Greetings to thousands of readers the past month from the United States and Canada, as well as the United Kingdom, Russia, India, Germany, France, Japan and Latvia.

Total Pageviews

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Liberals would ease restrictions for Mexicans to come to Canada

   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 27/15

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Saying that Canadians are “a generous and compassionate people,” Liberal leader Justin Trudeau wants to make it easier for Mexicans to come to Canada.
   Campaigning for the Oct. 19 federal election, Trudeau said his government would remove visa requirements for Mexican citizens and undo strict regulations put in place by the Conservative government.
   The visa requirement and tougher refugee status conditions were imposed since 2009 to deal with a big jump in the numbers of Mexican asylum seekers.
   The government said it was acting because many refugee applications were bogus with those fleeing Mexico for economic reasons rather than for security.
   Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has soured Canada’s relationship with Mexico, Trudeau said vowing to “do right by our continental neighbor.”
   Claims of bogus refuges are an example of the government “continually stoking fear and anger among Canadians,” he added.
   “We need to ensure that Canada is a country that is accepting refugees who are fleeing persecution from all sorts of places around the world for all sorts of different reasons,” Trudeau said.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Conservatives retake the lead in public-opinion polls before the October election

   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 20/15

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Brushing off criticism that the Conservative government hasn’t done enough to resettle Syrian refugees, the ruling party is back on top in public opinion polls for the Oct. 19 election.
   Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives regained the lead with 32 per-cent support in a Forum Research poll.
   The party lagged behind – dropping to as low as third place – in recent weeks but Forum president Lorne Bozinoff said the Conservatives likely got a boost with news that Canada has a $1.9-billion budget surplus this year.
   Second was the socialist New Democratic Party with 30 per cent followed by the Liberals at 28, Green, 6, and Bloc Quebecois, 4 percent.
   Forum pollsters asked Canadians if the Conservatives are doing enough to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis and offering resettlement assistance.
   Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they were while 36 percent believe more should be done.
   At a leaders’ debate in Calgary about the economy, Harper said “staying the course” with tax cuts and balanced budgets is the safe road to prosperity.
   Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau called for more spending as an “investment in the future” while the New Democrat’s Tom Mulcair said he would invest in social programs and raise corporate income taxes.


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Refugee father of drowned Syrian boy blames Canada

   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 13/15

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The father of a three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed up on a Turkish beach said he blames Canada for the tragedy that also killed his wife and another son.
   Abdullah Kurdi’s comment comes as Canadian premiers, mayors, church groups and citizens put pressure on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to welcome more Syrian refugees to Canada.
   Kurdi said he does not understand why Canada rejected his application for asylum but Citizenship and Immigration Canada officials said they received no such notice on his behalf.
   His sister, Tima, of Coquitlam, British Columbia, said she submitted an application for his brother Mohammed and planned to later apply to sponsor Abdullah’s family as well.
   Mohammed Kurdi’s application was said to be incomplete and he is now in Germany with his family.
   Tima said she sent money to Abdullah to pay smugglers for the deadly ride to Greece from Turkey in a boat that capsized.
   At an election campaign stop, Harper said he will unveil plans “in the very near future” to expedite the process for refugee resettlement.
   “Let me assure you that the position of this government is we have been the world leader in refugee resettlement and we intend to do that in a responsible and affordable way for Canadians,” he said.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Refugee crisis tops concerns in Canadian election campaign

   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 6/15

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The image of a drowned three-year-old boy on a Turkish beach derailed the Canadian election campaign as attempts failed to bring his Syrian refugee family to Canada.
   The boy was the nephew of Tima Kurdi of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia who was trying to sponsor the family.
   Alan Kurdi, drowned along with his five-year-old brother and mother in an unsuccessful attempt to reach Europe on a smuggler’s boat, while the father, Abdullah, survived.
   Tima wanted to bring another brother, Mohammed, to Canada first and then Abdullah and his family.
   The government said it did not receive a refugee application for Abdullah but did get an incomplete one for Mohammed that didn’t meet the requirements for proof of refugee status.
   Member of Parliament Fin Donnelly said he delivered a letter in March to Immigration Minister Chris Alexander about the family’s reunification bid.
   The news led to Alexander being pulled off the election campaign to return to Ottawa to address the crisis.
   Stephen Harper, seeking re-election as prime minister, tearfully expressed his feelings while underscoring the need to continue the military fight against the Islamic militants in Syria and Iraq.