Didn’t Slam Anti-Semitism On the Left? Don’t Expect Credibility When You Slam It On the Right: Lipstadt

Deborah Lipstadt, the Holocaust scholar and subject of the film Denial, about her libel trial with Holocaust denier David Irving, expresses it well:

For American Jews, particularly those aligned with the new administration, to remain silent is to send a signal that anti-Semitism and racism can be tolerated — and injected into the heart of American politics. Expediency, or tactical thinking, can have its place. But in this case, it is completely trumped by the need for honesty — and a bit of backbone.

The established leadership (with the exception of ADL) failed this first test regarding the Trump administration. Only after an outcry from many quarters — including from the editor of this publication — did they begin to issue somewhat lukewarm condemnations.

Yet it’s not only anti-Semitism from the right, but also anti-Semitism from the left, that should have been met with steel, not mush. The protesters from the left end of the political spectrum have also failed a test. Let’s hope they’ll do some soul-searching, too. Sadly, given the tenor of recent events, Jewish organizations from all ends of the political spectrum will probably have other opportunities to stand up. Let’s hope they do. Far more than just their already wounded credibility is at stake.

Source: Didn’t Slam Anti-Semitism On the Left? Don’t Expect Credibility When You Slam It On the Right. – Opinion – Forward.com

For Interracial Couples, Growing Acceptance, With Some Exceptions – The New York Times

In addition to the numbers cited below, some good personal stories in the full article:

It’s a sentiment that mixed-race couples hear all too frequently, as interracial marriages have become increasingly common in the United States since 1967, when the Supreme Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia struck down laws banning such unions. The story of the couple whose relationship led to the court ruling is chronicled in the movie, “Loving,” now in theaters.

In 2013, 12 percent of all new marriages were interracial, the Pew Research Center reported. According to a 2015 Pew report on intermarriage, 37 percent of Americans agreed that having more people marrying different races was a good thing for society, up from 24 percent only four years earlier; 9 percent thought it was a bad thing.

…People of some races tend to intermarry more than others, according to the Pew report. Of the 3.6 million adults who wed in 2013, 58 percent of American Indians, 28 percent of Asians, 19 percent of blacks and 7 percent of whites have a spouse whose race is different from their own.Asian women are more likely than Asian men to marry interracially. Of newlyweds in 2013, 37 percent of Asian women married someone who was not Asian, while only 16 percent of Asian men did so. There’s a similar gender gap for blacks, where men are much more likely to intermarry (25 percent) compared to only 12 percent of black women.

Source: For Interracial Couples, Growing Acceptance, With Some Exceptions – The New York Times

Fragility and discontent: We can only hope history isn’t repeating itself: Erna Paris

Erna Paris on the need to be vigilant:

We, too, are vulnerable. According to a recent report in the journal Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, there are approximately 100 hate groups operating in Canada, slightly more per capita than in the United States.

And since we are inherently no more immune to the blandishments of hatred than others, there has also been an uptick of racist incidents here: alt-right posters urging white Canadians to reject multiculturalism; racial insults on a crowded streetcar; the defacing of religious institutions; female politicians targeted by misogynistic attacks; political hopefuls playing the identity card.

The next year will set the tone for the Trump presidency. Should potential social disruption in the United States spill over our border, I believe our commitment to multiculturalism as a core value will provide protection, but we must be vigilant.

We must avoid normalizing discriminatory speech and behaviour, and in this the teaching profession can play an important role. And Canadian leaders must speak out early, and loudly, and use the full force of the law to prosecute hate crimes. As citizens we must protest any assault on the peaceful fabric of Canadian society.

With the election of Mr. Trump, the United States will face an unprecedented test of its inclusive values.

Americans will need to be ultra-vigilant. And so will we.

Source: Fragility and discontent: We can only hope history isn’t repeating itself – The Globe and Mail

Toronto lifts curtain on extremism prevention plan, quietly operating for more than 2 years

Part of the arsenal in combatting extremism and increasing resilience:

Police in Toronto are lifting the curtain on an extremism prevention program that has been quietly operating in the city for more than two years — but experts in the field say getting young people at risk of radicalization to use it will come down to a question of trust.

