Tucker Carlson and White Replacement: This racist theory is rooted in white supremacist panic.

Good commentary by Charles Blow:

On Thursday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson caused an uproar by promoting the racist, anti-Semitic, patriarchal and conspiratorial “white replacement theory.” Also known as the “great replacement theory,” it stands on the premise that nonwhite immigrants are being imported (sometimes the Jewish community is accused of orchestrating this) to replace white people and white voters. The theory is also an inherent chastisement of white women for having a lower birthrate than nonwhite women.

As Carlson put it:

“I know that the left and all the gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters, from the third world. But, they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening, actually. Let’s just say it: That’s true.”

Carlson continued, “Every time they import a new voter, I become disenfranchised as a current voter.”

The whole statement is problematic. First, what is the third world? This label originated as a way to categorize countries that didn’t align with Western countries or the former Soviet bloc. It’s now often used to describe poor countries, or developing countries, and by extension, mostly nonwhite majority countries.

When Carlson worries about immigrants from the third world, he is talking about Hispanic, Asian and Black people who he worries will outnumber “current” voters. Current voters, in this formulation, are the white people who make up the majority of the American electorate.

Second, and revealingly, he is admitting that Republicans do not and will not appeal to new citizens who are immigrants.

But although white replacement theory is a conspiracy theory, the fact that the percentage of voters who are white in America is shrinking as a percentage of all voters is not. Neither is the fact that white supremacists are panicked about this.

White supremacists in this country have long worried about being replaced by people, specifically voters, who are not white. In the post-Civil War era, before the current immigrant wave from predominantly nonwhite countries, most of that anxiety in America centered on Black people.

Judge Solomon Calhoon of Mississippi wrote in 1890 of the two decades of Black suffrage following the Civil War, “Negro suffrage is an evil.”

Calhoon worried that white voters had been replaced, or outnumbered, by Black ones, writing: “Shall the ballot remain as now adjusted, the whole country in the meantime taking the chances of the rapid increase of the blacks, and leaving, in the meantime, the whites as they now are in those localities where they are outnumbered?”

Calhoon would go on to become the president of the state’s constitutional convention that year, a convention called with the explicit intention of codifying white supremacy and suppressing the Black vote. States across the South would follow the Mississippi example, calling constitutional conventions of their own, until Jim Crow was the law of the South.

The combination of Jim Crow voter suppression laws and the migration of millions of Black people out of the South during the Great Migration diluted the Black vote, distributing it across more states, and virtually guaranteed that white voters would not be outnumbered by Black ones in any state. The fear of “Black domination” dissipated.

Indeed, as extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act was being debated in 1969, The New York Times made note of the fact that Attorney General John Mitchell, a proponent of a competing bill, was well aware that even if all the unregistered Black people in the South were registered, their voting power still couldn’t overcome the “present white conservative tide” in the South. As The Times added, “In fact, Mr. Mitchell is known to believe that Negro registration benefits the Republicans because it drives the Southern whites out of the Democratic Party.”

A reporter at the time asked an aide of a Republican representative, “What has happened to the party of Lincoln?” The aide responded, “It has put on a Confederate uniform.”

But now, in addition to Black voters voting overwhelmingly Democratic, there is a wave of nonwhite immigrants who also lean Democratic. And tremendous energy is being exerted not only by white supremacists in the general population, but also Republican office holders, to attack immigrants, curtail immigration, disenfranchise Black and brown voters and assail abortion rights.

One of the surest ways of preventing a Black person from voting is to prevent them from living. As The Times reported in 1970, Leander Perez, a man who had been a judge and prosecutor and “led the last stand against integration” in Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish, once famously linked Black birth control to racial dominance, stating: “The best way to hate a [expletive] is to hate him before he’s born.”

I would even argue that the bizarre obsession with trans people is also rooted in part in white anxiety over reproduction.

The architects of whiteness in America drew the definition so narrowly that it rendered it fragile, unsustainable, and in constant need of defense. Replacement of the white majority in this country by a more multiracial, multicultural majority is inevitable. So is white supremacist panic over it.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/11/opinion/tucker-carlson-white-replacement.html

Working from home is here to stay — and for some Canadians, that’s a big problem

Good highlighting of the inequalities between those able to work from home and those not, mainly younger, visible minority or immigrant workers with lower income. Working from home appears to be a good overall proxy for privilege and class:

Working from home has a bright side for a lot of us, and we really hope it will outlast the pandemic.

No morning commute, no mad scramble out the door with packed lunches and wet laundry left in the machine to grow mildew all day, no race at the end of the day to tie up all the loose ends before rushing home to make dinner.

But that’s not the case for everyone, and new research shows working from home over the long term is often far less than ideal for young workers, immigrants, racialized workers and people living with disabilities.

In other words, the very same people who have been at the sharp end of the stick during the pandemic now risk being thrust into a precarious situation yet again in a post-pandemic world where working from home becomes a norm.

We can decide right now not to do that.

The Environics Institute teamed up with the Future Skills Centre and Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute to figure out what the workforce of the future looks like and how COVID-19 has disrupted so much. They surveyed almost 5,400 people across the country on what their work-from-home experience has been like, and they also dug down into how age, race, immigrant history and income make a difference. 

And they do make a difference — both during the pandemic and, if the survey is a good indication, afterwards too.

Generally, those of us who are working from home are content with the way things are going, and hope to be able to continue spending at least a couple of days a week in our home offices when the pandemic winds down.

“There’s no going back,” says Andrew Parkin, executive director of the Environics Institute.

The stigma of working from home from time to time has dissipated now that so many people have shown it can be done without compromising quality, he added, and employers will need to figure out how to incorporate work-from-home arrangements over the long term.

Of course, not everyone has shared in that experience during the pandemic. As we know, it’s been mainly white-collar workers who have been able to set up shop at their kitchen tables. About half of us have been going into the workplace regularly throughout the pandemic, while 36 per cent of us have been able to work from home full time, according to a report published last week by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Abacus Data. 

