New Canadian Media

by Shan Qiao in Scarborough, Ontario  

Seven Conservative candidates representing Greater Toronto Area (GTA) ridings with a significant presence of ethnic Chinese voters came together on Tuesday to promote their party platform.

The Chinese Canadian Conservative Association (CCCA) organized the event for the Chinese language media.

The seven candidates who participated were Bin Chang representing for Scarborough-Agincourt; Joe Daniel, for Don Valley North; Jobson Easow for Markham-Thornhill; Maureen Harquail for Don Valley East; Chungsen Leung for Willowdale; Michael Parsa for Richmond Hill; and Bob Saroya for Markham-Unionville.

Playing the Chinese heritage card

Apart from Bin who came from Mainland China and Chungsen who was born in Taiwan, most of the other non-Chinese candidates also had immigrant backgrounds.

For example, Parsa, who came to Canada at age six, has his roots in the Iranian community, Saroya immigrated to Canada in 1975 from India and Easow, who was born and brought up in India, came to Canada over two decades ago.

“[A] MP who truly represents people needs to understand Canada’s diversity.”

Daniel, who is South Asian, but speaks with a British accent and has a “mainstream” name, said he has supporters from every community. Born in Tanzania to Indian parents, he went to school in India and started his career in England before coming to Canada.

During the event, he contrasted his support base with that of his Liberal rival Geng Tan, who has publicly asked voters of Chinese heritage to vote for him.

Tan’s supporters have shared WeChat messages such as “He (Tan) represents the Liberal that is more friendly to Chinese”; “Without a Mandarin-speaking Chinese politician in the Parliament, who will speak for our Chinese people?”; or “Who will you vote for, a Chinese or an Indian?”

Daniel showed these messages to the media, but shrugged off his challenger.

“Chinese communities are split in three ways: Taiwanese, Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese,” Daniel said. “His (Tan’s) appeal is to Mainland Chinese. Many of them are completely opposed to what he says. I have a lot of Chinese supporters coming out and canvassing for me who say what he says is wrong.”

Daniel’s close caucus member, Willowdale incumbent Chengsun, is against ethno-centric campaign strategies.

In reference to a Globe and Mail article earlier this year that said “Toronto’s suburbs are shaping up to be a Mandarin-speaking powerhouse for the federal Liberal Party,” Chengsun had this to say:

“What is a powerhouse? A powerhouse is the MP that most represents his constituents and [speaks] for them in the House of Commons. Plus, a MP who truly represents people needs to understand Canada’s diversity.”

“If you rely solely on the Chinese vote, you are going to lose.”

He went on to add, “If you rely solely on Chinese vote, you are going to lose because that’s not representing all Canadians, that doesn’t represent diversity of Canadians. I happen to be Chinese, but I certainly don’t see myself as a Chinese candidate because it’s incorrect.”

He said his message to the Chinese community was to “vote for the government that best represents you.”

Wooing the Chinese vote

Alex Yuen, the president of CCCA indicated that although two of the Conservative candidates were Chinese, the organization’s mission was to hear out voices from all communities.

Nevertheless, the seven candidates who had gathered at an upscale Chinese seafood restaurant in Scarborough were fully prepared to woo the Chinese community with topics that interested them.

They each had a Chinese name that was most likely given to them by their ethnic Chinese volunteers. For instance Saroya’s Chinese name meant “contribute to the country” and Daniel’s meant “stronger and talented.”

“It’s clear that Chinese families share our Conservative values,” said Saroya. “They agree with our low tax, balance budget policies and they do not want marijuana to be legal and accessible like cigarettes and alcohol.”

Harquail, the only native-born candidate, who also happens to be a cousin of late Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, had this to say: “The Prime Minister recognizes the outstanding contributions that Chinese Canadians have made.”

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 Politics
Thursday, 17 September 2015 07:05

Youth Volunteers Support Chinatown Seniors

by Deanna Cheng in Vancouver

One outreach worker is creating a bilingual volunteer program because there's not enough support for Chinese seniors, especially those in Vancouver's Chinatown.

Chanel Ly, a 23-year-old outreach worker who is part of the Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative, initiated the Youth for Chinese Seniors program because when she sees all these seniors – who are predominantly female – she thinks of her grandma. She cannot imagine not helping them out.

"I can't stand seeing seniors being neglected. It's disrespectful."

