Tag Archive: Canada government

Federal Government eliminates Family Reunification lottery; accepting 20,000 more Parent/Grandparent Sponsorship Applications

August 20, 2018

Today, Monday, August 20, 2018, the Government of Canada announced that it will be eliminating the lottery system for reuniting immigrant families and reverting back to a first-come, first-served system in 2019.

The federal government announced it will admit up to 20,500 parents and grandparents under its reunification program in 2019, and 21,000 in 2020.

To reach those targets, Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada will accept 20,000 parent and grandparent reunification applications next year, up from 17,000 this year and 10,000 in 2016.

But “instead of randomly selecting the sponsors to apply, we will invite them to submit an application to sponsor their parents and grandparents based on the order in which we receive their interest to sponsor forms,” reads a press release.

If you are interested in having your eligibility to sponsor your parent(s) and/or grandparent(s) assessed by our firm, please visit https://www.akcanada.com/assessment4.php

If you are already a client of Abrams & Krochak who has retained our services to sponsor your parent(s) and/or grandparent(s) and you have questions regarding this development, please send an e-mail to info@akcanada.com.

Four seeking asylum, make refugee claims

February 24, 2010

Four people who entered Canada as Olympic spectators have sought to stay in the country as refugees, Canadian immigration officials said yesterday.

Just who the asylum seekers are and where they came from has not yet been made public. But Johanne Nadeau, spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada, said the four arrived from countries whose citizens do not require a visitor’s visa to enter Canada.

Nadeau also confirmed the claimants are not among the 27,000 foreign nationals — including athletes, team officials, Olympic officials, workers and members of the media — who are in Vancouver under a special streamlined accreditation process designed to support the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Rather, “they indicated that they originally came to Canada to see the Games and then made a refugee claim,” Nadeau said in an e-mail to the Vancouver Sun.

Nadeau said she couldn’t discuss the origin of the claimants because of privacy laws.

However, Richard Kurland, a Vancouver-based immigration policy analyst, suggested the asylum seekers may have come from Hungary or Slovenia, which are among the top source countries for refugees to Canada recently, in large part due to large populations of Roma people.

The Roma — many of whom have claimed ethnic persecution in their home countries — can be found throughout Europe, but travel to Canada is restricted for most by a visa requirement.

Canada has historically seen an influx in refugee numbers during major international sporting events.

During the Calgary Games in 1988, one person, rumoured to be a Romanian coach, sought asylum.

Six years later, 13 people applied for refugee status during the Victoria Commonwealth Games. Among them was Daniel Igali, the Nigerian-born wrestler who went on to win gold for Canada during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

Now a resident of Surrey, Igali was among the celebrated torchbearers for the 2010 Games.

In 1999, six Cubans made asylum claims, including a journalist, during the Pan American Games in Winnipeg.

Nadeau said the four recent claimants will have their cases processed individually. “Each case will be assessed according to its own merits,” she said.

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G20's Toronto location to bump baseball, pride activities

February 12, 2010

The federal government will hold June’s G20 summit on the edge of Toronto’s financial district, a decision that will close a large swath of downtown — and sideline baseball fans — as the city kicks off gay pride week.

An official announcement is not expected for a few weeks, but sources tell The Canadian Press that the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, next to the CN Tower, has been selected over locations outside downtown.

Canada has already hosted a G8 summit and other international meetings in the building. Plus, it gives the government a chance to put the spotlight on its stable financial district — safe and quiet within a security perimeter — at a time when G20 leaders are looking for role models.

“The whole point is to showcase Canada as an attractive place to do business and the way we regulate our banking sector,” said Andrew MacDougall, a spokesman for the prime minister.

“We have a good story and we want it told well,” he said, without confirming the location.

The June 26-27 summit is expected to involve tens of thousands of people from delegations all over the world, along with media, support staff and hospitality crews. It’s also sure to attract thousands of protesters, as well as non-governmental organizations and trade unions hoping to make their points known to world leaders.

