Tag Archive: permanent residency

Durban refusal a good call

December 2, 2010

Jason Kenney, Minister of Immigration in the Conservative party cabinet, has announced that Canada will not participate in Durban III, an international conference supposedly convened to publicize and criticize human rights violations around the globe.

In fact, the past two conferences have been convened almost entirely to demonize the state of Israel.

Canada was the first to walk out of Durban II just after Israel refused to participate.

Michael Ignatieff, leader of the Liberal opposition, has also announced his agreement with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the past.

I’d like to congratulate Kenney and Harper for their principled and statesmanlike stances, as well as the country of Canada, which refuses to become part of such a deceptive international gathering.

Robert Haymond, Edmonton

Honest immigration officer returns $10K to Canada-bound Filipino

December 1, 2010

Overcoming the temptation to use the money for his cancer-stricken mother’s hospital bills, an airport immigration officer returned the $10,000 left on his desk by a Canada-bound Filipino passenger.

Immigration officer Amando Amisola admitted in a radio interview Monday he was tempted to keep the <span>money</span> but eventually decided he had to do the right thing.

“Honestly naalala ko mother ko na Stage-4 cancer itatakbo that morning sa hospital. Kalalabas lang sa PGH kaya lang naghihingalo na. Pinakita ko sa kasamahan ko, parang sinasadya ng tadhana, parang pagsubok. Naisip ko di akin yan kaya isauli ko sa may-ari,”Amisola, 37, said in an interview on dzBB radio.

(Honestly I thought of my mother who is suffering from Stage-4 cancer. She was to be rushed to the hospital that day. I showed the envelope with the $10,000 to my work colleagues and remarked fate must be testing me. But in the end I decided the money was not mine, so I decided to return it.)

Amisola said the incident occurred on Saturday when Patricio Francisco accidentally left behind a brown envelope containing some documents and $10,000.

Francisco and his family were heading for Canada to start a new life there. Amisola said Francisco was overjoyed to see the money returned to him.

Amisola said he knew he would not be able to pay for his mother Rosita’s hospital bills but he was sure she would be happy because he did the right thing.

He said his mother is suffering from ovary cancer and had been brought out of the Intensive Care Unit at the University of Santo Tomas Hospital in Manila because his family could not afford to pay the hospital bills.

She had been moved to an isolation room, he said.

“Masaya siya sa ginawa ko dahil tama ang ginawa ko … Marunong po ang Diyos (My mother would be happy because I did the right thing. I know God will provide),” he said.– VVP, GMANews.TV



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Refugee wannabe wants more time.

November 29, 2010

Randy Quaid needs more time to review bulging Canadian government files on him that are already

eight-centimetres thick, an immigration hearing was told Tuesday.

Quaid’s Vancouver lawyer, Catherine Sas, said the number of pages is growing so rapidly she can’t keep up.

“The government’s disclosure has been voluminous,” said Sas.

The government, which wants to deport Quaid, has filed documents related to vandalism

charges the American actor is facing in the U.S.

The files have a direct bearing on whether Quaid should be deported on the grounds of

“serious criminality” outside of Canada.

“I am not opposed to allowing Mr. Quaid time to prepare,” said lawyer Jim Murray,

acting for the Canadian government’s Ministry of Public Safety.

Quaid says he is the victim of “Hollywood star whackers,” whom he says are out to

get him and his wife, Evi Quaid.

Outside the hearing, Evi Quaid claimed a “murderous” U.S. lawyer is out to “kill” them.

But Evi Quaid was unable to explain why the “star whackers” wouldn’t simply carry out their

plan in Canada if the Quaids were allowed to stay.

Randy Quaid, meanwhile, breathed a visible sigh of relief as King agreed he could have

another month to prepare his case.

“It’s not our first Christmas in Vancouver. I’m looking forward to it,” Quaid beamed.

“I hope it snows.”

The parties are to attend a scheduling conference on Dec. 22.

The government has dropped its objections to Evi Quaid’s presence because her father

was born in

Canada. kspencer@theprovince.com


Trinity Bellwoods no longer official G20 protest site

May 7, 2010
Trinity Bellwoods Park

Trinity Bellwoods Park

Summit officials have abandoned Trinity Bellwoods Park as the G20’s official demonstration area, but at least one group still plans to rally there in June.

In an about-face Thursday, the G20’s Integrated Security Unit announced it will be moving the protest zone, explaining the change as a response to complaints from area residents and consultations with city hall.

The security unit has yet to announce the new site, but the Ontario Federation of Labour says it’s sticking with Trinity Bellwoods.

The OFL expects thousands to attend its G8 and G20 march on June 26, organized in conjunction with groups such as Oxfam, Greenpeace and the Canadian Labour Congress.

