired by the racist insult ‘speak white’ – originally used by plantation bosses to stop Creoles and other slaves from speaking a language their masters could not understand, and later adopted as a slur by English Canadians against francophones in general. 

The poem is a key element in Lepage’s 887 – and he recites it in French at the climax to great effect. But the play, like the poem, speaks to larger universalities of oppressors and oppressed. 

A powerful appeal 

In an effort to remember the lines of "Speak White", Lepage uses an old mnemonic technique called a “memory palace” – and so his nostalgic journey begins. 

His “palace” is his old childhood home – the walk-up at 887 Rue Murray located between Parc des Braves and the Plains d’Abraham – two historically important sites. It was here that the Lepages and several other working class families lived their lives, as political dramas – from Charles de Gaulle’s 1967 vive le Quebec libre visit to the War Measures Act – unfolded around them. 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"][887 is] a powerful cri de coeur for some of the revolutionary values of Lepage’s youth.[/quote]

Employing an inventive set that pivoted and transformed from a doll house replica of his childhood home to the inside of his father’s taxi to a 1960s diner to a diagram of the left and right side of the brain, Lepage uses the latest video and iPhone technology while still communicating a very human-scale poignancy. 

In many ways the play is a love letter to his father, a working class war hero whose lack of education meant a life of late night taxi driving, hoping for tips from rich American tourists to support his family. But it’s also a powerful cri de coeur (passionate appeal) for some of the revolutionary values of Lepage’s youth. 

While the play documents the violent excesses of the October Crisis without condoning them, Lepage offers rich ironies. 

He speaks of “old hippies” arriving late to the theatre because they couldn’t find parking spaces for their SUVs; of a theatre professor telling him matter-of-factly that, unlike in his youth, there were far fewer working class kids in theatre school today because they couldn’t afford the fees; and of former Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) members driving to work every day across a bridge named after Pierre Laporte (the minister of labour murdered by the FLQ). 

There is much reflective humour on how time treats heroes and artists. Lepage notes that famed Quebec sovereigntist, activist and singer Pauline Julien ended up having a cul de sac in Rosemont named after her and obsesses about how his own legacy will be remembered when he’s gone. 

Universal, unforgettable scenes 

887 offers some unforgettable scenes. In one poignant tableau, Lepage illustrates a childhood memory via the dollhouse model of his apartment: a young Lepage leans over his balcony and waves at his father sitting in his taxi and about to leave for another fare, yearning for his company. 

The scene made me think about similar scenarios in Quebec’s immigrant community today, where brown men have replaced the old working class Quebecois in their quest to make ends meet driving cabs. 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]It’s easy to imagine a whole new generation of angry, young men in similar situations all over the world.[/quote]

In another scene, the death of Lepage’s grandmother and the kidnapping of Laporte compete for his family’s attention. Lepage then plays his own father mourning alone in his taxi, seemingly for both a lost dream and a lost mother. 

But the scene that carries the most universal resonance is a powerful one in which Lepage recalls having a solider point a gun at him during the October Crisis, while he was on his paper route. 

"I hold my tongue, but want to scream out, 'Idiot! The bombs aren't in my bag. They're in my head,'" he says, anger and frustration seething from every pore. 

It’s easy to imagine a whole new generation of angry, young men in similar situations all over the world, not just in War Measures era Quebec. 

Ultimately 887 is a reminder of the power of theatre – as man’s earliest form of storytelling and as a forum for expressing the relationship between the powerful and the weak. Lepage deftly fuses the personal and political as well as the specificity of 1960s Quebec with a universal cri de coeur. 

887 plays in Vancouver through Feb. 21. It will play in Ottawa Apr. 12 to 16 at the National Arts Centre and Montreal Apr. 26 to May 21 at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde. 

Editor's Note: This report has been updated from an earlier published version with the correct quote from Lepage starting with "I hold my tongue..." 


Hadani Ditmars is the author of Dancing in the No Fly Zone and is working on a new book about ancient sites in Iraq. She has been reporting from the Middle East for two decades and is also a singer and musician.  

{module NCM Blurb}

Published in Arts & Culture

by Our Staff Correspondent

It’s a pass to discover Canada you get on becoming a citizen and 1,500 people did just that last year using VIA Rail’s half price fares.

The discounted train tickets are part of the Cultural Access Pass(CAP) program initiated by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC), a national, non-profit charity that promotes active citizenship.

 
“I cannot think of a better way to spend Canada Day than on the Canadian, travelling across Canada’s beautiful and varied landscapes on a train line steeped in Canadian history. Canada inspires and surprises and we would never have done anything like this were it not for the CAP offer,” said Andrew S as he rode VIA’s iconic Canadian with his wife on Canada Day.
 
Since the offer’s launch on July 1, 2012, new citizens have travelled on every main route VIA Rail offers, visiting almost all of the 450 Canadian communities aboard one of the 500 trains departing each week. Most chose to travel within the Quebec City – Windsor corridor, but many – nearly 20 per cent – chose to journey on the Canadian, an incredible voyage that runs between Toronto and Vancouver.

"VIA Rail is proud to contribute to new citizens’ discovery of our beautiful country," said Marc Laliberté, Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail. "We are pleased with the popularity of this initiative and hope that even more new citizens will continue to take advantage of this truly Canadian experience and increase their sense of belonging to their new country."
Apart from discounted rail fares, the CAP program provides a year of free access to galleries, museums, historic sites, national and provincial parks and performing arts organizations across the country. Since its inception a mere five years ago, more than 70,000 new citizens have participated in the program.
 
“With more than 1,200 participating attractions across the country, collaborating with VIA Rail has helped make exploring Canada’s cultural places and spaces a real possibility for new citizens,” said Leith Bishop, ICC’s Acting Executive Director & CEO.
 
To learn more about CAP, its participating attractions, and VIA Rail Canada's offer, visit culturalaccesspass.ca. – New Canadian Media
 
{module NCM Blurb}
Published in National

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