New Canadian Media
Saturday, 17 October 2015 10:27

Vancouver South Residents Seek Change

by Sableen Minhas in Vancouver

Canada’s weakening economy, the implication of Anti-terrorism Act, Bill C-51 and rapid growth in the riding are some of the main concerns of constituents in Vancouver South. These issues might decide the fate of this diverse riding in the upcoming federal election. 

As per the latest projections by ThreeHundredEight.com, Liberal candidate Harjit Sajjan is emerging a winner with support from over 55 per cent of voters in the riding. 

Wai Young, the Conservative incumbent, is trailing at about 24 per cent. The number of her supporters seems to have almost halved from the 2011 federal election, which she won by beating the three-time Liberal member of Parliament (MP) Ujjal Dosanjh in a tight race. 

“When I came into Canada 40 years ago, when politicians [said] something I trusted that yes, [they’re] going to do it. These days, they say something, but they are not really serious.”

Naresh Shukla, owner of Mother India Naresh Food Inc., an East Indian convenience store located on Main Street, says that he intends on voting, but has not fixed his mind on a particular candidate yet. 

“When I came into Canada 40 years ago, when politicians [said] something I trusted that yes, [they’re] going to do it. These days, they say something, but they are not really serious.” 

Shukla’s opinion on Young is in line with the drop in her popularity. 

“I am disappointed,” he says. “Wai Young came to my house and I asked her two questions and I said to her that if you give my two questions’ answers, I will support you.”

He explains that his two questions were regarding Senator Mike Duffy and the present government’s stand on economy. According to Shukla, Young’s responses were not satisfactory for him. 

Growth issues 

Shukla is not alone in his disappointment of the riding’s current MP. 

Reeha Korpal, a recent political science graduate from Simon Fraser University, echoes a similar sentiment. 

“We also have our issues in terms of can we keep up with the growth and the issue of population coming in versus the cost of living here.”

Sitting in the Liberal party’s local campaign office on Victoria Drive, where she volunteers occasionally, Korpal says that Vancouver South needs someone who can address the riding’s major issues. 

“We are a part of city that’s growing and is one of the up and coming cities in Canada, whether that’s economically or socially,” she explains. “We also have our issues in terms of can we keep up with the growth and the issue of population coming in versus the cost of living here.” 

According to the Elections Canada website, Vancouver South had a population of 100,965 in 2011, packed in an area of 21 km2. This number is steadily increasing. As per data available on BC Stats, the projected population for Vancouver South in 2020 is 145,790.

Cultural issues 

In a riding that has diverse cultural demographics, the present government’s controversial bills like Bill C-51 and the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, Bill C-24, are not helping the Conservative candidate. 

“Van South is a very diverse riding, so we need to respect the fact that Bill C-24 that creates division between the type of citizens that we have – as Harper says ‘old stock versus the new stock,’ – [is] not acceptable,” says Korpal. 

"[I]t doesn’t matter if you have a Sajjan [or a Young] running. You need to have the [party] values aligned with that cultural identity as well.”

She adds that having ethnic minority candidates run just for the sake of garnering more votes doesn’t help either. “If the party’s values don’t align with that, it doesn’t matter if you have a Sajjan [or a Young] running. You need to have the values aligned with that cultural identity as well.” 

Howie Chong, campaign communications officer for the area’s New Democratic candidate Amandeep Nijjar says for the diverse people who walk into their office Bill C-51 and health care are of primary concern. 

“From what we are hearing, a lot of people are very concerned about Bill C-51, which gives the federal government the ability to listen in on Canadians,” Chong says. 

Bill C-51 has been a hot topic of debate in the all-party candidates’ debates in Vancouver South. Wai Young faced discontent from the public on her defence of the bill during the meeting at Killarney Community Centre. She did not attend a later debate held at Langara College. 

Young and her campaign team declined an interview for this article. They asked New Canadian Media to get in touch with party headquarters.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Politics

by  in Ottawa

The Liberals now enjoy a 36-31 lead nationally over the Conservatives and, perhaps more importantly are now ahead in Ontario, Quebec, and B.C., according to EKOS’ latest poll numbers.

Overall, the national margin of error is 2.9 per cent, with small samples in some provinces the local MOEs range between 5.0 and 8.1 per cent, meaning they should be treated with some caution.

