My Take of the #Citizenship Act Changes: Finding the Centre

The proposed changes to the Citizenship Act announced 25 February by Minister McCallum focussed on implementing the Liberal platform and ministerial mandate commitments, rather than full-scale repeal of the previous Conservative government’s legislation and related measures.

The package of measures is carefully balanced between matters of principle — a “Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian,” repealing the national interest revocation provisions — with measures both to remove barriers to citizenship while improving integrity.

Given some of the pressures within the Liberal caucus, particularly those with large number of new Canadian voters, to ease language competency and other requirements, this has to be viewed as a relatively moderate package (the Liberals won the vast majority of seats with large number of new Canadians, and have the largest number of visible minorities in their caucus (39).

In many ways, these changes reflect the establishment of a new centre, one that balances facilitation while emphasizing integration, integrity and meaningfulness.

While Michelle Rempel, Conservative critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, has already lambasted the government on repealing the revocation provisions, she is silent on the extent that many of the integrity and process changes introduced by the Conservative government have been maintained, if not strengthened. This significant legacy of former ministers Kenney and Alexander remains, one that addressed long-standing management and integrity issues with the citizenship program.

In his announcement, the Minister emphasized both what was different — repeal of the revocation provisions and removal of barriers — as well as what was unchanged: emphasis on program integrity, and continued emphasis on ensuring that citizenship means a “real and meaningful” commitment to Canada.

Starting with what is different.

Principle that a “Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.”

What will clearly be the most controversial change, judging by the Official Opposition and media, the Government will repeal the revocation provisions for those convicted of terror or treason and restore the citizenship of the one person, Zakaria Amara (a member of the “Toronto 18”), whose citizenship was revoked under the previous government’s legislation.

This was the focus of media questions, and McCallum repeatedly stressed the principle that a Canadian, whether born in Canada or not, whether Canadian only or having dual nationality, should be treated the same and that Canada’s criminal justice system is to punish the convicted. The Government campaigned on this issue and is implementing its platform commitment.

In response to questions regarding that Canada is moving in the opposite direction to other government such as Australia and French, he declined to comment on other governments, and simply reiterated the principle behind the decision, one that the government campaigned on.

Reduce Barriers to Citizenship

As part of efforts to shifting the balance towards making citizenship easier, Bill C-6 includes the following measures:

  1. Restore the previous age limits for knowledge and language testing to 18-54 year olds (the previous government had increased these to 14-64). This change will affect slightly over ten percent of all applicants. The rationale for requiring testing for 14-17 year olds was never clear (they would have been in the Canadian school system for 4-6 years) whereas for older applicants, 64 was believed to be a better and more consistent definition of senior;
  2. Repeal the “intent to reside” provision given concerns regarding how this could be interpreted over time, and become grounds for possible future revocation;
  3. Restoring pre-permanent residency time 50 percent credit towards citizenship, calling the previous government’s removal the “stupidest part” of C-24, given that providing such credit encourages citizenship take-up by international students, in line with the approach of other countries which also ‘compete’ for students. Some IRCC senior officials have previously indicated that this change was prompted in part by concerns of increased competition with Canadian-born students;
  4. Maintaining the physical presence requirement but reducing the time required to three out of five years compared to four out of six (historically, it was three out of four, making it three out of five provides greater flexibility for those whose work or family obligations take them outside Canada);
  5. Although not in legislation (nor in the Liberal platform or the Minister’s mandate letter), revise Discover Canada, the citizenship study guide, given concerns about language and content (McCallum cited too much emphasis on the War of 1812 and references to “barbaric cultural practices”). This will be done jointly with the departments of Canadian Heritage and Indigenous Affairs, reflecting a much more inclusive process than when my former team prepared Discover Canada.

Retain Integrity

McCallum repeatedly stressed that citizenship should mean a “real and meaningful” commitment to Canada. Citizenship misrepresentation and fraud remained a concern. The physical residency  requirement remained as did the language requirements (although he said “modest adjustments” would be made).

