Pluri Vox Media Corp. Weekly Report for 31 March 2004

Ethnic Media Monitoring

Table of Contents



Multiculturalism, general 4


Anti-racism 4

Anti-Semitism 4

Discrimination 5

Racism, general 6




Immigration issues 8

Refugees 10

Sgro, Judy 10

War crimes 11


Representation 12


Cultural identity 12


Accomplishments 13

Events 13

Intercommunity links 14

Organisational issues 14

Other community issues 14


Family violence 15


International trade, general 15


Exhibits/education 16

Historical research 16

History, ethnic 16

Museum 17


Broadcasting licenses 18

Education 18

Policing 18



Tolerate racism at own risk, columnist warns

Police arrests at Somali restaurant may tip scales

Cameras, education needed to stamp out racism

Toronto police wants female Tamil officers

U. of T., Chinese group launch anti-racism discs

Poles also "shivering" from swastika desecrations

Check-point drama sparks student ban at York U

McGuinty, bishops denounce anti-Semitic attacks

Judge wrong to deny hearing on "nigger" text


11 charged in Immigration & Refugee Board probe

Sgro wants to "eliminate" politics at Immigration board

Chinese residents lose status on single visa application

$15K fine too low for Fililpino nanny fraud: victims

Taiwan emigration surges after election scandals

Tamil spousal sponsorships yield rocky marriages


50,000 Canadians in Lebanon promote trade

Watch Australia for MidEast policy: analyst

Liddar's cancelled Chandigarh posting "humiliating"

$70,000 raised for Chernobyl orphans

Columnist asks: Whom do terror warnings profit?

Ukrainian radio cuts suspended until elections


Arrests, injury mark Pakistani's deportation protest

Cotler's Nazi deportations an "affront on liberties"

Auditor Fraser should check $7 billion security bill


3,000 mark Iranian new year, seek official holiday

Liberals pressure Lebanese candidate to exit race

BC college awaits $1 million for Indo-Canadian chair

Canadian nurse saved 5,000 orphans, records show

Chinese dolphins may live at BC aquarium


Multiculturalism, general

The Winnipeg Jewish Film Festival was scheduled to run from the end of March to the beginning of April with at least eight films, one each from Argentina and France, several from the U.S. and a few from Israel. Among the featured works were "Trumpet in the Waidi" (Israel 2001) a love story between a Jew and Arab, "My Architect - a Son's Journey" (U.S. 2002), "Secret Lives: Hidden Children and their Rescuers During WWII" (U.S. 2002), and "Autumn Sun" (Argentina, 1997), as well as "Monsieur Batignole" (France.) Festival director Tamar Barr said the venue would appeal to film-lovers of all cultures and ages.(News: The Jewish Post and News, 17 March 2004, Winnipeg, Jewish.)



Harmony Movement (HM) founder Dr. Wang Yujia believed that educational method was needed in order to promote the importance of racial harmony and mutual respect as a response to a series of recent anti-Semitism incidents. Dr. Wang pointed out that many international events invoked feelings of hate and some racists took advantage of such feelings to make trouble. Light vandals could be educated to understand the importance of racial harmony. However, die-hard racists must be legally penalized. Dr. Wang indicated that the HM and the University of Toronto produced discs of educational material, which would be incorporated into a textbook of a social science course for Toronto District School Board.(Opinion: Sing Tao, 25 March 2004, Toronto, Chinese.)


An Ontario government committee passed a resolution of denouncing anti-Semitism on the 22nd of March. Premier McGuinty mentioned that no form kind of racism should not be forgiven. Also, Toronto Mayor David Miller pointed out that the diversity in Toronto is a good thing and racism should not be accepted. Premier is strong in the view that action should be taken against racism.(Opinion: The Korea Central daily, 24 March 2003, Toronto, Korean.)

The issue of anti Semitism has been raised recently. Twenty-seven gravestones of people of Jewish descent were vandalized at a memorial park in Toronto. Prime minister Paul Martin promised to find out about the criminals and prevent anti-Semitism. According to a Jewish group, the number of anti- Semitic incidents has risen 27 percent in the last year alone.(Opinion: The Korea Times daily, 23 March 2003, Toronto, Korean.)

Shattered synagogue windows, overturned head stones, 11 automobiles spray-painted and at least one home's front door painted with hateful slogans such as "Jewz suk" were just some of the crimes that police in Toronto were investigating recently, a front-page report said. An editorial in the same issue stated that the Jewish community had no fear of the vandals, adding that "we will not be intimidated by hateful, hurtful, craven ignoramuses . . . we have contempt for them and pity for their families." A letter to the editor from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto strongly denounced the attacks, and pointed out that because silence was sometimes construed as consent, the Roman Catholic Church felt it must forcefully condemn the attacks.(News/Opinion: The Canadian Jewish News, 25 March 2004, North York, Jewish.)