Low-income workers, people of colour and young people have been more likely to have to keep going into their traditional workplaces. They’ve also been most likely to lose their jobs during the pandemic, according to employment data over the past few months. They’ve had a harder time getting back into the workforce. And they’ve also been more likely to be on the front lines of contagion, holding down essential jobs in taking care of the rest of us.

And now, because their jobs are more precarious, they face more uncertainty about how a work-from-home culture that outlasts the pandemic will benefit them. Doing without frequent face time with colleagues, bosses and networks does not sit well with those who have a fragile connection to their workplaces.

“While it’s reassuring to confirm that many workers in Canada have altered their work arrangement in order to minimize the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19, these survey results serve as an important reminder that the ability to do so is closely tied to one’s socio-economic situation,” states the Environics report obtained by the Star.

Young people, for example, say they like working from home and can maintain the quality of their work there. But they’re also more worried than others that working from home will hurt their career prospects — which are already hurting because the pandemic has knocked their employment levels severely.

The same fear is expressed by first- or second-generation immigrants as well as racialized workers, and they, too, have seen more of their jobs disappear during the pandemic.

On top of that, immigrants and racialized workers also say, more than others, that they aren’t properly equipped to work from home, and they’re worried the quality of their work has deteriorated.

Workers with disabilities are also far more likely to say they don’t have the right equipment to work from home.

The implications for post-pandemic work are far-reaching. Business groups have emphasized the need to make sure workplaces are safe to return to, with whatever personal protective equipment and health measures are needed to assure employees aren’t going to get sick.

But the new research shows it’s a lot more complex than that. Some people won’t want to come back, but at the same time, a full embrace of a work-from-home culture will penalize those who are already facing intimidating barriers to their careers and futures.

“The key word is flexibility,” says Parkin, pointing to a need to rethink office space and work flow to make sure a range of needs are accommodated.

We have a few months left of lockdown, constraint and forced work-from-home conditions before we have more options open to us in the world of work. Let’s use them to ensure the reopening is done carefully, giving a fair opportunity to those workers who have already paid such a steep price.

Source: https://www.thestar.com/politics/political-opinion/2021/04/12/working-from-home-is-here-to-stay-and-for-some-canadians-thats-a-big-problem.html

Covid accelerates India’s millionaire exodus

Of note:

India’s wealthy have topped a list of people seeking to relocate abroad through visa programmes that offer citizenship or right of residence in other countries in return for investments.

There was very little Rahul (name changed) didn’t have going for him, when he made the tough call to leave India six years ago. He is the second generation scion of a well-heeled Delhi-based family. They have a flourishing exports business with a monopoly in what’s typically called a ‘sunrise sector’- an industry that has great future prospects.

But he left it all behind and moved to Dubai in 2015, to look after the company’s overseas expansion. He also got a citizenship by investment in one of the Caribbean nations. Harassment by tax authorities in India’s Enforcement Directorate was a key reason, he says.

“I could see it becoming a problem for someone who had businesses spread across the world,” he told the BBC. “With a foreign passport, the red-tape has reduced substantially. I am less worried about being slapped with a random tax demand.”

‘Tax terror’ has been a routine gripe among Indian corporate tycoons. When the founder and owner of India’s largest coffee chain, Cafe Coffee Day died in 2019, he accused a former director general of the income tax department of harassing him. But the government has continued to tighten its noose around business owners in recent years.

According to one report, tax searches by India’s income tax department have more than trebled in the last few years.

The government has argued this is being done to eradicate “black money – illegal cash, hidden from the tax authorities – and improve tax compliance. But critics say the overreach is also often on account of pressure on bureaucrats to meet revenue targets.

But hounding by the taxman was just one reason for his move, says Rahul. His decision was also prompted by a growing trend of “divide and rule politics” in India, he told us. He didn’t want his kids to grow up in India’s increasingly polarised environment.

Many others in his circle of wealthy friends were also renouncing their citizenship or resident status, he added.

These claims are borne out by figures from the wall-street investment bank Morgan Stanley. A 2018 bank report found that 23,000 Indian millionaires had left the country since 2014.

More recently, a Global Wealth Migration Review report revealed that nearly 5,000 millionaires, or 2% of the total number of high net-worth individuals in India left the country in 2020 alone. And Indians topped a list compiled by the London-headquartered global citizenship and residence advisory Henley & Partners (H&P), of those seeking citizenship or residency in other countries in return for monetary investments.

Covid-19 has been a big driver of what was an ongoing trend of wealthy Indians seeking to “globalise their lives and assets” according to H&P. So much so that the firm set up its office in India in the middle of the lockdown last year to cater to growing demand.

“I think they [clients] are realising they don’t want to wait for the second or third wave of the pandemic. They want to have their papers now that they are sitting at home. We refer to this as the insurance policy or Plan B,” Dominic Volek, Group Head of Private at Henley & Partners told the BBC on a video call from Dubai.

According to Mr Volek, the pandemic could be a game changer, because it is making the wealthy think about migration in a more holistic fashion. It is no longer just about visa-free travel, or ease of access to global markets, but about wealth diversification, better healthcare and education, to protect against the uncertainties brought about by the pandemic.

Countries like Portugal, which runs a ‘golden visa’ programme as well as countries like Malta and Cyprus are preferred destinations for India’s well heeled, according to H&P.

This exodus of big money is not necessarily permanent in nature – people merely invest money in another country as a fall-back option rather than take out all their money from their home country and cut business ties. But it doesn’t bode well for a developing nation like India, say experts.

“When this happens, they remove themselves, their entrepreneurial ability and their income and wealth from the tax base. This is likely to be detrimental in the long run. Their exit sends a poor signal about the ‘doing business climate’ in India,” says Rupa Subramanya, Distinguished Fellow at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.

