New Canadian Media

TOKYO—Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe upped the pressure on Justin Trudeau this week by publicly suggesting his Canadian counterpart’s positions had budged on a pair of prickly international files.

Following a bilateral meeting with the visiting Canadian prime minister in Tokyo on Tuesday, May 24, Abe read a statement to reporters saying the two leaders shared “serious concern” about the territorial dispute that involved the “building of outposts” in the South China Sea.

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Published in Top Stories

by Susan Korah in Ottawa

Canada’s foreign policy is caught in a precarious balancing act between the “sunny ways” of election promises and the realpolitik of weapons sales to countries with dubious human rights records.

In his new book, Two Freedoms: Canada’s Global Future, former Senator Hugh Segal suggests a solution that he says is focused, principled, and based on two foundational principles – freedom from fear and freedom from want.

Segal’s expertise in foreign policy was acquired through more than 30 years of involvement in foreign and security policy. This included chairing the Senate Foreign Affairs and Special Anti-Terrorism committees and the Canadian Institute for Strategic Studies, as well as a serving term as President of the Institute for Research and Public Policy (IRPP), a non-partisan think tank and research institution.

Introducing his book at a launch hosted by the IRPP in partnership with the Ottawa International Writers’ Festival, he explained that while he has the highest regard for some of Canada’s hardworking diplomats and other foreign service personnel, he is concerned that foreign policy is a mess of shifting priorities swinging from right to left, according to the ideology of the government that happens to be in power.

His aim, he said, is to give some clarity and direction to foreign policy, which in his opinion, should not be dependent on party politics.

The launch took the form of a conversation between Segal and Jennifer Ditchburn, Editor-in-Chief of Policy Options, the magazine affiliated with IRPP.

“Living in a state of economic and social despair can produce huge and even cataclysmic consequences . . ."

More foreign aid

Elaborating on freedom from want, Segal said it is in Canada’s interest to see that families, communities and nations around the world live in reasonable prosperity, buoyed by a sense of hope for the future.

“Living in a state of economic and social despair can produce huge and even cataclysmic consequences, not only for those living in despair, but for their neighbouring communities and countries,” he pointed out, adding that the total absence of hope leads to violent behaviour based on a “nothing-to-lose” attitude.

“Putting those two freedoms – freedom from want and from fear – at the centre of our foreign policy would make it more coherent and the world would understand better what we stand for as Canadians,” Segal said.

He added that if extreme poverty is the root cause of violence, we have to ask ourselves what we can do to diminish this cause.

“I think that both in terms of foreign aid and international development and in terms of doing our fair share militarily, we are not doing enough,” he said. “In the [Prime Minister] Lester Pearson era we contributed 0.7 per cent of our gross domestic product (GDP) to foreign aid, but in recent years our numbers have been much lower.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently pledged to boost funding to the global fight against HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, but said Ottawa will not meet the goal to spend 0.7 per cent of GDP on foreign aid anytime soon.

“We have a big hat, but no cattle,” a reference to cowboys whose boastful talk is not matched by action . . . 

Increase military capacity

Another key point that Segal makes in his book and highlighted at the event, is that Canada needs to reinforce its values-based foreign policy with an appropriate military capacity.

“We have a great military, but we need more of them,” he said. “Canada should probably have Armed Forces of 150,000, of which 100,000 are regular forces and 50,000 are reserves rather than our present number which is in the 50,000 to 60,000 range.”

He said Canada also needs a 60-ship fighting navy, rather than one that has 20 or 30 ships, that can be deployed on humanitarian and diplomatic missions “to send a clear message about Canadian values.”

Giving some examples of how such military strength could help Canadians and those abroad, Segal said, “We need to make sure the Chinese respect the territorial integrity of Taiwan and other people.”

“Our failure to engage with [Bashar al-] Assad three or four years ago is why we have such a horrendous situation now,” he added, referring to the ongoing civil war in Syria.

