June, 2004 (# 165)
Bring Us Your Tired Conflicts, Your Poor Foreign Strife…
The project has two objectives, he said. ‘The first is to educate Canadians on central Africa and the current problems there. The second is to educate Canadians on modern African culture. [Under the auspices of Mr. Greenbaum, the preferred spot for the phantom sculpture is on a self-consciously trendy strip of Queen Street West. Alas] everything seemed to slow after officials consulted the Foreign Affairs Department in Ottawa and were warned to be careful about any claims that might be made about whether three million people died in the Congo in the civil war, he said. ‘No one has ever questioned the validity of those figures other than Foreign Affairs.'” (Globe and Mail, May 25, 2004) Apart from nursing ancient grudges, one of the great features of the current immigration flow is this universal and unstinting resolve to educate backward Canadians.
Worse is the $4.4-million lawsuit filed by three Iranian sisters who claim they were tortured in a Tehran prison because Canadian officials did not issue visas fast enough: “The Nahasati sisters, who claim they waited months to receive visas … say they were arrested by Iran’s morality police on suspicion of having boyfriends, locked in solitary confinement for 16 days [and] beaten with chains. … Sisters, Mahnam, 22; Mahdis, 20; and Nika, 18 were being processed as dependants of their mother, Fatemah Magd, who was granted Convention refugee status in Canada on the grounds her husband viciously abused her. … Ottawa contends that if anything, the women’s mother is to blame for the delay because she prompted an investigation after naming her abusive husband as a dependent, apparently in an attempt to bring him to Canada.” (National Post, February 26, 2004) You may remember Nabil al Marabh as the pop-eyed Toronto photocopy clerk with mysterious ties to myriad terror causes.
Even though this failed and deported refugee had slipped back into Canada, forged immigration documents and cheated the welfare system for six years, Canada cheerfully waived all warrants. On a roll, al Marabh struck a deal with the Americans: rather than face a string of U.S. charges, he would inform on other al Qaeda suspects, at the conclusion of which the U.S. would deport him to Syria. Semi-comically, he now “says he wants to hire O.J. Simpson’s former lawyer and sic him on the U.S. government. [Although al Marabh was only] deported last month to his native Syria, he has since written North American friends to tell them he wants Johnnie Cochrane to represent him in a wrongful-arrest suit. ‘Remember I am interested in Johnnie Cochrane’s office, did you talk to him?’ he wrote in a letter to an acquaintance in New York last week. He added: ‘Let’s start with a lawsuit.’ … Lawyers for Mr. al-Marabh feared he would be tortured in Syria and cited the example of Maher Arar, the Canadian who spent 10 months jailed there after he was removed by the United States.
Yet, Mr. al-Marabh, who has a far more checkered past than Mr. Arar, has stated he was pleasantly surprised by the fact that the Syrians treated him better than the Americans did. ‘It sounds funny, but he just said that the Syrian officials who were questioning him, were very nice about it,’ said Mr. Carroll, the New York acquaintance who is a co-ordinator for the Islamic Circle of North America. ‘Apparently, after questioning he was released . . . He actually sounded much better than he had before — you know, happy.’ … He has [also] told his New York friend he wants his jewellery — an amber necklace — back.” (Globe and Mail, February 14, 2004) While the West endeavours to contend with claims such as these with sensitivity and respect, “Britain plans to construct a massive concrete wall to surround the Houses of Parliament to ward off possible terror attacks, the Daily Mirror reports today. Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government wants to replace Whitehall’s historic iron railings with a 4.6-metre high wall topped with razor wire.” (Globe and Mail, March 24, 2004)
If they think stuffing another 100,000 people more or less into Toronto every year is going to add to the region’s biological diversity, we just don’t see it. As for the miracle of cultural diversity, a new StatsCan study says “Residential concentration of minority groups may result in social isolation and reduce minorities’ incentives to acquire the host-country language or to gain work experience and educational qualifications.” Something to remember when activists moan that Canada is letting down newcomers on the assimilation file. “Statistics Canada reported yesterday that the number of ethnic neighbourhoods in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver — where more than 30 per cent of the population is from a particular ethnic group — jumped from six in 1981 to 254 in 2001. … Among the 254 enclaves identified in 2001, 157 were Chinese, 83 were South Asian and 13 were Black.
