Canada raises immigration targets to record level, eyeing COVID-19 recovery

Will be interesting to observe the range of commentary on these ambitious targets. Hard to square this with Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem’s warning that the economy is unlikely to get back on track until 2023. Moreover, previous downturns and recessions tell us that immigrants who arrive during difficult economic times suffer economically in both the short and longer term::

In the midst of a second wave of COVID-19, Canada isn’t just maintaining its immigration strategy, but taking it up a notch, increasing the number of people it will bring into the country in a bid to stimulate the post-pandemic economic recovery.

On Friday, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said Canada will welcome more than 1.2 million new immigrants over the next three years, with an annual intake that could reach 401,000 in 2021; 411,000 in 2022; and 421,000 in 2023 — equivalent to one per cent of the population.

The previous plan, unveiled right before the onset of the pandemic lockdown in March, set targets of 351,000 in 2021 and 361,000 in 2022.

“Immigration is essential to getting us through the pandemic, but also to our short-term economic recovery and our long-term economic growth. Canadians have seen how newcomers are playing an outsized role in our hospitals and care homes, and helping us to keep food on the table,” Mendicino said.

“Immigration is essential to getting us through the pandemic, but also to our short-term economic recovery and our long-term economic growth. Canadians have seen how newcomers are playing an outsized role in our hospitals and care homes, and helping us to keep food on the table,” Mendicino said.

“As we look to recovery, newcomers create jobs not just by giving our businesses the skills they need to thrive, but also by starting businesses themselves. Our plan will help to address some of our most acute labour shortages and to grow our population to keep Canada competitive on the world stage.”

The much anticipated 2021-23 immigration plan was tabled amid a cloud of uncertainty over Canada’s economic future in the middle of a global pandemic that has seen the country’s jobless rate surged to nine per cent last month from 5.6 per cent before the pandemic. It peaked at 13.4 per cent in May.

The government’s immigration strategy has been consistent with the approach taken by successive governments to keep intake high during recessions since the late 1980s, when prime minister Brian Mulroney’s government first used immigration to withstand the economic slowdown in 1990s and 2000s.

Canada was on track to bring in 341,000 newcomers this year; 351,000 in 2021; and 361,000 in 2022 — with about 58 per cent of the intake being skilled immigrants, 26 per cent under family reunification and the remaining 26 per cent as refuges or on humanitarian grounds.

However, due to travel restrictions, reduced application processing capacity and flight cancellations, only 60 per cent or some 200,000 are expected to have made it to Canada by this year’s end.

The new plan hopes to make up the shortfall over the next three years, with 60 per cent of the intake coming from economic class, 30 per cent from family reunification and 10 per cent under refugee protection and resettlement.

Last month, Statistics Canada’s latest demographic update showed the country’s population has reached 38 million but only recorded a 0.1 per cent growth or an increase of 25,384 persons between April and June — the lowest since 1972 — because of the pandemic.

In contrast, the growth rate stood at 0.5 per cent in each of the past two years at this time. In 2019, immigration accounted for 86.5 per cent of Canada’s population growth in the second quarter. This year, that dropped to 38.2 per cent (an addition of 9,700 persons).


The full report and related material:

Pre-release commentary by the Conservative and NDP immigration critics:

Conservative immigration critic Raquel Dancho said that whatever the Trudeau government announces today, it must have a concrete plan for bringing people safely into the country during a pandemic and for integrating them into Canadian society.

She said the backlog of applicants has grown during the pandemic.

“The immigration system has not been well-managed, I think to say the least, in the last eight months. So I will be looking for some sort of plan for how they’re going to improve it,” Dancho said.

“The number can be whatever it’s going to be, but unless they bring forward a plan for how they’re going to change course and get better at processing immigration applications, it’s really all for nothing.”

Dancho said Canadians must have a clear explanation of how immigration targets will meet Canada’s labour needs while upholding its humanitarian commitments.

NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan urged the government to increase its capacity to help vulnerable people in need of protection in Canada, noting that persecution abroad has not stopped during the pandemic.

She said Canada also should give permanent residence status to people who want it and are already in the country, such as temporary foreign workers and international students with job offers.

“Canada can, in fact, take a true humanitarian approach by regularizing all those immigrants and refugees and undocumented people,” she said.

Source: Federal government to announce new immigration targets today

And Quebec continuing to have relatively low immigration targets, making the demographic gap between Quebec and the rest of Canada continue to grow:

Quebec could welcome between 44,500 and 47,500 immigrants in 2021.

The immigration targets for 2021 were announced as part of the Plan d’immigration du Québec 2021, released on October 29. This report coincides with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada‘s (IRCC) announcement of its multi-year plan, which is expected this week and will guide Canada’s immigration planning for 2021 to 2023.

In 2021, the majority of new admissions to Quebec — 62 per cent — are expected to come through the province’s economic immigration programs.

The new Quebec immigration levels represent a slight increase over its 2020 targets when Quebec’s goal was to welcome between 43,000 and 44,500 immigrants.

According to estimates in the plan released today, Quebec will admit a maximum of 30,500 immigrants this year, instead of the projected maximum of 44,500. The province says travel restrictions and the closure of federal offices and processing centres around the world make it difficult to meet immigration targets for 2020.

However, the province’s immigration ministry said its targets for 2021 include a rebalancing plan “with the admission of an additional 7,000 people, representing the deferment of some of the admissions that were not fulfilled in 2020 due to the health crisis.”

As a result of the health crisis, the province estimates the number of unrealized admissions in 2020 to be between 13,000 and 18,000 but plans to make up the shortfall over the next two years.

Quebec’s Admissions targets for 2021

For 2021, Quebec has set a range of between 27,500 and 29,300 new admissions for its economic immigration programs, including a maximum of 24,200 skilled workers.

The province has also set a maximum of 4,300 admissions for its business immigration programs, which include Quebec’s Entrepreneur Program and the Self-Employed Worker Program.

In addition, a maximum of 800 admissions is set for “other economic categories” such as live-in caregivers and others.

Another 10,200 new permanent residents are expected to arrive through family sponsorship, refugee and other immigration programs.

2021 Quebec Selection Certificate targets

Under the provisions of the Canada-Quebec Accord, Quebec has the power to select all economic class immigrants and certain refugees to the province.

Those selected are awarded a Quebec Selection Certificate (Certificat de sélection du Québec, or CSQ) and can then apply to Canada’s federal government for a permanent residence visa.

Quebec’s plan calls for 26,500 to 31,200 selection certificates to be issued in 2021, slightly more than its 2020 plan, which called for a range of 20,100 to 24,700.

The majority — up to 22,400 — would go to skilled worker candidates.

The selection certificate targets are as follows:

  • Skilled workers: between 19,400 and 22,400;
  • Business immigrants: between 1,500 and 2,300;
  • Other economic immigrants: between 400 and 600;
  • Refugees selected abroad: between 4,400 and 4,700;
  • Other immigrants: between 800 and 1,200.

The targets set for 2021 include applications in process or waiting to be processed in Quebec and at the federal level. They also take into consideration the time it takes for candidates to complete all the immigration procedures.

Source: Quebec extends immigration targets into 2021

How to Be an Active Bystander When You See Casual Racism

Some practical pointers:

We’ve all been there.

At a dinner party. In line at the post office. On a Zoom meeting. You can feel it coming: that awful joke your friend likes to tell about immigrants. Questions like “Don’t all lives matter?” or “Did he resist arrest?” The discomfort becomes palpable. Your gut twists. God, I hope someone says something, you think with increasing desperation. And so does everyone else.

This phenomenon, in which no one in a group of witnesses chooses to disrupt a problematic event, is called the bystander effect, said Thomas Vance, a national certified counselor and a postdoctoral psychology fellow at the New School for Social Research in New York.