She points out that it's part of the Chinese cultural values to care for elders.

Ly will connect bilingual youth volunteers to seniors in the Strathcona area, the city's oldest neighbourhood.

Tasks for volunteers include translating legal documents, taking seniors to the doctor's office or the pharmacy, and informing seniors about their rights as tenants.

The biggest problem for Strathcona seniors is affordable housing.

One of the biggest challenges Ly faced while building this program from scratch was the amount of work required because there was no previous infrastructure, despite the demand for service that was culturally appropriate and in Chinese.

The program will run from this month to March next year, Ly says, because that's when grant funding ends.

"The goal is to improve the quality of life for Chinese seniors."

Addressing Chinese seniors’ challenges

The biggest problem for Strathcona seniors is affordable housing. With condo developments in the area, rents are going up and pushing out the original residents.

Vancouver activist Sid Chow Tan believes the Chinese benevolent and clan associations should contribute to Chinatown by providing their buildings and property for social housing. These associations, grouped either by provinces in China or last name "clans," were community centres.

Historically, most of the association buildings were community homes and bachelor suites for Chinese immigrants, a demographic regularly ignored by the government and institutions, Tan says. "It's sad to see space that used to house hundreds and hundreds of bachelors are now used for mahjong and ping-pong."

Another concern for seniors is health, says Ly. "Doctors are not always accessible. Drop-in clinics are not always available. Or opened only during certain hours."

Volunteers will help by accompanying seniors to the doctor's office and translate if needed.

"We want to fill in the gaps between the generations." - Chanel Ly, Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative

Racism against Chinese seniors does happen at community centres, due to an unfounded belief that there's no such thing as poor Chinese people.

"There are poor Chinese," Tan said at a July event where bilingual volunteers and seniors met. "The Chinese poor doesn't want to be seen as poor. They just bear it."

Tan says they don't want to "lose face." In Chinese, the phrase means losing a combination of self-respect, honour and reputation.

Community survival

Despite the barriers they encounter, these seniors survive by banding together. "They're always self-sufficient and resourceful. They have their own networks," Ly says.

However, Mandarin-speaking seniors are even more marginalized, she says, because what little support there is, it's usually for Cantonese speakers.

Tan says the boomer generation couldn't leave Chinatown fast enough, but the "echo-boomers" came back. "They see something to save and protect. It's sacred ground to Chinese people.”

"It was where people organized to vote, worked to send money home," he says. "Now it's sullied by market forces, economic greed and political entitlement within the community."

Three in five Canadians say their families are not in a good position, financially or otherwise, to care for older family members requiring long-term health care.

Connecting generations

The program also promotes intergenerational interactions. Says Ly, "We want to fill in the gaps between the generations."

Ly started collecting volunteers before the summer and will have check-in meetings with youth once a month. At the moment, she has 15 dedicated volunteers lined up.

The online volunteer form is comprehensive, even asking for preferred pronouns. The program organizer says she wanted the volunteers to feel comfortable.

When asked if seniors – especially those with a traditional mindset – would be upset with transgender volunteers, Ly says the seniors might accept them.

She says they'll notice more that the volunteer is a young, Chinese-speaking person. They'll be grateful for the assistance, and would get to know them as human beings with good intentions.

Seniors’ health care: the numbers

A report titled "2015 National Report Card: Canadian Views on a National Seniors' Health Care Strategy" by Ipsos Reid Public Affairs for the Canadian Medical Association said seniors today represent 15 per cent of the population. In 1971, seniors only represented eight per cent of the population.

Three in five Canadians say their families are not in a good position, financially or otherwise, to care for older family members requiring long-term health care, the report said.

Respondents 55 years of age and older indicate they want more home care and community support to help seniors live at home longer as a key priority for the government.

Ninety per cent of Canadians surveyed believe we need a national strategy on seniors' health care that addresses the need for care provided at home and in hospitals, hospices and long-term care facilities, as well as end-of-life care.

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 Health

by Jeremy J. Nuttall (@Tyee_Nuttall) in Ottawa, Ontario

The battle for votes in Vancouver's large Chinese community is being complicated by deep divisions over immigration issues here and across the Pacific in Hong Kong.

Chinese-language radio talk-show hosts say callers are more worked up than ever about the federal election.

