Tag Archive: permanent resident immigration

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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Victims Duped by Immigration Fraudster

May 4, 2010
CSIC LOGO

CSIC LOGO

The law firm of Abrams & Krochak, Canadian Immigration Lawyers, is licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada (province of Ontario) to provide legal services for persons wishing to immigrate to Canada. Please be aware that there are some immigration consultants that claim to be a legitimate provider of such legal services, but who are not licensed by the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC).

To our Friends and our Fans, please do not be taken advantage of by unlicensed consultants. Begin your legal Canadian immigration today by completing our Free Eligibility Online Assessment at

http://www.akcanada.com/assessment.cfm

Victims Duped by Immigration Fraudster

An uncertified immigration consultant in Windsor has been charged with fraud after 11 clients allegedly paid him thousands of dollars for services they never received.

The victims made payments to the consultant ranging from $2,000 to $100,000 in the belief that applications to immigrate to Canada were being made on their behalf.

But no such applications were ever submitted, said investigators with the
Immigration and Passport Section of the Windsor RCMP.

Eleven counts of fraud have been laid against Francesco Salvatore Sam Burgio, 45, of Amherstburg, Ontario.

Police identified 11 victims, but believe there may be others.

Often, individuals who have been victimized are reluctant to come forward fearing that reporting their situation will interfere with their ability to gain legal immigration status in Canada, Cpl. Rod Rudiak of the Windsor RCMP said in a press release.

The Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) had revoked Burgios license back in 2006.

That should have set off red flags for anybody who was considering hiring him, CSIC Chair and Acting CEO John Ryan said in a release.

Most people would never consider hiring an unlicenced doctor or lawyer, and consumers need to realize that hiring an uncertified immigration consultant is just as unwise, he said.

In reaction to the arrest, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Minister Jason Kenney said Tuesday that unscrupulous immigration consultants heap misery upon their victims and pose a serious threat to the reputation of Canada’s immigration system.

The charges against Burgio come just weeks after Vancouver-based consultant Fereydoun Hadad was sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty in January to defrauding an Iranian man seeking to immigrate to Canada of over $49,000.

Hadad had convinced the would-be immigrant to set up a bank account in Canada and deposit money in it. By forging the mans signature, Hadad withdrew the funds for his personal use.

Unscrupulous consultants are a significant problem and tackling it requires all levels of government to work together and make it a priority, Kenney said a statement after Hadads conviction.

Preying on people who are desperate to have a new start in Canada, or who are trying to bring their family members here, is unconscionable. As the Speech from the Throne promised, we will be taking steps to address this, Kenney added.

Ryan welcomes a government crackdown on fraudulent immigration consultants, saying legal loopholes permitted the practice to go on for too long with little danger of legal repercussions.

Only members licenced with the CSIC, a provincial or territorial bar, or Quebec notaries may advise or represent clients before the Government of Canada for a fee. However, friends, family, or religious organizations may offer free help.

The CIC website states that the government will not deal with any unauthorized person charging a fee for immigration services. To assist prospective immigrants, the website provides detailed information about e-mail and Internet scams, fake websites, and computer viruses.

Dont be a victim of a scam. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, the CIC warns.

Don't be a victim of Fraud

Don't be a victim of Fraud

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British Columbia Becomes One Step Easier to Immigrate to Canada

April 29, 2010
British Columbia & Canada Flag

British Columbia & Canada Flag

Recently Dr. Alice Wong, Parliamentary Secretary to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, and Moira Stilwell, B.C. Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development, signed the new Canada-British Columbia Immigration Agreement.

Immigation Minister Kenney had the following to say:

“The signing of today’s agreement with British Columbia will support the integration of newcomers, helping to ensure that they’re able to contribute to our economy and succeed in Canada.” He also went on to say “I am also pleased to announce the first temporary foreign worker annex to this agreement today. This will facilitate the entry of these workers to help British Columbia fill critical labour shortages.”

Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development had the following to say:

“The agreement will help Canada attract the skilled international workers it needs to meet the needs of the Canadian economy as we emerge from the global economic recession.” Minister Finley went on to say “It will certainly strengthen British Columbia’s ability to meet its labour market needs both today and in the future.”

Minister Stilwell had the following to say:

“The renewal of this agreement strengthens our partnership with the federal government and our commitment to providing welcoming and inclusive communities and workplaces in B.C. for newcomers.” Minister Stilwell went onto say; “Immigrants coming to our province not only enrich the social fabric of B.C., they also bring economic advantages, generate innovation, attract industries and workers, and spur economic growth.”

It is the intention that the agreement will lead to improved collaboration between Canada Immigration and British Columbia on immigration matters. The immigration agreement involves community partners, including local governments, service providers and the private sector to help welcome and integrate immigrants into Canadian society. The Canadian Government will be transferring $114 million to British Columbia for immigration and settlement services and for welcoming communities initiatives.

It is hoped that the immigration agreement will result in more immigration intoto British Columbia and will encourage existing immigrants to say. This will help immigrants integrate and help meet British Columbia’s economic and social needs.

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Vulcan (Alta.) rolls out grand homecoming for Spock

April 27, 2010

SPOCK - STAR TREK

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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Nepal adoption suspension riles Canadians

April 26, 2010
Nepal Adoption

Nepal Adoption

A group of Canadian couples hopes to convince the federal government to overturn a recommendation last month to suspend all adoptions from Nepal.
Ottawa resident Adrian Gollner and his wife are among 11 couples who had started the process of adopting children in Nepal in the hopes of bringing them to Canada in 2009.
But a February report from the Hague Conference on Private International Law raised concerns of fraudulent adoptions and child trafficking in Nepal. In response, federal agencies called on provinces to suspend adoptions from the South Asian country. The report followed visits from international monitors in the fall of 2009 that found widespread evidence of falsification of records.
That decision left Gollner’s family plans in limbo. He and his wife have a four-year-old biological son, but were hoping to add another child to the family and had tried adopting from China.
But faced with an eight-year wait to go through China’s adoption process, they decided to try Nepal, which in 2008 signed on to the Hague Convention, allowing for international adoptions to fellow convention signatories such as Canada.
Gollner said he and his wife had no intention of obtaining a child illegally, but they were hoping that there might a more nuanced solution than simply banning all adoptions from the country.
“There has been some corruption, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t fully legitimate orphans there who need families and who are indeed very poor,” he said.
Issues involving international adoptions are complex, however, because while the provinces oversee the process, they often take their lead from several federal agencies. Other couples with Gollner’s group are from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec.
It makes it difficult, said Gollner, to know which agency to deal with to get answers, he said.
Verify outstanding adoptions, father asks
Some of the families represented by immigration lawyer  Sas had already been given information about the children they were set to adopt before delays and finally the suspension of the process happened. But Gollner said his family had not advanced that far in the process due to frequent delays.
He said he fears the suspension will become an outright ban, leaving his family with no recourse.
Gollner said he would like to see agents on the ground in Nepal who can determine which of the outstanding adoptions are legitimate or not.
Sas said the government should put in an approval mechanism for families who have already begun the adoption process so that none of their efforts is wasted.
Sas said other countries such as the U.K. and Sweden have done what Gollner suggests and put agents in Nepal to verify the process.
“Other countries have clearly demonstrated that there is a solution available, let’s follow that lead and use that solution to resolve the cases that have already been approved for these families in Canada for 2009,” she said.

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Canadian ePassports to launch in 2012

April 21, 2010
passport

passport

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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