The G20 groups the world’s richest countries as well as important emerging markets and has become the primary decision-making body for global economic affairs. It also includes the European Union, as well as representatives from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. In the past, its meetings have invited other key leaders and organizations.

Ottawa has issued a contract to print up 47,700 laminated accreditation badges, for both the G20 summit and for the G8 summit in Huntsville, Ont., being held just before.

But the G20 summit will displace far more people than it draws in.

The Toronto Blue Jays are scheduled to play against the Philadelphia Phillies on both June 26 and June 27, in Toronto. The Rogers Centre, where the games are normally held, is virtually next door to the Convention Centre, and will almost certainly be encompassed in the security zone that is always set up to protect world leaders at summits. So discussions are underway to move at least one of the games, sources said.

The Gay Pride Parade, which usually draws over a million visitors from around the world, has already been pushed back a week.

Normally, the parade is held on the last weekend in June, after a week of festivities. The parade is meant to commemorate New York City’s Stonewall Riots of June 28, 1969.

Organizers have postponed everything by a week in anticipation of summit activities. Still, gay pride activities will start just before the summit, on June 25, and build up to a parade a week after the summit, on July 4.

As for the media, Ottawa had initially booked the Toronto Congress Centre near Toronto’s international airport, but then had a change of heart and decided to put the media centre downtown.

Ottawa is spending up to $2.6 million to set up a host broadcasting system that will pipe news conferences and photo-ops into the media centres for both the G8 and the G20, documents show.

The G20 planning lags behind arrangements being made for the G8 summit in Ontario’s cottage country, north of Toronto.

There, officials have been working on logistics for a year and a half. They’re building new structures and investing millions of dollars in upgrades and beautification efforts. They’re well-advanced in setting up a security perimeter and making arrangements for protesters.

By contrast, G20 planning got off to a late start. Ottawa was not able to confirm until last September that it would host the summit. And a host city was not formally announced until December.

Still, officials say some of the preparatory work for the G20 was already done for the G8, and there should be no problem getting ready by June, especially since Toronto is well equipped to handle large crowds.

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G20’s Toronto location to bump baseball, pride activities

February 12, 2010

The federal government will hold June’s G20 summit on the edge of Toronto’s financial district, a decision that will close a large swath of downtown — and sideline baseball fans — as the city kicks off gay pride week.

An official announcement is not expected for a few weeks, but sources tell The Canadian Press that the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, next to the CN Tower, has been selected over locations outside downtown.

Canada has already hosted a G8 summit and other international meetings in the building. Plus, it gives the government a chance to put the spotlight on its stable financial district — safe and quiet within a security perimeter — at a time when G20 leaders are looking for role models.

“The whole point is to showcase Canada as an attractive place to do business and the way we regulate our banking sector,” said Andrew MacDougall, a spokesman for the prime minister.

“We have a good story and we want it told well,” he said, without confirming the location.

The June 26-27 summit is expected to involve tens of thousands of people from delegations all over the world, along with media, support staff and hospitality crews. It’s also sure to attract thousands of protesters, as well as non-governmental organizations and trade unions hoping to make their points known to world leaders.

The G20 groups the world’s richest countries as well as important emerging markets and has become the primary decision-making body for global economic affairs. It also includes the European Union, as well as representatives from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. In the past, its meetings have invited other key leaders and organizations.

Ottawa has issued a contract to print up 47,700 laminated accreditation badges, for both the G20 summit and for the G8 summit in Huntsville, Ont., being held just before.

But the G20 summit will displace far more people than it draws in.

The Toronto Blue Jays are scheduled to play against the Philadelphia Phillies on both June 26 and June 27, in Toronto. The Rogers Centre, where the games are normally held, is virtually next door to the Convention Centre, and will almost certainly be encompassed in the security zone that is always set up to protect world leaders at summits. So discussions are underway to move at least one of the games, sources said.

The Gay Pride Parade, which usually draws over a million visitors from around the world, has already been pushed back a week.