The OFL plan is to meet at Queen’s Park and march along University Ave. and Queen St. W., concluding at Trinity Bellwoods, chosen last week by summit officials as a “designated speech area” for G20 protesters.

“We plan on keeping our rally at the park because nobody has told us otherwise; not the police, not the city,” said OFL president Sid Ryan.

But area residents oppose even this labour rally. At a meeting Thursday night, the Trinity Bellwoods Community Association voted 33-0 against the rally being held in the park.

Resident Steffan Randstrom said he was skeptical the labour rally would only attract peaceful demonstrators. “People will travel here from all over the world to do crazy s—,” he said. “Why do you choose a residential park for such an event? I’ve got kids and I don’t want them to meet crazy anarchists.”

The OFL’s Laurie Hardwick and Toronto police Const. George Tucker, of the Integrated Security Unit, tried to calm their concerns.

“We have no intention of doing any damage to your community,” Hardwick said. She assured them most of the demonstrators would be out of the park by about 4 p.m.

Hardwick estimated the crowd at 5,000, but residents worried the numbers could swell to more than 20,000.

“Why isn’t this happening at the CNE?” said David Ginsberg. With thousands of people in the park, “our kids are not going to be able to play,” he said.

Outside in the park, Anne Louise Pearl, who was walking her dog, said she was happy the designated speech area was being moved from the heavily used park.

But she was also concerned about the OFL rally, noting some recently planted saplings might be damaged. “I still don’t understand why they have to use this park.”

Mark Critoph, a graphic design professor in the park with his daughter Asha, 6, said he supports people’s right to protest and did not want to fall prey to the NIMBY (not in my backyard) syndrome. “I would not attend it, but it’s got to be somewhere,” he said.

Mark Gelineau, manager of Great Stuff, a nearby clothing store, said he felt better upon hearing the park would only host the labour rally, which might attract business, instead of a designated protest zone, which might attract vandals. “Rallies are usually positive things,” he said.

The OFL’s Ryan said his rally venue was chosen prior to summit officials picking Trinity Bellwoods as the designated speech area. He said the OFL worked closely with police to select the site. The federation originally wanted Coronation Park but settled on Trinity Bellwoods after police asked them to find an alternative location that didn’t require marching across the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Blvd.

Ryan said the OFL already has permits for the parade route and Queen’s Park but has only a conditional permit so far for Trinity Bellwoods. However, the federation is already making permit payments and meeting its obligations, even hiring 300 marshals to keep radical protesters from infiltrating its rally.

“City hall has to approve the permit but I can’t see why the Canadian Labour Congress or OFL would have a rally permit turned down,” Ryan said. “That would be highly unusual.”

Summit officials say they have no issue with the OFL using Trinity Bellwoods as long as its permit is approved by the city.

City councillor and mayoral candidate Joe Pantalone said he was “totally unhappy” when Trinity Bellwoods was announced as the protest site. He thinks the park, bordered by homes and families, is no place for protesters.

Pantalone said he brought his concerns to Police Chief Bill Blair, who told him Wednesday the site would be moved. He said Queen’s Park is now being considered for the protest zone.

But for Ryan, the summit is an international event being staged by the federal government — protesting outside the Legislature would be pointless.

“Queen’s Park is not an acceptable site,” he said. “It’s too far away. You don’t even get an opportunity to get down to the perimeter of the security fence.”

He said the OFL wrote a letter to city hall Thursday morning, offering to move the rally if the city would find a more suitable location. Ryan said he has yet to hear back.

Ryan is frustrated with the reaction to the OFL’s use of the park as a rally site and said the group is fully committed to protesting peacefully, as is its democratic right.

“These politicians that are complaining, they stand with us at protests all across the city, all across the country, and then we have a protest and they say, ‘Not in my backyard,’” he said. “It’s ridiculous.”

Meanwhile, NORAD conducted flight tests throughout the day on Thursday in preparation of the G8 and G20 summits. The tests are to continue into Friday.

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Vulcan (Alta.) rolls out grand homecoming for Spock

April 27, 2010


VULCAN, Alta. — Despite a spell of unwelcoming hail, rain and snow, Mr. Spock finally arrived in the small Alberta town of Vulcan on Friday, ending what some say has been a 10-year quest to bring the half-human, half-Vulcan home.

Dressed casually in a grey sweater and black pants, a beaming Leonard Nimoy arrived without his trademark Vulcan ears to hundreds of cheering fans Friday afternoon outside the Vulcan Tourism Centre before joining a parade down the town’s main drag to help celebrate the town’s new status as the Star Trek capital of Canada.

By the time the 79-year-old actor offered his “live-long-and-prosper” handprint and unveiled a bronze bust of his most famous character, the sun was shining and the crowd had surged to an estimated 2,500 people.