He also retained virtually all of the integrity-related measures introduced by the Conservatives:

  1. Physical presence, not just legal residency;
  2. Knowledge requirement must be met in English or French, not through an interpreter;
  3. No change to “lost Canadians” provisions;
  4. No change to expansion of bar granting citizenship to those with foreign criminal charges and convictions;
  5. No changes to regulations for citizenship consultants;
  6. No changes to increased fines and penalties for fraud;
  7. No change in authority for Ministerial authority to revoke citizenship for routine cases (previously, had been Governor in Council);
  8. No change in authority for Minister to decide on discretionary grants of citizenship (previously, had been Governor in Council);
  9. Maintain authority to decide what is a complete application (streamlines processing);
  10. Maintain single-step citizenship processing to reduce duplication (previously was three-step) with reduced role for citizenship judges;
  11. Maintain requirement for adult applicants to file Canadian income taxes;
  12. Maintain fast-track mechanism for Permanent Residents serving in the Canadian Forces.

In addition, the Minister is also proposing to increase citizenship integrity further (not highlighted in his press conference) by:

  1. No longer counting time spent under a conditional sentence order towards meeting the physical presence requirements; and those serving a conditional sentence order are prohibited from being granted citizenship or taking the oath of citizenship;
  2. Retroactive application of the provision prohibiting applicants from taking the oath of citizenship if they never met or no longer meet citizenship requirements to applications still in process received prior to June 11, 2015; and,
  3. Authority to seize documents if there are reasonable grounds to believe they are fraudulent, or being used fraudulently.

Issues not addressed include the high cost of citizenship (which rose from $200 to $630 under the previous government). When asked, McCallum stated that his focus was on implementing Liberal platform commitments and that the issue of fees may be examined in the future. Moreover, there was no commitment to reducing the time required to process citizenship applications, or implement and report on how well the department is doing.

Given the media focus on the revocation changes and the degree the previous government emphasized this provision, this will continue to be the focus of the discussion and debate on Bill C-6. It is also the easiest issue for people to understand and debate, as the other changes are largely adjustments (“tweaks” to use the Minister’s word), as the fundamentals — physical presence, knowledge and language requirements — have been preserved.

Taken as a whole, these proposed changes reflect a re-centring of citizenship, a relatively surgical approach to repealing provisions of the previous Conservative government’s 2014 Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act (C-24). It aims to define a new balance between facilitating citizenship while maintaining meaningfulness.

Meeting the Liberal government’s public commitments, while retaining virtually all of the previous government’s integrity measures, should reduce fears that the Government is not able to make choices and is not ‘pandering’ to the many ethnic voters which supported it.

Various Commentary on Citizenship Act Changes

Commentary on the Liberal government’s planned changes to citizenship (Bill C-6), from those advocating a more facultative approach (including myself) and former Minister Alexander:

“We are very pleased with the government’s decision to rescind the previous government’s Bill C-24 that made it far more difficult to obtain citizenship and far easier to lose,” said Debbie Douglas of the Ontario Council for Agencies Serving Immigrants.

“We are particularly pleased that we are moving away from two-tier citizenship where dual citizens could have their citizenship revoked. We commend the Liberal government for taking this principled decision.”

The new citizenship bill also makes some new changes by extending immigration authorities’ power to seize documents suspected of fraud and barring those serving conditional sentences from seeking citizenship or counting the time toward the residency eligibility.

Andrew Griffith, a former director-general with the immigration department, said the proposed legislation surprisingly retained many of the provisions passed by the previous government to improve enforcement and integrity of the citizenship system while reducing unreasonable hurdles for would-be citizens.

“They are removing some of the worst abuses the Conservatives did, promoting its diversity and inclusive agenda, without changing the fundamental value of real and meaningful commitment to Canadian citizenship,” Griffith said.

“These proposed changes reflect, apart from revocation, relatively modest changes, in line with the Liberals’ public commitments, and that retain virtually all of the previous government’s integrity measures.”

While he is pleased with the proposed citizenship changes, veteran immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman said those who face citizenship revocation on the grounds of misrepresentation are still not entitled to a hearing – a practice that is under a legal challenge in the federal court.

“Why are we keeping this Harper legacy?” Waldman asked.

Under the Harper government, the citizenship application backlog had ballooned with processing time significantly lengthened. New resources were brought in last year to reduce the wait time.

McCallum said new citizenship applications are now being processed in 12 months and the backlog is expected to be cleared by the end of this year.

In an email to The Canadian Press ahead of the announcement, former Conservative immigration minister Chris Alexander said the changes his government made were in keeping with Canadian values.

“Terrorism, espionage and treason are serious crimes, representing gross acts of disloyalty. They are far more serious violations than covering up minor crimes from one’s past — a common form of misrepresentation,” he said.

The Conservative bill was attacked as setting a dangerous precedent and even challenged, unsuccessfully, as unconstitutional.