“We like to think that we live in a world where people will jump in,” Dr. Vance said in an email, but “the greater the number of people present, the less likely people are to help a person in need or distress.”

“This happens because being part of a large crowd makes it so no single person has to take responsibility for an action,” he added.

This diffusion of responsibility can make well-intentioned people complicit in whatever acts of violence or discrimination they silently witness.

To avoid that silent complicity, people can learn to become active bystanders: individuals who work to create cultures that actively reject harmful or discriminatory behavior through targeted interventions.

First, let’s talk about the difference between an ally and an active bystander.

An ally is someone who “does not suffer the same oppressions” as you do but who “supports your struggle for rights and freedom,” Micki McElya, a history professor at the University of Connecticut, wrote in the Boston Review.

Absent from that definition is action. Active bystanders see something bad happen and make discreet choices to respond to the concerning behavior, said Monica Reyna, a violence prevention educator at the Advocates, a nonprofit in rural Idaho. That can take many forms, such as recording suspected police brutality or challenging everyday microaggressions like dinner-table racism. It can be leaning into humor to unpack “compliments” — for example, your boss describes a Black colleague as “articulate,” the subtext being that this is somehow exceptional — or educating friends about the problematic origins of commonplace expressions.

To beat the bystander effect, we have to retrain our brains and establish new patterns of behavior. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of ways to do this.

“We began to categorize all of the anti-bias actions that could be taken,” said Derald Wing Sue, a professor at Columbia who studies the psychology of racism and antiracism and has written extensively about microaggression theory. “There were literally thousands of them.”

One of the most effective tactics, Dr. Sue said, is what he calls the art of the comeback.

“A person will say to me, ‘You speak excellent English,’ and I will say, ‘You do, too, John!’” said Dr. Sue, who is Chinese-American. “The ‘compliment’ has a hidden communication to me that I’m a perpetual alien in my own country, I’m not a true American.” He said that “by simply reversing it, it may have a humorous or sarcastic impact” that reveals the comment’s underlying meaning.

Dorothy J. Edwards, president and founder of Alteristic, a nonprofit consultancy that provides bystander training, focuses on “the three D’s”: direct, distract and delegate.

“We emphasize that ‘direct’ doesn’t have to be combative or confrontational; it just means you address the situation directly,” Dr. Edwards said. This can be as simple as “checking in on the person at risk” by asking if the person is OK or telling the perpetrator to “knock it off.”

Even your physical presence can be enough to keep someone from being the target of racial violence, said LaVonne Pepe, a social worker and a senior trainer at Alteristic.

If you witness a concerning event that may escalate into harm, Dr. Edwards recommends creating a diversion. For example, suggest going to get food. Or tell a white lie: Say someone’s car is being towed. Interrupt a heated discussion by asking for a phone charger. Doing so can help to de-escalate a situation and give the person on the receiving end of the behavior a chance to exit the scene.

Delegation is even easier: Enlist the help of that one friend who actually likes direct confrontation or has the clout to absorb any pushback. The idea is to just do something, whatever that may be.

Before Alteristic trainers get into the three D’s, they focus on why people don’t speak out in the first place. Training starts by examining what human social behavior and thought patterns also conspire against us.

“A lot of us are taught how to mind our business, or that if it does not involve us then we shouldn’t interject,” Dr. Vance said. “We have to unlearn that particular method and relearn strategies to challenge our biases that we have developed over time.”

For people with privilege, losing that privilege can be a strong demotivator, Dr. Sue said. Many white Americans learn from an early age not to talk about race, which makes it harder for them to speak out.

“When a young child makes an obvious, naïve observation of skin tone, eyes and physical differences, what do parents do? They hush them up,” he said, adding that this can feed into adults’ claims of “color blindness,” which he explores in his book “Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence.”

“If you are colorblind, you are color mute,” he said.

The socialization of women, too, can also prevent them from being active bystanders, Dr. Edwards said.

Women learn “certain messages of what it means to be feminine and a woman,” she said, adding that the privilege of being white makes it “even easier for me to not make waves,” especially if not doing so helps retain that privilege.

And for people who hold marginalized identities, making waves can mean facing consequences, according to a recent article in Harvard Business Review. If you’re the only Black person at your company, for instance, calling out your boss’s inappropriate jokes may reduce opportunities for you.

Active bystanders should strive to intervene early and often.

What we need, Dr. Sue said, is for allies “to find the moral courage to intervene when they see a moral transgression occurring.”

“When no action is taken and people remain silent in the face of racism, it causes pain and suffering to the targets, it creates guilt in the mind of onlookers and it creates a false consensus that racism is OK,” he said in an email.

That suffering compounds the mental and emotional burden that marginalized people already carry, Ms. Pepe said. Continued exposure to systemic and casual discrimination increases stressand elevates cortisolcompromises mental health and can even lead to physical pain.

Almost by definition, an active bystander is a person who chooses to “act in the moment” when he or she witnesses problematic behavior, Dr. McElya said.

That said, there is no statute of limitations on stepping up. If you miss your window, follow up with the perpetrator later in a private conversation. Or share resources through email or social media.

“The way that you choose to say it is up to you,” Ms. Pepe said. “But at the end of the day, if your value is that people shouldn’t be hurt, for whatever the reason is, you can find a way to say that if you care about it enough.”

It is hard! The fatigue that we all feel is real and it is normal. Standing up as an active bystander, going to protests, engaging in online discussions, educating yourself and your children … all of that means exposing yourself to harsh realities like the killing of George Floyd, systemic discrimination and violence. And the deeper you get into these realities, the more you begin to see how entrenched they are.

“Those things are all very draining and all of us become traumatized,” said Beryl Domingo, an active bystander coordinator at Quabbin Mediation, a community-based organization in Orange, Ma., that offers dispute mediation services and active bystander training. “No one is unaffected by this. You’d have to be a robot not to be affected by these vicious incidents.”

The author Robin DiAngelo coined the term “white fragility” to describe what she calls the “silence, defensiveness, argumentation, certitude and other forms of pushback” that white people manifest when confronted with their own racial biases.

But, according to Ms. Domingo, building the “moral courage” to confront these feelings and become a more active bystander can help to make the world a more equitable place.

“It takes work and it takes time, but you do get better, actually,” she said. “Because you begin to feel confident, you begin to feel, Hey, I can do this.”

You will. Try again. Build resilience.

If you’re uncomfortable and exhausted, it means you’re headed in the right direction. Like anything worth doing, becoming an active bystander takes practice.

By building up “your moral courage muscle, you actually gain strength,” Ms. Domingo said. “And other people see what you’re doing, and they begin to do the same thing.”

Keep in mind that, despite your best intentions and efforts, you won’t always have the impact you desire. Pre-empt potential harm by leaning into the “bystander” part of being an active bystander, Dr. McElya said, and by taking your cues from marginalized people on how to show up for them.

You won’t get it right every time. You might be unsure of how to intervene or miss your window for a snappy comeback. That’s just reality, Ms. Edwards said, because in real life “we have barriers.” Don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, plan to do better next time. Continue your education about the issues that matter, and remember that it’s OK to start small.

Ms. Domingo said, “When you don’t do something, the person doing the harm assumes that you’re in agreement with their actions.”

“If we don’t challenge them, they will continue to do what they do and they will influence other people to do the same,” she added.

More resources about being an active bystander:

The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity website has a virtual training and downloadable materials.

Hollaback offers various trainings in New York City and a free guide to bystander interventions.

This Guide to Responding to Microaggressions explains identity-based microaggressions and ways to counteract them.