“Wait until Bill Shatner hears about this,” said Nimoy. “I have been a Vulcan for 44 years. It’s about time I came home.”

For town officials, it was the end to a long, weird and exhilarating quest to bring Spock home.

In town for only a couple of hours, the actor is scheduled to be a guest at The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo this weekend. Vulcan is about 100 kilometres southeast of Calgary.

Nimoy’s appearance caps off a decade-plus campaign to use Gene Roddenberry’s popular Star Trek phenomenon to boost tourism for the town, which was actually named after the Roman god of fire.

“I think this is going to go down as one of the biggest days in Vulcan history,” says Dayna Dickens, the town’s tourism co-ordinator. “You know, certainly there’s be some controversy with the town having its traditional Prairie roots. But I think the town has come together to welcome Mr. Nimoy here.”

Certainly there was no sign of dissent along Vulcan’s quaint main drag. A pharmacy, an insurance office, the local tavern and even one abandoned building had been turned into makeshift shrines to Spock. New T-shirts had been designed, and a limited edition poster was produced that pictured a Andy Warhol-like portrait of the pointy-eared first officer of the Enterprise with the caption “Welcome Home.”

Star Trek movie marathons and the original series’ score blasted from the windows of local businesses and the liquor store was enjoying brisk sales of Romulan ale. Vulcan jerky was being sold at the grocery shop and two high school students were dressed up as “sehlats” — bear-like creatures native to Vulcan. Town officials, including Mayor Tom Grant, were decked out in full Star Trek garb.

Nimoy lent a pair of his Vulcan ears and a poster signed by the original cast to the town to display for a year.

Nimoy, who recently announced his retirement from acting, was clearly touched by the attention.

“I’ve never had an experience quite as touching as I’m having here today and I appreciate it,” he said. “I’m just sorry it took me so long to get here.”

For some of the town’s older residents, the visit was indeed a long time coming.

“People thought they were crazy when (officials) started talking about Star Trek and they thought they were really crazy when they built the Trek centre but it’s really been wonderful,” says Betty McFadden, 75, referring to the town’s Starship Enterprise-styled tourism building.

McFadden, who has been in Vulcan since 1952, wandered the main drag with her friend Betty Smith, 80, both wearing the old-school red Star Trek shirts. Both said they hope the town embraces its new Trek-heavy theme.

For Jesse Zelisko, the 15-year-old who donned the elaborate sehlat costume, Star Trek has always been a part of living in Vulcan.

“If you say southern Alberta, people know Vulcan,” says Zelisko. “It’s always been that Star Trek town.”

But while the connection is hardly new, Vulcan got a major push in that direction last year. That was when Nimoy famously got behind the town’s failed bid to hold the premiere of J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek film series reboot. Nimoy, who was the only original cast member to star in the film, read a Calgary Herald news report online that the town had been denied the premiere and decided to lend his support.

“We made some phone calls and one thing led to another,” said Nimoy, in an interview with the Herald prior to the event. “When Paramount got to thinking about it they thought they would show it in Calgary and bus 300 people in Vulcan, which I thought was great. But it just touched me as a very interesting problem that Vulcan couldn’t get a screening of the movie.”

Vulcan has already felt the benefits of Nimoy’s plug. In 2009, it had 23,400 visitors come through town looking for Trekkie adventures. That’s up from 16,800 in 2008. Now endorsed by CBS Television, which owns the licensing rights to Star Trek memorabilia, the town has been able to offer a new line of items at its tourism centre.

It’s working. Eric Anderson, a 28-year-old Trekkie from Regina, said he spent “way too much” money there Friday morning.

“I bought this shirt, and it was cool because they had these limited-edition posters,” he enthused, showing off a new T-shirt design with the words “Spock Beamed Down to Vulcan.”

“I think there’s only 500 available. I bought a Spock bobble-head doll and some knick-knacks . . . I sound like such a dweeb right now.”

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Canadian ePassports to launch in 2012

April 21, 2010


Passport Canada plans to launch an ePassport in 2012, and in the meantime it wants to hear Canadians’ thoughts on the issue  including revised fees.

The new passport will be little changed in appearance but will contain an electronic chip encoded with the bearer’s name, gender, and date and place of birth, as well as a digital portrait of the traveller’s face.

“The use of ePassports will allow Canada to follow international standards in the field of passport security to protect our borders and maintain the ease of international travel that Canadians currently enjoy,” Passport Canada said in a release.

With the launch of the new passport, Canadians will also be able to choose whether they want a passport valid for 10 years or for the current five-year period. Along with the changes will come new fees  a development that requires consultation with Canadians, under the User Fees Act, according to the agency.

Canadians are asked to fill out an online questionnaire on Passport Canada’s website by May 7. The comments will be considered in the development of the new passport and its fees.

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