Andrew Amoils, Head of Research at New World Wealth, a Johannesburg-based wealth intelligence group, told the Business Standard newspaper: “It can be a sign of bad things to come as high-net-worth individuals are often the first people to leave – they have the means to leave unlike middle-class citizens.”

Source: Covid accelerates India’s millionaire exodus

Germany Is Expected To Centralize Its COVID-19 Response. Some Fear It May Be Too Late

Uncomfortable parallels with Canada? That being said, unclear whether stronger federal role would have avoided some of the provincial mistakes and/or denial about the risks of a third wave:

This week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is making good on a veiled threat she issued two weeks ago to centralize pandemic management. Amid growing calls for Merkel to take control of the situation and bypass the country’s 16 state leaders, Germany’s parliament is expected to pass a measure this month that will allow her finally to take charge of the country’s COVID-19 response.

As the third wave of infection rages, some worry it may already be too late. Hospitals in Germany warn they’re about to run out of intensive care beds, even as state leaders continue to relax coronavirus restrictions.

Germany, with a population of 83 million, has lost nearly 79,000 lives to the pandemic. With the more contagious B.1.1.7 variant now dominant, the national seven-day incidence rate has risen in recent weeks from below 100 to 136.4 cases per 100,000 people. The country’s total number of infections has surpassed 3 million.

A year ago, Germany was weathering the pandemic relatively well and Merkel’s coronavirus response — attributed to her scientific understanding of the virus and a robust test, track and trace system — was praised far and wide. But exponential growth has long since overwhelmed virus trackers, and the slow start to vaccine rollout, combined with an increasingly confusing patchwork of regional lockdown regulations, has left the country in epidemiological disarray and sent Merkel’s party plummeting in the polls, losing 10 points in recent weeks.

“It’s been a bit of a rude awakening for us Germans to realize that we’re not the masters of organization,” says Melanie Amann, who heads the Berlin bureau of Der Spiegel.

While the pandemic has debunked the myth about German efficiency, the same cannot be said of another cliché — the nation’s love of red tape.

“Our ability to create complex systems and bureaucracy have pretty much stopped us from effectively fighting the pandemic,” Amann says. Nonfunctioning websites, unstaffed hotlines, excessive paperwork and authorizations are among the issues she cites — amid regulations that differ from state to state.

Severin Opel, a 23-year-old Berlin resident, had to wait several days to get an appointment for a recent rapid coronavirus test.

“Paperwork is getting in the way of this pandemic,” he laments. “There’s so much focus on minutiae and documenting every step to the nth degree, guidelines end up contradicting each other and nothing makes sense.”

Merkel is known for her careful, measured responses to crises, but even she admits there’s sometimes too much devil in the details.

Speaking in a rare television interview last month, Merkel conceded: “Perhaps we Germans are overly perfectionist sometimes. We always want to do everything right because whoever makes a mistake gets it in the neck publicly.” But “in a pandemic,” she went on to say, “there needs to be more flexibility. We Germans need to learn to let go.”

Janosch Dahmen, a front-line doctor and health spokesperson for the Green Party — which is close to rivaling Merkel’s conservatives in the polls — believes the government’s cautious approach is actually reckless.

“A strategy or intervention without risks doesn’t exist,” Dahmen says. “Waiting for the perfect, flawless game plan is a recipe for failure, especially in the face of this virus, which is mutating insanely fast.”

And yet Merkel’s crisis management style is only one factor. Germany’s system of federalism means she has little say in the country’s vaccination and lockdown strategies, of which there are no fewer than 16 — one for each German state.

Amann argues, though, it’s high time that Merkel — who leaves office this fall — used her considerable political capital to take charge, rather than simply advising and negotiating pandemic guidelines with the 16 state premiers.

“Because her term is ending, she theoretically has all the freedom and all the independence she wants to take bold steps in the corona management,” Amann says. “Nobody could run her out of office. And she’s not using this. She’s just working as if she were at the beginning of her first term.”

State leaders agreed in March on an “emergency brake” strategy to impose more rigorous measures as infections rose, but the agreement was only in principle, and few states have implemented the measures strictly.

After weeks of frustration, political commentators have observed, Merkel looks the way many Germans feel — namely mütend, a pandemic-era mashup that means both tired (müde) and angry (wütend).

And while there’s concern that parliament might take too long to pass a bill allowing Merkel to streamline and centralize pandemic crisis management, the chancellor and most of the state premiers agree the current situation is untenable.

Source: Germany Is Expected To Centralize Its COVID-19 Response. Some Fear It May Be Too Late

[CDC] Studies Confirm Racial, Ethnic Disparities In COVID-19 Hospitalizations And Visits

More evidence:

Days after declaring racism a serious public health threat, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a pair of studies further quantifying the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color.

The studies, published Monday in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, examine trends in racial and ethnic disparities in hospitalizations and emergency room visits associated with COVID-19 in 2020.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a regular White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing that the new literature underscores the need to prioritize health equity, including in the country’s accelerating vaccine rollout.

“These disparities were not caused by the pandemic, but they were certainly exacerbated by [it],” Walensky said. “The COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportional impact on communities of color is just the most recent and glaring example of health inequities that threaten the health of our nation.”

After assessing administrative discharge data from March to December 2020, the CDC found that the proportion of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 was highest for Hispanic and Latino patients in all four census regions of the U.S.

Racial and ethnic disparities were most pronounced between May and July, it said, and declined over the course of the pandemic as hospitalizations increased among non-Hispanic white people. But such disparities persisted across the country as of December, most notably among Hispanic patients in the West.

The findings build on earlier studies about racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 hospitalizations by showing how they shifted over time and between regions.

Researchers point to two driving factors for the disproportionate hospitalizations among these minority groups: a higher risk of exposure to the virus and a higher risk for severe disease. They said differences in exposure risk associated with occupational and housing conditions, as well as socioeconomic status, are likely behind the demographic patterns they observed.