After swapping the lead several times nationally with the Conservatives in the last week, EKOS’ latest three-day rolling sample (October 10 to 12) — based on decided and leaning voters only — has the Liberals in front with 35.6 per cent, the Conservatives right behind at 31.1, and the NDP a distant third at 20.6. The national margin of error is 2.9 per cent.

In large part, the Liberal surge is being driven by a groundswell in Ontario, where Justin Trudeau’s party now has close to a 12-point lead over the Conservatives.

In large part, the Liberal surge is being driven by a groundswell in Ontario, where Justin Trudeau’s party now has close to a 12-point lead over the Conservatives.

When the campaign began, Liberal support in Ontario — where the most seats are up for grabs — was 29 per cent. It’s now at 43, compared to the Conservatives’ 31.1 and the NDP’s 17.0. There is a 5.0 per cent margin of error.

That might explain Trudeau’s decision to campaign in several opposition-held ridings on Tuesday, the NDP’s Beaches–East York, Davenport, and Parkdale–High Park in Toronto, then the Conservatives’ Kitchener Centre and Kitchener–Conestoga.

In Quebec, where the numbers have been particularly volatile, the Conservatives are now in third after leading last week ... It’s a four-way race in B.C.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper spent Tuesday campaigning with incumbents: Ted Opitz and Bernard Trottier in the GTA ridings of Etobicoke Centre and Etobicoke-Lakeshore. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair was in Oshawa, downtown Toronto, and Brampton.

In Quebec, where the numbers have been particularly volatile, the Conservatives are now in third after leading last week.

The Liberals are narrowly in front (30.9); the NDP are in second (30.1); the Conservatives are in third (17.0); and the Bloc are behind them at (13.8). Given that there’s a 6.5 per cent margin or error, however, the NDP could very well still be in the lead.

It’s a four-way race in B.C.

While the Liberals are in front (27.5), both the NDP (25.1) and the Conservatives are in striking distance (24.6). With a high margin or error of 8.1 per cent, the Green Party arguably is as well (18.6).


A note on the methodology from EKOS

This study involved a blended sample collected using two separate methodologies: Computer Assisted Live Interviews (CATI) and EKOS’ proprietary High Definition Interactive Voice Response (HD-IVR™) technology, which allows respondents to enter their preferences by punching the keypad on their phone, rather than telling them to an operator. In an effort to reduce the coverage bias of landline only RDD, we created a dual landline/cell phone RDD sampling frame for this research. As a result, we are able to reach those with a landline and cell phone, as well as cell phone only households and landline only households.

The figures in this report are based on a three-day rolling sample. Each day, a new day’s worth of interviewing is added and the oldest day is dropped. The field dates for this survey are October 10-12, 2015. In total, a random sample of 1,115 Canadian adults aged 18 and over responded to the survey (939 by HD-IVR, 176 by live interviewer). The margin of error associated with the total sample is +/- 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Please note that the margin of error increases when the results are sub-divided (i.e., error margins for sub-groups such as region, sex, age, education). All the data have been statistically weighted by age, gender, region, and educational attainment to ensure the sample’s composition reflects that of the actual population of Canada according to Census data.

Published in partnership with iPolitics.ca

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 13 October 2015 08:44

Does Your Canada Include 2nd Class Citizens?

by Josh Paterson in Vancouver & Mitchell Goldberg in Montreal

What does it mean to be Canadian?

What kind of Canada do we want?

If you’ve tuned into the election coverage lately, you’ll know these aren’t meaningless questions. They’re being hotly debated by our federal party leaders because of a new law that fundamentally changes the answers to those questions.

Bill C-24 came into effect earlier this year, turning millions of Canadians born abroad (or whose parents or grandparents were born abroad) into second-class citizens.

The way this law has been written, anyone getting citizenship now could lose it if they move abroad for work, study, or family reasons.

Taking care of a sick parent abroad, moving to another country to marry, or studying at a prestigious foreign university could leave someone legally vulnerable to having their citizenship revoked.

That’s because new Canadians now have to promise they intend to live in Canada. If they move away, the government could decide they’ve broken their promise and that they lied about their intentions when they became a citizen.

Many Canadians born and raised in this country who have a right to foreign citizenship through their parents, grandparents, or spouse, or because of a right of return to an ancestral homeland, are suddenly vulnerable.