And their support seems largely determined by where they came from in China and their attitude toward tougher immigration rules introduced by the federal government since the 2011 election.

Cantonese-speakers, mainly people from Hong Kong and southern parts of Mainland China, tend to be staunch Conservative supporters.

But for Mandarin-speakers, from northern China and Taiwan, new immigration rules have become the focus of opposition to Stephen Harper's party.

It's an important political battle. About 14.8 per cent of Greater Vancouver residents reported Chinese as a mother tongue in the 2011 census, with 5.8 per cent reporting Cantonese and four per cent Mandarin. Five per cent didn't specify a Chinese language.

On 'Public Forum,' supporters chatter

Johann Chang hosts Public Forum, a weekend Cantonese language show on the Richmond-based Fairchild radio. He said phone lines light up with support for Harper.

"The Conservatives have a strong support base in the Cantonese community. They've been working for that base for a long time," he said. "Conservative supporters call into our show and basically take up the phone lines."

Callers are concerned with New Democratic Party (NDP) and Liberal stances on marijuana legalization and chide the media for talking so much about the Mike Duffy trial, Chang said. They also complain the NDP satellite office issue hasn't been brought up as often as they would like.

"Part of the Cantonese community who are from Hong Kong feel like that city has been flooded with immigrants from Mainland China."

But the community is most divided over tougher immigration rules. The elimination of the skilled-worker program in 2012 and immigrant investor program in 2014 made it harder for Chinese residents to make a new home in Canada. The replacement programs set a tougher standard for would-be immigrants.

The Cantonese community, especially people from Hong Kong, welcomes the changes, Chang said.

"Part of the Cantonese community who are from Hong Kong feel like that city has been flooded with immigrants from Mainland China," Chang said. "So whatever policy makes it harder for Mainland Chinese, or even stops them, from coming to Canada, they can relate to."

Hong Kong's special status in China, created when the United Kingdom ceded control of the territory in 1997, provides freedoms not available in the rest of the country.

The influx of mainland immigrants and tourists to Hong Kong has increased as wealth in China grows, which has led to protests in Hong Kong.

On 'News Frontline,' foes grumble

But if you tune into Fairchild radio during drive time and catch Debbie Chen's show News Frontline, disgruntled Mandarin-speaking callers aren't happy with Harper.

Chen said immigration rules are the bullseye on a dartboard of policies that many Mandarin speakers oppose.

"[Mandarin callers] think Conservatives only benefit the rich people."

Generally, Mandarin speakers think the immigration changes are intended "to block out people from Mainland China," she said.

Most of Chen's Mandarin callers are not happy with Harper, she said, and don't care for policies like income splitting, which critics say favours wealthier Canadians.

"They think Conservatives only benefit the rich people," she said. "They think paying more taxes would be good to get more social benefits."

Chen said the anti-Harper callers appear to be split fairly evenly between support for the NDP and the Liberals, with the Liberals enjoying a slight edge.

Chen said many recent immigrants from China are more working class than the long-established Hong Kong community.

Divisions not unexpected: Houlden

Gordon Houlden of the University of Alberta's China Institute said the link between issues in China and Canada is not entirely unexpected, but still fascinating.

It's a reminder that the Chinese community isn't as monolithic as outsiders assume, he said.

"If you've been here longer and you're more settled, you may not welcome a wave of people who are similar in some ways, but different in others."

New immigration rules focus more on skill set and education than family reunification, he said, so it makes sense that Mandarin speakers would be upset about the changes. The changes reduce the opportunity for relatives to join family members already in Canada.

On the other hand, the Cantonese community may support tougher immigration rules because it tends to be older and more established.

"If you've been here longer and you're more settled, you may not welcome a wave of people who are similar in some ways, but different in others," he said.

Houlden said protests in Hong Kong last year over Beijing's refusal to allow open elections may have added to the divisions between the two groups.

Chen, who is originally from Taiwan, said that Mandarin-speaking Taiwanese immigrants who call in generally also voice opposition to Harper.

"We have the free election right in Taiwan, so we don't like the government staying too long," Chen said. "The Conservatives kept power over 10 years, so some Taiwanese people think it's time to change."


Re-published with permission from The Tyee.

Published in Politics
Thursday, 27 August 2015 04:40

Richmond Residents Divided on Immigration

by Deanna Cheng (@writerly_dee) in Richmond, British Columbia

If Joseph Martinez was given the option, he would “export half of the population of Richmond back to China.”

