Monday, 27 April 2009

Let's Play A Game I Will Call 'Canadian Or Canadian Citizen'.

This is the first post of what may be many about a game I will call "Canadian or Canadian Citizen".

This is how the game is played. I will present a story about an alleged "Canadian" and you can decide if the individual is a Canadian or just a Canadian citizen and yes, there is a difference. Just ask this woman.

Today's contestant is a gentleman named Yasser Mahmoud Abbas. You can read about him here at the Toronto Star.

The first name pays homage to the late Yasser Arafat, long-time leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, while the rest of the moniker is identical to that of the current Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas who is, in fact, Yasser Abbas' father.

In fact, speculation surged this year among some sectors of the Israeli political cognoscenti that Mahmoud Abbas might be grooming his 46-year-old son to become his political successor when his presidency expires in January.


Abbas, former chair of the Canadian-Palestinian Business Council, provided intriguing details about his considerable wealth, denied exploiting family connections to acquire it, railed against the Islamist group Hamas that rules the Gaza Strip and freely owned up to being a collaborator with Israel.


Married with two sons and a daughter, Abbas owns several large businesses gathered under the umbrella of the Falcon Holding Group.

He struck the carcinogenic equivalent of gold early this decade when he obtained a monopoly on the distribution of American cigarette brands such as Lucky Strike, Kent and Viceroy in the West Bank and Gaza.


Abbas also heads an insurance company, a civil engineering firm and a real-estate business, all with their main offices in Ramallah, the de facto West Bank capital.

Along with his brother, Tariq, Abbas also owns a West Bank advertising agency.

Abbas spent several years living in Montreal during the late 1980s and early '90s, when he ran a company whose main business was renovating apartment buildings.

Raised mainly in the United States, where he obtained a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Washington State University in 1983, Abbas took out Canadian citizenship while in Montreal and retains many ties with his former northern home.

Since moving to the West Bank in 1997,
he has periodically acted as an emissary between the Palestinian Authority and Canada, notably in July 2007, when he travelled to Ottawa to urge resumption of financial aid, suspended after Hamas' victory in the Palestinian legislative elections in January 2006.

So let's recap. He is Palestinian by birth; was mostly raised in the United States; was educated in the United States; spent a few years in Canada in the late 1980's to early 1990's running an apartment reno business thus allowing him to obtain Canadian citizenship; moved to the West Bank in 1997 so he no longer lives in Canada; most of his business dealings are located in the West Bank; and he is being groomed by his father to succeed him as Palestinian president.

So is he a Canadian or just a Canadian citizen? According to the Toronto Star he is a Canadian but rational minds know better. Yasser is just a Palestinian with Canadian citizenship and therefore just a Canadian citizen, even a Canadian of convenience, but not a Canadian. I don't see how his passing through Canada characterizes him as a Canadian. He only stayed here long enough to qualify for Canadian citizenship. But he doesn't live here anymore and in fact hasn't lived in Canada for the majority of his life. Most of his business dealings are located in the West Bank which makes me wonder if he pays any taxes to Canada on any of his income there.

Being a foreign born "Canadian", if Yasser hasn't paid any Canadian taxes on his world income and/or has not lived in Canada for a considerable amount of time since obtaining citizenship then I propose that his citizenship status should come under review and possibly revoked. To my knowledge such a review is not in place. Implementing a review would be an improvement to the citizenship laws and increase the value of Canadian citizenship beyond its status as an insurance policy.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

New Citizenship Law Is A Step In The Right Direction.

A new citizenship law went into effect on April 17, 2009. You can read about it here at the Toronto Star. You can read a commentary about it here at the Globe and Mail (thanks to the heads up from a reader).

This is from the Star:

When Bill C-37, an amendment to the Citizenship Act, takes the full force of law today, the elder Wilkinson will join thousands of so-called "lost Canadians" who automatically have their citizenship restored.

Wilkinson and his two sisters are happily along for the ride.

"When I told my sisters about this, the first thing my sister asked was, `Does my son qualify?'" said Wilkinson.

The answer is no. Not at all coincidentally, Wilkinson and his siblings' new-found status also places them among an entirely new class of Canadians born abroad who cannot automatically pass along their Canadian citizenship to their kids.

A new two-generation rule – which ends the line of citizenship for children born outside Canada to Canadian parents who were also born abroad – was inserted as a sort of quid pro quo in Bill C-37.