Why India’s Muslims Reach for Liberalism

Of note:

By now, the world knows that Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and his Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.) have eroded the liberal principles of the Indian Constitution and are turning the country into an increasingly illiberal democracy. It is common knowledge that Mr. Modi thrives on the grievances and bigotries that pit privileged majorities against minorities living in fear.

Less familiar, but much more hopeful, is the response of the main target of this majoritarian assault: India’s Muslim minority — roughly 172 million people who account for just about 14.2 percent of India’s total population of approximately 1.32 billion people, roughly 79.8 percent of whom are Hindu.

This large religious minority of Muslims has gone through a hard time in recent years at the hands of Hindu supremacists: They have faced lynchings, lethal riots, and social and political disenfranchisement.

When minorities are pushed to such walls, they may retreat into a siege mentality that breeds radicalization. But India’s Muslims have not come up with calls for violent jihad, nor chants for Shariah law. Instead, they have embraced and emphasized the blessings of liberal democracy by placing their faith in the Constitution of India and insisting on their constitutional rights as citizens.

This hopeful tack was most visible during the mass protests for three months that started in December against the Citizenship Amendment Act, an unabashedly discriminatory law enacted by the government that fast-tracked citizenship for Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist immigrants from neighboring countries, but not for Muslims, whom Home Minister Amit Shah tried to dehumanize as “termites.”

Mr. Shah has also proposed a national register of citizens requiring documentary evidence for place of birth and residence that many Indians, especially the poor, lack. Of these the non-Muslims could escape through the loophole in the new Citizenship Amendment Act, but Muslims would find themselves stateless and liable to be put into detention camps.

In response, Shaheen Bagh, a neighborhood in New Delhi, held a 101-day sit-in against the citizenship law and the proposed citizenship registry, with the protest led not by conservative Muslim clerics, but by Muslim women. Thousands occupied a protest tent 24 hours each day by rotating in shifts and displaying banners saying, “We stand for peace, harmony and fraternity.” They also showed portraits of the Hindu leaders who led India’s independence movement, and festooned their dais with the preamble of the secular Constitution.

The B.J.P.’s propaganda machine depicted Muslim protesters as “traitors” and “anti-nationals,” but they were wearing headbands saying, “I love India.” waving Indian flags, and repeatedly singing the national anthem.

In other campaigns, Indian Muslim women in recent years challenged not just Hindu supremacism but also patriarchy within their own community. Through successful appeals to the Supreme Court — which upholds India’s constitutional principles — they obtained a legal ban in 2017 on “instant divorce,” a contested Shariah ruling that gives Muslim men the right to abandon their wives at will. Another Muslim women’s group gained a 2016 court decision that enforced women’s constitutionally guaranteed right of equal entry, along with men, to a Sufi shrine in Mumbai.

All such liberal moves, according to Sharik Laliwala, a Muslim Indian commentator, signify “a fundamental transformation in the political strategy of the Muslim community.” Indian Muslims, he added, are “marrying a constitutional phraseology of freedom, justice and equality with religious notions.”

Irfan Ahmad, an Indian anthropologist based at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, argues that what is happening is a new emphasis rather than a transformation, which Indian Muslims have always sought along with pluralism. The protests in Shaheen Bagh, he adds, highlighted the rift between the B.J.P.’s rule by and for the Hindu majority and a new vision of democracy that would uphold the rights and dignity of all Indians, including Muslims.

Yet there is still a danger that B.J.P. ruthlessness may backfire and drive Muslims into radicalism. In September, Umar Khalid, a secular left-wing student leader who is Muslim, was arrested on highly contested charges of orchestrating Hindu-Muslims riots last February in Delhi, where most victims were Muslim.

All of this means that India is on a very wrong track. A country that does not treat its minorities as equal human beings will be not the world’s biggest democracy, but rather a tyranny of the majority.

The results may be social strife, radicalism, decline of economic progress, and the ruination of India’s image abroad. The country is already being criticized by human rights organizations for violating human rights in Kashmir, and more recently for forcing Amnesty International’s office in India to close.

India’s story could hold lessons for Muslims elsewhere. Across the border, Pakistan long ago established what India’s B.J.P. seeks: an ethno-religious state dominated by the majority. In Pakistan’s case, this means the hegemony of Sunni Muslims at the expense of minorities such as Shiite Muslims, Ahmadis or Christians.

Farther in the East, in Malaysia, Malay-Muslim supremacy has been an official ideology since the founding of the multireligious nation in 1957. In Turkey, the Islam-infused populism of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with its own insatiable wrath against “traitors” and “anti-nationals,” has strong parallels with Mr. Modi’s populism. And in the parlance of Islamist movements everywhere, “liberalism” and “secular state” are only dirty words, if not heresies.

Alas, it seems that many Muslims in countries other than India enjoy the tyranny of the majority when they themselves are in the majority and control the state, while others realize the blessings of liberalism if they are in minorities. Of course, such a double standard is neither virtuous nor defensible.

A more principled Muslim view of politics is needed, and for that, Muslim opinion leaders should observe the experience of their coreligionists in India. The latter, the largest religious minority in the world, has an important story with a lesson: Human rights and liberties must be defended in every nation, in every civilization. Without them, only power rules. And instead of betting on power, which may be won or lost, they should try to constrain it everywhere, so that no one group is oppressed and everyone is free.

Mustafa Akyol, a contributing Opinion writer, is a senior fellow on Islam and modernity at the Cato Institute, and the author of the forthcoming book “Reopening Muslim Minds: A Return to Reason, Freedom, and Tolerance.” Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar, a research fellow at the Cato Institute, is a columnist for The Times of India, and a commentator for India’s television.

Douglas Todd: Canada’s many language schools ravaged by COVID-19

Yet another element of the immigration industry:

Downtown Vancouver might never look or feel the same, as scores of its English-language schools now sit empty with metal security gates across their doors. Many will never reopen.

B.C.’s once ultra-popular, private English-language schools, which last year enrolled 70,000 to 100,000 students, are concentrated in the city’s core. Each year language students from around the globe enlivened downtown cafes and street life, as well as rental and homestay units through the West End and Yaletown.

Most Canadians don’t give much thought to the often-overlooked English- and French-language industry, but if they did they would recognize COVID-19 has ravaged this formerly booming sector as badly as it has crippled airlines and international tourism.

The health measures brought in in March to secure borders against travellers who could carry the coronavirus into Canada caused upwards of 100 language schools in B.C. alone to close their doors to in-person classes. Some struggle just to offer low-cost online instruction to students spread through mostly Asia and Latin America.

Officials with Languages Canada, an umbrella group for more than 200 registered schools, forecast this summer that three of four of its member schools could be forced to permanently shutter. In Metro Vancouver alone, Languages Canada says their students, almost all from outside the country, were pumping more than $500 million a year into the economy.

Global Village Vancouver gone

More than 23 registered language schools across the country have already permanently packed it in, including Vancouver’s decades-old Global Village Vancouver. And that number doesn’t include the closings at many smaller private schools that are not registered with Languages Canada.

“Metro Vancouver has the most private language schools of any Canadian city. And many of them are never going to open again,” says Lorie Lee, a former language-school owner who has served on federal government trade missions and advisory panels who now works with a company called that provides health insurance to international students.

“Not only do these schools employ many teachers and staff, the students stay with host families and rent apartments and spend money in restaurants and on car leases and trips to Whistler. That’s not to mention the schools themselves rent large amounts of space downtown.”

Language-school students often come to Canada, Lee said, with varied dreams about learning English, since it’s the common language of global business, aviation and science.

One-third of them, almost always financed by their parents, want to gain permanent resident status in Canada, Lee says. Another cohort aim to get English under their belt so they can be eligible to apply to a Canadian or American university.