Normally, the parade is held on the last weekend in June, after a week of festivities. The parade is meant to commemorate New York City’s Stonewall Riots of June 28, 1969.

Organizers have postponed everything by a week in anticipation of summit activities. Still, gay pride activities will start just before the summit, on June 25, and build up to a parade a week after the summit, on July 4.

As for the media, Ottawa had initially booked the Toronto Congress Centre near Toronto’s international airport, but then had a change of heart and decided to put the media centre downtown.

Ottawa is spending up to $2.6 million to set up a host broadcasting system that will pipe news conferences and photo-ops into the media centres for both the G8 and the G20, documents show.

The G20 planning lags behind arrangements being made for the G8 summit in Ontario’s cottage country, north of Toronto.

There, officials have been working on logistics for a year and a half. They’re building new structures and investing millions of dollars in upgrades and beautification efforts. They’re well-advanced in setting up a security perimeter and making arrangements for protesters.

By contrast, G20 planning got off to a late start. Ottawa was not able to confirm until last September that it would host the summit. And a host city was not formally announced until December.

Still, officials say some of the preparatory work for the G20 was already done for the G8, and there should be no problem getting ready by June, especially since Toronto is well equipped to handle large crowds.

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Opening celebration remains a secret

February 11, 2010

The 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony will include local pop stars Bryan Adams and Sarah McLachlan, a performer ski jumping through Olympic rings and hundreds of performers dressed in red toques and white sweaters, according to QMI sources.

Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean will formally open the Games on Friday night at B.C. Place Stadium while VANOC CEO John Furlong and International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge will greet the athletes and the worldwide TV audience.

Vancouver Olympic organizers have not commented on the program details for the 6 p.m. PST/9 p.m. EST extravaganza, but elements have slowly leaked in recent days. The last dress rehearsal was Wednesday night for an audience of sponsors and volunteers. Tickets were not available for reporters.

The ceremony will have heavy aboriginal involvement and themes. A source who was inside the stadium during Saturday rehearsals said a song featuring Adams and an unidentified female singer included aboriginal drumming and chanting with the chorus “sing something louder so the whole world can hear.”

A fireworks display around the perimeter of the stadium’s roof dazzled neighbouring condominium dwellers after Monday’s dress rehearsal.

The Olympic flame cauldron will be on a hydraulic lift from a shaft dug in the middle of the air-supported dome’s new false-floor. The 1983-opened stadium’s fabric ceiling is dirty from rock concerts and monster truck shows and will be obscured by circular curtains that will double as acoustic buffers. Both the cauldron and the curtains were key items described in an April 2009 list obtained by QMI that outlined Australian executive producer David Atkins’ demands of VANOC.

The identity of the person who will light the cauldron remains the biggest secret, but hockey legend Wayne Gretzky is the most likely. There will be at least one more cauldron which will burn outdoors beside the international broadcast centre on a plaza dedicated to VANOC founding chairman Jack Poole.

Cancer-victim Poole died Oct. 23 in a Vancouver hospital, just hours after the Olympic flame was lit in Ancient Olympia, Greece. British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell would not deny there would be a burning tribute to Poole.

“I’m sure you’re going to know more about it, there’s no point in keeping it secret forever,” Campbell told QMI on Monday. “You’ll hear all sorts of great stuff about Jack Poole in the next few days and, deservedly so, these are his Olympics.”

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Jason Kenney: The 'Smiling Buddha' and his multicultural charms

February 9, 2010

A roast pig, resplendent from hoof to snout, is being paraded for auction by a phalanx of young men. Beer glasses overflow and dancers in traditional white dress twirl for several hundred guests. The church hall, alive with the clatter of plates and Slavic speech, evokes a corner of old Skopje.

It’s Saturday night and there are converts to be won. For Jason Kenney, the Conservative point-man on ethnic politics, every step on his itinerary is a journey into another world, one where communities normally obscured by the swirl of cosmopolitan life gather as a cohesive group.

Tonight it’s the Macedonians of Mississauga.

