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A return to form

May 3rd, 2017

There has been much commotion over recent months about the Parent and Grandparent Program (PGP), through which eligible Canadian citizens and permanent residents may sponsor their parent(s) or grandparent(s) for permanent resident status. Read More »

Actions must follow words

April 4th, 2017

Last month, readers of the Montreal Gazette may have come across the story of Payman, an 11 year-old Iranian boy whose official adoptive parents became permanent residents of Canada in 2014.

The problem is, Payman is still stuck in Iran, vulnerable and without the love and security of his adoptive parents close by. Read More »

No easy answers

March 1st, 2017

Canada and Canadians have, for the most part, presented and enjoyed an attitude to immigration that is welcoming. This phenomenon has been part of our reputation for decades.

Now, is this attitude a consequence of Canadians being somehow unique, or better, than other societies around the world? Is our welcoming smile innate?

Or is it the case that Canada is bound by three oceans, one of which is mostly frozen, and then on one side by the largest immigration magnet in human history, the United States? Read More »

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses”

February 1st, 2017

The historical narrative of North America is built on immigration. Both Canada and United States, and Mexico, for that matter, are largely populated by the sons, daughters, and other descendants of individuals and families who at one point made a major life decision to seek a new and better life far from home. Read More »

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

January 4th, 2017

Canada has a tremendous opportunity to become the foremost educational hub globally, but first it needs to stop confusing those international students who wish to study here. Read More »

Patience is wearing thin on C-6

December 7th, 2016

Earlier this year, on June 17, an Act to amend the Citizenship Act passed the House of Commons in Ottawa. This eagerly-awaiting piece of legislation is known as Bill C-6.

Among the proposed amendments in C-6 is a reduction in the amount of time permanent residents have to live in Canada in order to become eligible to apply for citizenship, from four out of six years to three out of five years. In addition, applicants who spent time in Canada on temporary status — such as on a work or study permit — would be able to count a portion of this time towards the three-year requirement. The amendments would also repeal the intent to reside provision and remove language proficiency requirements for certain applicants. Read More »

Dear Phil . . .

November 11th, 2016

I was in communication with an American friend of mine this week. It has been a tough few days for Phil, who lives in Ohio. Not only did his home state fall into the Trump column on election night, but the President-elect won enough states to claim victory, leaving many U.S-based residents looking for solutions. For many, that solution is life in Canada, and people like Phil are serious about making the move. Phil gave me permission to reproduce here the same advice I gave him about taking the first steps towards Canadian permanent residence. Read More »

For the faint of heart

November 1st, 2016

When Justin Trudeau and his cabinet colleagues ambled through Ottawa to be sworn in this time last year, the new Prime Minister was much-quoted for repeating the line “sunny ways”. This, of course, was an allusion to Wilfried Laurier, the Liberal PM whose lengthy term in office a century ago is deemed by analysts of all political stripes to have been a roaring success, principally because Laurier had a vision to grow the country. Read More »

Mother knows best

October 5th, 2016

I feel compelled to comment on the case of Maryam Monsef, Liberal MP and federal Minister of Democratic Institutions, who has been caught up in a story about the location of her birth 32 years ago. Monsef, an Afghan citizen who arrived in Canada aged 11, was born in Iran. She had previously believed she was born in her country of citizenship, Afghanistan. Her documentation had stated that this was the case — documentation that had been submitted by her mother all those years ago. Read More »

A solution in search of a problem

September 7th, 2016

Certain federal and provincial opposition politicians in Canada have come out with fresh ideas on immigration over the past few weeks. First, federal Conservative Party leadership hopeful Kellie Leitch attracted attention with a proposal to screen would-be newcomers to Canada for “anti-Canadian values.” Then, in Quebec, Coalition Avenir Québec leader François Legault held a press conference in which he called for a massive reduction in the province’s annual immigration intake. Read More »

Now is the time for action

August 2nd, 2016

It is exactly nine months this week since the Liberal government took office. In that time, their efforts on a number of immigration-related files have been admirable. Notably, the efforts to take in many thousands of Syrian refugees over the course of the winter was a welcome change from the previous incumbents of the government benches. There are, however, certain areas that demand attention, none more so than the indefinite detention without charges of foreign nationals in provincial prisons. Read More »

Pride and Prejudice

July 5th, 2016

On a steamy hot day last Sunday in downtown Toronto, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined thousands of others and marched — well, more like strolled and danced — in the annual Pride parade. It was a historic moment, the first time a sitting Prime Minister joined in the parade.

The location and timing of this could not have been better. The city of Toronto is an underrated success story; while being one of the safest cities in North America, it is also the only city in which most of the population is foreign born. Ergo, it is a city that showcases what a positive attitude to immigration can bring. Alongside Trudeau last Sunday were people from all over the world, each one with the same message — you are welcome here. Read More »