Those who belong to a third group want to improve their English because it will enhance their careers in their homelands, Lee says. Many others seek adventure, learning a bit of English along with skiing, partying and hiking in a beautiful province.

There are several reasons private language schools have been hit harder by the pandemic than Canada’s public universities and colleges. The biggest problem is their rents.

High rents

Unlike public language schools, which are subsidized by taxpayers, private language businesses, especially those in Vancouver, are stuck having to pay high rents on five-year leases they normally can’t get out of. A typical monthly rent for a school downtown, Lee says, runs about $50,000 a month.

“These schools have had no students since March, so that’s eight months of no income and many are going into debt. Those schools closing will have an economic impact on other businesses, not to mention on the host families that relied on the international students to pay their mortgages.”

The second big dilemma is that language-school students are often in a different immigration category from the 642,000 people who last year were in the country on study-work visas so they could attend public institutions like the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and Kwantlen Polytechnic.

Only a minority of private language-school students obtain such long-term study-work visas to be in Canada, Lee says. Most tend to be here on visitors’ visas, which last less then six months.

That means that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s unprecedented move to reopen the border to foreign students on Oct. 20 is of only limited help to most language schools, since the bulk of their students will not be eligible.

Gonzalo Peralta, head of Languages Canada, has said Ottawa’s policy decision extends a lifeline to some private language schools. But Lee stresses that “even with Ottawa opening the gates, there are still going to be problems.”

It’s all having a little-discussed impact on Metro Vancouver. In 1991, when Lee first shifted from teaching English at UBC to launching her own school in Vancouver, her market research showed there were only seven private language schools in the city. “But,” she says, “when I sold my school in 2011 there were approximately 200 private language schools in Vancouver.”

Even though critics have condemned the way some private language schools are shoddily run and some Canadian economists worry they contribute to bringing more low-skilled workers into an already modest-wage job market, Lee generally remains a booster.

She’s excited that language schools bring so many students from Brazil, China, India, Vietnam, Japan, Mexico and South Korea. Four of five head to Ontario or B.C. This province has more than 50 schools registered with Languages Canada, the vast majority being private, employing about 2,000 staff and teachers until COVID-19 hit.

And, as Lee clarifies, Language Canada’s registered schools are only the tip of the language-industry iceberg. There are scores more non-registered private language schools in Metro Vancouver that, until the pandemic, served tens of thousands of pupils.

Glimmers of hope

Some publicly funded language schools and the larger private ones will likely be able to hold out until the end of the health crisis, Lee says. But even they are struggling just to keep afloat by offering online courses, only charging $99 a week. “Meanwhile, think of how expensive their rents are.”

There are glimmers of hope for some schools, Lee suggests, but their survival will likely rely on further easing up of immigration policy, border restrictions and COVID-19 safety rules, which restrict how many students will be allowed in language classrooms at one time.

Even though it’s frustrating to Lee, she recognizes why most Canadians rarely think about the plight of private language schools and their impact on the country.

With understatement she says, “I think most people in Canada don’t understand how the immigration system works.”

Source: Douglas Todd: Canada’s many language schools ravaged by COVID-19

From religion to immigration to COVID, Fox News creates divisions even among Republicans

Not that surprising but still notable:

One simple question may be the most reliable predictor of the strength of a conservative person’s political views in this hotly contested election year. That question: Do you trust Fox News?

From religion to immigration to race to the economy and the president’s approval rating, the most notable distinction across all categories of Public Religion Research Institute’s recent report, “State of the Union: A House Divided and Fragile,” is how a respondent answers this one question.

This correlates with a 2017 study in the American Economic Review and reported on Vox: “Emory University political scientist Gregory Martin and Stanford economist Ali Yurukoglu estimate that watching Fox News directly causes a substantial rightward shift in viewers’ attitudes, which translates into a significantly greater willingness to vote for Republican candidates.”

That was confirmed again the next year in a study by the group Data for Progress that found that “across a variety of political and cultural attitudes, Republicans who report getting their news from Fox are significantly to the right of Republicans who don’t.” The authors dubbed this the “Fox News Bubble.”

PRRI may not be the first polling firm to ask about the influence of Fox News, but the new data set is likely one of the most comprehensive analyses of the Fox News effect. Its throughgoing scope illustrates again and again the gaps between the views of Republicans in general and Republicans who rely on Fox News in particular.

‘A party within a party’

“Right now, what you essentially have is a party within a party that is organized around its allegiance to Fox News, and to this president,” PRRI founder Robert P. Jones said at an Oct. 19 virtual roundtable sponsored by the Brookings Institution.

“What you essentially have is a party within a party that is organized around its allegiance to Fox News.”

Despite the liberal assumption that all Republicans are swayed by Fox News, the PRRI data found about 40% of Republicans say they trust Fox News more than any other news source. That is the “party within the party.”

Among those Fox News aficionados, double-digit gaps appear on almost all issues compared to Republicans as a group — and the gap between Fox News viewers and non-Republicans often is deep and wide.

At the roundtable, Jones noted that Fox News had been galvanizing this party within a party before Trump was elected president. However, this subgroup has become his most loyal base and the most loyal adherents to the controversial policies that have defined his administration.

For example, on the question, “Will climate change cause you harm?” Democrats (76%) and independents (61%) are more likely than Republicans (31%) to believe this. Only 18% of Republicans who trust Fox News believe climate change will cause them harm, compared to 39% of Republicans who most trust other news sources — meaning Fox News loyalty doubles the likelihood of Republicans not believing climate change will cause them harm.

Only 18% of Republicans who trust Fox News believe climate change will cause them harm.

The largest gap among Republicans concerns approval of the job Trump is doing in office. Nearly all Republicans who report trusting Fox News most (97%) approve of Trump’s performance, including 82% who strongly approve. Among all other Republicans, 78% approve of the president and 42% strongly approve — a 40-point gap on the strongly approve group.

Among other examples of this Fox News-induced chasm:

Is the country moving in the right direction under Trump’s current leadership? Only 10% of Democrats say yes, while 66% of Republicans say yes. Republicans who say they trust Fox News overwhelmingly believe the country is going in the right direction (79%), compared to 58% of Republicans who trust other news sources — a 21-point gap.

Will voting by mail be as secure as voting in person? Nationally, Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to say they are not confident at all that voting by mail will be as secure as voting in person (56% versus 25%). Republicans who say they most trust Fox News are especially distrustful of voting by mail, with 73% saying so, compared to 44% of Republicans who trust any other news source — a 29-point gap.

Should the popular vote determine the winner of presidential elections? Not surprisingly, 86% of Democrats say yes, compared to 39% of Republicans. However, only 25% of Republicans who trust Fox News say yes, compared to 48% of Republicans who most trust any other news source — a 23-point gap.

How is the president handling the coronavirus pandemic? Nationally, only 35% of Americans approve of the president’s handling of the pandemic and 65% disapprove. However, while 78% of all Republicans approve of his response to the pandemic, nearly all (94%) Republicans who trust Fox News approve of his pandemic response — a 15-point gap among Republicans and a 59-point gap with the national attitude.

How has the president handled the protests over the summer following the killings of Black Americans by police?Nationally, only 35% approve of Trump’s response and 64% disapprove. Among all Republicans, 78% approve. Once again, Republicans are divided by those who trust Fox News most (93% approve) and those who trust any other source most (68% approve) — a 25-point gap.

Are killings of Black people by police isolated incidents? Most Republicans (79%) believe this, but few Democrats (17%) do. However, being a Republican and trusting Fox News makes it almost certain you will believe this, with 90% saying so.

Republicans are 25 percentage points more likely to agree that protests make the country better when the statement does not mention Black Americans.

