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Government of Canada Introduces the Preventing Trafficking, Abuse and Exploitation of Vulnerable Immigrants Act

November 21, 2010 Leave a comment

A human trafficking awareness poster from the ...

A human trafficking awareness poster from the Canadian Department of Justice.

The Government of Canada today introduced the Preventing Trafficking, Abuse and Exploitation of Vulnerable Immigrants Act. The reintroduction of these important legislative amendments to Canada”s immigration laws will help protect vulnerable foreign workers such as exotic dancers who could be victims of exploitation or human trafficking.

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for the Status of Women, and Joy Smith, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, made the announcement today on behalf of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.

“This legislation will introduce important legislative changes to help close the doors to the dangerous victimization of girls and women, and we urge Parliament to join us in this serious matter and support the bill,” said Minister Ambrose. “As Canadians, we believe women in all communities should be treated with the full respect and dignity they deserve and oppose situations in which women and girls face violence, abuse or exploitation.”

The Preventing Trafficking, Abuse and Exploitation of Vulnerable Immigrants Act would give immigration officers greater authority to deny work permits to vulnerable foreign workers being sent to Canada to work in humiliating and degrading situations, including those being trafficked into Canada. Strengthening immigration officers” authority would provide the Government of Canada with another tool to respond to situations where a work permit applicant could be at risk.

“Low-skilled labourers and women being brought into Canada to work as exotic dancers are particularly at risk,” added MP Smith. “These changes will help protect those vulnerable immigrants who could find themselves in abusive or exploitative situations or possibly being preyed upon by human traffickers.”

Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CitImmCanada.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Minister’s Office
Alykhan Velshi
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Communications Branch
Media Relations
613-952-1650
CIC-Media-Relations@cic.gc.ca

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Canada PM: The Jewish homeland has become a scapegoat

November 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Stephen Harper, Canadian politician

  • Published 10:27 12.11.10
  • Latest update 10:27 12.11.10

Stephen Harper affirmed his strong commitment to the state of Israel and the eradication of global anti-Semitism, in a speech at Ottawa’s Parliament Hill earlier this week.

By Riva Gold

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has affirmed his strong commitment to the state of Israel and the eradication of global anti-Semitism, in a speech at Ottawa’s Parliament Hill earlier this week. 

“When Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack, is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand,” Harper said to a gathering of international parliamentarians on Monday.

“Under the shadow of a hateful ideology with global ambitions, one which targets the Jewish homeland as a scapegoat, Jews are savagely attacked around the world,” he added.

The Conservative leader made his remarks at the start of a two-day Ottawa conference on anti-Semitism for Holocaust Education week. While he conceded that Israel is receptive to fair criticism, he argued that Canada is obligated to stand up for its ally when it comes under attack from others.

“Not just because it is the right thing to do, but because history shows us, and the ideology of the anti-Israel mob tell us all too well, that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are in the longer term a threat to all of you,” said the prime minister.

Harper was subject to heavy criticism for his support of Israel when Canada lost its bid for the UN Security Council seat in October.

“There are, after all, a lot more votes- a lot more- in being anti-Israel than in taking a stand,” says Harper,” adding that: “The easiest thing to do is simply to just get along and go along with this anti-Israeli rhetoric, to pretend it is just about being even-handed, and to excuse oneself with the label of ‘honest broker’… But as long as I am prime minister, whether it is at the UN or the Francophonie or anywhere else, Canada will take that stand, whatever the cost.” “

At his caucus meeting on Monday, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff was critical of Harper’s position on Israel, calling for Canada to become an honest broker in the global community.

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Canada considers extending Afghanistan mission

November 8, 2010 Leave a comment

8 November 2010 Last updated at 13:33 ET

Canadian troops rescue an injured Afghan civilian More than 150 Canadian troops have died in Afghanistan, according to a tally by icasualties.org

Canada is poised to extend its military commitment in Afghanistan for three years beyond a withdrawal deadline of July 2011, officials have said.