Among the horrible anti-Semitic incidents committed recently in Toronto, the ones that stand out as particularly horrific is the desecration of graves and swastikas painted on houses of Jewish people - some of whom survived the Holocaust. The members of the Polish community can truly sympathise with residents of these houses; that swastika sign also makes Poles shiver, for them it also meant murder and terror during the long six years of German occupation. The commentator concluded, "We should all unite in condemning such hateful actions."(Opinion: Gazeta, 28 March 2004, Toronto, Polish.)


York University issued a limited-time campus activities ban for two student groups: Palestinian and Israeli. This was the result of clashes between the two groups on the university grounds, requiring police intervention a week earlier. University spokeswoman Nancy White said in a press release that the law was broken and both groups must be punished. Jordie Saperia, president of the Israeli student group Hillel, thinks the punishment does not fit the deed and is too harsh. The vice-president of the Palestinian group Nariman Abu-Abed said that Palestinian students will not accept being called terrorists and suicide bombers by members of Hillel. The incident was sparked by Palestinian students' dramatization of a border crossing at an Israeli checkpoint.(News: Gazeta, 24 March 2004, Toronto, Polish.)

March 21 campaign

As Canada commemorated another year of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination last March 21, writer Mogi Mogado reflected on its significance to the Filipino community in this country. It has been another year without any serious incident in the Filipino community in Metro-Toronto, and hopefully all over Canada. However, a decade ago, the entire community was stirred into action by an incident of racism at the Scarborough Town Centre, where Filipino youths were harassed and banned from the mall premises. The strong and immediate mobilization in the community to protest the racism, and the subsequent filing of documents charges with the Human Rights Commission, eventually caused the mall to make the necessary changes in its policies. The experience also became the defining case for community action in the fight against racial discrimination. It earned for the Filipinos a distinctive spot in the history of the anti-racism struggle in Canada. The message of anti-racism day is unfortunately lost in the cases of the typically culturally timid Pinoys who simply cop out. To ignore an incident is to defeat the spirit of this international human rights convention.(Opinion: Balita, 16 March 2004, Toronto, Filipino.)

The Tamil Anti-Racism Committee (TARC) organised seminars and interviews to focus on the International day for the Eradication of Racism that falls on for the 21st of March 2004. It called for action against all forms of racism prevalent in Canada. Racism exists both hidden and overt, in police
departments, the judiciary, schools, business-houses, taxi companies and airports. People have to be educated on the need to identify acts of racism and how to confront them. All cases are recorded and reports are presented periodically. Organisations should investigate problems of racism and find ways and means of getting rid of them. The findings should be reported to the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Ministry of Education should include the training for the eradication of racism in the curriculum. Photographic surveillance equipment should be installed in establishments found to be places of racial discrimination. Every effort should be made to study the methods used by foreign countries to combat racism. Facilities are made by TA RC to record the statements of affected Tamils in their mother tongue.(News: Elmira's, 11 March 2004, Toronto, Tamil.)

Racism, general

A Quebec Court of Appeal recently ruled that Superior Court Judge Diane Marcellin erred in refusing to hear a Gatineau student's bid to access the courts to hear her racial discrimination case. The 18-year-old Janik Sunstrum and her lawyer challenged the procedures used by the Quebec Human Rights Commission to reject her complaint. In December 1999, when Janik was in Grade 9 at a private French Catholic school in Hull, she was shocked when a teacher asked her class to write the plural of the term "tête-de-nègre." Janik felt strongly that the word, translated literally as "nigger head," was racially charged and inappropriate. When her school, École Secondaire St. Joseph, refused to remove the grammar book containing the term, Janik launched a human rights complaint.(News: The Spectrum, 19 March 2004, Ottawa, African/English.)


United States' ambassador to Canada Mr. Paul Cellucci, urged Canada to work with the U.S. to prevent future terrorist attacks to Canadian cities. Mr. Cellucci was talking to more than three hundred guests and member of the press at the Western University in Toronto on the second week of March 2004. He indicated that the major cities such as Montreal, Toronto and Windsor could be next on the terrorist's target list, similar to Madrid, of Spain. Mr. Cellucci affirmed that the war against terrorism has placed some unexpected challenges to the Canada- U.S relationship, especially in borders securities area. Mr. Cellucci indicated that the effort to keep Canada and U.S borders more secure should be on the top priority list of the national security in both countries. One would hope that the Auditor General of Canada, Ms. Sheila Fraser would confirm the details of the seven billions spent on improving national security in her report due at the end of March 2004.(News/Opinion: Thoi Moi, 24 March 2004, Toronto, Vietnamese.)