The project, which first sprouted in 2013, has been purposely kept from public view until this week.

“At this point in time we feel that we have a good service in place and we’re ready for people to participate in it,” Deputy Chief James Ramer told CBC News. Together with the City of Toronto, Ramer said, the force hoped to fine-tune the program behind the scenes through direct involvement from community groups, rather than simply present a made-by-police project.

Here’s how it works.

A person deemed at risk for extremism is referred by a police officer or a participating agency to one of four hubs, each consisting of 15 to 20 bodies, including medical professionals, faith groups, the school board and community housing.

Referrals require the consent of the person at risk and are based on a list of some 103 risk factors. Participation, said police, is entirely voluntary.

Cases are assessed at the hub, and depending on the most pressing concerns, two participating organizations are chosen to lead an intervention, which can range from spiritual counselling to mental health assistance.

Referrals anonymous

“All of this is done in complete anonymity,” said Ramer, adding that the hub process meets the privacy commissioner’s “gold standard” in terms of protection of personal information. Only cases that involve a criminal element or pose risks to public safety are formally investigated.

As for what kinds of extremism the program addresses, Sgt. Kelly Gallant said it runs the gamut from Islamist-inspired, to white supremacist to environmental extremism, to name a few. “We talk about all different kinds of extremism.… Not just what we mostly see on TV.”

It’s not the first time a deradicalization program has been floated in Toronto, but it is the city’s first police-led initiative.

Toronto police

Deputy Police Chief James Ramer, Sgt. Kelly Gallant and Staff Sgt. Donovan Locke say the extremism prevention program has been quietly operating in the city for more than two years. (CBC)

Six months ago, the Canadian Council of Imams announced plans to open two to three deradicalization clinics in Toronto that would take a “holistic” approach, as early as this fall. Those clinics, Toronto imam Hamid Slimi told CBC Toronto, have not yet taken off owing to a lack of community support.

Toronto’s program is housed under the police’s existing community safety program, which also tackles gangs and drugs. Montreal also has an anti-radicalization centre, but not one led by police.

Trust ‘in shambles’ in some communities

But whether young people will consent to being involved in the program will ultimately depend on whether they feel safe engaging with police, says University of Waterloo religious studies post-doctoral fellow Amarnath Amarasingam.

“It depends much on how the police are able to gain the trust of communities. In some communities, this trust is in shambles, but in others, there is a history of working together. So, it really depends if the cops can shed some of this baggage,” Amarasingam said.

Source: Toronto lifts curtain on extremism prevention plan, quietly operating for more than 2 years – Toronto – CBC News

Clients of convicted immigration consultant facing deportation for lying

Important conviction for immigration and citizenship fraud, and good to see that both the consultant being punished and individuals pursued with revocation.

This is important both in its own right as well as helping to maintain broader confidence in the Canadian immigration and citizenship program, and is one of better and needed initiatives of the previous Conservative government:

One by one, many of the 1,200 former clients of an unlicensed Richmond, B.C., immigration consultant are getting the bad news — they’re no longer welcome in Canada because they lied.

CBC News has learned 320 immigrants, who each paid thousands of dollars to New Can Consulting and owner Xun (Sunny) Wang, are now facing deportation to China.

One year ago, Wang, 47, was convicted of one of the biggest immigration scams in Canadian history — making $10 million by filing fraudulent immigration applications for his clients.

In one of his ploys, Wang falsely used his own home in Richmond as an address for 114 of his clients who didn’t live in Canada.

Xun 'Sunny' Wang Richmond house

Convicted immigration fraudster Xun (Sunny) Wang used his own home in Richmond as a fake address for at least 114 of his clients. (Mike Zimmer/CBC )

His appeal of his seven-year prison term and $900,000 fine was rejected last month.

Three of his former employees will be sentenced in January and three more are awaiting trial. At least three others have warrants out for their arrest.

Now the Canada Border Services Agency says of Wang’s 320 ex-clients facing review of their immigration status, approximately 200 could be stripped of their citizenship and 120 could lose their permanent residency status.

Hundreds of other former New Can clients could also be in trouble.

500 more cases being investigated

In an email to CBC News, the border agency said it is continuing efforts to “uncover fraud on approximately 500 cases remaining to be investigated”.