Now, a young person whose family is new to Canada might have to think twice about accepting that full scholarship to Harvard—because it could mean putting her Canadian passport in jeopardy. Her Canadian-born competitor, however, doesn’t have to worry.

People born here have no fear of losing their citizenship because they move away. Government officials have claimed that they don’t actually intend to use the new law to punish new Canadians in this way, but they refused to remove those sections of the bill. Instead, they have deliberately created a two-tier citizenship regime.

Fewer rights for some Canadians

That’s bad enough, but this new law also penalizes new Canadians and their families in other ways.

That’s because the federal government decided that it can, in some cases, revoke the Canadian citizenship of anyone with another passport (or anyone the federal government thinks is even eligible for one) – whether they are born in Canada or abroad. 

Many Canadians born and raised in this country who have a right to foreign citizenship through their parents, grandparents, or spouse, or because of a right of return to an ancestral homeland, are suddenly vulnerable.

Some Canadians now have fewer rights than other Canadians, just because of where they or their families are from.

Under the new legislation, individuals convicted of certain serious crimes in Canada, or convicted of such crimes abroad (including in countries that do not have fair trials or rule of law) could lose their citizenship.

Dictatorships often accuse human rights activists and journalists of terrorist offences to silence and punish them. Canadian law now penalizes such people by placing their Canadian citizenship at risk. 

Bill C-24 makes us less safe

But even in cases where individuals have legitimately done wrong, the argument that Bill C-24 makes us safer doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

[W]e could be sending a dangerous offender to a country that is hostile to Canada and lacks the rule of law.

 

In fact, it dangerously misses the point. People who are a legitimate threat are best dealt with through the criminal justice system, where they are incarcerated and separated from society.

Far from eliminating the threat, the ancient practice of banishment only displaces it.

At best, by expelling a dangerous offender, we’re shunting our problems off onto other nations. At worst, we could be sending a dangerous offender to a country that is hostile to Canada and lacks the rule of law.

This makes us decidedly less safe. 

Challenging Bill C-24

In practice, these aspects of the new law will disproportionately affect visible minority Canadians, who have arrived in Canada in great numbers only one or two generations ago.

By promoting unequal treatment of Canadians, the law is discriminatory and violates the Charter.  

The BC Civil Liberties Association and Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers have launched a constitutional challenge, because it violated fundamental human rights guaranteed to all of us under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms—and because we believe it’s fundamentally wrong to treat some Canadians as second class.

Other parts of the bill are equally problematic, but unfortunately we have little recourse to challenge them in the courts.

[W]ith Bill C-24, the government is telling millions of Canadians that they are somehow less Canadian than others – that despite their building this country and making Canada their home, they don't really belong here.

 

Canada has always been a country of immigrants. Bill C-24 will change that by making it more difficult for immigrants to gain citizenship by lengthening the time it takes, increasing the cost, adding barriers for the oldest and youngest immigrants, and removing the possibility of appeal.

Time spent in Canada as a student, temporary worker, live-in caregiver, or refugee will no longer count towards citizenship.

The application fee has tripled in price, in addition to a costly language testing process which now is required of immigrants as young as 14 and as old as 64 (previously, only adults age 18 to 55 needed to take the test).

Canada used to have some of the highest naturalization rates in the world.

High naturalization rates are associated with higher employment rates and greater integration – outcomes that are good for everyone. This will change under Bill C-24.

Immigrants built our country, and we should continue to welcome them. We believe that all of us should be treated as equals under the law. It doesn’t matter what colour our skin is, or what country our families came from.

But with Bill C-24, the government is telling millions of Canadians that they are somehow less Canadian than others – that despite their building this country and making Canada their home, they don't really belong here. 

That’s wrong, and it diminishes all of us. That’s why we are fighting it. We’re fighting for the Canada we want to be, and the Canada that, until now, we’ve always been – where every Canadian is treated equally under the law. 


Josh Paterson is the Executive Director of BC Civil Liberties Association, and Mitchell Goldberg is the President of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers.

Published in partnership with Asian Pacific Post.

 

Published in Commentary

Abundant opportunities exist for Canadian small and mid-sized businesses in Asian markets, despite slowing growth in the Chinese economy, according to a pair of leading international business experts.

“We remain bullish on China,” said Geoff Chutter, President and CEO of Whitewater West Industries, the world’s leading supplier of waterparks and attractions based in Richmond. “We do not see our sales dropping at all.”