“Identification of the specific social determinants of health (e.g., access to health care, occupation and job conditions, housing instability, and transportation challenges) that contribute to geographic and temporal differences in racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 infection and poor health outcomes is critical,” they said, adding that a better understanding of these factors at the local level can help tailor strategies to prevent illness and allocate resources.

The second study examined COVID-19-related emergency department visits in 13 states between October and December, and found similar disparities between racial and ethnic groups.

During that period, Hispanic and American Indian or Alaska Native people were 1.7 times more likely to seek care than white people, and Black individuals 1.4 times more likely.

Researchers noted that these racial and ethnic groups are also impacted by long-standing and systemic inequities that affect their health, such as limited access to quality health care and disproportionate representation in “essential” jobs with less flexibility to take leave or work remotely.

“Racism and discrimination shape these factors that influence health risks; racism, rather than a person’s race or ethnicity, is a key driver of these health inequities,” they explained.

Such inequities can increase the risk of exposure and delayed medical attention, further heightening the risks for severe disease outcomes and the need to seek emergency care.

Looking ahead, researchers said their findings could be used to prioritize vaccines and other resources for disproportionately affected communities in an effort to reduce the need for emergency care. Walensky also emphasized the implications of the new studies on and beyond the country’s pandemic response.

“This information and the ongoing surveillance data we see daily from states across the country underscore the critical need and an important opportunity to address health equity as a core element in all of our public health efforts,” she said.

A renewed push to address such inequity is now underway at the CDC, which late last week declared racism a “serious public health threat that directly affects the well-being of millions of Americans.”

Walensky has directed the agency’s departments to develop interventions and measure health outcomes in the next year. It’s also provided $3 billion to support efforts to expand equity and access to vaccines, in addition to $2.25 billion previously allocated for COVID-19 testing in high-risk and underserved communities. The CDC has also launched a Racism and Health web portal to promote education and dialogue on the subject.

One area of particular focus is making sure the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the U.S. reaches the communities that have been hit hardest.

Data so far indicate that Black individuals make up roughly 12% of the country’s population but just 8.4% of those who have received at least one dose, Walensky said. And while 18% of the country identifies as Hispanic or Latino, she said, they make up only 10.7% of those who have been vaccinated.

Officials at Monday’s briefing highlighted further progress in the race to get shots into arms, noting that 120 million Americans have been vaccinated — 46% of adults have had at least one dose and 28% are fully vaccinated. And in exactly one week, all adults will be eligible to sign up for an appointment.

“This means that there has never been a better time than now for seniors and those eligible to get their shots,” said Andy Slavitt, senior advisor on the White House COVID-19 Response Team. “Make an appointment today. And if you have someone in your life, particularly a senior, who has not gotten a shot yet, reach out and see what help they need.”

Source: Studies Confirm Racial, Ethnic Disparities In COVID-19 Hospitalizations And Visits

‘Kiss of death’: Advocates warn Democrats’ voting bill could harm immigrants

Interesting possible collateral impact:

Some immigration lawyers and progressives warn that a provision in Democrats’ sweeping voting-rights legislation risks inadvertently harming immigrants if it becomes law.

Their concerns reflect a debate among progressives about whether to amend the bill, and they have created tension between two of the party’s priorities — maximizing access to the ballot box and supporting immigration — as the Democratic-controlled Senate returns from recess this week and debates it.

Democrats who wrote the House-passed For the People Act want to require states to automatically register people to vote at times like when they apply for driver’s licenses or state identification — unless they opt out.

Some immigration lawyers are sounding an alarm, arguing that the measure could mistakenly register people who are legally in the country on work visas or green cards. That could subject them to grave consequences, like being deported or permanently banned from gaining citizenship.

Noncitizens wouldn’t have to intend to register, and they could be punished even if they never tried to vote. They could check the wrong box on a form or misunderstand a DMV clerk’s question about their legal status and face serious consequences.

“A false claim to U.S. citizenship is what we call the kiss of death. It is a permanent black mark that prevents a noncitizen from ever gaining status,” said Gloria Contreras Edin, an immigration lawyer based in Minnesota. “With the HR1 automatic voter registration system, the risk is there’s a strong possibility that there will be unintentional violation of that immigration law.”

Federal law is strict: It is a crime for a noncitizen to falsely claim citizenship in pursuit of benefits such as registering to vote. There are serious consequences even for honest mistakes. A person who does vote could go to jail.

“Ignorance isn’t necessarily a defense,” Contreras Edin said. “The proposed plan is likely to harm noncitizens. It could permanently bar lawful permanent residents who have been here for 20 or 30 years, working and paying taxes, who have their whole lives here.”

As the Senate reviews the legislation, immigration lawyers like Contreras Edin, as well as some election law experts and progressive strategists, are urging Democrats in private memos and conversations to make changes. They want to modify the “front end” automatic registration to a “back end” system that requires factoring in citizenship documentation before triggering registration.

The progressive community, which overwhelmingly agrees on the need for automatic voter registration, is debating how best to structure the measure to maximize effectiveness, reduce harm to immigrants and defend against political vulnerabilities.

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, which claims credit for helping develop the bill, said it takes protecting vulnerable communities “very seriously” and argued that the legislation would shield noncitizens because it would apply only to applicants who are “affirming United States citizenship.”

“It doesn’t get down to the details of when and how agencies filter ineligible people out of the system, in part because when and how that happens depends on the agency and the information they are presented,” said Sean Morales-Doyle, a deputy director of the Brennan Center. “It is not the case that the For the People Act delineates the details of how that happens.”

Morales-Doyle said that more than a dozen states have adopted front-end automatic registration systems and that he’s not aware of any instances when a noncitizen was added to the rolls.

The automatic voter registration language is backed by the Latino advocacy group NALEO and Asian Americans Advancing Justice, among others, according to a March 24 letter.