Using a Western Canadian expression, he said: “We have a big hat, but no cattle,” a reference to cowboys whose boastful talk is not matched by action or even the capacity for action.

“There has to be more cohesion between our foreign policy and defence policy.”

Decline since Chrétien era 

“There has to be more cohesion between our foreign policy and defence policy,” he emphasized.

Segal’s central thesis is strongly reminiscent of a 2003 publication While Canada Slept: How We Lost Our Place in the World by Ottawa writer Andrew Cohen. Both authors lament the decline of Canada’s foreign policy and its military, especially since the glory days of Prime Minister Pearson.

Both consider that it took a turn for the worse under the leadership of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. Segal points out that in that era, by sending delegations of Canadian business people and politicians around the world to increase trade, it became necessary to tread carefully so that no potential trading partner would be offended.

Both Segal and Cohen call for a values-based approach.

“The notion that this book might contribute to that debate in some constructive way would be my fondest hope,” said Segal.


This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Books

 

OTTAWA—As Falun Dafa adherents picked May 10 to gather on Parliament Hill for a large-scale celebration, they did not expect that the prime minister would on the same day be meeting with a senior official from the Chinese regime that is carrying out an ongoing persecution against their spiritual discipline.

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MISSISSAUGA, Canada—Artist Suzi Dwor has spent her career doing what she loves—creating art and developing emerging artists. 

But she found an unexpected source of inspiration during Shen Yun Performing Arts’ performance at the Living Arts Centre on April 28: 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture.

 

Epoch Times

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Published in Arts & Culture

 

Canadian Falun Gong practitioners held events this week in major cities across the country to commemorate their fellow practitioners’ large-scale appeal in Beijing 17 years ago seeking the freedom to practise their faith.

At solemn rallies and candlelight vigils in front of the Chinese embassy in Ottawa and Chinese consulates in cities including Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto, practitioners paid honour to the peaceful demonstration of April 25, 1999, that they describe as a “historic appeal” as well as a “silent appeal.”

 

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Each year in early march, Tibetan communities and their supporters around the world come together to mark the day back in 1959 when tens of...

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The Chinese regime is accusing a Canadian, Kevin Garratt, of spying and stealing state secrets. According to Chinese state-run news outlet Xinhua, authorities announced on...

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Family reunification is at the core of the Liberal government’s immigration policy. After our two-part in-depth piece on the pros and cons of the family class immigration stream, this new series takes a closer look at the process from the perspectives of major immigrant groups in Canada. What are the opinions and experiences of individuals and families who took this route or are in the process of doing so? We find out what works and what needs improvement. The following report is the first in our series and looks at what can happen when family reunification rules bring together and split apart a family at the same time. 

by Shan Qiao in Toronto     
 
Canada’s family reunification program brought Simei Wu’s parents to Canada, while simultaneously separating her from her husband, who chose to return to Mainland China to be with his parents.
 
Wu and her husband Feng Xie immigrated to Canada in 2008. Two years later, after they settled down in Toronto working full-time in the service sector, Wu applied to have her parents come to Canada under the Family Reunification (FR) class.
 
“I’m the only child to my parents,” she says. “They [wanted] to live with me and help me take care of my child.”

 
As a popular tradition in the Chinese community, elderly parents often help their children by looking after their newborn grandchildren and assisting with housework.
 
Wu had her first child in early 2010. At that time, both she and her husband earned just enough to pay the bills. There wasn’t too much leftover to hire a nanny or for Wu to be a stay-at-home mom.
 
“I sent applications to sponsor my parents to immigrate in May 2010,” she recalls. “I learned from CIC’s (Citizenship and Immigration Canada's) website that the average waiting time was five to eight years.”

 
She initiated the same application process for her husband’s parents later that year.

The impact of changing policies

When Wu submitted her applications there was no yearly intake cap for the parent and grandparent sponsorship program.