The StatsCan study used an isolation index to measure the ‘probability that a member of a visible-minority group will meet only members of the same group in a particular neighbourhood.’ It found that Chinese immigrants in Greater Toronto had an isolation index of 25 per cent in 2001, more than double that of 10 per cent in 1981. The index for their counterparts in Vancouver also increased, from 18 per cent to 33 per cent, during the same period. The same trend was evident for Greater Toronto’s South Asian community, whose isolation index rose from 6 per cent to 20 per cent in the last two decades.
In Vancouver, the group’s index went from 7 per cent to 25 per cent in the same period. … The Statistics Canada report also found that visible-minority neighbourhoods are more likely to experience higher unemployment and lower income levels than other neighbourhoods. In Toronto, the unemployment rate rises from 5.7 per cent in neighbourhoods where less than one-tenth of the population is Chinese to 7.1 per cent where the Chinese account for at least half of the community. [Forget all that, says Lucia Lo, a York University professor in economic and demographic geography] ‘Today, our immigrants are very different from those we used to get in the old days. They are much better educated. When they move to Canada, they don’t restrain themselves to the dirty, filthy and crowded downtown ghettos … they want to live in a house with a full backyard in the suburbs.'” (Toronto Star, March 10, 2004) Does ethnic isolation breed arrogance?
Researchers who have studied joblessness said … factors that might have made the problem worse since 2000 could include welfare reform, high rates of incarceration producing gaps in job histories, and competition with immigrants for low-skill jobs.” (Toronto Star, February 29, 2004) Speaking of competing with immigrants, “the U.S. State Department estimates that sub-Saharan Africans make up one-third of Libya’s workforce. And while Libya’s leader, Col. Moammar Gadhafi, has cast himself as the father of Africa, his people have been slow to welcome the newcomers. Black African immigrants tell of police shakedowns, attacks by racist youth gangs, employers who refuse to pay wages and seething hatred from all quarters. … ‘If you’re Black, you’re still a slave in Libya,’ says Ali, an immigrant from Chad. … In a televised speech two years ago, Gadhafi said: ‘Africans should pay no respect to their borders and should be able to move freely.’
But many of his people have been less welcoming. ‘They have done nothing good for this country,’ says Anis Muktar al-Ajeli, a 35-year-old chef. ‘They brought diseases and drugs with them. They’re criminals and thieves.’ Most immigrants say they came only to work — many aiming to save enough money for the $800 (all figures U.S.) trip on a smuggler’s fishing boat to Italy, then on to the rest of Europe. Few ever make the trip. Saving, they say, is impossible with all the odds stacked against them. … ‘There are thousands of Africans in the prisons,’ says Tony Chidize, 28. ‘Sometimes, people just disappear.'” (Associated Press, February 29, 2004)
However, 7%, or an estimated 1.6 million Canadians aged 15 and over, said they had experienced discrimination or unfair treatment in the past five years. … In 2002, Canada’s 3 million people who were part of a visible minority represented 13% of the non-Aboriginal population aged 15 and over. The majority (84%) of people in visible minorities were first generation Canadians. One-in-five (20%) people aged 15 and over who were part of a visible minority, or an estimated 587,000 people, said they felt that they had experienced discrimination or unfair treatment sometime or often in the five years prior to the survey because of their ethnicity, culture, race, skin colour, language, accent or religion.
For people in visible minorities, there was little variation in the levels of discrimination or unfair treatment by length of time, or generation, in Canada. About 20% of people in visible minorities who immigrated to Canada from 1991 to 2001 reported perceived discrimination or unfair treatment sometimes or often, compared with 21% of people in visible minorities who came prior to 1991 and 18% who were two or more generations in Canada.