M. Michel Duval, ambassadeur du Canada au Liban, a prononcé une conférence à la Chambre de commerce Canada-Liban à Ottawa en présence d'environ 230 invités, dont les représentants du Ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Commerce international, les représentants de l'ACDI, le sénateur Marcel Prud'homme, le sénateur Mac Harb et le président de la Chambre de Commerce Canada-Liban à Ottawa, M. Mounir Atallah. La conférence avait pour sujet le potentiel d'accroissement des échanges entre le Canada et le Liban. Signalons qu'il y a au Liban environ 50 000 personnes qui portent la citoyenneté canadienne, ce qui facilite les échanges entre les deux pays.(Nouvelle : Al-Moustakbal, 17 mars 2004, Montréal, arabe.)

Proposed cuts to the Ukrainian-language service of Radio Canada International have been suspended until after the Ukrainian Presidential elections scheduled for October 31, 2004, Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham announced at a meeting with Executive Director of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) Ostap Skrypnyk recently. Mr. Skrypnyk in turn took the opportunity to press the government on support for the UCC's observer initiative during the Ukraine's upcoming presidential elections. "The UCC was pleased to learn that the Minister believed that the concept of the Canadian Government working with the Ukrainian Canadian community to provide the greatest number of election observers in the important October elections was worthy of consideration and development," said the UCC press release. The minister also made a commitment to meet with UCC President Eugene Czolij to discuss this and other issues further.(News: Ukrainian News, 30 March 2004, Edmonton, Ukrainian/English.)

Writing from Jerusalem, commentator Gerald Steinberg asked whether Canada's foreign policy could learn from Australia's? The motto at the department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) seemed to be "Don't get close to Washington," and if Canada did not join the Third World or the Arab League, at times is was hard to tell, wrote Mr. Steinberg. While Canada has clung to obstructionism, Australia has changed its position substantially, such that Prime Minister Martin's government should now be able to once again turn Canada into a leader of the politically incorrect opponents of terror, and become a consistent supporter of democracy. This would be a welcome change, concluded the commentator.(Opinion: The Canadian Jewish News, 25 March 2004, North York, Jewish.)

Bhupinder S. Liddar, whom MP Herb Dhaliwal and Prime Minister Jean Chrétien chose as the first Canadian Consul general for the new Chandigarh visa office, was a marked man right from the start and his appointment was controversial. The latest news that Mr. Liddar will not be taking over the Punjab position on April 1, 2004, must have devastated the former Chrétien cronies who have already set up immigration consulting offices in Chandigarh, hoping to have a friendly ear for their visa-for-money business. "The first Canadian Sikh to be appointed the head of a diplomatic mission has just been humiliated by Prime Minister Paul Martin and his bumbling advisors," said Rattan Mall.(News: The Link, 27 March 2004, Surrey, English; Opinion: Indo-Canadian Voice, 27 March 2004, Surrey, English.)

The Canadian ambassador to Ukraine Andrew Robinson in mid-March launched a new "Help Us Help the Children" Project of the Children of Chernobyl Canadian Fund, in cooperation with the Ukrainian Charitable Fund "Friends of Children," aimed at improving health care conditions in 50 orphanages across Ukraine. The total monetary worth of this year's aid to Ukrainian orphanages from Canada is valued at more than CAD $70,000. "Canada has a strong record in the world for its caring attitude towards the most vulnerable people in other countries, as well as at home," said ambassador Robinson. The "Help Us Help the Children" project has been actively supplying humanitarian and other aid to Ukraine since 1993 and on many occasions has been supported by the government of Canada.(News: Ukrainian News, 30 March 2004, Edmonton, Ukrainian/English.)

La déclaration récente de l'ambassadeur des États-Unis au Canada, M. Paul Cellucci, devant un auditoire d'étudiants d'université à London, Ontario, selon laquelle il y a un risque d'attaques terroristes à Toronto, à Windsor et à Montréal, nous pousse à nous demander d'où il tient ces informations et à quel point elles sont sérieuses. Il nous faut rechercher dans cette question de terrorisme mondial à qui le crime profite et il est assez clair que cela profite surtout à ceux qui ne veulent aucun bien aux peuples arabes et musulmans. Sans nécessairement adopter la  théorie du complot , on serait donc en droit de se demander qui sont les véritables planificateurs qui se cachent derrière tout cela. Recherchons donc les personnes qui veulent du mal à ce pays - si ces personnes existent vraiment - et démasquons-les pour les empêcher de nuire à la communauté.(Opinion : Sada Al-Masherk, 23 mars 2004, Montréal, arabe.)