In the National Post, John Ivison harshly criticizes the repeal of the revocation provisions (as well as pandering to ethnic voters):

It’s true, as Immigration Minister John McCallum pointed out, that this fulfils an election pledge, made to drive a wedge between the Tories and the ethnic communities that supported them in three elections.

The Conservatives signed their own death warrant by tightening up the family reunification criteria, raising the income threshold necessary for new immigrants to bring in parents and grandparents.

The Liberals campaigned hard on easing those restrictions and on their intention to revoke the Conservative citizenship bill, exploiting fears in ethnic communities that they could be stripped of their citizenship and deported if convicted of a crime.

…. the central failing of this bill. Dual nationals can now be convicted of terrorism, high treason or spying and retain their Canadian citizenship.

You can be supportive of civility, tolerance and inclusion and still believe this move is dangerous and misguided.

Loyalty is the measure of good citizenship.

When you betray that trust, you should forfeit the rights, privileges and duties of being a member of Canadian society.

Dual nationals convicted of terrorism, high treason or spying don’t deserve to keep Canadian citizenship

I am waiting for Ivison’s colleague, Chris Selley, to weigh in given his previous strong criticism of revocation (National Post | Chris Selley: Stripping jihadis’ citizenship feels good. But what good does it do?)

Tasha Kheiriddin in iPolitics starts from the same place but ends with a more nuanced criticism, making a distinction between those who became citizens as children, which should be treated no differently from Canadian-born, and those who became citizens as adults:

But the fear of losing one’s citizenship struck a deep chord with immigrants and native-born Canadians alike. Trudeau’s impassioned defence of citizenship was widely seen as a highlight of that debate — that rare sort of knockout punch pundits and audiences yearn for. The Liberals carried that punch from the debate to the doorstep, where it — coupled with their defence of the niqab and opposition to the Conservatives’ barbaric cultural practices tip line — helped cement the Liberals’ reputation as pro-New Canadian, and the Conservatives’ image as anti-immigrant.
This week, Immigration Minister John McCallum announced that the government would be reversing Bill C-24. “Canadian citizens are equal under the law, whether they were born in Canada or were naturalized in Canada or hold dual citizenship,” McCallum said in a statement. …

The bill also will restore Canadian citizenship to anyone stripped of it under Bill C-24. As a result, Amara will have his citizenship reinstated once the Liberals’ new bill becomes law.

Opponents of the Conservative law decried the creation of two different “classes” of citizens — those born in Canada and those who have dual nationalities. But those individuals are arguably already in two different classes — in fact, more than two, depending on how they obtained their citizenships. Some did so by birth, some due to a parent’s move to Canada, and some by their own choice as an adult. And the implications of revocation for each group can be very, very different.

In Amara’s case, he came to Canada as a 13-year-old. While he arguably took his oath as a child, nothing would have prevented him from renouncing his Jordanian citizenship as an adult. Maintaining it, however, gave him certain advantages, including freedom to live, work and travel in Jordan, where he was born. Those advantages are not available to other Canadians. Should they complain that they’re second-class citizens, because they don’t have the same privileges? Should he complain that he received unequal treatment, when he himself maintains an unequal status?

In the case of dual citizens born in Canada, who hold dual citizenship by virtue of their parents, the situation is somewhat different. Saad Gaya, also one of the Toronto 18, was deemed to have Pakistani citizenship retroactively, due to his parents’ possessing Pakistani nationality. Unlike Amara, Gaya had no connection to his parents’ country, and claimed that he didn’t even have said citizenship. Furthermore, as a child born here, he did not choose Canada. Because of this, he claimed that sending him to Pakistan would constitute “cruel and unusual treatment”.

A better version of the law would be one that allows the state to cancel the Canadian citizenship of a person convicted of treason who obtained that citizenship consciously and deliberately as an adult. This would deter those seeking citizenship for no other reason than to enable them to strike back at their adopted country, or who used their ability to move freely in Canada to facilitate terrorist acts.

While there is no doubt that withdrawal of citizenship should not be subject to the whim of the state, neither should citizenship be completely taken for granted. For citizenship to have value, it must not just be a passport of convenience — or worse, a cover for crime.

Dual nationals convicted of terrorism don’t deserve to keep Canadian citizenship

Comparatively little to no coverage or commentary in Quebec media, unless I missed it.