In contrast, 5% of the population aged 15 and over who did not identify as part of a visible minority, or an estimated 982,000 people, reported that discrimination or unfair treatment had occurred sometimes or often. A higher proportion (9%) of those who were not part of a visible minority and had immigrated to Canada between 1991 and 2001 reported discrimination or unfair treatment. Of the groups included in the visible minority population, Blacks were more likely to report feeling that they had been discriminated against or treated unfairly by others because of their ethno-cultural characteristics. Nearly one-third (32%) of Blacks, or an estimated 135,000, said that they had had these experiences sometimes or often in the past five years, compared with 21% of South Asians and 18% of Chinese.” (Statistics Canada, Ethnic Diversity Survey, September 29, 2003)
Canada Admits 87% Of HIV-Positive Immigrants
The proposal was met with such baying protests that the idea was spiked while the proportion of arriving immigrants unable to function in either official language steadily climbs. Canada’s belated decision to begin testing newcomers for AIDS was met with the same orchestrated tantrums and similar federal retreat (something to keep in mind when the next modest proposal elicits screeches of protest). “Canada last year welcomed nearly three times as many HIV-positive immigrants and refugees as it did the year before. … Since January 2002, when the federal immigration department adopted mandatory HIV screening for prospective new arrivals, 953 people have tested positive for the AIDS virus. Of those, 677 were diagnosed in 2003, a hefty jump from the 276 people who tested positive in the first year. … [Since refugees, family class sponsored spouses/partners and dependent children cannot be refused admission on medical grounds], only 13% of the infected applicants — approximately 124 people — were deemed medically inadmissible on the grounds that they would pose an extreme burden.
The cost to the Canadian health-care system of treating an HIV patient is $150,000 over his or her lifetime.” (National Post, May 13, 2004) At about the same time this feel-bad story appeared, the Paul ‘n’ Bono Show was, somewhat redundantly, picking our other pocket: The fabulously wealthy shipping magnate and his rich rock star sidekick announced that they were diverting $170-million — not their own fortunes mind, but Canadian taxpayers’ dollars — to battle AIDS worldwide.
Meanwhile, this most politicized of diseases will continue to reap souls while it is considered not-quite-nice (even illegal) to point to certain lifestyles and/or partners as unacceptably high-risk: According to the CBC, (March 6, 2000), the rate of HIV infection among recent immigrants of African descent was 60-times that of the general Canadian population — four years ago. A study appearing in last month’s issue of the Canadian Journal of Public Health notes that among prison inmates, HIV infections are 10-times more common. Health Canada informs us that in this country, men-who-have-sex-with-men “account for 77.6% of cumulative AIDS cases among adult males.” (Centre for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, HIV/AIDS Epi Update, April 2003)
It was observed that Indo-Canadian parents should strive to improve their parenting skills. … The Organized Crime Agency of B.C. concluded the Indo-Canadian criminals are involved in ‘group’ violence rather than organized crime. The agency cites … an extreme level of violence among Indo-Canadians that is not characteristic of more sophisticated biker and Asian gangs in the Lower Mainland who see high-profile violence as ‘bad for business.’ … Alex Tyakoff, a Vancouver researcher who headed the study, said … ‘This is not a finger-pointing exercise.'” (National Post, May 11, 2004)
Nice theory, but it hardly explains the actions of Arsal Khan (lately convicted of the first-degree murder of his daughter Farah Khan) and Kaneez Fatima’s (the step-mother convicted of second-degree murder). The daughter-slaughter couple were purely the product of an out of control chain of arranged marriage migrations: a lethal chain set in motion in 1988 when stepmother Kaneez was brought to Canada by husband #1, Mohammed Khalil Khan, a convicted welfare cheat. (Canada has even managed to acquire the little girl’s birth mother): “The grief-stricken mother of slain Farah Khan says her family faces danger if they return to Pakistan and will file an application this week to remain in Canada as immigrants. ‘I am afraid to go back home,’ Shahida Jabeen [said]. ‘We fear for our lives from [the ex-husband’s] family if we return.’ … Jabeen, 31, her husband Zuliqar Ali, 35, and daughters, Ramsha, 5, and Aliza Noor, 2, arrived in Canada last January on a 30-day visitor visa to testify at the trial. They have since obtained an extension of their visas and her lawyer will apply this week for the family to remain here on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.” (Toronto Sun, April 25, 2004)
Nor does the pampered prince theory explain how an Air India plane came to be vaporised over the Irish Sea, resulting in the most expensive/least satisfactory prosecution in Canadian history. Consider too, the case of Muralitharan Nadarajab, an (allegedly) high-ranking terrorist scheduled for deportation who says: “I’m really happy about the Canadian justice system.” No kidding. Nadarajab “slipped into Canada six years ago using a forged passport and a false name. Since then, two different levels of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada have concluded he was a chief financier for the LTTE, more commonly known as the Tamil Tigers.” (National Post, May 20, 2004)
Enter Federal Court judge Sandra Simpson. Believing he could face state-sanctioned torture in Sri Lanka, she has granted him yet another reprieve. In other words, the more certain we are that Mr. Nadarajab really is a terrorist, the more likely he’s ours for keeps? Apart from beggaring legal aid, Nadarajab’s contribution to Canada consists of supplementing welfare payments for wife and four children with intermittent gigs as a dishwasher. Where the theory perhaps holds some water is in the curious case of Sukvir Singh Khosa and Bahadur Singh Bhalru, the two speed-demons responsible for the street racing death of 51-year-old Irene Thorpe. The two were sentenced by a judge clearly bored to tears by the concept of criminal negligence leading to death; Justice Linda Loo slapped their wrists with two years less a day of house arrest.