The Conservative-led government may leave non-combat troops to support a Nato training mission, officials said.

Canada has about 3,000 troops in Afghanistan.

Canada has come under international pressure not to pull out at a time when the US is boosting its military commitment.

The Canadian Press agency reported Prime Minister Stephen Harper was expected to make a decision before a Nato summit in Lisbon on 18 November.

“Knowing that the mission in Afghanistan has work that is yet to be done, we are now considering this,” Defence Minister Peter MacKay told reporters on Sunday. “Training is an option and it’s something we’re very good at.”

The troops would train Afghan army and police units, Mr McKay said.

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Canada’s $10 Million plan to address the crisis of missing and murdered Aboriginal women

November 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Photograph of Skwxwu7mesh Chief George from th...

Photograph of Skwxwu7mesh Chief George from the village of Senakw with his daughter in traditional r...

October 30, 2010 – Canada’s $10 Million plan to address the crisis of missing and murdered Aboriginal women was welcomed by Jeannette Corbiere Lavell, president of the Native Women’s Association. “We are hopeful this funding will make a meaningful difference by improving policing and community responses to violence, creating better services for families of missing and murdered women, and increasing access to justice for Aboriginal women and girls.”

To stress the importance of this funding, President Corbiere Lavell made this important comparison: “To understand the crisis of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, we must place the number in context. If we were talking about the number (582) as a proportion of all women in Canada we would be talking about approximately 19,400 missing and murdered women. This funding is critical to responding to the gaps in the police and justice systems, as well as the needs of Aboriginal women, families, and communities.”

There now is substance to the $10 million for the crisis of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, announced in the federal budget more than six months ago. On Friday, the Government of Canada unveiled its seven step plan, to spend the money on new tools for law enforcement, and to improve the justice system and victims’ services.

“The disturbing issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women is one of serious concern and, as Canadians, we know Aboriginal women deserve respect, dignity and the right to feel safe,” said Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women. The $10 million will be spent over two years to improve community safety and to ensure that the justice system and law enforcement agencies can better respond to cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

-A new National Police Support Centre for Missing Persons to help police forces across Canada by providing coordination and specialized support in missing persons investigations; A national “tip” Web site for missing persons; Enhancing the Canadian Police Information Centre database to capture additional missing persons data; Amendments to the Criminal Code to streamline the warrants application process where wiretaps are required in missing person cases; and A comprehensive list of best practices to help communities, law enforcement and justice partners in future work.

The measures will also improve: Federal funding for culturally appropriate victims services through provinces and territories; as well as funding for Aboriginal groups to help the families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women; New awareness materials, pilot projects and new school- and community-based pilot projects targeted to young Aboriginal women; and New community safety plans to be developed to enhance the safety of women living in Aboriginal communities. Aboriginal women (First Nations, Inuit, Metis and non- status Indians), are three and one-half times more likely to experience violent victimization than non-Aboriginal women.

Aboriginal women report higher rates of violence committed by strangers and more serious forms of family violence. They are significantly over-represented as victims of homicide and are also three times more likely to be victims of spousal violence than non-Aboriginal women.

Here are the concrete steps to address the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. 1) $4-million for the RCMP to establish a National Police Support Centre for Missing Persons, including one resource, linked to National Aboriginal Policing Services, specifically dedicated to the issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women; enhance the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) to capture additional missing persons data; create a national registry for missing persons and unidentified remains so police have more comprehensive information on missing persons across jurisdictions; and create a national Web site to encourage the public to provide tips and information on missing persons cases and unidentified human remains.

2) The Department of Justice will introduce amendments to the Criminal Code to streamline the application process when specific court orders or warrants need to be issued in relation to an investigation for which a judge has given a wiretap authorization. Currently, a law enforcement officer may make multiple appearances before different judges to obtain authority to use these related investigative techniques. This amendment will improve the efficiency of investigations into serious crimes, including those that involve missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Other amendments will be proposed to section 184.4 of the Criminal Code, which provides authority for wiretapping without a warrant in emergencies (exigent circumstances).