Do protests make the country better? The poll asked this question more than one way, both identifying protesters as Black Americans and not identifying protesters as Black Americans. Nationally, Republicans are 25 percentage points more likely to agree that protests make the country better when the statement does not mention Black Americans (49%) than they are when the protesters are specified as Black Americans (24%). Among Republicans who most trust Fox News, this effect grows to 37 percentage points: 47% favor the statement without Black Americans, compared to only 10% who favor the statement when the protesters are identified as Black Americans.

Are white people and Christians experiencing higher levels of discrimination than racial or ethnic minority groups?Among Republicans who trust Fox News most, only 27% say there is a lot of discrimination against Asian people, 34% among Hispanic people or 36% among Black people (36%). However, among these Republicans who trust Fox News most, 58% see a lot of discrimination against white people, and 73% believe there is a lot of discrimination against Christians.

Are immigrants “invading our country and replacing our cultural and ethnic background”? Less than one-third (31%) of all Americans believe this is true, but a majority of Republicans (57%) believe it is true. Two-thirds of Republicans who trust Fox News most (67%) believe immigrants are invading the country, compared to 51% of Republicans who trust another source most. Only 15% of Democrats agree with this assessment.

Two-thirds of Republicans who trust Fox News most (67%) believe immigrants are invading the country.

Do you support or oppose the administration’s family separation policy at the southern border? Majorities of Democrats (91%), independents (79%) and Republicans (53%) oppose the family separation policy, but a majority of Republicans who most trust Fox News (53%) favor this immigration policy, compared to 41% of Republicans who trust any other news source.

Have Trump’s decisions and behavior as president encouraged white supremacist groups? A majority of Americans (57%) say Trump has encouraged white supremacist groups. Overall, only 18% of Republicans agree that he has encouraged these groups, but dig deeper and the disparity behind that number stands out again: 28% of Republicans who trust a non–Fox News source say the president has encouraged white supremacists, compared to only 3% of those who trust Fox News most — a 25-point gap.

Who do you trust for information about the pandemic? Republicans nationally report low levels of trust in any of the sources of information about the pandemic but 40% say they have a lot of trust in the CDC, which is similar to their trust in Trump (39%) on the issue. However, among Republicans, trusting Fox News doubles the likelihood of trusting Trump as a source of information — 26% to 58%.

Similarly, only 23% of all Americans believe shutdowns, mask mandates and other steps taken by state and local governments since the coronavirus pandemic began are unreasonable measures to protect people. But among Republicans, 43% see these actions as unreasonable and among Republicans who trust Fox News, 51% see them as unreasonable.

Could the spread of COVID-19 have been controlled better? Nearly seven in ten Americans (69%) think so, although Republicans (40%) are less likely than Democrats (92%) to think so. Only 22% of Republicans who trust Fox News as their main source of television news believe it could have been controlled better, compared to 51% of Republicans who most trust other news sources — a 29-point gap.

81% of Republicans who trust Fox News believe coronavirus was developed intentionally by scientists in a lab.

Was coronavirus developed intentionally by scientists in a lab? Among all Americans, there’s a 50-49 split on this. However, 71% of Republicans nationally think it was developed in a lab, compared to 34% of Democrats. Once again, trusting Fox News magnifies your belief in this theory, with 81% thinking this is true, compared to 64% of Republicans who trust other news sources — a 17-point spread.

Has Trump damaged the dignity of the presidency? Nationally, 63% of Americans believe he has. That includes 27% of Republicans and 89% of Democrats. But among Republicans who most trust Fox News, only 9% believe Trump has damaged the dignity of the presidency, compared to 38% of Republicans who most trust another news source — a 29-point gap.

One final note: Nationwide, 85% of Republicans and Democrats alike told pollsters they are absolutely certain to vote. But even more Republicans who trust Fox News most for television news (96%) and white evangelical Protestant Republicans (90%) say they are absolutely certain to vote.

Source: From religion to immigration to COVID, Fox News creates divisions even among Republicans

Québec suspend le parrainage de réfugiés pour les organismes

Of note:

Pour se donner le temps d’enquêter sur de possibles cas de fraudes, le ministère de l’Immigration a décidé de suspendre pendant un an le dépôt de dossiers de parrainage de réfugiés pour les organismes provenant de partout au Québec. Selon ce nouvel arrêté ministériel émis mercredi par la ministre de l’Immigration, Nadine Girault, seuls les groupes de 2 à 5 personnes seront ainsi autorisés à déposer des dossiers de parrainage dans le cadre d’un nouveau mécanisme d’envoi en ligne qui abandonne le système du « premier arrivé, premier servi » au profit d’un tirage au sort.

« Cette décision s’explique par la tenue d’enquêtes pénales et administratives visant des organismes à la suite d’allégations sérieuses qui mettent en cause l’intégrité des actions de certains organismes et la protection des personnes réfugiées », peut-on lire dans un communiqué du ministère. Ces changements surviennent après que le ministre de l’Immigration, de l’Intégration et de la Francisation (MIFI) de l’époque, Simon Jolin-Barrette, a reconnu les ratés du processus en janvier dernier et promis de revoir le mécanisme de réception des demandes.

En colère, plusieurs organismes se plaignent d’avoir été tous mis dans le même panier et d’être ainsi pénalisés pour quelques possibles fraudeurs. « On dit à tout le monde d’arrêter parce qu’il y a des problèmes avec certains joueurs. C’est injuste », a lancé Paul Clarke, d’Action réfugiés Montréal. « L’analogie que je fais, c’est une classe où quelques élèves n’auraient pas fait leurs devoirs, mais on demande à tous les élèves de rester en retenue. » M. Clarke est d’autant plus déçu qu’il a des réfugiés sur sa liste d’attente depuis au moins 5 ans.

« Je suis atterrée », a lancé pour sa part Nayiri Tavlian, de l’organisme Hay Doun, qui poursuit sa mission humanitaire de parrainage depuis près de 15 ans. « Ce programme-là fait la fierté du Québec. Je ne comprends pas qu’on mette la hache de cette manière sous prétexte que certains font des choses irrégulières », a-t-elle dit visiblement en colère. « C’est de la manipulation. »

Rappelons qu’en 2017, le gouvernement libéral d’alors avait suspendu pour 18 mois le programme de parrainage privé, notamment à la suite d’allégations d’irrégularités et de fraudes, où des organismes demandaient d’importantes sommes à des familles de réfugiés, et souvent, sans leur donner l’encadrement nécessaire à leur arrivée.

Nayiri Tavlian soutient que son organisme est un de ceux qui ont toujours collaboré avec le ministère et même dénoncé des choses qui n’allaient pas. Même qu’avec d’autres organismes, Hay Doun réclame depuis deux ans des détails sur cette reddition de compte. « [Le ministère] voulait qu’on fasse des rapports. Alors on a dit “parfait, qu’attendez-vous de nous ? Envoyez-nous des formulaires !” Mais on n’avait pas de réponse. »

Or, ces rapports n’auraient été exigés que très récemment, confirme Paul Clarke, d’Action réfugiés Montréal. « Tout d’un coup, au mois de septembre, les organismes expérimentés comme le nôtre, on a reçu un document [du ministère] qui nous demandait de fournir un rapport financier depuis deux ans et un rapport d’établissement pour voir comment on avait géré l’accompagnement de tous les gens qu’on a accueillis depuis deux ans », a-t-il raconté.