Now facing deportation proceedings, a sobbing Khosa “told the immigration appeal panel that he and his financially struggling family would be devastated if he were sent back to India.” (Globe and Mail, May 13, 2004) The financially struggling Khosa, the evident victim of the piece, was driving a Camaro when he killed Ms. Thorpe. Her sister, Diane Levair, wondered why a murderer who had never in four years managed to apologize, would do so tearfully only at his deportation hearing? Khosa’s mouthpiece, Daniel Geller, insists “He is the kind of immigrant we want in this country.” Well no, he isn’t, and if it is all such an unholy ordeal, perhaps for their sake, the kindest thing would be to chain the gates.
A memo from an Immigration Canada intelligence analyst in Beijing cites a Hong Kong newspaper article that told the story of a … Vancouver dating service that routinely got calls, usually from Chinese people in Canada on student or visitor visas, asking for marriage partners. … In fact, the number of appeals to the Immigration and Refugee Board involving alleged marriages of convenience soared to 1,353 in 2002 from 332 in 1997. That represents 32% of the workload at the board’s immigration appeal division in 2002, compared to 9% in 1997. … [Beijing mission staffer Isabelle Ouellet, laments that] ‘the level of organization makes it more and more difficult for officers to detect abuses.
With applicants determined to access Canada, should fraudulent acts not be regularly intercepted, fraud can only be expected to grow.’ … Cythia Pay, [legal-aid lawyer and, just coincidentally] president of the Chinese-Canadian National Council, said the Beijing visa office has one of the largest backlogs among Canadian missions around the world, yet is chronically understaffed. Rejecting family-class applications over alleged marriages of convenience may be an [unusually Machiavellian] attempt to clear the backlog or be a result of racial stereotyping.” (National Post, April 7, 2004) Sounds like somebody is fluent in the argot of the unanswerable racial slur.
Since so much human misery — kidnapping, sex slavery, organized crime recruitment and the so-called home-invasion (not to mention a beggared legal-aid system and badly tattered social safety net) — is tied to purchased entry, the truly compassionate country will resist the maledictions of the likes of Ms. Pay and examine each sponsorship application with renewed scrutiny.
As a result, the sentencing of Raymond Li will go ahead on June 22, Justice Frank Caputo decided. … Li, a lawyer for 10 years with a criminal and family practice, represented himself at his trial late last year. After his conviction, he … applied for a mistrial based in part on his alleged failure to adequately represent himself. … Li was at one point represented by senior counsel whom he dismissed and then chose to do the case himself, despite warnings. The judge noted that Li represented himself to at least the minimum standard and he was aware of the issues. … In November 2001,. a guard saw Li touch hands underneath an interview room table in the jail when he was alone with [client, An] Nguyen. The prisoner was searched and a package was found around his leg. In it, guards found hashish, marijuana and 29 grams of heroin, worth nearly $30,000.” (Toronto Sun, May 15, 2004)