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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cheats being stripped of Canadian citizenship

   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 16/12


   (c) By Jim Fox

   The federal government is stripping the Canadian citizenship of thousands of people who have cheated the system.
    “Canadian citizenship is not for sale,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said, vowing to continue the Conservative government’s crackdown against cheats.
   Canada is revoking the status of 3,139 people for abusing the system in order to receive citizenship, he said.
   As well, thousands more are being investigated on suspicions of fraudulently obtaining or maintaining their permanent residence for citizenship purposes.
   In all, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is looking at the cases of about 11,000 people have been potentially implicated in lying to apply for citizenship or resident status.
   It’s a process that takes several years, Kenney said as critics suggest his comments are upsetting to the majority of law-abiding immigrants.
   Canada has removed or denied admittance to more than 600 former permanent residents linked to fraud and denied about 500 citizenship applications for not meeting residence requirements.
   “We will continue to take strong measures to combat the industry of crooked immigration agents here and abroad who seek to devalue Canadian citizenship by creating fake proof of residency and committing other forms of fraud,” Kenney said.


   A now-retired school bus monitor who was tormented by teenaged bullies has visited Toronto to pick up a check for $703,000 as the result of an international humanitarian gesture.
   Karen Klein, 68, of Greece, N.Y., said she was overwhelmed by the response to Toronto nutritionist Max Sidorov’s attempt to raise $5,000 to send her on a vacation.
   Sidorov, 25, said he felt compelled to help Klein after watching a video of her being taunted and threatened by middle school students on a bus last June.
   The fund-raising website Indiegogo said there were more than 30,000 people in 84 countries donating to help Klein.
   Some of the money is to be used for anti-bullying measures and for work with special-needs children, she said.
   Klein decided not to pursue the arrests of the four bullies who have been suspended from school for a year.


   News in brief:
   - A Quebec court has ruled the Canadian government improperly ordered the dismantling of the national long-gun registry. The ruling is a victory for the Quebec government that wants to keep the registry information for the province. Judge Marc-Andre Blanchard of the Quebec Superior Court gave the federal government 30 days to hand over the registry data.
   - Students are going deeper into debt as university tuition fees are becoming less affordable, a report from the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives said. Since 1990, tuition and fees for undergraduates have risen by 6.2 percent a year, it found. The average cost to study at a Canadian university now is $6,186 a year plus the cost of housing, food and books. Fees range from lows in Newfoundland at $2,861 and Quebec’s $3,278 to Ontario at $7,513 and Alberta’s $7,061.


   Facts and figures:
   The Canadian dollar has soared to 1.0325 in U.S. funds while the greenback dropped to 98.84 cents Canadian before bank exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is unchanged at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3 percent.
   Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 12,508 points and the TSX Venture index 1,316 points.
   Lotto 6-49: (Sept. 12) 3, 29, 33, 36, 39 and 45; bonus 37.  (Sept. 8) 1, 4, 6, 24, 26 and 29; bonus 12. Lotto Max: (Sept. 7) 11, 14, 18, 20, 37, 41 and 46; bonus 8.


   Regional briefs:
   - Former Alberta Conservative Premier Peter Lougheed, credited with transforming the western province into a “modern petro-powered giant,” has died at age 84. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the Calgary-born lawyer who was premier from 1971 to 1985 was “one of the most remarkable Canadians of his generation.” Lougheed’s grandfather, James, was a member of the Senate and served as a minister in the governments of prime ministers Robert Borden and Arthur Meighen.
   - The clean-up continues in Newfoundland after post-tropical storm Leslie slammed the island with hurricane-force winds and heavy rain. The Canadian Hurricane Center said the storm made landfall in Fortune while roofs were torn off houses in St. Johns and trees toppled. Power was off for several hours for about 100,000 customers in St. John’s and across the Avalon Peninsula. There were no reports of serious injuries or major evacuations.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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