‘Underestimating the political vulnerability’

The disagreement boils down to how strong the citizenship verification ought to be. And that creates tension: The stricter it is, the more hurdles it creates to register people, but the more it defers to agencies, the more room there is for error.

Some progressives argue that if Democrats enact a law that registers ineligible people, they risk fueling Republican criticism that they don’t care about secure elections.

Source: ‘Kiss of death’: Advocates warn Democrats’ voting bill could harm immigrants

Faut-il vraiment réduire les seuils d’immigration?

Taking issue with the PQ position on reduced immigration levels (similar to Lisée’s arguments posted earlier):

Dans une lettre parue le 9 avril, l’économiste et président du Parti québécois, Dieudonné Ella Oyono, affirmait que, devant la rareté de main-d’œuvre qui touche plusieurs secteurs de l’économie québécoise, « augmenter les seuils d’immigration n’est pas une solution soutenable à long terme, ni du point de vue économique (chômage élevé) ni du point de vue social (pression sur les services publics). » Cette conclusion nous semble toutefois fondée sur des prémisses erronées.

La position que défend M. Oyono se base sur un examen du taux de chômage des immigrants reçus au Canada entre 2016 et 2020. Or, on devrait plutôt faire remonter l’analyse à 2006, puisque les données publiées à cet égard par Statistique Canada remontent à cette année. Il en ressort un portrait plus complet et on évite ainsi la comparaison avec 2020, une année atypique en raison de la pandémie.

Entre 2006 et 2019, le taux de chômage des immigrants reçus âgés de 15 ans et plus a diminué de 45 % au Québec, passant de 12,8 % à 7 %. Cette diminution s’est observée chez toutes les catégories d’immigrants, des plus récemment arrivés aux plus anciennement établis. Le taux de chômage de la population née au pays a pour sa part diminué de 38 % durant cette période, passant de 7,4 % à 4,6 %.

La raison de cette embellie est fort simple : depuis la crise de 2008, la croissance de l’économie a été soutenue, les baby-boomers ont quitté par milliers la population active après avoir atteint l’âge de la retraite, et le nombre de postes vacants dans les entreprises du Québec s’est multiplié, dont une majorité pour des emplois requérant peu de formation ou d’expérience. Cette situation a profité aux personnes récemment entrées sur le marché du travail, dont les personnes immigrantes.

Dans ce contexte, pourquoi se priverait-on de la contribution de celles et ceux qui ont le projet de s’installer au Québec, notamment pour pouvoir y vivre en français ? Selon un argument souvent mis en avant, plus le nombre de personnes immigrantes augmente dans un pays, plus il deviendrait difficile de les intégrer. Dans une étude parue en 2019, l’IRIS montrait au contraire que les États qui affichent les proportions les plus grandes d’immigrants sont aussi ceux qui les intègrent le mieux sur le plan économique. On le voit d’ailleurs en Ontario où, comme le souligne M. Oyono lui-même, le taux de chômage des immigrants reçus est plus bas qu’au Québec, alors que la province de Doug Ford accueille, toutes proportions gardées, plus d’immigrants que celle de François Legault.

Quant à l’argument voulant que les personnes immigrantes représentent une charge pour les finances publiques, mentionnons au contraire qu’à mesure que les années passent et que leur participation au marché du travail s’accroît, leur contribution au Trésor public (et donc au financement des services publics) augmente elle aussi.

Certes, les inégalités persistantes entre travailleurs immigrants et natifs exigent, comme le souligne là encore M. Oyono, que l’on se donne les moyens d’y remédier. Augmenter le nombre de cours de francisation et faciliter la reconnaissance des diplômes et des expériences acquis à l’étranger sont bien entendu des mesures qui font partie de la solution, mais lutter contre la discrimination en emploi, qui touche particulièrement les personnes racisées, l’est tout autant.

L’immigration ne pourra à elle seule remédier au manque de main-d’œuvre que connaît le Québec et qui s’accentuera dans les années à venir, étant donné le vieillissement de la population. Par contre, réduire les flux migratoires en provenance de l’étranger ne fera qu’aggraver le problème. Inversement, il faut éviter de voir les personnes qui souhaitent s’installer au Québec comme une simple force de travail au service des entreprises et plutôt les considérer comme des citoyennes et des citoyens à part entière qui apportent beaucoup plus qu’ils ne coûtent à la société d’accueil. C’est là une des clés de leur intégration.

Peut-être y a-t-il des raisons politiques qui en poussent certains, à l’instar de M. Oyono, à rejeter l’idée d’une hausse des seuils d’immigration. Cependant, les raisons sociales et économiques le plus souvent invoquées pour défendre une telle position reposent sur une analyse inexacte de la situation des personnes immigrantes au Québec.

Source: Faut-il vraiment réduire les seuils d’immigration?

In Denmark, Fears Grow Among Syrian Asylum Seekers As Residence Permits Are Revoked

Of note:

In 2019, Danish authorities issued a report stating that the security situation in some parts of Syria had “improved significantly.” Last year, that report was used as justification to begin reevaluating hundreds of Danish residence permits granted to Syrian refugees from the area around and including the capital Damascus.

Now some of those refugees are being told, officially, that their time in Denmark is up.

Among those affected are Heba Alrejleh and Radwan Jomaa, a couple from Damascus. Jomaa left Syria in 2013, traveling first to Egypt and later making his way to Italy. Upon landing there, he says, the Syrians on his boat set off in different directions, with some heading for Sweden and others for France.

Jomaa chose Denmark, having heard about the country’s welcoming reputation.

He was soon joined by Alrejleh and the kids — Aya, who is now 11, and Mohamed, now 10. Their youngest, four-year-old Lilian, was born in Denmark.

The family lived for several years in the town of Skive, though it was far from Jomaa’s job at a pizzeria near Aarhus.

Meanwhile, in neighboring countries like Germany and the Netherlands, friends and family who had fled Syria around the same time were starting to get permanent residence and even citizenship. Surely, they thought, the same would soon be true for themselves.