These circumstances can include murder or kidnapping investigations relating to missing and murdered Aboriginal women. The amendments being proposed would enhance privacy safeguards by, among other things, adding notification and reporting requirements to section 184.4. The notification amendment would require notice to be given in writing to persons who were the object of an interception under this provision.

The reporting amendment would require an annual report to be prepared on the use of electronic surveillance under this provision.

3) In addition, the Department of Justice will provide $1 million to support the development of school- and community-based pilot projects to help heal, move forward and provide alternatives to high-risk behaviour for young Aboriginal women, including young offenders. The overall goal of the initiative will be to reduce the vulnerability of young Aboriginal women to violence.

4) Funds will be added to the Department of Justice’s Victims Fund to help the western provinces develop or adapt victim services for Aboriginal people and specific culturally sensitive victim services for families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Additional investments in the Victims Fund will also be made available to Aboriginal community groups to respond to the unique issues faced by the families of missing or murdered Aboriginal women at the community level. This funding will total approximately $2.15 million over two years.

5) Public Safety Canada will provide $1.5 million over two years to develop community safety plans to improve the safety of Aboriginal women within Aboriginal communities. Community safety plans will be developed by Aboriginal communities with the support of the Government of Canada to improve community safety and wellness. The information gathered from this process will help the Government of Canada improve its programs and services and better respond to community issues.

6) In 2010-2011, the Justice Partnership and Innovation Fund will also make available approximately $850,000 to develop materials for the public on the importance of breaking intergenerational cycles of violence and abuse that threaten Aboriginal communities across Canada. This funding will be made available to Aboriginal organizations and Public Legal Education groups working with Aboriginal groups.

7) The Department of Justice will also invest almost $500,000 in the development of a national compendium of promising practices in the area of law enforcement and the justice system to help Aboriginal communities and groups improve the safety of Aboriginal women across the country. These “best pr actices” will be identified in a number of fields: law enforcement, victim services, Aboriginal community development and violence reduction.


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Urban natives plead for more funds

November 2, 2010 Leave a comment

friendshipcentres6.jpg

Grace Elliott Nielsen leads a song with her drum as aboriginal friendship centre representatives arrive at the B.C. legislature for meetings with government officials.

Tom Fletcher/Black Press
By Tom Fletcher – BC Local News
Published: October 27, 2010 4:00 PM
Updated: October 27, 2010 4:34 PM

VICTORIA – Representatives of B.C.’s 23 aboriginal friendship centres say they can’t keep serving more people with less money, as a booming population of young people continues to stream from reserves to cities and towns.

The B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres has a meeting scheduled Thursday with Barry Penner, who was appointed aboriginal relations minister this week. They say B.C.’s urban native population has increased by 33 per cent in the past 10 years, and 60 per cent of all aboriginals in B.C. now live off reserve.

The association estimates that two thirds of of urban natives are aged 25 or younger. Friendship centres also receive $2.9 million annually from the federal government to deliver programs such as employment readiness, mental health, addiction, suicide prevention and early childhood education.

Association president Grace Elliott Nielsen said the centres saw a 17 per cent decrease in their provincial funding this year, and have not had an increase in 20 years.

“We are asking the government to provide capacity funding to our centres, because we are at the breaking point,” Nielsen said at a news conference in front of the legislature Tuesday.

Penner said in an interview the direct provincial funding for friendship centres was reduced along with other services when government revenues dropped sharply last year. Direct ministry funding climbed from $100,000 in 2004-05 to $395,000 in 2008-09, before declining to $300,000 last year and $230,000 this year.

Friendship centres also receive investment interest from the province’s First Citizens Fund, which was doubled in 2001 and paid them $720,000 a year until this year. It dropped to $612,000 because of lower investment yields, not a decision by government to reduce funding, Penner said.

