Government of Canada now able to revoke citizenship of dual citizens convicted of terrorism – Coming into Force

Clear signal on which cases will be a priority: those tried and convicted in Canada, neatly avoiding some of the foreign judicial process issues raised during C-24 hearings.

But not avoiding, of course, the more fundamental issue of differential treatment for dual citizens compared to Canadian-only citizens:

Measures came into force officially today that enable Canada to revoke citizenship from dual nationals convicted of terrorism, treason and high treason, and/or spying for foreign governments.

Canadian citizenship can now also be revoked from dual citizens for taking up arms against Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces, whether as a member of a foreign army or in non-state terrorist groups like ISIS.

Also officially in force as of today is a new, more streamlined citizenship revocation process.  This new process will help ensure Canada and Canadians are protected, and that revocation decisions can be made quickly, decisively and fairly.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) officials will be implementing these new measures immediately and will prioritize cases that have been tried and convicted here in Canada on at least one of the grave crimes listed above.

Government of Canada now able to revoke citizenship of dual citizens convicted of terrorism


Black teachers still face racism on the job in Ontario

Interesting study. According the National Household Survey data, black teachers form XX percent in Ontario schools:

Many black teachers across Ontario still face racism on the job, according to a new  study of educators, half of whom said they believe being black has hurt their chance of promotion. Some told of hearing the ‘N’ word used in the staff room and being mistaken for a trespasser.

“I had a supply teacher tell me I am not allowed to park my car in staff parking,” said one of the 148 black educators across 12 Ontario school boards surveyed for a report to be released Friday. “The ‘N’ word was used in casual conversation in our staff room,” said another. “I was introduced as ‘home girl’ to a student teacher.”

The 63-page report, The Voices of Ontario Black Educators, prepared for the Ontario Alliance of Black School Educators (ONABSE), calls for Ontario to enact tough employment equity legislation, provide training against anti-black bias, set targets for promoting teachers of colour and cluster black teachers in particular in schools where there are high numbers of black students.

“We’re disappointed, but not surprised at the findings — racism is still deeply ingrained in society,” said Warren Salmon, interim president of ONABSE, which commissioned the report because of concerns expressed by its members.

Of the black teachers, principals and vice-principals surveyed, one-third said they believe they have been passed over for advancement because they are black. Some 27 per cent said racial discrimination by colleagues affects their day-to-day work life and 51 per cent said they believe anti-black bias at their school board affects who gets promoted.

Equity consultant Tana Turner of Turner Consultants conducted the survey, and called for school boards to “set equity goals and timetables — not just have an employment equity office which merely measures the numbers of employees …

“If the government wants to close the gap in racial diversity between students and those at the front of the classroom,” she said, “legislation and other government interventions may be needed.”

Black teachers still face racism on the job in Ontario | Toronto Star.

Blind Auditions Could Give Employers A Better Hiring Sense

One way to address the biases in the hiring processes, whether diversity or background related (see earlier How an ethnic-sounding name may affect the job hunt regarding evidence of bias):

Typically, a hiring manager posts an opening, describes the ideal candidate and resumes come flooding in. After doing some interviews, the manager has to make a gut decision: Who is the best person for the job?

Research shows that more often than not, managers pick someone whose background is similar to theirs.

But, Vujosevic says, “There is definitely room to improve how we view talent, how we screen talent, how we engage with talent and how we end up interviewing talent.”

By “talent,” he means all the gifted young people he knew that weren’t getting job interviews at technology companies because they didn’t fit a certain idea of what a good job candidate looks like. They didn’t graduate from college, they taught themselves to code or they had a strong accent.

Vujosevic thinks he knows how to get around this problem with a completely different way of looking at hiring. He thought these unconventional applicants could get interviews if there was a way to show what they could do without revealing who they were.

So he created a website called GapJumpers where employers post a job along with some sort of challenge, like: Create a Web page or write a social media strategy. To apply for the job, you just take on the challenge.

“Right now, we are able to do blind auditions for software engineering roles, design roles, marketing roles, communication roles and allow candidates that might on paper not be a good fit, prove that they actually are,” he says.

He compares it to his favorite singing competition, NBC’s The Voice. Four celebrity judges sit in red super villain chairs with their backs turned to the stage. And then, someone sings. The judges hit a button and turn their chairs around. That’s the first time they see who’s performing, but they’ve already decided “I pick you for my team.” It’s a blind audition.

And that’s kind of how GapJumpers works.