That means out of the 1,200 clients of New Can, over 800 could ultimately be sent back to China.

Guo Liang Lin is one of them.

At his recent hearing before the Immigration Refugee Board (IRB), the clean-cut man in his late 40s was ruled “inadmissible to Canada due to misrepresentation.”

Eric Leung and Guo Liang Lin

Immigration consultant Eric Leung, left, and client Guo Liang Lin. Lin admits he signed documents that said he lived in Canada three times longer than he actually had to obtain permanent residency. Lin was working with a different immigration company at the time, which he blames for falsifying records. (Manjula Dufresne/CBC )

Lin was issued an exclusion order, banning him from re-entry into Canada for five years unless he gets permission from immigration officials to come back sooner — something an immigration and refugee spokesperson says rarely happens.

Lin immediately launched an appeal on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, a move that will allow him to remain in Canada for nine to 12 months until his case is reviewed by the Immigration Appeal Division.

Passport ‘falsified’

To obtain details of Lin’s case, CBC News attended his IRB hearing on Nov. 23.

The board adjudicator heard that Lin, who received permanent resident status in 2010, had spent just seven months in Canada over five years — not the minimum two years required by law.

This allowed him to live and work in China, while keeping his wife, son and daughter in B.C.

But his passport was altered by New Can Consulting, his IRB hearing heard, with entry and exit stamps falsified to make it appear Lin had spent 980 days, or just over 2½ years, in Canada.

Permanent residents are entitled to most social benefits in Canada, including health care.

Outremont: The right to worship, and build, must apply to all

Yves Boisvert on the Outrement zoning referendum:

With large families, the community is slowly but surely expanding. Synagogues are jam packed. Rough winters and a religious prohibition to drive a car on Sabbath make it essential to find a nearby location.

Hasidic leaders expressed their disappointment over the referendum. They suspect the ban is a clear attempt at limiting their development, if not pushing them outside Outremont.

“We’re not talking about the Hasidic community,” Ms. Cinq-Mars said, insisting that the ban applies equally to all religious groups.

Meanwhile, just a few streets further east, the Mile-End/Plateau borough, where Mordecai Richler was born, seems to find accommodations easily with Hasidic leaders. There are 10 synagogues there and borough Mayor Luc Ferrandez says he only has to sit with leaders to find solutions and compromises. “They have the right to establish places of worship in their neighbourhood; you have to be very arrogant to deny them that right,” he told La Presse.

Indeed, a legal challenge is in the making. Fundamental rights cannot be cancelled by the majority rule. Even if it applies equally to all, the zoning effectively targets a very specific religious group. As French writer Anatole France famously said: “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets and to steal bread.”

Source: Outremont: The right to worship, and build, must apply to all – The Globe and Mail

Multiculturalism must be a two-way street | Hassan

Farzana Hassan makes valid points regarding the proposed Brossard Muslim housing development (the local mosque does not support such segregation), although it is not unique to Islam: fundamentalists from all religions generally demand more accommodation, and be less open and tolerant:

Even the issues of living space and location have an ethical dimension. Is it socially desirable to allow the creation of religious, cultural and ethnic enclaves and ghettoes, such as the one proposed for one hundred Muslim families in the suburbs of Montreal, or would such localities defeat the very idea of multiculturalism?

The Quebec plan does just the opposite. By definition, any enclave designed to house a community with a shared background proliferates monoculturalism.

The idea was reportedly inspired by the desire to have interest-free housing for Muslims concerned about violating sharia regulations on usury. To that end, solutions, some of which in essence are the same as any other mortgage plans, have already been proposed and implemented.

But using some religious pretext to shut out non-Muslims from a housing development is not the answer. Many Canadian mosques have already instituted culturally acceptable banking systems.

Nabil Warda, the Montreal developer who proposed the project, has stated the following: “Nowhere is it written: ‘Listen guys, we don’t want any nasty Québécois or Canadians in this place.’ We never said that. We never intended that. It is not even my way of thinking.” Nevertheless, the very existence of such an enclave would be exclusionary.