Scotiabank Chief Economist Warren Jestin echoed Chutter’s optimism, noting that economic growth in China still remains good at 6-7 per cent annually, even as it has slowed from the typical 10 per cent annual growth rate of recent years.

”China is a huge opportunity for Canadian businesses.”

”China is a huge opportunity for Canadian businesses,” said Jestin, noting it is still the largest market in the world, with lots of opportunities for smaller and mid-sized companies selling high value consumer products and services.

Recognizing Asian market potential

Jestin and Chutter were the keynote speakers recently at the City of Richmond’s 4th annual Business and Partner Appreciation event.

Chutter said Whitewater West has grown by building on a reputation for product excellence, diversifying both its market and operations internationally, expanding its product lines and putting increased emphasis on customer service and relationships.

[E]xport companies should not “fixate” on the American market at the expense of losing out on the long-term potential of the Asian market.

The company has been involved in more than 4,000 projects worldwide and is represented in 19 of the world’s top 20 waterparks. Even though global expansion meant outsourcing some of the company’s operations internationally, the resultant growth in business has seen his local workforce double in size to more than 600 jobs.

Jestin noted that while the U.S. market should enjoy the best growth in the short term, export companies should not “fixate” on the American market at the expense of losing out on the long-term potential of the Asian market.

Overall, Jestin said the forecast for the Canadian economy is sound with continued low interest rates and a generally favourable value for the Canadian dollar. He said B.C. should continue to lead economic growth among provinces due to its balanced economy and global focus.

Richmond's economy blossoming

Mayor Malcolm Brodie opened the session by highlighting Richmond’s economic growth.

"Our business outreach campaign of the last three years has facilitated the retention and addition of over 3,500 jobs.”

“Our business retention, expansion and attraction efforts continue to yield results,” he noted. “Over 130 companies have accessed the city’s economic development information and services dedicated to business. Our business outreach campaign of the last three years has facilitated the retention and addition of over 3,500 jobs.”

The city’s annual Business and Partner Appreciation event provides an opportunity to strengthen ties among stakeholders with a joint interest in economic development in Richmond. It is also an opportunity to recognize the corporate partners who’ve helped directly support city programs and events.

In appreciation of the two keynote speakers, the city will make a contribution to the Young Entrepreneur Leadership Launchpad (YELL) program.


Published in partnership with Asian Pacific Post.

Published in Economy

BY GREGOR ROBERTSON Mayor of Vancouver LIKE cities across Canada, Vancouver is facing a number of big challenges. From the Broadway subway and traffic congestion to spiralling housing costs and near-zero rental vacancy rates, rising sea levels and the impacts of climate change, we must consider how our city will meet the growing […]

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Published in Politics

B.C.’s PNP nominations’ allocation is 5,500 for 2015     SHIRLEY Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, on Tuesday introduced legislation as a foundation for the Province’s role in selecting newcomers to B.C. The Provincial Immigration Programs Act will help B.C. meet its economic development priorities by providing […]

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Published in Policy

THE world is changing and parents expect government and teachers to work together to make sure students have the skills they need to succeed. That’s why the government says it has partnered with more than 100 teachers to develop new curriculum being introduced to classrooms over the next three years. And it is why […]

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Published in Education
Wednesday, 23 September 2015 17:16

Promising Prospects for B.C. Students from Mexico

by Aurora Tejeida in Vancouver

Though its diaspora community in British Columbia might not be the biggest or most visible, Mexico is Canada’s third largest trade partner and the ninth largest contributor of international students.

In fact, it sends the most international students to Canada of any other Latin American country.

It was in this context that Juan Navarro decided to organize the first Mexi-Can Forum. The event, which took place earlier this month at The University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Robson Square, brought together leaders in education, innovation and entrepreneurship from both the public and private sectors.

“One of the main purposes of this forum was to make it clear that Mexicans in B.C. are contributing to Canadian society,” explains Navarro.

“I think this is a great time for Mexicans to prove we can be there for each other.”

Navarro is the president of the B.C. chapter of the Society of Mexican Talent — a global network that operates in 45 different locations around the world with each chapter focusing on different subjects.

According to Navarro, the B.C. group, which was only created a year ago, is heavily focused on education, innovation, technology and entrepreneurship – the same subjects that were broadly discussed during the forum.