Friendship centres are located in Courtenay, Port Alberni, Nanaimo, Duncan, Victoria, Lillooet, Merritt, Vancouver, Mission, Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon, Kamloops, Williams Lake, Quesnel, Prince George, Smithers, Terrace, Prince Rupert, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Fort St. John and Fort Nelson.

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Canada to Impose New Sanctions on North Korea

October 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Published October 28, 2010

| FoxNews.com

TORONTO– Canada’s Conservative government says it is drafting tough new sanctions against North Korea in retaliation for sinking a South Korean warship earlier this year.

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon says Canada is also downgrading its already-limited diplomatic relations with the rogue nuclear state.

Cannon said Thursday the sanctions will prohibit imports and exports to North Korea, with certain humanitarian exceptions.

Earlier this year, Canada announced stiffer restrictions on trade, investment and other bilateral relations with the communist dictatorship and suspended high-level visits by its officials.

Those measures followed the sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean navy ship, which killed 46 sailors.

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Nature provides $5.4 billion a year in Greater Vancouver

October 28, 2010 Leave a comment

By Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun, October 27, 2010 7:03 PM
‘Vancouver and the suburbs are sitting on [some of the best] natural assets that include wetlands, forests and farmland,’ says Faisal Moola, science director for the David Suzuki Foundation.

‘Vancouver and the suburbs are sitting on [some of the best] natural assets that include wetlands, forests and farmland,’ says Faisal Moola, science director for the David Suzuki Foundation.

Photograph by: Arlen Redekop, PNG

VANCOUVER — In economic terms, how much is Mother Nature worth?

About $5.4 billion a year, or $2,462 per person to the Greater Vancouver region, according to a study released Wednesday by the David Suzuki Foundation and Pacific Parklands Foundation.

The report examines the extent of the region’s “natural capital” — forests, fields, wetlands, watersheds and other ecosystems; it estimates the economic values the ecosystems provide.

The report, which encompasses Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley in an area extending from Hope in the east to Squamish in the north to the U.S. border in the south, looks at the ecosystem’s benefits, such as climate regulation, clean air, flood protection and water regulation, waste treatment, water supply, pollination, salmon habitat, recreation and tourism, local food production, and air pollution absorption in trees, plants and soils.

“Vancouver and the suburbs are sitting on [some of the best] natural assets that include wetlands, forests and farmland,” David Suzuki Foundation science director Faisal Moola said. Sprawling development remains a major threat to the region’s natural capital, he added.

“And we estimated that, conservatively, it’s worth $5.4 billion annually in natural benefits like clean air and clean water. The problem is that the decision-makers often take these benefits for granted, that they have no value.”

Other threats cited in the study are air and water pollution, including run-off from urban centres, agricultural production and sewage treatment plants, which increase the amount of nutrients, sediments and toxic compounds in surface and groundwater.

Moola said that, though nature provides services for free, the benefits can’t be ignored and that’s it’s time to account for the economic value by better managing the region’s growth.

“In the last two decades, we’ve lost 1,300 hectares of wetlands, mostly due to urban sprawl,” he said. “And our current stock of wetlands stores 3.5 million tons of carbon. We estimated that carbon is worth about $23 million based on the avoided costs of the greenhouse gas emissions that will happen if you destroy those wetlands.”

The study found that the ecosystems with the highest values are wetlands ($4,000 to $6,000 per hectare) and forests ($5,900 to $7,400 per hectare). It found that the greatest economic benefits provided by the natural world are climate regulation ($1.7 billion per year), water supply ($1.6 billion), and flood protection and water regulation ($1.2 billion).

Moola cited forests on the North Shore mountains as an example of how the nature provides economic benefits.

“Those trees on the North Shore mountains are keeping that mountain intact,” he said. “If we cut those trees, we’d have to keep the mountainside intact by investing in retaining walls and other engineering to replace a service we’re otherwise getting for free.”

Bryan Wallner, vice-president of the Pacific Parklands Foundation, said the study “reinforces the importance of protecting and restoring parklands and green spaces within our Lower Mainland communities and across the country.”

bmorton@vancouversun.com

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

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