It is time spokespeople from some immigrant communities take a hard look at likely repercussions of their own actions. When Canadians have to endure this housing proposal and the upcoming “Reviving the Islamic Spirit” conference – a gathering to promote orthodox belief – it is hardly surprising that political leaders like Kellie Leitch call for a Canadian values test for immigrants.

Tolerance of “the other”, even in an avowedly multicultural society like Canada, must be limited.

As surely as we cannot possibly tolerate polygamy or the mistreatment of women, we cannot approve of discriminatory housing. Such actions cause rancor with host societies and ultimately make victims of immigrants themselves.

While most Canadian Muslims are well integrated into Canadian society and are happy to interact with other Canadians, fundamentalists and Islamists continue to draw justified negative press through their outrageous demands for faith accommodations.

They withdraw from the multicultural process by locking themselves up from the outside world. Whether it is exemptions from music class for their children, or creating their own sharia-compliant silos, these fundamentalists insist on imposing their inflexible mores on others.

Fundamentalists asserting these rights on the basis of Charter freedoms must assert whatever cultural identities they have within a common context and participate in the multicultural experience without reservation.

To be candid, this is an Islamist issue. I see no devout Hindus, Sikhs, Jews or Christians seeking such far-reaching faith accommodations.

Source: Multiculturalism must be a two-way street | Hassan | Columnists | Opinion | Toro

A short history of scapegoating Muslims in Quebec: Martin Patriquin

caq-adGood piece by Patriquin:

We are midway through Quebec’s election cycle, and predicable things are happening. Opposition parties begin to stake out positions on key issues, the importance of which are no doubt polled, focused grouped and otherwise scientifically developed. The most recent efforts of the Coalition Avenir Québec, the province’s second opposition party, can be seen in the charming advertisement above.

“Couillard and Lisée,” it reads, referring to Liberal Premier Philippe Couillard and Parti Québécois leader Jean-François Lisée, “[are] in favour of the chador for teachers in our schools.”

The ad has a stunned and/or befuddled-looking Couillard and Lisée staring at a woman wearing the Muslim garb. The message, in case it hasn’t yet hit you over the head, is that should you vote for either the Liberals or the PQ, your children will be put under the spell of a cadre of evil-looking Muslim women. Vote CAQ, and teachers will remain uncovered (and probably lily white, for that matter.)

It’s gross stuff, of course. It’s also crafty as hell. Both the PQ and the governing Liberals have said that anyone working for the state must do so with their faces uncovered “for security or identification reasons”, as a proposed Liberal law states. Because the chador wearer’s face remains uncovered, it wouldn’t fall under this stipulation. Ergo, so the intentionally blinkered CAQ reasoning goes, the Liberals (and the PQ, which will likely support the proposed law) much be in favour of the chador.

As gross as it is, the most recent CAQ gambit is hardly the first time a party has attempted to make political hay on the backs of Muslim women and other religious minorities. Who can forget this gem, from 2013?

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This was the so-called charter of Quebec values, the Parti Québécois’s electoral gambit leading up to the 2014 election. In many ways it is more offensive than the CAQ advertisement. The above image was part of a $2-million ad campaign for a bill introduced by an actual minister that would have been made law had the PQ won the 2014 election. The PQ didn’t win, but it wasn’t for lack of scraping the bottom of the barrel.

During the campaign, the party trotted out Janette Bertrand, a favoured vedette of the very Baby Boomers the PQ wished to recruit, to press flesh and insult minorities. Muslim doctors, she opined, allowed women to “die faster.” Swarthy men had taken over her swimming pool for religious reasons and kicked her out, depriving her of her ability to do aqua-gym exercises. “That’s why we need the charter,” she said. (I’m not making this up.)

Politics, not a sense of shame, caused the PQ to back away from the charter. It has just announced its “resolute, balanced and responsible approach” to Quebec identity that will see the party “build a better dialogue between its parliamentary wing and cultural communities.”