“I think this is a great time for Mexicans to prove we can be there for each other,” says Navarro. “Not just because we share a culture and many of us are coming here and starting from zero. But because we can achieve great things.”

Mexico: A strategic ally

The forum opened with keynote speeches by Claudia Franco Hijuelos, Consul General of Mexico in Vancouver, Andrew Wilkinson, the Minister of Advanced Education in B.C. and Andrea Reimer, city councillor and Deputy Mayor of Vancouver.

During his keynote speech, Wilkinson noted that Mexico is a strategic ally in international education and that the province is interested in receiving more Mexican students. There are currently more than 400 signed agreements among universities and higher-education institutions in both countries.

[T]he number of Mexican students in Canada grew by 58 per cent between 2004 and 2013.

According to data provided during the conference by Mitacs, a non-for-profit research organization governed by Canada’s research universities, Canada ranks as the world’s seventh most popular destination for international students.

The number of international students grew by 84 per cent between 2003 and 2013, and Canada’s International Education Strategy aims to increase international students to 450,000 by 2022.

Specifically, the number of Mexican students in Canada grew by 58 per cent between 2004 and 2013.

A brand new Canada-Mexico International Education Agreement, which was announced in June, aims to invest $10 million to attract Mexican post-secondary students and post-doctoral fellows to Canadian universities and research institutions, as well as give Canadian students the opportunity to diversify their research experience in Mexico.

Growing possibilities in tech

While this is an exciting time for Mexican students, one of the most noteworthy aspects of the forum was the evident optimism surrounding the fast growing technology sector in Vancouver and the employment possibilities this sector is creating for current and future talent – foreign or domestic.

In his presentation, Robert Helsley, Dean of the Sauder School of Business at UBC, made a point to highlight the importance of partnerships between growing industries and educational institutions. In the case of Vancouver, the fastest growing sector is technology.

“The most important thing is talent and the tech firms will come here if there is talent."

According to Helsley, the best way to know which industry is concentrated in any given city is through a measure called the location quotient, which is measured by taking the percentage of employment in a local industry and dividing it by the percentage of employment in that industry on a national level.

“The industries concentrated in a city lets you know what’s basic for the local economy,” explains Helsley. “In Vancouver, it’s data processing, motion picture and video industries, publishing industries (which includes software), water transportation, rail transportation, wholesaling and warehouses.” 

Helsley further explains that these industries are related to the city’s port and technology sector. Since the port sector is already extremely successful, the more likely candidate for growth in Vancouver is technology. 

The numbers support this. According to data provided by Helsley, in five years only 69,000 jobs were created in Vancouver; however, 12,400 of those jobs (20 per cent) were in the scientific and technical services industry. 

“IT is relatively concentrated and it’s growing quickly,” says Helsley. “The most important thing is talent and the tech firms will come here if there is talent. And that means that education is particularly important, especially in engineering and business.”  

This also means that the creation of a space like the Mexi-Can forum, which focuses on creating international partnerships in the technology, innovation and education sectors, is a step in the right direction. 

For Navarro, this year’s forum is just the beginning. He’s already planning next year’s. 

“We would like more people to come next year. There’s lots of space to grow, maybe branching to other provinces or making it a national forum.”

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Education

BY TERESA WAT Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism   LEARNING from the past to prevent future discrimination was on the lesson plan when I joined the back-to-school crowd earlier this month to introduce a new curriculum supplement for grades 5 and 10 students: Bamboo Shoots: Chinese Canadian […]

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Published in Education

SENIORS Advocate Isobel Mackenzie released a report on Monday that confirms one-third of unpaid caregivers in B.C. are in distress, one of the highest rates in Canada. “This is a wake-up call for all of us,” stated Mackenzie. “The evidence is clear that we are not connecting our unpaid caregivers, most of whom are family […]

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Published in National

Poll Question

Do you agree with the new immigration levels for 2017?

Yes - 30.8%
No - 46.2%
Don't know - 23.1%
The voting for this poll has ended on: %05 %b %2016 - %21:%Dec

Featured Quote

The honest truth is there is still reluctance around immigration policy... When we want to talk about immigration and we say we want to bring more immigrants in because it's good for the economy, we still get pushback.

-- Canada's economic development minister Navdeep Bains at a Public Policy Forum economic summit

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