Owner of Little Paws Animal Clinic and resident of the newly created federal riding of Steveston - Richmond East in British Colombia, Martinez is upset by the “arrogance” of immigrants.

His is part of a growing undercurrent of anti-immigrant sentiment in the riding.

Along with contiguous riding of Richmond Centre from which it was partly carved out, this area near Vancouver has a high concentration of visible minorities.

The debate around immigration has long-since been a hot button issue in the area.

According to the recently published Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote book by former director-general of Citizenship and Multiculturalism, Andrew Griffith, 43 per cent of Steveston - Richmond East identifies itself as ethnic Chinese and 11 per cent as South Asian, while in Richmond Centre the split is 51 per cent Chinese, five per cent South Asian.

Martinez says for him it isn’t about race per se as he would prefer to have Taiwanese immigrants around because “they’re more respectful.”

In fact, he wants “nice Chinese” people who he defines as anyone who isn’t from Hong Kong and makes an attempt to learn English and “greet other races instead of ignoring them.” He also wants newcomers to respect the rules of the road and not drive recklessly as they do in Asia.

A community divided

The debate around immigration has long-since been a hot button issue in the area, and a letter to the editor in last week’s Richmond News brought it to the fore at the start of the election campaign.

In her letter, reader Emilie Henderson expressed her frustrations on reading letters from other residents about their dislike of new immigrants and the change that comes with them.

I read these letters and feel anger at the pure ignorance and lack of perspective of these ‘locals’, descendants of immigrants who likely faced similar hurdles in their adaptation to this country.

“Week after week, I read these letters and feel anger at the pure ignorance and lack of perspective of these ‘locals’, descendants of immigrants who likely faced similar hurdles in their adaptation to this country populated by immigrants,” she wrote.

Henderson goes on in her letter to say Richmond is a wonderful place to live because of its diversity, not in spite of it.

Steveston resident Lori Crump says she is inclined to partially agree with Henderson as immigration has its good outcomes too.

Out on an evening bicycle ride by the water, Crump says her relative’s property value going up is one such positive. “You also learn more about other cultures. There were some Russians who came in. Mandarin. It’s all over the map.”

However, she says more regulation on immigration is needed – something electoral candidates Kenny Chiu (Conservative), Joe Peschisolido (Liberal), Scott Stewart (New Democratic Party) and Laura-Leah Shaw (Green Party) should debate on in the coming weeks.

The decision to stop businesswoman Wendy Yuan from seeking nomination seems to have upset many ethnic Chinese supporters of the [Liberal] party.

But the Liberal nomination in the riding itself had its own share of controversy. The decision to stop businesswoman Wendy Yuan from seeking nomination seems to have upset many ethnic Chinese supporters of the party.

The acclamation of Peschisolido, a former Richmond MP who was elected in 2000 under the Canadian Alliance banner, is seen as an attempt by the Liberals to field someone with sufficient right-wing credentials to breach a Conservative stronghold.

Alice Wong, the Conservative incumbent in neighbouring Richmond Centre, won her seat in 2011 with over 58 per cent of the votes. This time around she will be competing for votes from her own ethnic group as the Liberals have fielded Lawrence Woo and the Greens Vincent Chui. Jack Trovado is running for the NDP.

More accepting than Vancouver 

But whether attitudes around immigration will shape the election outcome in both the Richmond ridings remains a moot issue.

When New Canadian Media hit the streets for a straw poll, it found most people were welcoming and open to immigrants.

Simon Fraser University (SFU) student Fran Li, who grew up in Steveston before moving into a suburban neighbourhood of Richmond, said the city had a “pretty good attitude” towards immigrants.

“It was important to have a bigger perspective of the world.”

Based on her experience of travelling between Vancouver and Richmond to attend SFU’s downtown Vancouver campus, the 19 year old feels more accepted in Richmond. She shared an example of a panhandler in Vancouver telling her to go back to Asia when she ignored him.

Li says her high school had more multicultural events due to international transfer students. It even had a multicultural club, which she enjoyed.

Those school events helped her learn more about the world as opposed to just what’s happening locally. “It was important to have a bigger perspective of the world.”