This soon changed, under the Conservative government, due to the large backlog of applications.

On Nov. 5, 2011, CIC imposed a two-year moratorium on new applications and announced that when they were accepted again, only 5,000 a year would be permitted. As such, the government also created the super visa allowing elderly parents to visit Canada for two year periods. The visa is good for 10 years.

“My parents were anxious when they learned the halt on new applications."

Wu’s parents were consequently on the super visa, remaining with their daughter while waiting for their FR application to progress.

“My parents were anxious when they learned [about] the halt on new applications. They didn’t know when they will receive immigrant status and worried [that] they might not be able to afford going to the hospital if sick,” Wu shares.

In addition, when Wu initially applied, the minimum required income for a family of her size (four grandparents, two parents, one child) was $59,907. This was determined based on the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) established by Statistics Canada annually.

The Conservatives then introduced a 30 per cent increase, meaning Wu’s family would need earn $77, 879 annually in order to sponsor all four grandparents. This posed a challenge since the family had been earning a humble $60,000 a year.

Last summer, after Wu’s second child started to walk, she found out through CIC’s website that her parents’ applications had been approved and their next step was to undergo a medical check.

“Everything goes back to zero for my in-laws.”

Her husband’s parents’ applications, however, had been forwarded to a Hong Kong office for further review, meaning possibly another five to eight years of waiting.

“Everything goes back to zero for my in-laws,” Wu explains.  
 
She says the prolonged process has already consumed her relationship with her husband Feng. The different outcome of each other’s parents’ applications has caused tension between Feng and his in-laws. He now works in China to look after his ailing parents, and only returns to Canada during holidays.

Getting through the red-tape 

As a result of her own experience, Wu has become more involved in talking with her immigrant friends and helping their elderly parents to apply for family reunification. 

She and her friends formed an unofficial parents’ immigration club at the Peanut Plaza in Toronto’s Don Valley West community.   

Group members exchange information with each other on the bench outside of the Feng Tai (Foody Mart) Supermarket. They pick up free Chinese weekly newspapers and magazines, searching for knowledge-based articles or immigration consultant advertisements. 

“I’m concerned that doubling the application numbers will also double the process time, making the waiting time as long as eight to 10 years."

Each November, Wu and her friends begin preparing application documents. They secure Purolator couriers and meet them right at 9 a.m. on the first work day of each new year for CIC, to hand in their application packages, which are now only accepted by mail or couriers.
 
“People pay couriers an extra $200 or more for this job,” explains Wu. “They have to line up at CIC’s office to ensure the application is sent … it’s a battle to get your hope started.”

Skeptical of changes ahead

Yang Haifeng, the president of New Canadian Community Centre, is doubtful about the Liberal government’s campaign promise to double the number of applications allowed for parents and grandparents to 10,000 a year.
 
“We’re not sure if it is really 10,000 applications yet because the additional 5,000 applications are not a small amount. It takes four to five years for applicants to get their FR status approved,” Yang says.
 

“I’m concerned that doubling the application numbers will also double the process time, making the waiting time as long as eight to 10 years. How could our seniors afford to wait for such a long time?”

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Policy

News East West

TORONTO: Israel was created to allow Jews from all over the world to settle there and Israel still has an open-door police for Jews from anywhere to settle there.

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A Canadian start-up company has started selling bottles of air to Chinese following the latest smog alert in Beijing. Vitality Air bottles the air in the...

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Poll Question

Do you agree with the new immigration levels for 2017?

Yes - 30.8%
No - 46.2%
Don't know - 23.1%
The voting for this poll has ended on: %05 %b %2016 - %21:%Dec

Featured Quote

The honest truth is there is still reluctance around immigration policy... When we want to talk about immigration and we say we want to bring more immigrants in because it's good for the economy, we still get pushback.

-- Canada's economic development minister Navdeep Bains at a Public Policy Forum economic summit

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