Why diversity never comes to some workplaces

Interesting study showing the effect referrals have on recruitment – not what you think:

Striving for greater diversity in the workplace – be it gender, race, age or experience levels among employees – is a long sought-after goal by business leaders looking for a competitive advantage.

Several studies show that companies with a diverse workforce are more likely to outperform others in the field. So, with so much on the line, why do so many firms still struggle with a lack of gender, race or age diversity within their ranks?

Brian Rubineau, of McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management in Montreal, and Roberto Fernandez of MIT Sloan in Massachusetts tackled that question in a recent study examining the role of recruitment techniques in workplace make-up and how employers can influence the process to ensure greater diversity.

Specifically, the study, published in Organizational Science, looked at word-of mouth recruiting, the most common way for organizations to fill jobs.

Using mathematical modelling, the researchers challenge a long-held belief that the referral method serves to preserve and, often, worsen job segregation. The theory, based on previous research, posits that people are most likely to recommend others who are most like themselves.

Women, for example, tend to reach out to women in their networks, and men do likewise. The same is thought to be true across other demographics, including age, experience, religion or ethnicity, says Dr. Rubineau, an assistant professor of organizational behaviour.

But the researchers found that workplace segregation actually has less to do with who is making the referral than it does with how often a referral is being made by a particular individual or group.

Unchecked, members of even the smallest groups will, over time, dominate. All it takes is for its members to be more active than other groups in recruiting from within their own community network.

“If you have a group that is referring at a higher rate than other groups, then that group is – over time – going to become the majority, no matter how small it was to start with,” says Dr. Rubineau.

Dr. Rubineau says employers can use the study findings to their advantage. By tracking referral patterns, organizations can map hiring trends and determine whether word-of-mouth recruiting is helping or hurting diversity goals. They can also urge underrepresented groups to be more active in suggesting prospective employees.

“Organizations can’t realistically eliminate word-of-mouth recruitment because it is such a dominate tool,” says Dr. Rubineau.

Source: Why diversity never comes to some workplaces – The Globe and Mail

Could a ‘blind recruitment’ policy make Canada less racist?

Good debate and discussion to have, given work by Oreopoulos and others demonstrating hiring bias:

What’s in a name? More than you may think. Removing names from job applications — a process known as blind recruitment — can actually curb both overt racism and unconscious bias.

And at least one MP thinks that Canada should adopt the policy.

Liberal MP Ahmed Hussen made that statement after CBC Marketplaceinvestigated how race and culture influences how companies treat shoppers, apartment-hunters and job-seekers across Canada.

Hussen stood in Parliament Wednesday to suggest that the federal government follow Britain’s lead to better ensure our government ranks reflect the people they serve.

“We must ensure our public service adopts name-blind recruitment,” the newly elected MP said. “I rise today to bring attention to an idea that will assist in our fight to end discrimination and attain real equality in our country.

“It is crucial that Canadians who have got the grades, skills, and the determination succeed.”

Britain adopted a blind-recruitment policy for its civil service in October 2015 after a number of organizations found the practice worthwhile.

While visible minorities make up almost 20 per cent of Canada’s population, the civil service is less diverse at only 14 per cent, according to 2013 data.

The months-long Marketplace investigation looked at blind recruitment and how bias affects how we’re treated and how we treat one another, including why we intervene — or don’t — to defend a stranger.

‘It’s had a huge impact’

When the Toronto Symphony Orchestra began to audition musicians blindly in 1980, putting them behind a screen, the result was profound.

While the hiring committee could hear an applicant’s performance, they not see what he or she looked like. They even put down a carpet so high heels couldn’t be heard.

Now the orchestra — which was made up almost entirely of white men in the 1970s — is almost half female and much more diverse.

“It’s had a huge impact from the beginning, when screens came in,” says David Kent, the TSO’s principal timpanist and personnel manager.

Source: Could a ‘blind recruitment’ policy make Canada less racist? – Canada – CBC News

Liberals to repeal citizenship law Bill C-24: immigration minister – “coming days”

Whether in the form of “tweaks”, “significant” or “radical” changes (the Minister has used all three terms), likely that the changes will be more substantive than mere tweaks.

But overall, messaging is a reversal of the previous government’s approach of making citizenship “harder to get and easier to lose.”

The extent to which this undermines some of the needed integrity measures introduced by the Conservatives – more rigorous knowledge and language testing, physical residency requirements etc – remains to be seen, although the Minister in Committee did state the importance of language knowledge to integration.

