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Thursday, October 30, 2008

So how are you feeling?

The Star reported that "The health of immigrants decreases over time in Canada and actually gets worse than the health of people born here..." in a short article published on the 27th.

Stress, change in diet, change in activity levels all may play a role according to doctors.

I think it's the poutine.

So, how are YOU feeling?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

White noise

With the downturn in the economy in North America, public discussions of immigration issues and policies have taken on a decidedly edgy quality. Comments on almost any article now on the Star online are bombarded with uninformed opinions and acidic calls for immigrants to "go home" or "stay home."

Many are under the impression that sponsored immigrants are immediately on public assistance once in Canada - truth is that any assistance they get has to be repaid by their sponsor if they can't do it themselves.

Many lump all classes of immigrants in together - with no compassion for refugees, or skilled workers lured by the "streets paved with Loonies" picture painted by many immigration consultants and the CIC themselves at times (though they are much improved on this front).

It's sad to see economic fear bring out bigotry, bias and small-mindedness in otherwise very tolerant Canadians. The new immigrants always face the stigma of un-want, as history has shown time and time again. Never mind that those who "choose" a country other than the one of their birth are shown time and time again to become loyal citizens, and by the second generation, significant contributors to society.

Immigrant hopefuls: don't despair. The white noise generated by those who live in fear of you, who want to blame you for the problems Canada faces, who refuse to see you for who you are as individuals with your own unique stories - they will pass. Something else shiny-er than you will catch their attention and become the focus of their anger. Stay your course, follow your dreams, pursue the life you wish and remember that the best comeback is simply to contribute and to live a good life.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The government you deserve

The election is over and once again, the Tories have a minority. The liberals got just what Stephan Dion feared - a poor result. The NDP and Bloc actually had some gains. The left is more fractured than ever - the right - in control but un-vindicated.

By most counts, given the election turn out, Stephen Harper was elected by about 22 percent of Canada's eligible voters. Hardly a majority. Still, this minority is in control now. All Dion's maneuvering, his avoidance of confidence votes (including the budget vote that included the new immigration reforms), his and other Liberals lack of simply doing their jobs as opposition, all in order to position them for timing an election when they thought they could win...what did it get them? Nothing.

The lesson here? Do you job while it's yours to do and let the future take care of itself. Liberals could've taken Harper down a year ago, and backed it up with a "standing up for Canada" perception. Instead, they tried to manipulate the situation, and now Liberal MP's who could've left government service proud for having stood up for the people wont have the chance to. And don't deserve to.

Canada has the government and policies it deserves right now. They must not care, because they turned out in low numbers. The opposition will have to work harder than ever together to defeat the Tories, but after being so lazy, maybe hard work is what they need.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Grassroots immigration advocates surface in Toronto

Here's to Sultana Jahangir, Faria Kamal, and Gurratan Singh Dhaliwal - three Toronto residents who don't like what they see happening with the new Conservative immigration initiatives and are doing something about it.

While they are seen as radicals - being a part of the group, "No One Is Illegal" - they are advocates for those without advocates: women fleeing violence, refugees without status...

Critics would argue that those who enter Canada illegally should simply be kicked out. Lucky for them, they are not facing violence or oppression, imprisonment or death. When you get upset with those who are in the country illegally, ask yourself if you truly understand why they have come, and what you would do in their situation.

In the meantime, broaden your outlook by reading the profile of these brave Canadians in the this Star article.