Mr. Kenney delivers his remarks and looks momentarily puzzled as he steps away from the podium. His name has been misspelled on the commemorative plaque. His smile holds steady, though. It’s a small indignity to suffer for the sake of the Conservative Party.

Ten minutes earlier, the gregarious Immigration Minister paused before stepping out of his car, lost in the haze of his own grand plan. “Where are we?” he asked the aide responsible for his dizzying schedule.

Already today he’s talked work permits with Portuguese pastry chefs. Still to come are an address to Coptic Christians, songs of praise with a swaying evangelical congregation and then plates of samosas at a Hindu temple. A light weekend by his standards, just one of the 150-odd such expeditions over the last four years.

Mr. Kenney is tending the seeds of a strategy born in Alberta more than 15 years ago, a plan to make the right-wing movement in Canada viable for the next century.

His immediate mission is that still-elusive dream: majority government. And his program has already paid dividends. In the last election, Mr. Kenney was given credit for swinging more than half a dozen seats with large concentrations of ethnic votes to the Tories. A further dozen ridings in the suburbs encircling the three big cities are close enough to fall to the Conservatives next time around, which would put them at the 155-seat majority threshold.

“Smiling Buddha,” as he’s known to some Chinese groups, is changing both the Conservative Party and the nature of Canadian politics. But it didn’t happen overnight.

Back in 1996, Stephen Harper was a Reform MP and his friend Mr. Kenney an aspiring Alberta candidate eager to push his ideas. They had long debates about the future of conservatism. Mr. Kenney argued the right had a huge demographic challenge to address. Canada’s population growth is owed almost entirely to immigrant communities, and conservatives – both Reform and PCs in those days – posed no threat to the Liberal dominance of those constituencies. The Reform Party, in fact, was often perceived as hostile to immigration.

“I strongly argued that the future of Canadian conservatism had to go through the increasingly diverse immigrant communities,” Mr. Kenney said in an interview.

His contention was that new Canadians are overwhelmingly conservative in their values. They’ve been in thrall to the Liberal Party of the Trudeau era largely because the Liberals introduced large-scale non-white immigration to Canada.

“You observe how these new Canadians live their lives. They are the personification of Margaret Thatcher’s aspirational class,” he said. “They’re all about a massive work ethic … striving to get their small business going, strong family values, respect for tradition.”

Fast forward to 2006 and the days after the Conservative election victory. Mr. Kenney was hoping to be named to cabinet. Instead, Mr. Harper called him to a meeting at an Ottawa hotel and offered him a job that few in his caucus were inclined to tackle.

“He said, ‘Remember those conversations we had a decade ago? I’d like to you to lead an effort to try to make that a reality,’ ” Mr. Kenney recalled. Historically, Canadian prime ministers have built their national coalitions in the Macdonald-Cartier model of a leader and lieutenant, one from English Canada, the other from Quebec. But with the Bloc Québécois’ dominance cancelling out Liberal and Conservative efforts in that province, the politician who can deliver the third force, those born outside Canada, may now be in the ascendancy.

Mr. Kenney, who was brought into cabinet in 2007, is humble about his task. “There’s a lot of different paths to a majority,” he says. “This is one of them.” With his jet-black hair, full-throated laugh and Nixonian five-o’clock shadow, Mr. Kenney gives the impression of a gleeful powerbroker, one who knows he’s playing an over-the-top character in a political drama. He grew up in Wilcox, Sask., population 220, where his father ran the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame, a hockey-mad Catholic school famous for producing such NHL stars as Wendel Clark, Curtis Joseph and Vincent Lecavalier. They had to invent a debate club for Mr. Kenney.

A fierce partisan and leading light of the party’s right wing, he’s often heckled as our “racist immigration minister” by left-wing immigration activists and criticized elsewhere for his unwavering support of Israel.

The 41-year-old bachelor’s seat is in Calgary, but he’s rarely home. Most weekends are spent in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver, the three largest cities so far resistant to Conservative advances.