 

Published in partnership with Asian Pacific Post

Published in Top Stories

by Shan Qiao (@dmaomao) in Toronto

An editor's open letter following her firing by a Chinese-language newspaper over the Michael Chan affair has re-opened the conversation among "ethnic" journalists about professional standards and the future of the industry.

In her open letter to the Chinese media, Helen Wang, the former editor-in-chief of the Chinese Canadian Post (pictured left), claims she was fired because she published an article written by columnist Jonathan Fon criticizing Michael Chan.

“Not to mention the legitimacy of Jonathan Fon’s column, the fact [Wang] was fired without any reasoning indicates further evaluation is needed on Chinese media employees’ tough work environment,” Wang writes at the start of the open letter.

The letter continues by arguing that media, as a “social conscience,” should be separated from any government influence and reveal truth. However, the hardship of making a living working in the Chinese media is hard to ignore – some newspaper’s publishers sacrifice their journalistic standards in return for more advertising revenue.

"What I don’t like the most is that my story was always compromised by heavy workload. I tried to be unbiased but at the end of the day, we don’t have enough resources or manpower to do a balanced story." - Min Li, former journalist

Wang concludes by expressing her lifelong passion in working as a journalist, and promised to return to Chinese media in the future. Jonathan Fon, on the other hand, assured he would keep freelancing and speak out without being influenced.

Journalists struggle under pressures

Min Li, who used to work at a daily Chinese newspaper based in Scarborough, didn’t hesitate to speak about her frustration working as a reporter for seven years.

“What I don’t like the most is that my story was always compromised by heavy workload. I tried to be unbiased but at the end of the day, we don’t have enough resources or manpower to do a balanced story. It’s not about quality that we are working on. It’s the quantity the editor targets.”

Li adds: “The workload is fixed with two stories a day, at least 800 Chinese characters per story. Nobody cares how thorough or how balanced your story is as long as you submit two stories at the end of the day.”

Several months ago, Li quit the job and became a freelance interpreter. Without a stable bi-weekly paycheque or any medical benefits, she is determined to go in a new direction and build up a professional career she firmly believes in.

What cost Wang her job at the Chinese Canadian Post was an article Jonathan Fon wrote right after the Globe and Mail published a two-day investigative feature on Ontario cabinet minister Michael Chan’s ties with the Chinese government and the fact he was investigated by CSIS, Canada’s spy agency.

Li is lucky to be young and single. Jianxin Huang, on the other hand, is a father to two teenage children. He worked as an editor at a newspaper that no longer runs in the community, losing his job after three years.

Huang graduated from university in China with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Between his work experience in China and here after immigrating to Canada, he had been in the newsroom for two decades.

Huang had to enlist the help of Second Career, a program funded by the Ontario government that provides laid-off workers with skills training and helps them find jobs in high-demand occupations.

“I now work as a construction worker, going everywhere in the GTA. It’s very different than the job I had been doing for decades in newsroom, but I’m happy with what I got,” Huang says. Although his workload is quite literally heavier, he admits he earns a higher wage and gets more comprehensive medical and dental benefits, as well as work injury insurance.

What cost Wang her job at the Chinese Canadian Post was an article Jonathan Fon wrote right after the Globe and Mail published a two-day investigative feature on Ontario cabinet minister Michael Chan’s ties with the Chinese government and the fact he was investigated by CSIS, Canada’s spy agency.

Fon argued in his column (pictured right) that Chan doesn’t represent the Chinese community, only his constituents. CSIS’s investigation on Chan is about his own integrity and has nothing to do with the Chinese community.

Chan’s office has denied any involvement in Wang’s job termination.

Chan files lawsuit

In the meantime, Chan has already filed a libel suit with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against the Globe and Mail for its two features that suggested his ties to the Chinese government. In the statement of claim, he seeks $4.55 million in general and punitive damages.

“This has been a difficult time for me and my family … Since these stories were published, I have given a great deal of thought to the impact the unfounded allegations against me will have in the immigrant communities of Canada,” the claim says.

In the claim, Chan also indicated that his personal goal “in this litigation is to clear my name and restore my reputation.” He will donate any amount awarded to him by the court to PEN Canada, a writers’ association for freedom of expression, and the Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation.

During an interview with Sing Tao Daily, one of the largest Chinese daily newspapers in North America, Chan indicated that he has met with Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner, asking about who pays for his libel-suit fees given the triple identities he has as an MPP, a cabinet minister and a citizen. He said it would take the Integrity Commissioner one month to give a proper guideline.