Jeremiah Reyes is in charge of hiring at Dolby Laboratories. He wanted to spend less time sorting through applications and getting more qualified candidates, including people with nontraditional backgrounds.

Recently, a Dolby hiring manager was shocked to discover his favorite candidate came from a community college.

“The one that we did select, even in our debrief he basically said, ‘Wow, I think if I just saw his resume on my desk, I don’t know if I would have selected him,’ ” Reyes says. “It was one of those ‘aha’ moments for him that this is a really interesting tool.”

Blind Auditions Could Give Employers A Better Hiring Sense : All Tech Considered : NPR.

The Worst Kind Of Groundhog Day: Let’s Talk (Again) About Diversity In Publishing

Lack of diversity in the recommended summer reading lists by the major US publications:

Another day, another all-white list of recommended reading. This year’s New York Times summer reading list, compiled annually by Times literary critic Janet Maslin, offered up zero books by non-white authors. Gawker’s Jason Parham marveled that the list has achieved “peak caucasity” while Divya Guha and staff at Quartz offered an alternate reading list comprised of Indian writers.

And that’s what’s so frustrating about this list; this summer brings so many excellent books from writers of color, many of whom are very well known and have enthusiastic audiences — Balm by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Loving Day by Mat Johnson, In the Country by Mia Alvar, Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capó Crucet, The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson, Only the Strong by Jabari Asim, Lovers on All Saint’s Day by Juan Gabriel Vasquez, Re: Jane by Patricia Park, Flood of Fire by Amitav Ghosh, and others — that it requires magical thinking to avoid an uncharitable reading of the NYT’s picks.

It is worth noting that the Times’s recommended summer readings lists in 2012, 2013, and 2014 were similarly lacking in diversity. To be sure, they’re not alone. NPR also published a monochromatic reading list recently. “We are not implying that this list is comprehensive,” says Cara Tallo, senior supervising producer for Morning Edition, which ran a story featuring that list. In a response emailed to NPR, the New York Times also stressed that their list was not meant to be comprehensive. “While our selection reflects the summer releases offered by book publishers, we will be more alert to diversity among authors in the future,” says communications director Danielle Rhodes Ha.

No list can be comprehensive, but when we see alabaster roundups year after year, it warrants some scrutiny.

It’s one thing if a media brand deliberately targets segmented audiences. The Root publishes reading lists of all, or mostly, African-American writers. Jezebel does the same with female ones. But those sites make it clear that they’re not trying to talk to everyone. Big, national, general interest news brands like NPR and the NYT say they are. If these sites truly want — and, increasingly, need — readers of all colors and all backgrounds to tune in, monochromatic content is working against them. The message we get is, “We don’t see you. We don’t need you.”

This isn’t a logistical issue, a problem of critics not including diverse authors because they simply don’t know about them. I put together the above list of books in five minutes in a hotel room. Had I been home with the collection of galleys I’ve recently received, the list would have been twice as long and composed in half that time. And I assure you, I’m not the only one getting these galleys. The arts, entertainment, and books desks at every major publication and outlet are flooded with them, and an entire ecosystem of critics, producers, and editors is involved in compiling and signing off on these lists. Narrow reading is a less passive activity than some will claim.

As a writer and critic, I am not just bored with this conversation. I am sick of it. I have written these sentences before. I will write them again. Discussing diversity in publishing is the worst kind of Groundhog Day. What’s more, these lists put writers and readers of color in a deeply awkward position. We don’t want to take anything away from the writers who have been included on the list. I am currently reading Don Winslow’s The Cartel and I never want to put the book down. It is thoroughly immersive, finely detailed and the action has me breathless.

The problem is and has always been the exclusion of writers of color and other marginalized writers who have to push aside their own work and fight for inclusion, over and over and over again. We beg for scraps from a table we’re not invited to sit at. We are forced to defend our excellence because no one else will.

The Worst Kind Of Groundhog Day: Let’s Talk (Again) About Diversity In Publishing : Code Switch : NPR.

Australia: Debacle over terrorism and citizenship is leak-based policy in its purest form | Lenore Taylor | Australia news | The Guardian

Lenore Taylor of The Guardian on the leak strategy being used to sell the proposed Australian revocation policy change for convicted terrorists:

One might ask what is to be gained from so many headlines galloping so far ahead of actual decisions, or indeed, actual facts.

Does it help the police and intelligence agencies with their very important task of “keeping Australians safe” either by preventing acts of violence in this country, or preventing dangerous foreign fighters from returning, or the strategy for countering violent extremism aimed at stopping people here from becoming radicalised and dangerous?