These changes happen in the context of a significant decline in the number of persons applying for citizenship: from an average of around 200,000 in past years, to about 130,000 in the last three years.

Will be hosting a citizenship workshop at Metropolis next week in Toronto and should the Minister literally announce this within days, we will have a good discussion regarding the changes (I will post my deck next week, essentially an updated version of Citizenship – Canadian Ethnic Studies 24 Oct 2015 with more recent data:

Immigration Minister John McCallum says the government will announce significant changes to the Citizenship Act in the coming days.

Mr. McCallum said Tuesday that the Liberals will soon follow through on their election pledge to repeal the Conservatives’ controversial Bill C-24, which gave the government the power to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens convicted of terrorism, treason or espionage.

Asked when the changes will be unveiled, Mr. McCallum told The Globe and Mail to expect an announcement “in coming days, but not very many days.”

During last year’s election campaign, the Liberal platform committed to “repeal the unfair elements of Bill C-24 that create second-class citizens and the elements that make it more difficult for hard-working immigrants to become Canadian citizens.”

Mr. McCallum said the government’s announcement will make it impossible to revoke citizenship.

“A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian,” Mr. McCallum said, repeating a line used by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a heated election debate last September. “We would not revoke people’s citizenship. … That will certainly be a part of it [the announcement],” the Immigration Minister added.

Mr. McCallum said the government will also remove barriers to citizenship posed by Bill C-24.

“We believe that it’s better to make it easier rather than harder for people to become citizens.”

However, he did not say which specific barriers would be addressed.

Source: Liberals to repeal citizenship law Bill C-24: immigration minister – The Globe and Mail

‘Shopping while black’: Marketplace finds some shoppers targeted by retailers because of race

Not terribly surprising – why should shops be different from other institutions – but still disturbing:

It’s called “shopping while black.” When the colour of your skin can get you increased attention from a store’s security guards. And it seems to happen every day.

Consumer racial profiling is a violation of provincial human rights codes, but some security guards admit it happens, a CBC Marketplaceinvestigation reveals.

….In a special months-long investigation, Marketplace looked at how race and culture influence how companies treat shoppers, apartment-hunters and job-seekers across Canada.

Some shoppers followed

A 2013 report for Nova Scotia’s Consumer Racial Profiling Projectfound major differences in how people are treated based on the colour of their skin.

Almost three-quarters of aboriginal respondents reported being followed by store staff, while 62.7 per cent of black Canadians reported being followed while shopping. Just 23.6 per cent of white respondents reported that they had experienced being followed.

CBC Marketplace tested consumer-based racial profiling in major chains across Canada, documenting how three male shoppers of different racial backgrounds — one white, one black and one aboriginal — were treated in 15 stores across five cities.

All three wore similar clothing, carried almost identical bags and followed specific instructions: they all acted in the same manner and visited the same aisles.

While most locations treated the three men the same, at other locations, they got very different levels of attention.

Mark Simms, a Jamaican-Canadian, was offered help three times and then followed around the store while shopping at a Best Buy location in Fredericton as part of a CBC Marketplace investigation.

A security expert who works for several large retailers — and who asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing his job — watched the hidden camera footage. He told Marketplace this technique is frequently used to monitor shoppers identified as suspicious in order to let them know they’re being watched.

In a Shoppers Drug Mart in Regina, Rory McCusker, who is white, noticed he was watched by an employee.

McCusker says he was surprised by the attention. “It was a little weird because I’ve never been followed in a store before.”

But when aboriginal shopper Leeland Delorme entered the same store, he was followed by multiple staff members and was tracked as he moved from aisle to aisle.

“They pretended to be scanning things and then just looking, glancing over,” he says. “It could not have been more obvious.”

Delorme says this type of experience has happened to him before. “This is exactly what I expect from this city,” he says. “I’m sorry to say I am not shocked at all. But it still pisses me off.”

Source: ‘Shopping while black’: Marketplace finds some shoppers targeted by retailers because of race – Business – CBC News

Fewer Asians Need Apply by Dennis Saffran, City Journal Winter 2016

While I tend to favour some degree of affirmative action to foster diversity and inclusion, this piece makes valid comparisons between previous discrimination of American Jews and current measures to restrict Asian Americans:

“Asians are typecast in college admissions offices as quasi-robots programmed by their parents to ace math and science tests,” Golden observes. A Yale student commenting on the Princeton OCR complaint put it more bluntly: “[T]here can be good reasons for the disproportionately low acceptance rates for many Asians. . . . Top-tier schools . . . look not only for good grades but for an interesting student who will bring something of value to the community.” A Boston Globe columnist noted that the comment “sounds a lot like what admissions officers say, but there’s a whiff of something else, too.”