Yet PQ leader Lisée himself has hardly gone all Kumbaya—he’s just changed opinions once again. In 2013, taking great umbrage in something I wrote, Lisée wrote that the PQ’s charter could have flowed from the pen of Thomas Jefferson. Less than a year and one bruising electoral loss later, Lisée said he wouldn’t have supported the charter after all. About two months ago, he said that burqas must be banned “before a jihadist uses one to hide his movements.” Today, he reneged on the comment, saying it was wasn’t his best line. Translation: Lisée was all for scapegoating religious minorities before he was against it—and he may well be for it again, depending on how things go.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this pungent example of immigrant-baiting in Quebec.

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This is an election sign from the 2008 campaign of the ADQ, the precursor to the CAQ. “Decrease of the French language in Montreal,” it reads. “The track record of the PQ and Liberals: a 22 per cent increase in immigration. The ADQ’s solution: a natalist political plan and a freeze of immigration levels.”

By equating the supposed loss of French in Montreal with the increase in immigration, we have a major political party, the province’s official opposition at the time, scapegoating immigrants not for how they may dress but for what tumbles out of their mouths.

At the time, the PQ denounced the campaign, calling it worthy of France’s hard right Front National. Five years later, the PQ itself introduced the charter—supported by none other than Front National leader Marine Le Pen.

Chutzpah is a great word.

ICYMI: Petition to Parliament calls for end to automatic citizenship to end ‘birth tourism’

Again, the same small numbers. Again, the Conservative government considered ways to address this through working with the provinces or a separate federal system and the costs were too high relative to the small numbers (500 in their estimate) to warrant the additional costs.

Far better to continue to monitor non-resident births and prohibit consultancy services and ‘birth houses,’ and enforce the prohibition:

Thousands of Canadians have signed an electronic petition urging the government to restrict automatic citizenship rights for babies born in Canada to foreigners in an effort to stop what they call “birth tourism.”

The petition was presented in Parliament this week by B.C. Conservative MP and former cabinet minister Alice Wong.

The 8,886 signatories want to change Canada’s birthright citizenship law they say “enables an abusive and exploitative practice” where “expectant mothers who are foreign nationals with no status in Canada can gain automatic citizenship for their children born within Canada.”

Wong said the issue is “significant” in her riding of Richmond Centre, as well as other large cities like Toronto and Calgary.

She said “birth houses,” which are sometimes dubbed “maternity motels,” have sprouted up, operating as temporary lodging for pregnant women from other countries. Some are waiting to qualify for health insurance, while others pay for the hospital services, Wong said.

“Immigration and our diversity is what makes Canada unique. It is also important to protect the integrity of our immigration system and ensure that new Canadians join our country in a way that is fair,” she said in an email.

The petition notes that Canada is one of only two developed countries that have not moved to end automatic citizenship due to “widespread abuse.”

The other is the U.S., where Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has controversially called for an end to “anchor babies.”

But the issue of “birth tourism” is flaring up in other countries as well. The U.K. does not have birthright citizenship, but British Prime Minister Theresa May recently suggested establishing passport checks on pregnant women at hospitals to crack down on the growing number travelling from other countries to take advantage of free hospital services.

‘Nothing’s right about it’

The petition says the practice of birth tourism can be costly to taxpayers for health and education and other social services. Once 18 years old, someone born in Canada can sponsor parents and other family members.

Kerry Starchuk, a resident of Richmond, B.C. who launched the petition, said Canadian citizenship should not be automatically granted when neither parent has any status or ties to the country.

She said she became aware of the issue after noticing a residence next door to her was housing a “revolving door” of pregnant women.

She believes there is a growing underground economy where commercial enterprises help bring over and accommodate women from other countries to give birth in Canada.

“Nothing’s right about it,” she said. “It needs to stop or more and more people will take advantage of the loophole.”

‘No plan to change policy’

The government has 45 days to formally respond to the petition, but Camille Edwards, spokeswoman for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum, said no change is in the works.

“Children born in Canada to parents who are temporarily in the country (except children of diplomats, other representatives or employees in Canada of a foreign government) are automatically Canadian citizens under the Citizenship Act,” she said in an email. “There is no current plan to change this policy.”

The Immigration Ministry does not collect data related to this issue.

Statistics Canada shows the number of births in Canada to mothers of residence outside Canada climbed from 247 in 2008 to 699 in 2012, the last year figures are available. But those numbers could include some Canadians who live abroad, but return to Canada to give birth.