Or is it playing to a very different audience – with the much more political aim of keeping security threats at the forefront of the national conversation and, perhaps, goading Labor into disagreement so that they can be portrayed as “weak on terror”?

The prime minister’s most powerful advisor is taking a keen interest in the policy and politics of the issue – his chief of staff, Peta Credlin, told a recent meeting of Coalition staff she was spending at least 40% of her time on the issue.

Another clue might lie in yet more information from the prime minister’s office to the Daily Telegraph, this time in an article entitled “The first cracks in Australia’s bipartisan approach to terrorism could doom Bill Shorten” which revealed that the prime minister received 900 emails in the week after the budget expressing anger at the possibility that “repentant Australian jihadis” might be allowed back into the country.

The article praised the prime minister’s “instinctive” response that “If you go abroad to join a terrorist group and you seek to come back to Australia, you will be arrested, you will be prosecuted and jailed” in comparison with Shorten’s reaction that “There are laws in place, I’m not going to play judge and jury.”

But of course, there are laws in place, and they do have evidentiary requirements. Which means the courts may not in every case implement the prime minister’s “instinct”. Which is presumably where the new policy-thought about citizenship-stripping comes in. And Shorten has been pretty careful to make sure there are no “cracks” in the bipartisanship on these issues, no matter what the government proposes.

There is, of course, an alternative to slap-dash policy in response constituent-email reaction, or policy by cabinet-pre-empting, headline-seeking press leak, and that is that old-fashioned idea of policy developed to address a real problem, thought through and discussed by cabinet, before public announcement.

Debacle over terrorism and citizenship is leak-based policy in its purest form | Lenore Taylor | Australia news | The Guardian.

Alberta: Changing Face of the Legislature

As part of finalizing my book, Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote, I have been updating provincial political representation, particularly for Alberta given the recent dramatic change with the election of a NDP government.

The Chart below shows current representation from a diversity lens. Alberta joins British Columbia in being one of two provinces with gender parity in Cabinet, and is the only province with a governing party with gender parity in caucus. Visible minority representation is less than the number of visible minorities who are citizens (9.2 percent of MLAs compared to 14.4 percent):

Alberta Legislature 2015

The previous legislature is shown below:


Visible minority figures are derived from a combination of names and photos. With the 2015 results, bios are not yet posted so these may not be exact.

Mark Saunders working to overcome ‘carding’ criticism

Saunders really is an impressive communicator, both in terms of the substance of what he says as well as the way he says it:

Chief Saunders also said that while he is committed to halting random police checks of citizens just going about their business, carding suspected gang members is vital to keeping the city safe. “If it’s done right, it protects people.”

To those who say that carding amounts to a form of racial profiling, targeting a disproportionate number of racial-minority residents, Toronto’s first black police chief said: “We’re not sending officers into areas because people are brown or black. We’re looking at the charts. We’re looking at where the violence is occurring and it’s about six per cent of the geographics of the city. And so we’re putting officers in there because that’s where the violent crimes are occurring.”

When critics respond that that amounts to racial profiling by demographics, “Well, I’m, like, going, ‘Can someone help me out here? Like, we’re getting all the problems but can someone give me a solution?’”

Still does not completely explain the weakness of the earlier report he was responsible for (Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders’s secret carding report) but situates carding within an evidence-based approach targeting areas with higher crime rates.

Mark Saunders working to overcome ‘carding’ criticism – The Globe and Mail.

Adil Charkaoui: The angriest man in Montreal

Good in-depth piece by Martin Patriquin on Charkaoui:

So: is Quebec’s self-appointed Muslim spokesperson a simple teacher? Or a dangerous enabler of radical Islam?

Charkaoui effectively wears two hats, says scholar Amghar, and is skilled at tailoring his message for whomever is listening. “Charkaoui’s discourse in combatting Islamophobia isn’t dangerous. He isn’t calling for attacks in Quebec or Canada, and he knows he can’t invoke or invite terrorism or jihad, because Canada’s political context wouldn’t allow for it,” Amghar says. “But there is a sort of split in his personality. His point of view is that it’s totally normal and legitimate that there are groups like [Islamic State] and al-Nusra Front in Syria, if only to fight against Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship, and for the creation of an Islamic state.”

This double-edged existence—part conciliation, part outrage—is on display on Charkaoui’s own websites. Following the arrests of the 10 would-be jihadists in Montreal this month, Charkaoui’s east-end Muslim community centre quickly published a concerned news release. “The Islamic Community Centre of East End Montreal would like to remind that it takes the question of radicalization very seriously, and reiterates its commitment to contribute to the harmonious integration of the Muslim community in Quebec and Canada,” it reads.