The something else smells a lot like the attitude toward Jews 90 years ago. Now, as then, an upstart, achievement-oriented minority group has proved too successful under objective academic standards. And so, as Jews were in the 1920s, Asians today are deemed deficient in the highly subjective and discretionary “personal estimate of character” favored long ago by Harvard president Lowell. But while anti-Semitic elites of the 1920s were forthrightly reactionary, their grandchildren’s anti-Asian bigotry is concealed under a veneer of modern progressivism. This is not merely because it rechristens Lowell’s arbitrary criteria with the New Agey term “holistic” but more fundamentally because it is based on a stereotypical view of Asians as out of sync with liberal culture. The image of Asian students as one-dimensional test-taking robots, short on creative thinking, all too often resonates with modern liberal educators, with their disdain for testing and “rote” learning, which they see as inimical to a “frolic in the fields” concept of creativity. As former neoconservative-turned-leftist culture warrior Diane Ravitch articulated this philosophy: “I don’t care if my two grandsons . . . have higher or lower scores than children their age in . . . Japan [or] Korea. . . . [I] care that [they] are . . . curious about the world; are loved; learn to love learning; [and] are kind to their friends and to animals; . . . Let’s all read Walden, read poetry, listen to good music, visit a museum, look at the stars.”

The bias against a group seen as having a learning approach that rebukes this romantic idyll is reflected in the concern of liberal college administrators that their institutions not become majority Asian. As Golden told the New York Times, “The schools semiconsciously say to themselves, ‘We can’t have all Asians.’ ” It may be more than semiconscious. A former admissions officer at Wesleyan, Brown, and Columbia warns ominously in the same Times article that “if affirmative action is overthrown . . . our elite campuses will look like U.C.L.A. and Berkeley.” Golden recounts the experience of Princeton professor Uwe Reinhardt in raising the discrimination issue with university officials: “They would say . . . ‘You wouldn’t want half the campus to be Chinese.’ ” Reinhardt had a good answer: “Well, why not?” As the director of Asian-American studies at Northwestern put it, “In the 1920s, people asked: will Harvard still be Harvard with so many Jews? Today we ask: will Harvard still be Harvard with so many Asians? Yale’s student population is 58 percent white and 18 percent Asian. Would it be such a calamity if those numbers were reversed?” It’s ironic that the same progressives who exult at the prospect of the United States becoming a majority-minority country fret at the far less disruptive prospect of Harvard or Yale becoming majority Asian.

Liberal discomfort with Asians can shade into outright hostility. Browbeating affirmative-action opponent Abigail Thernstrom in the wake of the passage of Prop. 209, Crossfire cohost Bob Beckel asked angrily, “Would you like to see . . . UCLA Law School 80 percent Asian? . . . . Will that make you happy?” The hostility is exacerbated by the unavoidable reality that affirmative action puts Asians in competition with African-Americans and Hispanics. Another study by Espenshade found that racial preferences for blacks and Latinos at elite colleges come almost entirely at the expense of Asian-Americans rather than whites. He and a colleague determined that if affirmative action were eliminated, “[n]early four out of every five places . . . not taken by African-American and Hispanic students would be filled by Asians.”

Racial-preference supporters argue that Asian students are harmed just as much by admissions preferences for legacies and athletes, which disproportionately benefit whites. Indeed, OCR dismissed the 1988 Harvard complaint based on a finding that any discrimination against Asians was explained by such preferences. The current Harvard lawsuit also attacks legacy preferences but for a different reason, arguing that their elimination would be a “race-neutral alternative” that would allow Harvard to admit more blacks and Latinos without resorting to race-based selection. I think that the plaintiffs are right, as a matter of fairness, to oppose legacy preferences (even though my daughter and I are both Harvard graduates, so our family may have benefited from them). However, Espenshade’s data show that their abolition would do little to benefit blacks, Latinos—or Asians.