Le directeur de la Table de concertation des organismes au service des personnes réfugiées et immigrantes (TCRI), Stephan Reichhold, craint pour sa part que cette décision du ministère nuise à la réputation des organismes et du programme lui-même. « On est très déçus de la décision. Ça va donner des arguments aux groupes anti-réfugiés qui vont s’emparer de ça et dire qu’en plus de faire venir des réfugiés, les organismes sont des fraudeurs. »

750 dossiers aux « groupes 2 à 5 »

Comme le ministère de l’Immigration maintient la même limite de 750 dossiers pour ce programme, c’est la catégorie des « groupes de 2 à 5 personnes physiques » qui hérite de la totalité des places, ce qui constitue une forte augmentation puisqu’elle était limitée à 100 demandes.

Du 6 avril au 5 mai 2021, ces groupes de particuliers pourront donc déposer une demande de parrainage (maximum deux) par voie électronique, à raison d’une demande par envoi. Le ministère procédera à un tirage au sort parmi les demandes reçues, un mécanisme qui crée un malaise, selon le directeur de la TCRI. « C’est complètement en contradiction avec la mission d’un programme humanitaire qui aide les réfugiés. Le fait qu’on parle de sauver des vies sur la base d’un procédé aléatoire soulève des questions sur le plan éthique », a soutenu M. Reichhold.

Quebec is suspending all private refugee sponsorships by organizations because it says it has serious concerns with the integrity of the program.

The province said today that until November 2021, only groups of two to five people can privately sponsor a refugee.

All larger organizations including church groups and non-profits that have privately sponsored refugees for years are shut out of the program for the next 12 months.

The government published its decision in the Official Gazette and did not give details other than saying it had serious concerns about the integrity of certain practices within the framework of the program.

Quebec’s Immigration Department did not immediately return a request for comment.

Paul Clarke, executive director of Action Refugies Montreal, a non-profit that has sponsored refugees to Quebec since the 1990s, called the government’s decision unfortunate.

Clarke says legitimate organizations such as his have been put under a cloud of suspicion following the suspension. He says it’s unfair to punish his group for the alleged mistakes of others.

“They are using a sledgehammer when they should be using surgical tools,” Clarke said in an interview, in reference to the Immigration Department.

Quebec’s decision to suspend private refugee sponsorships from organizations does not reduce the number of refugees who can apply to immigrate to the province.

Clarke said the government has allowed about 750 applications for the last couple of years and will do so for 2021.

The published public order says the government has “serious concerns about the integrity of certain practices of legal persons within the framework” of the private refugee sponsorship program.

Source: Quebec suspends private refugee sponsorships by organizations for one year

Australia’s Population Ponzi Scheme

While over the top, there is an element of truth in the critique of immigration-based GDP growth strategies, which tend to focus more on overall GDP growth than the more important per capita and productivity-based growth and some of the adverse environmental impacts:

The current economic system in Australia is a Ponzi scheme based on maintaining positive GDP through migration. Populations of native species are plummeting and people are faced with increased job insecurity and housing costs, all of which are side effects of the Australian government’s ongoing drive for an ever increasing population.

In the 35 years prior to 2005, Australia’s net overseas migration averaged around 70,000 per annum. But from 2005 this number was trebled, and ever since then Australia’s population has been increasing at the rate of an extra million people every three years.

As a result, Australia has been a part of the on-average 68 percent fall in global wildlife populations between 1970 and 2016. Some Australian species’ numbers have plummeted by up to 97 percent, primarily due to habitat loss.

The environmental havoc is justified as needed for the economy, but the evidence does not support this claim. In the 1950s and 1960s Australia had strong industry protection policies and a strong manufacturing industry, and therefore both migrant and non-migrant workers had good wages. Generally, families could live off one income.

But by 2005, the industry protection was gone. The economic impacts of the trebling of migration rates for the last 15 years have been negative for ordinary Australians, many of whom are post-war migrants or their descendants.

Job insecurity and casual employment have jumped, housing costs are some of the highest in the world, travel times and traffic congestion in the major cities have risen dramatically, and wage growth has stalled.

Notwithstanding these negative outcomes, Australian governments are now wedded to what amounts to a migration driven Population Ponzi scheme. The migration keeps GDP in positive territory, so governments and bureaucrats can boast that Australia is growing and not in recession, despite living standards flatlining and the environment tanking. And our universities and vocational education institutions have dropped the ball on education and turned into corporate parasites, selling permanent residence to international students and paying million dollar-plus salaries to their administrators.

Australians have been conned by nonsense from political, business, and media elites about the size and nature of our migration programs. We have fallen for the bogus claim that questioning any migration program, no matter its size, is racist. For the record, one-quarter of Australians were born overseas and one half had one or both parents born overseas. We are more multiracial than the United States or the United Kingdom—more multiracial and welcoming than pretty much anywhere in the world.

We have believed convenient lies like “we need migrants to pay our pensions,” or “we don’t have these skills in Australia,” or “our economy depends on high migration levels.” To the extent there’s any truth in the latter, it is because we are now running a Ponzi scheme. The longer we let it grow, the bigger the collapse at the end will be.

I believe change will come, but it won’t come till people understand that Australia’s economic problems are a consequence of the Population Ponzi scheme; that is, that they are caused by poor government policy. Flatlining incomes and job insecurity are government policy. Unaffordable housing and massive personal debt are government policy. The demise of manufacturing and a narrow economy based on construction and services is government policy. A dense population plagued by traffic congestion and declining vegetation cover, and vulnerable to pandemics, is government policy.

There is, of course, an alternative. For many years, Australia enjoyed high levels of social cohesion and self-sufficiency. We made more of our own things, and provided more universal access to health, education, and the age pension. Countries like Germany, Japan, and the Scandinavian countries show that being high skill and high wage and being in good economic shape is more likely when you don’t run a Population Ponzi scheme than when you do.

It is said that when the tide goes out you can see who’s been swimming naked. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the nakedness of the Australian economy. But like drug addicts, knowing the drug is bad, but taking it anyway, Australia’s high migration addicts are calling for the program to be resumed as soon as possible. They should be ignored.

Kelvin Thomsonserved as the Labor Party Member for Wills in Australia’s Federal Parliament for over 20 years, from 1996 until the 2016 election. Kelvin is now chief of staff for the Sustainable Australia Party’s Victorian Upper House MP Clifford Hayes, and a national media spokesman for the Sustainable Australia Party.

Source: Australia’s Population Ponzi Scheme

Alberta’s Little History War

From Chris Champion, the Conservative staffer I worked with developing the Canadian citizenship guide, Discover Canada, and who is playing a similar role with respect to the Alberta education curriculum, providing context for the controversies over the proposed approach:

JASON KENNEY, SWORN in as Alberta Premier on Apr. 30, should not only cancel the revised social studies curriculum drafted under Rachel Notley since 2016. He should scrap the extant 2005 curriculum too, and do what he can to shift the teaching philosophy behind it.

Kenney re-entered the History Wars with finely-calibrated counterattacks in 2016-17, renewed this year on Feb. 16, against “social engineering and pedagogical fads.” He should now bring forward the reserve guns.

Mandatory testing to the end of Grade 12 is laudable and should continue. The deeper problem lies in the current thematic approach to history and civics, in which a series of disjointed topics displaces sequential narrative. As against narrative history, too difficult for most academics, the teaching establishment prefers “‘issues-centred,’ interdisciplinary Social Studies courses,” beloved of two of Kenney’s antagonists, University of Alberta educationists Lindsay Gibson and Carla Peck. But even they admit that educators have been “over-privileging thematic approaches and disregarding chronology.”(1)

Thematic history is lazy, dispensing with the need to juggle sequence and analysis and put people and events in context. True understanding absolutely requires narrative, a discipline that forces teacher and student to interpret and explain, as they should be able to do both orally and in writing (but most of course cannot). A bundle of isolated topics — last week women’s suffrage, tomorrow divestment from Israel, next week Oka — half-fills the student’s head with random happenings, creating the illusion of insight, whose only glue is the social-justice temperament that left-wingers equate with good citizenship.