Immigration issues

The RCMP has laid bribery charges on eleven persons for hearings on their appeal applications. Among them is judicial officer of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) Yves Bourbonnais, who had been President of the Board in Montreal and Ottawa. The remaining ten individuals charged are from Quebec but are not employees of the IRB. However, they do face charges of fraud and obstructing justice. A federal processing board on immigration and refugee revealed the details of these cases after three years of investigations. Ottawa RCMP, after receiving complaints of wrongdoings, had started investigations after one year, in the autumn of 2000.(News: Pakeeza, 30 March 2004, Toronto, Pakistani/Urdu.)

Canada Chinese Professional Immigration Consultation Association (CCPICA) recently disclosed that some Chinese individuals lost their Canadian permanent resident status when they applied to the Immigration Department for one-time travel documents to Canada. CCPICA president Lu Bingxiong indicated that this occurrence was against the Immigration Department's initial intention of accommodating living overseas Canadian permanent residents who could not come back to Canada in time to apply for PR Cards.(News: World Journal, 23 March 2004, Toronto, Chinese.)

The political situation in Taiwan is very unstable after its recent presidential elections and many immigration companies indicated that there has been a dramatic increase in immigration enquiries. Most emigrants are choosing Canada and Australia as their destination. Vancouver lawyer Qian Lu said that, after the election in Taiwan, he received on average five immigration enquiries from Taiwan per day. This has never occurred since 1996. Vancouver immigration consultant Li Bingzhao said the Taipei Office of his company received numerous immigration enquiries recently, at least two or three times more than usual. He believed that this is a good opportunity for Canada to accept the elite from Taiwan. However, it usually takes two to three years to process an immigration case in Canada, so for those who want to leave Taiwan urgently might have to choose other alternatives.(Opinion: Ming Pao Daily, 25 March 2004, Vancouver, Chinese; Opinion: World Journal, 26 March 2004, Vancouver, Chinese.)

The case of the illegal behaviour on tests should be re-examined. The immigration department centre mentioned recently that officials they were worried about the people who were accepted thanks to or by way of illegal testing. The immigration department officials also mentioned that when the illegal behaviour is revealed, they would take action. The RCMP investigated this case and found individuals that were charging about $800 for the illegal tests.(Opinion: The Korea times daily, 27 March 2003, Toronto, Korean; Opinion: The Korea central daily, 27 March 2003, Toronto, Korean.)

The number of Tamils applying for immigration in the category of spousal sponsorship is increasing at a significant rate. Since it is now not possible to sponsor one's fiancée, the partner has to travel to Srilanka to get married or registered. Those of them who do not have Canadian passports are unable to travel. Those who are landed immigrants are also subjected to a number of hazards when they make their return journey from Srilanka. So most of them go to India or Singapore and meet their partners to get married. Very few relatives are invited to these weddings. There are also arranged marriages. After a few telephone conversations, the future spouses make the arrangements, rush to Srilanka and get married. Some of these marriages end in failure as no proper enquiries are made before the nuptial tie. Questions like the male partner's job and female partner's age are avoided to make the arrangement work without a hitch - as the priority is sponsorship. However, the young people brought up in Canada do not have these problems. They fall in love easily and find partners on their own. They keep their partners out of their selection bid. They get married easily.(Opinion: Thamilar Senthamarai, 13 February 2004, Toronto, Tamil.)

A group of overseas Filipino workers in Toronto filed a complaint of recruitment fraud against a Toronto-based employment agency and its owner-operator. At least two-dozen Filipino workers from the Philippines, Hongkong and Israel complained that they each paid at least US $8,000 to Cecilia Agtarap's immigration consultant firm, "Family Health Care Training Centre," hoping to secure an employment under the Live-In Caregiver Program (LCP). But once in Canada, they did not have jobs, were forced to stay in a cramped apartment and hide like fugitives. The victims, with the help of Toronto-based Filipino Non Government Organisations and support groups, were able to meet with the Philippine Consulate officials to lodge their complaints and seek help. Ms. Agtarap, after admitting her guilt in court, was subsequently sentenced, with CDN $15,000 fine payable within a year, for three counts of fraud and violation of the Canadian Immigration Law. Many victims noted that the punishment imposed by the court judgment was not only light, but also did not guarantee a return of their payment to Ms. Agtarap. Some of the victims were thinking of pursuing their cases in Philippine courts and seek compensation for the harm and damages done to them. Ms. Agtarap is still reportedly doing business as an immigration consultant, with companies such as The Sisters Employment Agency, Northern Star Immigration and Legal Services and Toronto Family Health Care School.(News: The Philippine Reporter, 16 March 2004, Toronto, Filipino.)