Related: Maclean’s On The Hill politics podcast on terror arrests

Just a few hours later, Charkaoui’s Collective Against Islamophobia issued its own release. The tone was markedly different. “Ten arrests! It’s an unexplained phenomenon that leaves us skeptical, just as the government is adopting harsh security laws like [anti-terror legislation] C-51!” it reads, in part. “What is sure, this can only benefit one governing political party: the Conservatives!”

Give him this: Denouncing radicalism and the arrest of alleged radicals on the same day takes chutzpah that only Adil Charkaoui, with all his apparent contradictions, could muster.

Adil Charkaoui: The angriest man in Montreal –

La déradicalisation doit passer par la religion, selon un rapport

More on the Vidino report and the challenge for security and other government agencies to engage on the religious side (see Beware of the Muslim Brotherhood, expert warns):

L’équipe de chercheurs à la source de l’étude s’est penchée sur les activités virtuelles de djihadistes nord-américains afin d’en disséquer le contenu. Et selon l’auteur principal, les conclusions qu’ils en ont tirées pourraient s’appliquer aux 10 jeunes Montréalais arrêtés la fin de semaine dernière à Montréal.

Le document de 74 pages analyse les communications sur les réseaux sociaux de sept djihadistes américains arrêtés ou tués dans les dernières années. Les chercheurs soulignent que la plupart de ces individus vivent une première phase de radicalisation pendant laquelle ils « recherchent avidement des connaissances et de l’information » sur l’islam. Ensuite vient une phase où « les affirmations, souvent débordantes de confiance, prennent le pas sur les questions ».

Les djihadistes étudiés s’intéressent notamment au niveau de crédibilité à accorder à différents érudits de l’islam, ainsi qu’à l’« hijra », un terme utilisé pour désigner l’émigration en terre musulmane.

« Tout effort de déradicalisation devrait, sans négliger d’autres aspects, prendre en considération le fait que les enjeux religieux sont au centre de la réflexion de ceux qui embrassent le djihadisme », indique le document. Au téléphone, son auteur principal a insisté sur cet élément.

« C’est très difficile pour des sociétés séculaires comme le Canada ou les États-Unis, mais ce sont des individus qui ont faim de connaissances religieuses. », explique Lorenzo Vidino, directeur d’un programme sur l’extrémisme à la George Washington University.

L’étude souligne aussi l’importance que prennent les théories du complot dans les discussions virtuelles qu’ont les individus radicalisés. « Ceux qui promeuvent des idéologies extrémistes et y adhèrent réfutent souvent les explications officielles ou communément acceptées relatives aux événements historiques importants », indique le rapport. Selon ses auteurs, les djihadistes allaient jusqu’à douter de l’existence de certains chefs terroristes recherchés par les gouvernements occidentaux.

La déradicalisation doit passer par la religion, selon un rapport | Philippe Teisceira-Lessard | Affaires criminelles.

Research-Based Evidence in Public Policy: MRIA Report

Interesting set of observations on government use of research-based evidence in a recent interview-based study by the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA). Good cross-section of public servants (mainly former, including myself), politicians, political staff, evaluation experts, representatives of think tanks and NGOs, academics, POR experts and the media.

Flattered to be in included in such a group and the observations and conclusions reinforce many of the same themes as Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism:

Subordinating evidence to politics was the most frequently identified perceived shortcoming in the way government uses information. This was seen to take various forms, including:

  1. ‘Cherry-picking’ or focussing on information that supports a certain agenda or policy and at the same time ignoring or dismissing information that does not.
  2. Employing a self-serving, partisan bias in the decision- making process (e.g., what will enhance electoral success rather than what constitutes sound policy).
  3. Basing policy on hunches, unfounded assumptions, or anecdotal evidence instead of research-based evidence.
  4. Giving greater importance to the opinions of a certain audience even when the issue relates to a broader population.

Three other perceived shortcomings in the way government uses data were also identified relatively frequently:

  1. Insufficient analysis of data (e.g., focussing on nation-wide findings without examining regional variations).
  2. Focusing on shorter-term considerations (e.g., the electoral cycle, the next budget) instead of longer-term considerations (e.g., the demographics of an aging population and its implications).
  3. Too many restrictions on data linking and sharing which ultimately impedes the government’s ability to collect and use relevant information.