So in December, with a mind to putting down roots, the couple found a small row house just outside the city of Silkeborg. Here, their three kids could go to a quieter school, Jomaa would have a shorter commute and Alrejleh would be able to continue her studies. She dreams of becoming a nurse.

On the day they were packing to move, a notification arrived from the immigration service informing the family that they were being sent back to Syria.

Jomaa was shocked.

“This decision means life or death,” he says. “The words ‘to send us back to Syria’ means to destroy our lives.”

Jomaa says his family has nothing and no one left in Syria. Because he participated in protests against the Assad regime, he fears he would be arrested upon return.

The couple has appealed the decision, but for now their lives are on hold. The walls of their new apartment remain bare, the living room almost empty.

Alrejleh, whose first husband was killed before her eyes in Syria, says this is not the new beginning she’d dreamed of.

“All I can think about is the decision from the immigration service,” she says. “Otherwise I would be doing many things: continuing my studies, raising my children, dreaming about their future. Lots of things. But it’s all at a standstill.”

Jomaa, who says he’s been having nightmares, doesn’t understand why Denmark would do this.

“The name Denmark used to be a shining example when it came to human rights. But now racism is ruining Denmark’s reputation in the whole world,” he says.

But scaring asylum seekers away seems to be the government’s goal, says Michala Bendixen, who heads the Danish advocacy group Refugees Welcome.

“We have a new expression now among migrant researchers called ‘negative nation branding,'” she explains. “We’re trying to scare people away from Denmark, deliberately, by telling stories about how bad life is as an asylum seeker is here, how very, very limited your rights will be if you are granted asylum — that you should never feel safe or secure about your future here, because even if you are among the lucky ones who are granted asylum, you will be kicked out sooner or later.”

Bendixen says Denmark has been moving in this direction for decades. But the country’s most recent hard turn on immigration is part of an attempt by the center-left government, voted into office in 2019, to capture the populist vote back from the far right.

It’s referred to as the “paradigm shift” and also underlies a current debate about whether to bring home Danish children of women who joined ISIS and are now stranded in refugee camps abroad.

Politically, this strategy has helped the Social Democrats. But Bendixen says it’s also putting Denmark on a cliff’s edge when it comes to international humanitarian law.

“They’re trying to find out where is the limit, actually,” she says. “They’re stepping as close to the limit or a little bit across it to see ‘how far can we go?'”

But even as organizations like Amnesty International and the United Nations criticize Denmark’s stance on refugees, Bendixen says international guidelines on repatriation are open to interpretation, making the government’s policy hard to challenge.

The irony is that because Denmark has not resumed diplomatic relations with Syria, rejected asylum seekers cannot actually be deported.

Of the 94 Syrian refugees who lost their Danish residence permits in 2020, some — like Jomaa and Alrejleh — are still under appeal. If they’re lucky, these people may be granted a more protected status and allowed to stay.

But Bendixen says some 30 people have already lost their appeals. The choice, at that point, is either to live indefinitely in a Danish deportation center, go back to Syria voluntarily — or go underground and try to start over in another European country.

When Denmark’s Integration Minister Mattias Tesfaye announced last June that the government would be reevaluating residence permits, he emphasized that Syrian refugees who choose to go back get a “bag of money” from Denmark in order to rebuild their lives in Syria.

The government will provide funds for travel costs, four years of medical coverage, plus a flat sum of about $23,000 per adult. But last year, only 137 of Denmark’s roughly 35,000 Syrian refugees took advantage of that offer — which Bendixen says speaks volumes about conditions in Syria.

When asked what will happen to his family if their appeal is denied, Jomaa sits quietly for a moment as his eyes fill with tears.

“I don’t have an answer,” he says.

He and Alrejleh have tried to protect their children from what’s happening, but it’s hard to hide the frustration.

Still, 11-year-old Aya knows she does not want to go back to Syria, which she remembers only vaguely as a place where “many people died.” Now, speaking in perfect Danish, she says that Denmark, her new home, is a good place.

Why?

“Because,” she says, “people don’t go around killing each other.”

Source: In Denmark, Fears Grow Among Syrian Asylum Seekers As Residence Permits Are Revoked

Senator [Woo] warns China might not free Spavor and Kovrig in Meng deal if Canada not part of effort

Sigh… Not wise or helpful:

An expert in Canada-Asian relations is warning a future U.S. deal to set free Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou may not lead to the immediate release of two Canadians locked up in China – particularly if Ottawa is not seen as having played a significant role in her release.

Senator Yuen Pau Woo, as facilitator of the Independent Senators Group in the Red Chamber, is the leader of the largest bloc in the Senate. Prior to his appointment to the Senate, he served as president and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada in Vancouver.

Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor were seized and locked up by Beijing in 2018 shortly after Ms. Meng was arrested at Vancouver airport on a U.S. extradition request – apparently in retaliation for the detention of the Huawei Technologies executive.

Ms. Meng is fighting extradition to the United States in court and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has rejected calls from Beijing to intervene and send her home, saying there will be no political interference in Canada’s independent judicial system. In late 2020, however, the U.S. Justice Department was reportedly in discussions on a plea agreement that would allow Ms Meng to return to China.

Mr. Woo has previously played a role in back-channel diplomacy between Canada and China and says he wants to do what he can do help bring about the release of Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor. “I am plugged into the discussions around these issues.”

He said there is a risk a future U.S. deal to free Ms. Meng could be “misinterpreted on the Chinese side as a problem that was resolved purely by D.C. and Beijing” without Canada.

“The resolution of the Meng Wanzhou issue may not, I am really sad to say, may not facilitate a resolution of the Spavor-Kovrig issue,” Mr. Woo told a Carleton University webinar last week.

“For the simple reason that if the political resolution is a bilateral one between the U.S. and China, that will effectively take Canada out of the equation and reduce our degrees of freedom to encourage the release of our two compatriots.”