Thus, this case necessarily brings into stark relief the ironic impact of race-based admissions preferences in today’s multiracial society. Whatever the justification for racial favoritism in the essentially biracial era of 1978, when Bakke was decided, the burden now falls largely on another historically marginalized racial minority—a group that is heavily foreign-born and that, while generally prosperous, still has large pockets of immigrant poverty. (See “The Plot Against Merit,” Summer 2014.) Affirmative action, the flagship policy of multiculturalists, has foundered on multiculturalism itself—and it’s time to pull the plug on it. The Harvard lawsuit provides the courts with a good opportunity to do so.

Source: Fewer Asians Need Apply by Dennis Saffran, City Journal Winter 2016

Spy agencies see sharp rise in number of Canadians involved in terrorist activities abroad – The Globe and Mail

Not totally unsurprising that the numbers have increased, as well as our ability to detect:

Canada’s spy agencies have tracked 180 Canadians who are engaged with terrorist organizations abroad, while another 60 have returned home.

The latest figures mark a significant increase from the findings of the 2014 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada, which identified about 130 people involved in terror-related activities overseas, including 30 taking an active role with the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and the Nusra Front in Syria.

“The total number of people overseas involved in threat-related activities – and I’m not just talking about Iraq and Syria – is probably around 180,” Canadian Security Intelligence Service director Michel Coulombe told The Globe and Mail after testifying before the House of Commons public safety committee. “In Iraq and Syria, we are probably talking close to 100.”

These people are involved in various activities, including direct combat, training, fundraising to support attacks, promoting radical views and planning terrorist violence.

Mr. Coulombe said about 60 suspected foreign fighters have returned to Canada, although he stressed the numbers keep changing almost daily.

Source: Spy agencies see sharp rise in number of Canadians involved in terrorist activities abroad – The Globe and Mail

Phil Gurski’s take on their testimony:

I think the most important message in all this is that despite a rise in those who pose a real terrorist threat, the number is still relatively low, and perhaps manageable – though I will of course leave it to CSIS and the RCMP to make that call – in comparison to other countries.  Our allies in Europe and the Middle East are facing threats that are orders of magnitude larger than ours.  We here in Canada remain more or less safe: that does not mean that the threat is not real and that we can start shaving money and resources from our security intelligence and law enforcement agencies.  Again, though, it is important to see the positive side of this.  Sorry for the repetition, but the terrorist scourge does not represent an existential threat to this country and most likely never will.  The glass is half full people.

The current terrorist threat environment in Canada


Helmut Oberlander, Ex-Nazi Death Squad Member, Still Keeping His Canadian Citizenship

This case drags on and on, legal ragging the puck (as is his right):

The federal government has hit another roadblock in its decades-long effort to strip Canadian citizenship from a now 92-year-old man who was once a member of a brutal Nazi death squad.

In its decision, the Federal Court of Appeal set aside a ruling against Helmut Oberlander and ordered the government to take another look at the case.

Oberlander, an ethnic German born in Ukraine, has argued he had no choice when German forces conscripted him at age 17 in 1941 to serve as an interpreter in Einsatzkommando 10a. The unit was part of a force responsible for killing more than two million people. Most were civilians, and most were Jewish.

“The appellant was entitled to a determination of the extent to which he made a significant and knowing contribution to the crime or criminal purpose of the Ek 10a,” the Federal Court of Appeal said in its recent decision.

“Only then could a reasonable determination be made as to whether whatever harm he faced was more serious than the harm inflicted on others through his complicity.”

In making its decision, the court noted the Supreme Court in 2013 ruled that individuals cannot be held liable for a group’s crimes only because they associated with the group or passively acquiesced to its criminal purpose.

Source: Helmut Oberlander, Ex-Nazi Death Squad Member, Still Keeping His Canadian Citizenship

StatsCan — Reasons for not voting in the federal election, October 19, 2015

Voter Turnout 2015-2011 Elections.001Good overview. Overall striking that turnout rates for longer-term foreign-born citizens are virtually identical to the Canadian-born, and that the gap between more recent citizens shrunk between elections, perhaps reflecting opposition to a number of the citizenship and immigration changes made by the previous government.

Extract from the StatsCan report below:

By immigrant status, the largest increase was among immigrant Canadians with citizenship who had been in Canada for 10 years or less, as their turnout rate went up from 56% to 70%. The turnout rate for immigrant Canadians with citizenship who had been in Canada for more than 10 years increased from 71% to 76%. Among Canadian-born citizens, the rate also increased, up from 70% to 78%.

Source: The Daily — Reasons for not voting in the federal election, October 19, 2015