This is from the Globe:

On April 17, a new law comes into effect changing the rules of citizenship. From that date on, when foreign-born Canadians have children born abroad, those children cannot inherit Canadian citizenship. Under the current rules, such children do receive citizenship and can retain it as adults - even if they've never stepped foot in this country - by showing knowledge of Canada and ability to speak English or French.

The new law stems from the 2006 removal of 15,000 Canadian citizens from war in Lebanon, many of whom subsequently returned there. At the time, Stephen Harper's government condemned so-called citizens of convenience who use citizenship as insurance against turmoil in their home countries. The new law ensures that only one generation of emigrant Canadians will gain such "conveniences" in the future.

It seems this is not the only citizenship reform afoot. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has recently made comments suggesting that further steps be taken to make citizenship more difficult to obtain.

At an event in Alberta last month, Mr. Kenney was asked about "birth tourists," who come to have their children in Canada so they can acquire citizenship. He said his department is considering how to prevent such people from abusing our generosity. He mentioned the estimated quarter of a million Canadian citizens living in Hong Kong and the 50,000 or more in Lebanon - and the current right of these citizens' great-grandchildren to become Canadian citizens - as further evidence of abuse. In another recent speech, Mr. Kenney suggested there be tighter enforcement of the existing rule that immigrants be able to speak an official language before being granted citizenship.

I think the law is reasonable and it increases the value of Canadian citizenship. The only ones complaining are from those with an ingrained sense of entitlement which the comments from the Globe commentary suggest.

To continue I don't believe every child born on Canadian soil should automatically be given Canadian citizenship. I think this right should be bestowed upon Canadian citizens, landed immigrants, and refugees whose status has been verified. If you are not a Canadian citizen or a landed immigrant and if you are a refugee claimant (but not a verified refugee) then any children born to you while in Canada should not be given automatic citizenship.

I know this will raise complications concerning the status of the child so an effective solution would be for Canada to press the issue at the U.N. where the problem can be resolved by granting the child the citizenship of either both or one of the parents in such a situation.

Friday, 10 April 2009

A Nation Of Part-Timers, Rising Unemployment, And The 30 Year 'Great Recession'.

When the Canadian economy was "booming" calls for sustained high immigration levels were routine, buoyed by calls for ever increasing levels matching, and possibly exceeding, 1% of the population. This, we were told, was necessary if Canada wanted to remain "competitive" in the world by attracting the "best and the brightest" as well as meeting the nation's then current and future labour market needs.

Back then such high immigration numbers and the assumed benefits were questionable. It is even more questionable in the current economic uncertainty the nation and the world faces. If Canada's mass immigration system was showing signs of dysfunction even in alleged boom times what consequences will it bring to Canada and Canadians in this economic downturn? Some news releases paint an even dire picture then we may have imagined and should force the government to drastically reduce the immigration targets if not to halt it altogether for the sake of Canadians and future generations.

As the month of March concluded another 61,300 jobs were lost pushing the national total to 357,000 jobs lost since the downturn began in October of 2008. Most of the jobs lost were full time positions primarily in "manufacturing, finance, insurance, real estate and leasing, construction and natural resources” causing the official national unemployment rate to increase to 8%, "the worst in seven years". (The official Ontario unemployment rate is 8.7% and Toronto's is 8.8%). We must keep in mind that the official unemployment figures are misleading. It is actually higher then is stated because it doesn't include people who have given up looking for work and have withdrawn from the labour market. Adding other factors like temp work or contract work and part time work a more realistic unemployment figure is almost double the official rate.

According to the Conference Board of Canada the nation's unemployment rate will peak at 9.5% in 2010.

The loss of so many full time jobs has created, according this Toronto Star headline, a "nation of part-timers".

Can western Canada still serve as an excuse to maintain high immigration levels? Alberta doesn't seem to at the moment. Of course there's still Saskatchewan with its 6,500+ unfilled jobs. This is good news for the 300,000 plus full time jobs seekers out there. However TD Economics issued this caveat:
"The province's near-term economic and fiscal performance is clearly facing far greater challenges than we had anticipated in the 2008 study," the report states, noting the severe global recession. "For a small, open and resource-based economy such as Saskatchewan, such a negative turn in fortunes will prove to be a major economic setback."

In 2007, the province's GDP grew a whopping 11 per cent, nearly double the 5.7 per cent in the rest of the country. Saskatchewan anticipates growth in 2008 of about 14 per cent.