Just look at the “themes” of 2005. Grade 4 socials is about “analyzing various actions taken to address historical injustices.” Say again? This implies that current fads of the left are the engine of history, turning 9-year-olds into little SJW’s. In Grade 5 it’s “examining Canadian identity,” an inappropriate, post-secondary sociological approach. Grade 7 covers “origins, histories and movement of people” (dry social history). Grade 9 offers “a few isolated topics in Canadian history” such as the Indian Act and local Treaties. It gets worse, with “multidisciplinary investigations” of “globalization” in Grade 10, “nationalism” in Grade 11, and “ideology” in Grade 12. The problem is not that this stuff is, as Notley asserted, “out of date”; it is too up to date: it’s a curriculum designed by a committee, it would seem by some childless educratic clerisy.

It’s deadly stuff! When Kenney accused Notley’s experts of omitting military history, her minister countered that wars would continue to be studied in the context of “ideology.” But that’s the problem. To reduce war to a byproduct of ideology is reminiscent of Lenin’s deterministic “highest and last stage of capitalism.” 

Nor should “Nationalism” be taught as a tedious “-ism” with sermons about equality, discrimination, and the menace of ideology. Instead, tell the story of Cardinal Richelieu putting the state ahead of the church; of Napoleon, his wars, and the nations’ backlash. Tell the romance of Bolívar and the South American Republics; Garibaldi vs. the Pope in the Risorgimento; or, more ominously, Bismarck and German unification. Teach that ideas have consequences; that peace comes at a high price; that all of this lay in the background when Canada was cobbled together and mounted its own make-or-break colonial adventures in the West. “Ideology” be damned!

‘A.J.P. Taylor believed that if you sacrificed narrative, you opened the floodgates to laziness, for it was no longer necessary to take enormous pains organising a moving structure into which everything fitted’

— Paul Johnson

The ongoing fad is that we need “more” First Nations “perspectives.” Far from being new, this must date from at least the 1970s if my own repetitive West Vancouver experience with oolichan, cedar masks, and trickster stories is any guide. The plug must be pulled on the deplorable agitprop of the “KAIROS Blanket,” which brainwashes children into thinking  of themselves as “settlers” stealing the land — the kind of “truth and reconciliation” that is not evidence-based but relies on “knowledge keepers” to “foster truth.” The scientific tradition is that truth is discovered and authenticated. By contrast, the “truth” of Indigenous Elders sometimes contradicts the evidence.

Thematic history seems ideally suited to transmitting left-wing dogma. Is this fair to students? Better to equip them with the great stories and give them a key life-skill by the end of high school: the capacity to think critically about men and ideas and their place in history, as opposed to imposing sterile doctrines of race and “gender.” As my old Latin teacher was fond of saying, “He who marries the Spirit of the Age will be a widower in the next.”

If more proof were needed that educational approaches are in crisis, it is that today’s publicly-schooled millennials have negative impressions of the role of capitalism in history. They seem never to have been exposed to the idea that markets are probably the only system that has ever lifted the mass of people out of poverty. Instead the kids accord high notional support to — of all things — socialism.

Talk about turning the clock back! Oddly that is what CBC Edmonton reporter Alexandra Zabjek now accuses Kenney of doing in Alberta Views magazine. She sees a conspiracy to “grow the privatization movement … to encourage more Albertans to educate outside the traditional public system.”(2) But surely it’s an overly-powerful public monopoly that should be made a thing of the past.

The CBC fired a dud rocket when they called for a “focus on competencies” and “inquiry and discovery — not just the dissemination of information and recall of facts.”(3) Yet contrary to the CBC, one has the impression that facts and recall have been passé for decades.

They shouldn’t be. Elementary-age minds are sponges for memorizing poetry, stories, songs — and yes, dates. Canadian children have a right to know our stories, and by heart. Elementary graduates should also take home with them their own compendious time-line of European and North American history with hand-coloured maps and drawings, from something like 2500 BC to 2000 AD. This could be a project begun in Grade 4 and attentively improved and revised up to the end of Grade 7. Canadians especially need Classical, European, and US history because North American societies are offshoots of Europe’s, particularly those of Britain and France. Of course there is value in other cultures but we can never truly appreciate or evaluate foreign cultures without first knowing our own.

When it comes to content, part of the solution may be to film Ted Byfield’s Alberta in the Twentieth Century, an illustrated series of twelve oversize books, published between 1991 and 2006, that is already approved for use in schools. It’s a comprehensive analytic narrative of the Province in the context of historians’ debates and Canadian and world history. As Byfield told me when he recruited me in 1994 to work on Vol. 5, his dream was that the set would one day become a Ken Burns-style documentary like “The Civil War” on PBS. I’m sure the books could be spun into a few compelling Netflix dramas too, if competent directors can be found.

Once filmed, the documentary could be required for mandatory testing, perhaps in Grade 11. Watch Episode one at home, discuss with your peers, take a supervised test at school. Test the teachers while you’re at it. If you fail, you get to watch the video again and retake until you pass with 85%. Watch Episode 2, repeat. This alone would increase students’ knowledge of the past and provide counterbalance to the prevailing, politicizing social justice tendency that has already gone too far.

— C.P. Champion


Chinese-Canadian groups laud China’s fight against Canada, allies in Korean War

Sigh…. Diaspora politics and/or foreign influence?

A group of Chinese-Canadian associations are marking the 70th anniversary of the Korean War by publicly condemning the United States and its allies, including Canada, as aggressors and imperialists while lauding China for fighting alongside North Korea.

More than 26,000 Canadians in the army, navy and air force served in the United Nation-authorized military campaign to defend South Korea from China-backed North Korean forces in the early 1950s. The war claimed the lives of 516 Canadians, whose chief adversaries were Chinese and North Korean troops.

Statements praising China’s role in the Korean War from five Chinese-Canadian organizations were recently posted on WeChat, the popular Chinese-language social-media platform. Apptopia, a firm that tracks mobile services, said WeChat has been downloaded 265,000 times in Canada in 2020 alone.

The quotes appeared as part of an article posted by the Come From China News WeChat account in Ottawa.

“Seventy years ago, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the Korean people fought together to resist the invasion, took the initiative to attack and achieved victory! Let us remember this great victory,” wrote Tracy Law, a Vancouver financial adviser and president of the Guangzhou Fellow-students Association of Canada and president of the Guangdong Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Canada.

David Bercuson, a University of Calgary historian who wrote a book on the Korean War, said celebrating China’s role in the Korean War is akin to glorifying Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939.

He said it’s particularly offensive because South Korea would be living under a couunist dictatorship today if it weren’t for the actions of the United States and allies including Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

The United States did not start the war. North Korea, with the approval of China and the Soviet Union, did he said.

“If we had not stopped the North Koreans and the Chinese from taking over South Korea, then South Korea today would be part of North Korea.”

He said China deployed about 400,000 troops to help North Korea in the conflict.

The most famous battle fought by Canadian soldiers was at Kapyong in April, 1951, when a battalion of about 700 Canadian troops from Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry helped defend a crucial position against about 5,000 Chinese soldiers. This helped prevent the communist forces from retaking Seoul, and the Canadians received the United States Presidential Unit Citation from the American government for their conduct.

Canadian Senator Yonah Martin, who was born in Seoul, South Korea, said she found these statements extolling China’s role to be shocking.

She said the comments mirror statements last week by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Mr. Xi last week marked the 70th anniversary of China’s entry into the Korean war, characterizing it as fighting off “imperialist invaders,” a reference to the U.S. and allies including Canada, and how it was a fight against “U.S. aggression.” He was later accused of distorting history by South Korea’s foreign minister.