Elaborating on this in a later interview, Mr. Woo said it’s very important that Canada be seen by Beijing as actively trying to bring about a resolution that would free Ms. Meng and if a U.S.-brokered deal is ever reached, that “Canada’s fingerprints will be all over” that arrangement.

“Right now the Canadian position for Meng Wanzhou is there is legal process and she has to go through it …. Give it your best shot – in terms of Madam Meng’s lawyers – and whatever happens, happens,” he said.

But, he noted, the United States has reportedly been trying to broker a solution.

“If we say that we are relying on the normal process of legal discussion to solve the Meng issue, why would the Chinese then subvert their legal process … to free the Michaels?”

Mr. Woo also said Canada, which has criticized the arrest of the two Michaels as “arbitrary detention,” must also recognize the Chinese justice system as legitimate.

“I don’t see that there can be any resolution of the dual problem of Meng Wanzhou and the two Michaels without some recognition and acknowledgment, on the part of the two governments, of the legitimacy of the justice systems of the other side,” he told the Carleton webinar.

“I am not saying we have to agree with the Chinese justice system but it would be extremely difficult for the Chinese to suddenly spring free Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig if we essentially say that … your system is totally illegitimate.”

Added Mr. Woo: That’s “going to be very difficult for the Chinese to spring them free because it would be basically recognizing that the Canadian side was right.”

Conservative Senator Leo Housakos said he was appalled by the suggestion that Canada should recognize China’s judicial system as legitimate.

He said it’s impossible to consider China’s justice system legitimate “when it can imprison you without charges, [when it’s] a system that doesn’t disclose what the charges are to you or to your attorney and is a judicial system that is done in closed-door privacy.”

Added Mr. Housakos: “It’s laughable.”

The Conservative senator said it’s important to remember that Ms. Meng is being accused of serious charges of bank fraud and the Canadian courts must deal impartially with the extradition proceedings, regardless of whether the U.S. grants a deferred prosecution agreement.

The American charge for which she was arrested in Canada is fraud – lying to a bank – which is a crime in both this country and the United States.

The U.S. alleges that Ms. Meng deceived banks including HSBC about the true nature of the relationship between Huawei and a subsidiary based in Iran, called Skycom, and that this fraud led bankers to clear hundreds of millions of dollars of transactions in violation of U.S. sanctions.

The Conservative senator noted that Mr. Woo recently refused to grant leave for his motion that would have imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Chinese officials over its brutal treatment of China’s Muslim Uyghur minority.

He noted that Mr. Woo advocated a prisoner exchange with Ms. Meng and the two Michaels as did prominent Liberals from the Jean Chrétien era, such as former justice minister Allan Rock, former foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy and Eddie Goldenberg, a senior Chrétien adviser.

Source: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-senator-warns-china-might-not-free-spavor-and-kovrig-in-meng-deal-if/

‘Enough is enough’: new group aims to open path for Filipino-Canadian candidates in next federal election

Of note. Nine ridings have 10 percent or more Filipino-Canadians (Filipino population greater than 10 percent):

Ignore Filipino-Canadian candidates at your own peril: that’s the message a new political action group is sending to federal parties, as jockeying for nomination races for the next election gets underway in earnest.

The Filipino community could be a decisive political force for whichever party manages to rally it, say two of the founders of the Filipino Canadian Political Association, a new group devoted to breaking down barriers that have left the community without representation in Parliament since 2004.

“The numbers speak for themselves,” said Grant Gonzales, a second-generation Filipino-Canadian in Toronto who is serving as the chief spokesperson for the group.

More than 837,000 Canadians identified as having a Filipino ethnic origin in the 2016 census, about 2.5 per cent of the population. More than 100,000 people from the Philippines have been given permanent resident status in Canada since then.

The 2016 Filipino population was bigger than the margin of victory in the last election in 37 federal ridings, including nine of the 25 most competitive races, according to an FCPA analysis of data from Statistics Canada and Elections Canada.

The group issued a press release on April 6 calling on political parties to nominate Filipino-Canadian candidates in winnable ridings ahead of the next election, which could come later this year. The data analysis was included in the release.

“Parties have attempted to activate us [in the past], but it’s always to support another candidate from a different community, not necessarily one of our own,” said Paul Saguil, another co-founder of the FCPA who is also running for the Liberal Party nomination in Brampton Centre, in an interview with The Hill Times.

“The information is there for party organizers to now think about very carefully. Knowing these demographics, why wouldn’t you run a Filipino-Canadian to activate these populations in favour of your party?” he said.

The two men founded the group along with Joseph Guiyab last fall, after the Liberal Party appointed former TV broadcaster Marci Ien as its candidate for a byelection in Toronto Centre. That appointment shut the door on an open nomination contest for would-be candidates including Mr. Saguil, who later stepped back from another nomination contest in Don Valley East when Liberal MPP Michael Coteau announced that he would be running there.

Mr. Saguil said Ms. Ien’s appointment, as well as other unsuccessful attempts by Filipino-Canadians to secure party nominations, played a role in the formation of the group. Mr. Gonzales was more explicit.

“That [appointment] drove a lot of sentiment around how difficult it is for racialized communities, especially Filipino-Canadians, to get into office,” he said. “We thought, ‘enough is enough,’ let’s start more intentionally bringing attention to these issues, this gap in representation.”

Both men said they held no ill will toward Ms. Ien, who went on to win the Toronto Centre byelection. Ms. Ien is Black, and Black Canadians are also underrepresented in Parliament: Black Canadians account for 3.5 per cent of Canada’s population, but hold only five—or 1.5 per cent—of the 338 seats in the House of Commons.

Mr. Gonzales said he wants to see the parties make it easier for Filipino-Canadians to run, whether that means making an appointment, as was the case for Ms. Ien, or just doing more to recruit Filipino candidates.