In each city he has two staffers dedicated to monitoring multicultural communities. His GTA office, for example, is staffed by Melissa Bhagat and Ted Opitz, both aspiring Tory candidates, who divide the dozens of multicultural communities between them and brief the minister before visits.

Over time he has evolved into a master of multicultural small talk. If the Inuit have dozens of words for snow, Mr. Kenney has just as many ways of asking “What did you first think of winter?” He delivers formal greetings in every conceivable language and carries it off with enthusiastic charm.

The visits themselves, often a symbolic paying of respects, are less significant than what they represent. The Tories are now making breakthroughs in places once beyond their reach, from B.C.’s Lower Mainland to Toronto’s suburbs.

At the Taiwanese gala, Mr. Kenney monopolized the photo-ops while Liberal MPs looked on from the sidelines. Five years ago, the Conservatives wouldn’t even have been invited to this event, Mr. Kenney’s aide crowed.

The Macedonian event, despite the plaque mishap, also went well. The Conservatives are very popular among Macedonians, ever since the government ceased referring to their homeland as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, an aide explains. With the Chinese it was the apology and redress for the head tax. On such gestures are alliances built.

Last fall, the Conservatives passed the Liberals in support among the one-fifth of Canadian voters born outside Canada, according to EKOS polling. They’ve since slipped four points back again, but that it’s even this close bodes ill for the Liberal Party. The Liberals are only now starting to respond to the threat posed by Mr. Kenney’s strategy, criticizing his approach as “utilitarian” and “transactional.”

“In the short term, yes, he has been effective at buying off certain groups,” said Justin Trudeau, the Liberal MP tasked with carrying his party’s message, and his father’s legacy, on multiculturalism. “There’s obviously a concern that in the past the Liberal Party has taken some of its minority communities for granted. That’s going to stop, definitely. It has stopped. But, more than that, we can actually propose a larger, more responsible view of where the country should be going, rather than just simply trying to buy off votes one group at a time.”

Normally parties avoid talking publicly about strategy, but reaching out to ethnics is a strategy the Conservatives are keen to trumpet. Mr. Kenney says his initiative has strong historical roots.

“Before Trudeau supposedly invented multiculturalism and the language of diversity in politics, Diefenbaker and the Conservatives were ahead of him,” he said, citing John Diefenbaker as the first prime minister who was neither English nor French, and Senator Paul Yuzyk, credited with popularizing the term multiculturalism in the 1960s.

“But something happened in the 1970s. You had these two awkward white guys, [Robert] Stanfield and [Joe] Clark, who, for all their best intentions, didn’t know how to communicate with Canadians, while Trudeau was out there masterfully monopolizing the symbolic politics of the language of diversity.

“From the late 1960s through to just recently, the Liberals were basically given free ice to skate on in terms of organizing, cultivating publishers and editors of ethnic media outlets … and doing the care and feeding of opinion leaders.”

There is, however, a contradiction in Mr. Kenney’s thinking. At cultural events he calls upon immigrants to guard against the entrenchment of ethnic silos or “parallel communities.” His model, Mr. Diefenbaker, was the champion of unhyphenated Canadians, yet Mr. Kenney focuses on groups constituted largely on the basis of ethno-religious difference.

Myer Siemiatycki, professor of politics at Ryerson University, argues the party is “unduly ethnicizing politics in Canada.” The Conservatives sent New Year greetings to people with Jewish names in certain ridings and did the same for people with Chinese names at Chinese New Year. Their appeals are at once principled – the Prime Minister’s trips to China and India, the apology for turning away Sikhs on the Komagata Maru, a new foreign policy on Israel – and patronizing, he said.

“It’s a debasement, in a way, of our shared citizenship to appeal to particular groups so narrowly, in such a shallow way, just on the basis of identity,” Prof. Siemiatycki said.

Mr. Kenney doesn’t see it that way, of course. He sees that ethnic communities have effective ways of mobilizing people, and that his efforts are expanding the Tory base. Fifteen years since he and Mr. Harper plotted the future in Alberta, Mr. Kenney can see the dream taking shape.

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