“These quotes are part of a campaign which is taking part in China,” Ms. Martin said.

In his speech, Mr. Xi said China’s performance in the Korean War “broke the myth that the U.S. military is invincible,” China’s Global Times quoted him as saying.

In the same WeChat post, Lu Hongmin, executive director of the Federation of Ottawa Chinese-Canadian Community Organizations, reprised comments from Mr. Xi deploring the “Cold War mentality” of the United States and praising China for sending its armies to support Pyongyang after U.S.-led forces, including Canadians, pushed the North Koreans out of Seoul and back to their side of the 38th parallel.

“American aircraft invaded North Korea, repeatedly bombed the northeast border area of China, causing serious losses to peoples’ lives and property, and our country’s [China’s] security was facing a serious threat,” Mr. Lu wrote, quoting Mr. Xi.

In the same WeChat post, Liu Luyi, with the Federation of Ottawa Chinese-Canadian Community Organizations, was quoted as saying “the Chinese People’s Liberation Army dared to face the provocation of the world’s military power, the United States, to fight against aggression.”

Charles Burton, a former Canadian diplomat in China and senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, said it is regrettable some Chinese Canadian organizations choose to echo recent comments of Mr. Jinping.

“It is so wrong to get Canadians to identify with the interests of a foreign state. That goes against the principles of citizenship.” Mr. Burton said.

Ms. Law later told The Globe and Mail in an interview that her comments were meant to show sympathy for the deaths of Chinese soldiers and she should have mentioned the sacrifice of Canadians.

“I live in Canada and I support and love the country. Those [words] are probably not appropriate to say that,” Ms. Law said. “We should have said Canadians also fought in the war.”

Mr. Lu said his intention in this WeChat post was peaceful. “I do not and never support any war no matter when and where,” he said in an e-mailed statement. “We are Canadians. We love to live in Canada.”

The Korean War ended with an armistice agreement that brought an end to stalemated fighting. Since then, the border between the two Koreas has been one of the most militarized in the world, with about a million troops now positioned near their side of a divide that was redrawn at the end of the conflict.


Glavin: On the death of Samuel Paty – Shouldn’t freedom of religion mean freedom from religion too?

Two articles responding to the reaction in many Muslim countries to French President Macron’s comments following the beheading of Samuel Paty, starting with Terry Glavin’s pointing out the hypocrisy of those who criticize Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate in the West while being silent on Chinese repression and arguably genocidal policies against the Uighurs:

Samuel Paty was a quiet 47-year-old middle-school civics teacher at the Collège du Bois d’Aulne, in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, in the suburbs of Paris. He would walk to and from school from his second-floor apartment in nearby Eragny, where he lived alone with his five-year-old son. After class, he liked to play tennis. By all accounts passionately devoted to teaching, Samuel Paty was otherwise a man of temperate disposition, well-regarded by his students and by his colleagues.

That was just three weeks ago. Now, Paty’s name is coming up in blood-curdling slogans shouted in the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and in arguments and imbecilities erupting in Ankara, Riyadh, Islamabad and Tehran. Ambassadors have been summoned. Diplomats have been recalled. Tuesday this week was officially International Religious Freedom Day. If there was anything worth observing about it, it’s that religious freedom must mean freedom from religion, too, or it means nothing at all.

Source: Glavin: On the death of Samuel Paty – Shouldn’t freedom of religion mean freedom from religion too?

More temperate commentary by Konrad Yakabuski along similar lines:

The beheading this month of a middle-school teacher by an 18-year-old Islamic extremist, upset that his victim had shown caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed to his students, was a crime so horrific that it shocked even France’s most-hardened anti-terrorism experts.

In a country permanently on high alert since a wave of terrorist attacks took the lives of hundreds of French civilians in 2015, the gruesome decapitation of teacher Samuel Paty was unanimously condemned by French politicians as an assault on the Republic itself.

“Samuel Paty was killed because the Islamists want our future and because they know that, with heroes like him, they will never have it,” President Emmanuel Macron declared at an Oct. 21 ceremony in honour of the slain teacher held outside the Sorbonne. “We will defend the freedom you taught and raise up secularism. We will not renounce caricatures, or sketches, even if others step back. We will offer all the chances that the Republic owes to its youth without discrimination.”

The caricatures that Mr. Paty had shown his adolescent students, as part of a lesson on freedom of expression, were the same ones that had led to an attack on the offices of the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo in 2015. That attack left 12 people dead and sparked the global “Je suis Charlie” movement in support of free speech. But Mr. Macron’s defence of the freedom of the press earned him nasty epithets throughout the Muslim world and exposed once again the clash in values between France’s secularist majority and its growing Muslim minority.

French police have rounded up dozens of suspected accomplices to the attack on Mr. Paty by a Chechen refugee who had been alerted to the teacher’s actions by French Muslims who denounced it on social media. Mr. Macron and hardline Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin have vowed further crackdowns on imams accused of promoting Islamic “separation” within France.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan led the foreign charge against Mr. Macron with weekend diatribes questioning the French President’s mental health and accusing him of “leading a campaign of hate” against Muslims akin to the pre-Second World War treatment of European Jews. On Monday, Mr. Erdogan joined growing calls for a boycott of French products. Anti-Macron protests erupted in several majority-Muslim countries.

While other Western leaders expressed solidarity with Mr. Macron in the wake of Mr. Paty’s killing, it took Prime Minister Justin Trudeau 10 days to even acknowledge the incident – and only after the Bloc Québécois brought forward a House of Commons motion condemning the attack “on freedom of expression” in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, northeast of Paris.

Questioned by journalists on Tuesday, Mr. Trudeau did condemn Mr. Paty’s killing, but declined to express his solidarity with Mr. Macron. “I’m going to take the opportunity to talk to world leaders, community leaders, leaders of the Muslim community here in Canada, to understand their worries, their concerns, to listen and to work to reduce these tensions,” Mr. Trudeau said.

Unfortunately for Mr. Trudeau, there is no middle ground in this debate. If he does not stand with Mr. Macron to defend freedom of expression, he automatically stands with Mr. Erdogan as an apologist for Muslim extremists. A listening tour will not cut it.

Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne also failed the grade with a Monday tweet in which he expressed “solidarity with our French friends.” He referred to “Turkey’s recent comments” as being “totally unacceptable” but did not rebuke Mr. Erdogan personally. He promised to “defend freedom of expression with respect.”

There is no other way to interpret Mr. Champagne’s tweet except as a repudiation of Mr. Paty and Charlie Hebdo. The caricatures depicting the Prophet Mohammed were anything but respectful. That was their whole point. No religion is off limits to satirists. And thank God for that.

The right to freedom of speech is meaningless if it is subject to conditions such as “respect.” The Constitution protects freedom of speech precisely because speech that is meaningful is often controversial. It is up to the courts to determine what constitutes hate speech under Section 319 of the Criminal Code. But the bar is set mercifully high. Democracy depends on it.

This is the second time in as many weeks that Mr. Trudeau’s government chose to trample on the Charter in the name of political correctness. After a University of Ottawa professor was suspended for using the n-word as part of an educational online lecture, Mr. Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland made banal pronouncements about fighting systemic racism rather than standing up for academic freedom. It was a facile cop-out on their part.

“We will not give in, ever,” Mr. Macron tweeted on Sunday, in French, English and Arabic. “We respect all differences in a spirit of peace. We do not accept hate speech and [we] defend reasonable debate. We will always be on the side of human dignity and universal values.”

Canadians should stand with Mr. Macron, even if their government will not.

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