Filipino-Canadians have won seats in provincial legislatures and municipal councils in Canada, including Mable Elmore, B.C.’s first Filipino MLA. Some have secured nominations to run for federal parties, including Julius Tiangson, who ran for the Conservatives in York Centre in a byelection last year, and is running to secure the party’s nomination in that riding for the next election. Mr. Tiangson did not respond to an interview request last week.

Federal ridings contain an average of about 112,000 people. A perfectly representative House of Commons would have eight MPs from the Filipino community. There are currently none, and there has been only one in Canadian history: Rey Pagtakhan, who represented Winnipeg’s north end for the Liberals from 1988 to 2004.

“It’s the same conversation we have when we’re talking about women in politics. The number of times they need to be asked to run for office, because of the barriers, the attitudes that they face when they run for office,” said Mr. Gonzales.

“If you have a political party reaching out to you and saying, ‘we’d be interested in having you run for a nomination contest,’ well that adds a lot of confidence already to a candidate.”

In the meantime, Mr. Saguil said he wants the FCPA to be able to fill some of that void left by the parties, providing information and connections to Filipino-Canadians who are thinking about a run in politics.

The FCPA is still in its infancy as an organization, and does not yet have a network of volunteers and supporters broad enough to move votes in swing ridings on its own. It has not yet begun to raise money, and does not have paid staff.

The three founders have reached out to leaders within the community and had conversations with some people in federal politics, including Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino (Eglinton-Lawrence, Ont.) and Green Party Leader Annamie Paul, said Mr. Gonzales.

FCPA will have to show community can be mobilized: NDP strategist Romeo Tello

All three founders of the FCPA are Toronto residents with Liberal ties. Mr. Gonzales said they want the organization to be cross-partisan, and operate across the country.

The organization isn’t aiming to sway votes toward one party or another, said Mr. Saguil, but rather draw political parties’ attention to the Filipino community’s power in closely-contested ridings.

“There’s a lot of pride in our community. And when they see someone putting their name forward, and when they see a party actively putting someone forward because they want the support of the Filipino-Canadian community, then it’s a natural expectation that they’ll want to rally behind someone, whichever standard that they’re representing,” he said.

“If I’m thinking strategically for these ridings, and I want to make sure that there is no margin of error for the next election, why wouldn’t I be asking the party leadership, ‘Where is our Filipino-Canadian candidate who would help rally this population?’” said Mr. Saguil.

To be effective, the group will have to show parties the political power held by the Filipino community, said Romeo Tello, a Filipino-Canadian who has worked on provincial and federal campaigns for the NDP.

“It’s all around having conversations, and growing a network of people who can move to action on any given issue,” said Mr. Tello, who is not a member of the FCPA.

Many Filipino-Canadians work in manufacturing or front-line service industry jobs, said Mr. Tello. Filipino women fill many of the country’s front-line health and care-giving jobs, as nurses, personal support workers, and live-in caregivers.  Data released by the province of Manitoba show Filipino-Canadians have been infected by COVID-19 at a higher rate than the general population.

Younger generation ready to run: Saguil

Mr. Gonzales wants the FCPA to follow the path charted by other ethnic political interest groups in Canada. Jewish Canadians have long been represented by effective lobby groups such as the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, and the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee. Ukrainian Canadians have the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. Punjabi Sikhs have become a political force in their own right in Canada.

The Filipino communities across Canada do not have some of the advantages that organizers in those other ethnic groups have wielded so effectively. Filipino-Canadians are numerous, but spread out across the country: Winnipeg North and Winnipeg Centre are the only ridings in which Filipinos account for 20 per cent of the population or more.

The Philippines has been among the top source countries for immigrants to Canada for most of the past 20 years. Still, the community is a relatively young one, and many of those who have immigrated to Canada from the Philippines have been focused on carving out a life for themselves in a new country, said Mr. Saguil.

Running for office requires financial resources, and connections with political parties and other communities. “All of those things take literally one person’s lifetime, if not more, to accumulate,” said Mr. Saguil.

“That’s what we mean by systemic barriers in the FCPA. Other communities in Canada have had generations to accumulate what we’ll call collectively this political capital.”

The younger generation who immigrated with their parents—including Mr. Saguil—or were born in Canada are now more ready and able to step into the political fray, he said.

Mr. Saguil will face tough competition for the Liberal nomination in Brampton Centre. The riding was created as part of the 2013 electoral boundary realignment. It is currently held by Independent MP Ramesh Sangha, who was kicked out of the Liberal caucus earlier this year over remarks he made about some of his fellow Liberal MPs. Mr. Sangha won it as a Liberal candidate by double-digit margins in both the 2015 and 2019 elections. All five of Brampton’s MPs are Indo-Canadian.

Two other Liberals have started a campaign for the nomination in Brampton Centre so far: Amin Dhillon, a multimedia personality and former Miss India Worldwide Canada, and businessman Nasir Hussain.

Indo-Canadians are the most numerous ethnic group in Brampton, outnumbering Filipinos almost 10-to-one in the city. The Brampton Indo-Canadian community includes veteran political organizers and fundraisers.

Mr. Saguil said he has built a “broad coalition” of support already for his nomination bid, including volunteers and organizers from the Punjabi, Black, and Pakistani communities, and Filipino-Canadians from across the country.

If his odds of winning the nomination are long, the payoff of a victory could be great for Mr. Saguil. The last two elections suggest that the next Liberal candidate in Brampton Centre will have a good chance at winning.

Mr. Saguil is the deputy head of TD Bank’s global sanctions compliance and anti-corruption program, as well as a lawyer and a gay rights activist. MPs from under-represented communities who have impressive resumes are often good candidates for a cabinet appointment, even as political rookies. Procurement Minister Anita Anand (Oakville. Ont.), who boasts a resume a mile long, and was made Canada’s first Hindu cabinet minister shortly after winning her first election in 2019, is one recent example.

Source: ‘Enough is enough’: new group aims to open path for Filipino-Canadian candidates in next federal election