Immigration authorities announced the revision of approximately 1,000 immigration cases that were under the authority of an Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) official accused of accepting bribes in exchange for hearings and favourable decisions from the appeals committee. "These are serious accusations and we will treat these cases in a serious manner. If there is evidence of a failure in the qualification system we will take appropriate action," said Derek Hodgson, director of communication for Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada Judy Sgro. These "actions" include revoking citizenship. In early March the RCMP concluded a three-year investigation in which 98 charges were brought against Yves Bourbonnais, an ex-employee of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) who had worked there since 1996. In 2000 the RCMP began the investigation after an immigration lawyer indicated that his client was contacted by someone who promised a favourable decision in exchange for money. The amount ranged from $8,000 to $15,000 depending on the complexity of the case. Currently, every case managed by Mr. Bourbonnais has been submitted to an exhaustive review, a total of 920 cases. Mr. Bourbonnais, who was suspended in 2001, was a member of the IRB, an entity responsible for conducting appeals for people ordered to be deported. It is not known whether charges have been brought against Roberto Colovecchio, another member of the committee suspended with Bourbonnais and suspected of committing similar crimes. The police are investigating the case. If he is found guilty the department will have to revise several hundred more immigration cases.(News: El Popular, 27 March 2004, Toronto, Spanish.)


A an immigration consultancy group AAMCHC (sic) produced a report about the best ways to proceed for homeless immigrants and refugees. According to the report, 42 percent of Toronto residents came from areas where English and French are not used and they have difficulty in receiving services from the government. These individuals are isolated from the social system and safety in Canada. Therefore, a translation and interpretation services for these new immigrants is the first step towards helping them. Many ethnic groups are advocating such a first step.(Opinion: The Korea Central daily, 25 March 2003, Toronto, Korean.)

Sgro, Judy

After dismissing four persons connected to sponsorships to avoid future accusations of nepotism, Minister of Immigration and Citizenship Judy Sgro announced in mid March that appointments to the Immigration and Refugee Board will henceforth be carried out by an independent company, on the basis of merit. This will bring to an end the undesirable tradition of appointing Board members favourable to the governing party - a system which was designed to promote client relationships, rather than the fair selection of immigrants for Canada's benefit. All 200 current members of the Board have been appointed by the federal government and the following three measures have been taken to ensure the impartial selection of worthy personnel for each vacant position: an independent professional personnel selection company; a permanent overseeing "watchdog and warning" committee; and a Parliamentary inspection committee.(News: Hellenic-Canadian Chronicles, 18 March 2004, Toronto, Greek.)

The Minister for Immigration Judy Sgro, in reference to the difficulties faced by the Immigration and Refugee Board, has offered a reform package. Simultaneously, she has closed the chapter of traditionally awarding lucrative positions to political friends. Addressing a press conference she announced that, from now on, applications will be considered purely on merit. She added, "We wish that the members on the Board, who decide on the life and death of others, should be capable and deserving." Minister Sgro said that no application for a position on the Board will be accepted in the office of any cabinet minister or an MP. However, under the new laws, she would still make the final decision on the appointments. A former official of the IRB Peter Schuller said, "Many on the Board are discharging their duties fairly well." Ms. Sgro insists on totally eliminating political influence on the Board.(News: Pakeeza, 30 March 2004, Toronto, Pakistani/Urdu.)

"Insult to the Minister and to Members of Parliament" are some of the words commentators used referring to journalists and reporters who said the response of Immigration Minister Judy Sgro on the illegal immigrants program was "out of context." In some reports, the Minister was allegedly quoted saying that there is absolutely no interest in such a programme on the part of the government while in fact she was talking about amnesty for illegal workers. The organisations lobbying the government on this issue expressed their outrage following this misinformation campaign. Minister Judy Sgro's speech is available at Gazeta, 23/28 March 2004, Toronto, Polish; Opinion: Zwiazkowiec, 25 March 2004, Toronto, Polish.)

Police have arrested a group of 11 persons who were protesting outside the constituency office of federal Minister of Immigration Judy Sgro north of Toronto. They were demonstrating against the deportation orders for Mr. Fahim Kayani, a Pakistani national. A security guard was slightly injured. Kayani, who is 24, was arrested last August on charges of terrorism and infringing immigration laws. However, there was no evidence of his act of terrorism. Ms. Seema Zaidi and her associates, the organisers, said it was a peaceful demonstration. As the charges of terrorism were dropped, Mr. Kayani was detained for not renewing his student visa.(News: Urdu Times, 25 March 2004, Toronto, Pakistani/Urdu.)

