Welcome

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.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Drowned Syrian boy's family to be resettled in Canada's refugee aid



   Canada column for Sunday, Nov. 29/15

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   The family of a Syrian boy whose body washed up on a Turkish beach will be “fast-tracked” among the 25,000 refugees being resettled in Canada.
   Relatives confirmed the family of Alan Kurdi, 3, who drowned when a boat packed with refugees sank, has been accepted by Canada.
   The country will admit 10,000 refugees by year’s end, with the remaining 15,000 by Feb. 28 under a revised commitment to ensure proper security and health screening.
   The first group making the trip will be made up largely of privately sponsored refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war.
   Immigration Minister John McCallum said priority will be given for government-sponsored newcomers to families, women at risk, members of sexual minorities and single men identified as gay, bisexual or transgender or part of a family.
   They will arrive in Toronto or Montreal and be resettled in 36 cities across Canada.
   So far this year 3,100 Syrian refugees have arrived under previous government commitments.
   Canada is also giving $100 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, making almost $1 billion the government has spent in response to the Syrian crisis.

   ---

Monday, November 23, 2015

Canada prepares to welcome 25,000 refugees



   Canada column for Sunday, Nov. 22/15

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   The first wave of Syrian refugees is about to arrive in Canada among 25,000 people the new Liberal government pledges in a “rapid resettlement” by year’s end.
   Armed Forces’ bases and some decommissioned hospitals are among the facilities being readied to provide housing and other immediate needs for the migrants.
   Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hasn’t formally indicated any specifics to meet the Dec. 31 resettlement commitment for the group made up mostly of government-assisted refugees and some privately sponsored ones.
   A government document suggests the plan will cost the government $1.2 billion over the next six years, with $876.7 million needed through the next year.
   Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the resettlement can be done without compromising safety to Canadians as stringent background checks will be conducted.
   He called it a “humanitarian” mission that will “rescue people who are in terrible conditions and fleeing from the scourge.”
   After a series of anti-Muslim incidents across Canada, a coalition of anti-racism groups is concerned the migrants will become terrorist “scapegoats,” said Mohamed Boudjenane of the Canadian Arab Federation.
   Ontario, which is expected to receive most of the newcomers, has a committee planning for the provision of housing, education, health services and language and employment training.

   ---

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Canadian government speeds up efforts to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees



   Canada column for Sunday, Nov. 15/15

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   The new Liberal government is advancing its commitment to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees in Canada by the end of the year.
   Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also told Defense Minister Harjitt Sajjan to end Canada’s combat mission in Iraq and Syria, as promised in the election campaign.
   The selection of refugees is underway with a focus on choosing people who have fled to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
   United Nations staff members are working with Canadian officials to assess the cases.
   Furio De Angelis, Canadian representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said it is “an extraordinary effort but not everyone is eligible.”
   Priority is being given to people in immediate physical danger, survivors of violence or torture, medical needs or a woman, child or adolescent at risk.
   In “mandate letters” to his cabinet members, Trudeau referred to “refocusing Canada’s efforts” to training local forces and humanitarian support and away from combat.
   There is a “need to revitalize, focus and support peacekeeping operations around the world," he said.

    ---

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Openness is hallmark of new Canadian Liberal goverment, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says



   Canada column for Sunday, Nov. 8/15

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   With much pomp and ceremony, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took office with his Liberal party, promising “openness and transparency” will be a hallmark of his government.
   Trudeau, 43, opened the grounds of Rideau Hall in Ottawa and invited the public to observe the procession at the swearing-in.
   Ending almost 10 years of Conservative rule under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Liberal era includes a smaller 30-member cabinet, down nine members, with an equal number of men and women.
   Commenting on the diversity of its members, Trudeau said he put together a cabinet “that looks like Canada.”
   Eighteen of the government officials are rookies including Toronto businessman Bill Morneau who became finance minister.
   “The swearing-in event was designed to convey openness, optimism and inclusion – a stark contrast to nearly a decade of what the Liberals call the one-man, secretive rule and politics of division of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives,” the Canadian Press newswire reported.
   The Conservatives have chosen veteran politician Rona Ambrose as interim leader, replacing Harper who remains a Member of Parliament for Calgary.

    ---

Monday, November 2, 2015

Justin Trudeau to be sworn in as Canada's next Prime Minister



   Canada column for Sunday, Nov. 1/15

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Stephen Harper’s almost 10-year reign as Canada’s prime minister will end on Wednesday when Justin Trudeau is sworn in after his Liberal party’s decisive election victory.
   Harper will leave office just before the swearing-in of the Liberal government but will remain a Member of Parliament for Calgary.
   Prime Minister-designate Trudeau is expected to recall Parliament next month to begin fulfilling his election promises, starting with a tax break for the “middle class.”
   Other pledges are withdrawing fighter jets from combat overseas, quickly resettling 25,000 Syrian refugees, amending the Anti-Terrorism Act, raising taxes on high-income earners and creating a national inquiry into missing and murdered women.
   The election win has prompted Canada Post to immediately halt the further installation of community mailboxes in a program that was to end home delivery to save money.
   Trudeau said he would keep door-to-door mail delivery and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers wants his government to reverse cuts to postal services that have been made so far.

    ---