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 Arts & Culture

By John Baimba Sesay.
Sierra Leone's top diplomat to the People's Republic of China has informed senior Chinese government officials that prior to the Ebola outbreak in the small West African State, Sierra Leone was enjoying a thriving economic growth under the leadership of President Koroma.
Her Excellency Madam Alice Kumba Momoh (first from right in photo), Charge D' Affaires at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Beijing spoke on Friday 14th August during a meeting with Cao (...)

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The Patriotic Vangaurd

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Published in China

Numbers released by MacDonald Realty suggest in 2014, 70 per cent of homes costing $3 million or more were bought by people from Mainland China, reported CKNW.
Managing director Dan Scarrow says the participation rate from foreign [...]

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The Link

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Published in Economy

More than 103,000 people in China and around the world have filed criminal complaints against former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin for his lead role in...

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Epoch Times

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Published in China

by Ranjit Bhaskar (@ranjit17) in Mississauga, Ontario

Canada will persist with its new Immigrant Investor Venture Capital plan despite the less-than-enthusiastic response to it so far.

Pilot programs like this always take time to be known in a competitive global environment,” Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said Tuesday in Mississauga, Ont. at a meeting with a select group of media.

Canada has so far received just six applications for the pilot program as of June 8, according to data obtained by Richard Kurland, a Vancouver immigration lawyer through an Access to Information request.

Minister Alexander ruled out easing the entry norms under the pilot to make it popular like the previous one.

Popularly referred to as the “millionaire visa,” at its launch in January it was expected that at least 50 foreigners would join the plan, under which applicants must be far richer than what was stipulated previously for a similar program.

Would-be immigrants under this class must now invest a minimum of C$2 million in Canada for a 15-year period and must have a net worth of at least C$10 million. Among other new criteria, they must also be able to speak English or French.

Launched in the mid-1980s, the old plan fast-tracked visas for foreigners with a net worth of C$800,000 and C$400,000 to invest. The amounts were later upped to a net worth of C$1.6 million and C$800,000 to invest.  

The old plan was very popular, particularly with Chinese investors. As demand surged, the program was frozen in 2012 to clear backlog. It was scrapped last year amid criticism over allowing the global rich to buy their way into Canada.

[Minister Chris Alexander] said the program was the first of its kind in the world and proof that Canada’s immigration programs will remain the most agile and responsive. “We are prepared to adjust.”

Minister Alexander ruled out easing the entry norms under the pilot to make it popular like the previous one. “Keeping program standards high will ensure that Canadians continue to benefit from our immigration programs,” he said.

The minister said the pilot was only one among a number of pathways to attract investment into Canada. He pointed out the Start-Up Visa Program that hopes to attract immigrant entrepreneurs who have the potential to build innovative companies that can compete on a global scale and create jobs.

He said the program was the first of its kind in the world and proof that Canada’s immigration programs will remain the most agile and responsive. “We are prepared to adjust.”

Responding to new high in immigration levels

On the controversial aspects of Bill C-24, which came into force last month, Alexander said his government has only built on existing rules. “The new rules are meant to weed out citizens of convenience who view the Canadian passport only as an insurance policy.”

He said Canada has increased its response to refugee resettlement in view of the crisis in Iraq and Syria along with renewing its commitment to reuniting families.  

The minister said in the past three years close to 75,000 people have come in on family reunification visas and 50,000 have been issued super visas.

There has also been an increase in the numbers of visitors from countries like Brazil, China and India on account of new 10-year multiple entry visas, [Minister Alexander] added.

On the issue of reducing the age of dependents to 18, Alexander said it was done to make it consistent with laws of the land, which consider those above that age as independent adults.

“When these young adults apply for residency on their own, their pathway would be faster as the points system gives them a huge advantage,” he explained.

There has also been an increase in the numbers of visitors from countries like Brazil, China and India on account of new 10-year multiple entry visas, he added.

“These visitors are economically significant for the Canadian economy along with international students, whose intake has doubled over the past few years. Last year the number crossed 64,000, up from 29,000.”    

The minister said international students are potential immigrants through a new channel.

With 262,000 people entering in 2014 alone, he said the current level of immigration is a new high in Canadian history.