War crimes

Canada's new Justice Minister Irwin Cotler - a former counsel to and president of the Canadian Jewish Congress - has revived the anti-Ukrainian witch-hunt known as the denaturalisation and deportation (D&D) policy. Within months of Minister Cotler's appointment, the War Crimes Division of the Department of Justice launched its first new D&D case since the last millennium against an 83-year-old Ukrainian. Despite what the War Crimes Division and Jewish lobby groups have said, this policy has nothing to do with bringing "Nazi war criminals" to justice as the government is not even charging any of these people with war crimes. The policy is directed at Canadians of East European origin and is a very serious affront to civil liberties. This fact should be put very succinctly to Prime Minister Martin - especially by those Liberals who have his ear.(Opinion: Ukrainian News, 30 March 2004, Edmonton, Ukrainian/English.)

The Justice Department launched what is billed as the 22nd Nazi-era removal case when it filed documents in Federal Court alleging that Mr. Josef Furman, now a Canadian citizen, was an SS guard in 1943 and that he lied about this when he immigrated into Canada. The Justice Department's documents state that Mr. Furman (formerly Furmanchuk) would never have entered Canada had he been truthful about his role in guarding, rounding up and, if seen escaping, shooting Jews, documents said. Several weeks ago Ottawa launched similar proceedings against St. Catharine's resident Mr. Jura Skomatchuk, who was alleged to have belonged to the same SS training camp in Trawniki, Poland. (News: The Canadian Jewish News, 25 March 2004, North York, Jewish.)



An Ontario police officer invited Tamil women to join the police force so that they could serve their
community. The police department is one of the spheres in which the Tamils have not stepped in for
employment opportunities. Unlike in Srilanka, the police department in Canada is not one which takes in people with lesser qualifications, or adopts fraudulent attitudes. In Canada, members of the police are given proper training and are well screened. The police department welcomes people from various ethnic groups to join. In Canada, the police are well-paid and there are ample opportunities for promotion and career advancement.(News: Thamilar Senthamarai, 19 March 2004, Tamil, Toronto.)

Having a government that is working towards giving Ontario a new face is one of the greatest advantages that the Tamils have at the moment. It is imperative that the Tamils exploit the advantage to the benefit of the community. Over a quarter million Tamils have settled in Ontario during the last 20 years, producing an entirely new generation in this province. Former Ontario premier Bob Rae described the Tamil Canadian community as the fastest growing ethnic community in Ontario in the early nineties. Today the community is approaching the fullness of its growth and provides Ontario with its newest ethnic face. Given the levels of success that the Tamils have achieved in the various professions and businesses and the levels of excellence Tamil students have reached in schools, colleges and universities, the Tamil Canadians can be proud of their accomplishments as a community. The large number of awards and citations that the members of the community have received from various organisations, including the provincial government, is a testimony of the Tamil contribution to Canadian society. The ethnic origin of the Tamil Canadians is one of the oldest civilizations of the world. The richness of its language, heritage, culture and traditions are subjects of academic research by universities around the world. The Tamils should work together to make Canada's largest province proud of its newest ethnic face.(Opinion: Thamilar Thahaval, February 2004, Toronto, Tamil.)


Cultural identity

Mr. Puthuvay Ratnadurai of the Tamil Arts and Cultural Organisation of the Liberation Tigers said, "I laud the sentiments of the Canadian Tamil immigrants who have a great love for their culture." He made these comments at the name-giving ceremony of Tamil children at Navalar Hal, Jaffna, Srilanka. The Silamban organisation financed by the Tamils in Canada, organised the function to encourage people to preserve their culture and transfer it on to the new generation. Mr. Rantnadurai also thanked the Canadian Tamil immigrants for their patronage and help to the liberation efforts in Srilanka. Their services are a boon to their counterparts in the island. However he regretted that some Tamil immigrants upheld the caste distinctness in the new environment. Now most Tamils do not eat or dress in the traditional fashion. They should at least have pure Tamil names which would help them to be identified as Tamils.(Opinion: Uthayan, 20 February 2004, Toronto, Tamil.)