Lori Cascaden, media relations manager for B.C.’s Ministry of Health, said non-resident births account for approximately two per cent of the 44,000 babies born in the province each year. She said residents of other countries give birth in Canada for a variety of reasons, including premature or unexpected labour.

Maternity tourism

She said the top priority is to ensure all babies are safely welcomed to the world, no matter where they are from. But non-residents must pay all the associated costs, with revenue put back into the system.

“The ministry in no way endorses or supports the marketing of maternity tourism,” Cascaden said, adding that “Immigration Canada should be responding to allegations of someone coming to Canada for the sole purpose of giving birth.”

B.C. has an eligibility, compliance and enforcement unit that monitors this issue, she said.

Source: Petition to Parliament calls for end to automatic citizenship to end ‘birth tourism’ – Politics – CBC News

Lisée fait un pas de plus [expanding Bouchard Taylor approach to reasonable accommodation

Identify politics continues – Bouchard-Taylor plus education sector:

Le chef du Parti québécois, Jean-François Lisée, a annoncé, jeudi, un virage identitaire qui va plus loin que ce qu’il proposait comme candidat à la chefferie en matière d’interdiction des signes religieux.

Au cours d’une conférence de presse, le chef péquiste a présenté le « consensus »auquel est parvenue son aile parlementaire au terme d’un débat de quelques heures mercredi, « une approche résolue, équilibrée et responsable », selon le document qui la décrit. En matière de port de signes religieux, la position reprend la recommandation de la commission Bouchard-Taylor, comme le prônait le candidat Lisée, c’est-à-dire une interdiction faite aux agents de l’État qui ont un pouvoir de contrainte — juges, policiers, gardiens de prison. Mais s’ajoutent à cette liste les enseignants du primaire et du secondaire, ainsi que les éducatrices dans les centres de la petite enfance et les garderies subventionnées. Comme candidat, Jean-François Lisée ne proposait qu’une « discussion » à ce sujet.

Cette interdiction ne concernerait que les nouveaux employés ; Jean-François Lisée défend depuis longtemps leurs droits acquis. En outre, la proposition reprend le minimum du projet de loi 62 du gouvernement Couillard — les services de l’État donnés et reçus à visage découvert — et préconise l’interdiction du port du tchador pour tous les employés de l’État, ce qui fait partie des amendements qu’a réclamés le PQ au projet de loi.

La position consensuelle reprend des propositions qui avaient suscité la réprobation du candidat Alexandre Cloutier et de ses partisans Agnès Maltais et Maka Kotto. Ces derniers étaient au côté du chef, Agnès Maltais à titre de porte-parole en matière de laïcité et Maka Kotto comme président du caucus. La porte-parole pour l’immigration, Carole Poirier, complétait le tableau. « La course, déjà, est loin derrière nous », a dit Maka Kotto, qui avait accusé le candidat Lisée de chatouiller « la part sombre de nos âmes ».

Ainsi, un gouvernement du PQ fera la promotion d’un devoir de réserve pour les employés de l’État, « affirmant sa nette préférence pour la plus grande réserve dans l’affichage des convictions politiques, sociales, religieuses ou autres ». La position recycle aussi l’idée d’examiner l’opportunité d’interdire la burqa et le niqab dans l’espace public. Un comité formé de parlementaires et d’experts se pencherait sur les expériences étrangères à cet égard pour ensuite faire des recommandations au gouvernement. Le chef péquiste ne parle plus des mitraillettes qu’on peut cacher sous une burqa. Ce n’est pas sa meilleure citation, a-t-il reconnu.

À plusieurs reprises, Jean-François Lisée a laissé entendre qu’il se rapprocherait de la position défendue par Alexandre Cloutier, qui croit que la charte des valeurs péquiste a considérablement nui au PQ et qu’il fallait s’en tenir à Bouchard-Taylor. « Il y a une différence entre être candidat et être chef. Il va falloir trouver un point d’équilibre », avait dit le nouveau chef dans un point de presse le soir de sa victoire. « Je n’ai pas la réponse, mais probablement qu’Alexandre et moi, on va la trouver. »

Source: Lisée fait un pas de plus | Le Devoir