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

Canada’s ambitious pilot immigration program for attracting super millionaires has drawn a muted response. In the past six months, since the program started, there were only six applicants, which is nothing compared to the former investor class immigration program, media in Asia reported.

The latter was scrapped in 2014, amid criticism that it allowed wealthy Chinese to buy their way into Canada.

In December 2014, Canada announced that it was looking for 50 wealthy foreigners to join the pilot run of the IIIVC to attract applicants far richer than those who have already entered under the previous program.

Referring to the poor response to the program named as "Immigrant Investor Venture Capital scheme," an immigration lawyer said “it is poorly designed." Richard Kurland, a Vancouver based immigration lawyer said he received this information when he filed an Access to Information request, seeking the data on the new immigration plan for the rich. The federal government had started accepting applications in January.

In December 2014, Canada announced that it was looking for 50 wealthy foreigners to join the pilot run of the IIIVC to attract applicants far richer than those who have already entered under the previous program. The previous Immigrant Investor Program was scrapped even while a huge backlog of applications were existing at Canada's Hong Kong consulate from mainland Chinese.

Kurland quipped that the revamped program will “wither on the vine and quietly go away” because of the low demand from would-be immigrants. He sees two reasons for it. One is the high price tag and second is the uncertainty about investment, reported the International Business Times.

“We believe it is important to continue testing demand, because we know that the IIVC pilot program can deliver significant benefit to Canada." - Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Though the initial response is looking poor, an official at the Citizenship and Immigration department said, there is no question of the government reverting to the previous investor class visa. “We believe it is important to continue testing demand, because we know that the IIVC pilot program can deliver significant benefit to Canada," the official said.

The ambitious new program envisages would-be immigrants to invest a minimum of C$2 million in Canada for a 15-year period. They must also have a net worth minimum of at least C$10 million. “Few were prepared to throw good money away, and C$2 million  is a lot of money to get a visa. There was no monitoring oversight and control after the investment is made … (and so) this is not a wise financial decision to take. I’m not surprised to see just six takers,” Kurland noted.

Not globally competitive

The flaws in the new scheme were picked by another expert. According to Hong Kong immigration lawyer Jean-Francois Harvey, the new program is "ridiculous.” The applicants have to undergo strict audits to confirm the source of their wealth besides vetting the language and education benchmarks. He said the failure to attract applications despite postponing the deadline again and again showed it is not competitive in front of the worldwide competition for investor immigrants from China and across the world. 

[T]he immigration industry in Asia "did not even try to market the deal" because it compared so unfavorably with schemes offered by other countries, notably those in Europe.

"The failure to attract [more applications] despite the fact that they postponed the deadline again and again is simply [because] it is not competitive in front of the worldwide competition for investor [immigrants] from China and around the world," said Harvey, founder of the Harvey Law Group, which is based in Montreal, with offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Vietnam.

Harvey said the immigration industry in Asia "did not even try to market the deal" because it compared so unfavourably with schemes offered by other countries, notably those in Europe. For instance, Portugal offers permanent residency under its "Golden Visa" scheme to immigrants who spend 500,000 euros (HK$4.24 million) on Portuguese real estate and retain it for five years.

Harvey said the new Canadian program was a "not-so-subtle way to block the Chinese applicant."

Under the old IIP, investment took the form of an interest-free C$800,000 loan to Canada, which was returned intact to the immigrant after five years. The IIVC scheme's C$2 million investment will be held by Canada for about 15 years and will be fully at risk of loss.

But interest in the new program has been paltry. According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), responding to an access-to-information request, the IIVC scheme received just six applications worldwide, as of June 8. 

Kurland, according to The South China Morning Post said the IIVC scheme was "a mousetrap that doesn't trap mice." "The design is flawed. It doesn't reflect market realities," said Kurland, who said would-be immigrants were put off by the risky nature of the investment, as well as the requirement for financial audits.

He also said Canada's recent habit of "retroactively changing the rules" for immigration applicants was acting as a major deterrent. When the IIP was shut down last year, the backlog of about 60,000 applicants and family members, including about 45,000 mainland Chinese, was simply dumped. 


Published in partnership with Asian Pacific Post

Published in Economy

Poll Question

Do you agree with the new immigration levels for 2017?

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The voting for this poll has ended on: %05 %b %2016 - %21:%Dec

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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.

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