Jim Karygiannis, MP for Agincourt-Scarborough participated in the induction ceremony of Pastor Joshuwa Ratnam of the Tamil Christian Church of Canada said, " People should cling to their faith so that they could live safe and meaningful lives. He further asserted that everyone should respect and value differences, especially in the context of a multicultural society. The ceremony took place at the Mega Banquet Hall at 3300 Pharmacy Avenue, Scarborough. Mr. Karygiannis wished the newly inducted junior pastor all success in his vocation He commended the church for its great services to the community and its rapid growth. About 400 church members participated in the dinner that followed. Mrs. Amala Ambalavanar, president of the organising committee thanked Mr. Karygiannis for having found the time to attend the function with the current election going on at Hamilton to determine the Liberal party candidate. She further thanked him for helping Pastor Ratnam to immigrate to Canada to accept the appointment. The secretary, Mr. Mohan Thavartnam expressed the view that one day Mr. Karygiannis would be elevated to the position of the Minister of Immigration.(News: Thamilar Senthamarai, 12 March 2004, Toronto, Tamil.)

The Tamil media in Canada play a significant role in the socialization of the Tamil community in the immigrant land. Although there are weekly Tamil newspapers in Canada, there are no daily newspapers. There are no adequate funds for them. They manage only with the funds they raise from advertisements. Since 1995, there has been a 24-hour Tamil broadcasting service made possible by the work of voluntary technicians and artists, who often provide free services. In a country where time is reckoned in terms of money, it is difficult to obtain free services for long. Three broadcasting units have been closed down. Most of those who remain as volunteers, or provide free services are inspired to do so for the love of art or service to the community. Canadian Tamil Television cannot be compared to those of South Indian Tamil television services, which have millions of viewers. Hence, Tamil media workers in Canada have a labourious task which they carry out with dedication and out of their love for the community and Tamil culture.(Opinion: Thamilar Thahaval, February 2004, Toronto, Tamil.)



In a special ceremony in Montreal's Office of the Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Canada, Bishop Pakrad Kalsdanian awarded the Cross of Honour in Education and Journalism (sent from the Holy See of Echmiadzin in Armenia) to decorate teacher and journalist Baruyr Albashian who has been teaching Armenian literature and at the same time writing articles for 30 years. Born in western Armenian - now Turkey - Albashian immigrated through Holland into Canada in 1972 and has been teaching and writing to earn a high reputation in Canadian-Armenian circles.(News: Abaka, 22 March 2004, Montreal, Armenian.)


Le Liban participera pour la première fois au Festival annuel multiculturel de Mississauga. Le Liban y aura en effet son propre pavillon, ce qui portera à 19 le nombre des pays participants. La participation libanaise est le résultat des efforts déployés en ce sens par M. Harry Onsora, ancien président du club social des Cèdres, qui a déclaré que le pavillon libanais permettra de présenter le Liban aux points de vue culturel, artistique et culinaire.(Nouvelle : Al-Moustakbal, 24 mars 2004, Montréal, arabe.)

For the second successive year, Iranians residing in Montreal gathered in front of Place du Canada in late March to greet the new year with celebration and happiness. This program was organised by a non-profit organisation named Norouz Parade. A crowd of more than 3,000 participants braved the cold weather in this festivity that lasted from 11 am till 2 pm. Repeats of such gatherings should pave the way for registering this day in Canada's list of holiday events.(News: Shahrvand, Iran Star, Peyrouz, 26 March 2004, Iran Javan, Salam Toronto, Javanan, 25 March 2004, Toronto, Farsi/Iranian.)

Toronto's Japanese Consulate General's palace was host in mid-March to an award ceremony in honour of the late Mr. Tsutomu Iwasaki, founder of T. Iwasaki. Associates. Mrs. Iwasaki received the testimonial for her late husband, who was one of the founding members of the Canada-Japan Council and who has published several books on Canadian-Japanese trade and culture. In 2002, Mr. Iwasaki received the "Lifetime Achievement" award by The Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan. Mr. Iwasaki past away December 13, 2003 at the age of 70.(News: Nikka Times, 19 March 2004, Toronto, Japanese.)

Intercommunity links

Protecting Jews in Canada and abroad is huge task, the head of Canada's most influential Jewish group, the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy was quoted as saying in a front page article. Now that Canadian Muslim outnumber Jews two to one, Mr. Hershell Ezrin said, Jews need to build links with Chinese and Indo-Canadians, and other ethnic communities. Mr. Ezrin also had a letter to the editor published in the opinions' page where he listed the several initiatives the CCIJA has launched in the past, and ways in which Canadians could contribute, among them with tax-deductible donations. Fundraising efforts were up 23 percent form last year, with $5.5 million raised in the Combined Jewish Appeal campaign.(News/Opinion: The Jewish Western Bulletin, 26 March 2004, Vancouver, Jewish.)