The situation is not as rosy now – there have been about 3,000 layoffs, but even with an expected 1 per cent growth this year, Saskatchewan will trail only Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

The Toronto Star, in an opinion piece by Carol Goar, had this to say:

Three things make Ed Clark, chief executive of TD Bank Financial Group, a business leader worth listening to.

He says what he thinks regardless of whose feathers he ruffles. He's not afraid to swim against the current. And he acts on his principles.


He offered students and corporate leaders his take on the economic outlook, which differs sharply from Prime Minister Stephen Harper's, plus his perspective on the partnership between Canada and the United States in the lean years ahead.

Clark began by shooting down the notion that Canadians can look forward to a recovery next year. What they will see, he predicted, is a temporary uptick in economic activity caused by the massive sums governments are spending. But that will be followed by 30 years of very slow growth and persistent unemployment.

"We are going into a Great Recession,"
he said.

Clark does not buy the argument that last fall's meltdown caught political leaders off-guard. There had been mounting evidence since 2000 that North America was enjoying a false boom, he said. By 2006, as mortgages started defaulting in the U.S., the danger signals were unmistakable. "We knew this was going to blow."

Yet those in charge assured everyone "as long as the music is playing, we ought to all keep dancing."

I don't want to believe him. Who does? It is much preferable to accept the rosy forecasts that this recession will be short lived. But I don't know. It seems for too long Canadians have been living a fantasy life built on credit and now the creditors have come to collect. The housing boom in Ontario coupled with the home reno fad was built on speculation and credit and sold to people who I am no too certain can afford their houses. As real estate agents have been banking their SUV payments on an infusion of immigrants into the housing market I wonder what jobs they did to support the mortgage and what jobs will they have now to maintain the payments.

If his prediction is true and that Canada is facing a long 30 year recovery I see no excuse now, more than ever, to maintain high immigration levels. Even if he is wrong, and I hope he is, it is better to err on the side of caution then to continuously inject people into the Canadian labour market. To do so is to invite racism, xenophiobia, poverty, and crime.

Now is the time to put Canadians first and if it means an moratorium on immigration then so be it. If not then the consequence may be social discord.

Ottawa Being Sued Over 'Alleged Marriage Frauds'.

Ottawa sued over alleged marriage frauds

Mar 31, 2009 04:30 AM
Nicholas Keung

A Brampton man is attempting to launch a class-action lawsuit against the federal government for failing to investigate and deport foreigners who allegedly trick Canadians into marriages of convenience.

It is unknown how many cases there are nationally, but Immigration Canada's branch office in Mississauga has about 600 files on immigration fraud cases and a lack of staff has created a major investigative backlog.

Saranjeet Benet, a 37-year-old electrician, and his father Sampuran Benet, founded Canadians Against Immigration Fraud and are asking the Federal Court of Canada for permission to pursue a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Canadian sponsors who married foreigners in good faith but were jilted and end up with emotional scars and financial losses.


Marriage fraud transcends culture, religion, and race. It can happen to anyone. But in the case of Punjabi Non Resident Indians (NRIs as the Indian government accurately recognizes them or the politically acceptable Indo-Canadians in Canada) they bring it upon themselves. The archaic and silly marital rites still practiced by them encourages abuse by both parties involved.

Dowries are expected to be paid by the family of the bride to the family of the groom. If the groom has western citizenship this is a bargaining chip played against the bride's family who seeks to use the daughter for the purposes of immigration. This is what happened to Amandeep Kaur Dhillon. Her family back in Punjab, India sold out her happiness to a Punjabi family living in Canada by paying a $54,000 dowry to them. This was done with the understanding that she would be used by her relatives back in India to immigrate to Canada. Things didn't work out as planned becuase Amandeep Kaur Dhillon lost her life at the hands of her father in law in Canada.

This buying and selling of their children into marital relations in Punjabi culture encourages marriage fraud especially if one them has western citizenship. What makes this all the more complicated is that there is a gender imbalance in the Punjabi community here in Canada as well as back in India. You see, they have developed a penchant for aborting their future daughters, an act not exclusive to South Asians but is seen in China as well. Now many sons face the prospect of having to marry outside their culture and possible race if they marry at all.

I hope those who filed the lawsuit win just like I hope the one launched by the authors of Immigration Canada Farce win as well. It is time the federal government be made responsible for the lives it ruined and the mess it has made of the immigration system.