Organisational issues

L'organisme Action Liban au Québec a protesté contre les pressions qui ont été exercées sur M. Pierre Ahmarani, ex-candidat à l'investiture libérale pour la circonscription de Saint-Laurent en vue des prochaines élections, afin qu'il se retire au profit de M. Stéphane Dion. L'organisme considère cet incident comme une tentative de marginaliser la communauté libanaise dont les votes sont pris pour acquis par certains.(Nouvelle : Al-Moustakbal, 17 mars 2004, Montréal, arabe.)

Other community issues

Over 300 Taiwanese immigrants marched to downtown Vancouver after a meeting on Taiwan's political situation in Vancouver's Chinatown on 27 March. They were unhappy with the result of the presidential election in Taiwan and demanded a recount. They gave out news materials in English to people in the streets to explain the political situation in Taiwan. Because the demonstration was spontaneous and not registered, it was a quiet "walk." When they reached Robson Square, they held a sit-in demonstration and started a petition of protest. Approximately 700 signatures were gathered in one day. They will deliver the petition to Taipei Economic and Culture Office in Vancouver on Monday and demand to have the petition sent to the president's office in Taipei.(News: Ming Pao Daily, 28 March 2004, Vancouver, Chinese; News: World Journal, 28 March 2004, Vancouver, Chinese.)


Family violence

The Law Society of Upper Canada and Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic recently held a conference on legal issues regarding violence and abuse against immigrant and racial minority women. Greater Toronto Chinese and East Asian Community Legal Assistance Centre Director Wu Yaoyao indicated that 60 percent of people seeking help from the centre were immigrants from Mainland China and one third of the cases were about domestic conflicts and violence. These women were not aware of legal systems or social resources, and police felt communication barriers in dealing with them. Women who had no legal status or were sponsored by their husbands dared not ask for help even when they were suffering domestic violence.(News: Sing Tao, 26 March 2004, Toronto, Chinese.)


International trade, general

Columnist Rose Tijam wrote about the freight forwarding business scandal that rocked the Filipino-Canadian community and victimized a lot of families in the community. Thousands of Filipinos regularly send goods and gifts to relatives in the Philippines in big boxes and this spirit of sharing has helped the freight business between Canada and the Philippines thrive. Early this year, however, two freight companies failed to deliver several hundreds of boxes of cargo to the Philippines, victimizing hundreds of customers. Last March, ten of some 28 freight-forwarding companies met in Toronto to discuss this scandal and expressed dismay over the inappropriate business practices of some of their colleagues and tried to find possible solutions to resolve the problems and prevent further occurrences. The meeting stirred interest among the freight forwarders to form an organised body to draft its own guidelines, policy and problem-solving procedures. A lawyer-participant pointed out that this was a welcome move, citing that every profession has a regulatory body to protect itself and the public, and an association could create a sense of legitimacy and respectability. A member from the Filipino community suggested that a community representation also needs to be ensured in this proposed body as customers are also stakeholders of the freight forwarding industry.(Opinion: Balita, 16 March 2004, Toronto, Filipino.)

Chinese ambassador to Canada Mei Ping spoke on China-Canada relations at a Spring Festival Celebration
held by the Confederation of Toronto Chinese Canadian Organisations. Mr. Mei indicated that, during his five-year tenure, relations between China and Canada had progressed well in many fields, particularly economy. Mr. Mei attributed the development of cooperation between the two countries to three factors. He hoped that Canadian government would face the issue of Falungong and recognize China as a country of market economy, which would bring about a better perspective of bilateral economic cooperation.(News: World Journal, 28 March 2004, Toronto, Chinese.)



"Lan Zhenghui Ink Painting Show" will be held at Greater Toronto Chinese Culture Centre from end of March to beginning of April. Mr. Lan's art skills of recent years drew attention from all fields, when he had developed the art of traditional Chinese ink painting into an art of abstract writing style with visual clashing effect. For oriental and contemporary as well, Mr. Lan's art has brought about a profound artistic entertainment. Mr. Lan immigrated from China to Canada in 2002.(News: Sing Tao, 27 March 2004, Toronto, Chinese.)

British Columbia Member of Parliament Svend Robinson was to hold a commemoration of his 25th anniversary as Member of Parliament by inviting one of the United States' most controversial intellectuals, Noam Chomsky. In so doing Mr. Robinson will sink to even lower standards than when he decided to meet with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat. The Chomsky-Robinson affair held at the end of March was sold out, wrote Mr. Eugene Kaellis, from West Minister, and it seems that every generation has to give birth to historically invalid and socially pernicious views, he concluded.(Opinion: The Jewish Western Bulletin, 19 March 2004, Vancouver, Jewish.)

Historical research

The University College of Fraser Valley (UCFV) awaits news on a provincial grant for Indo-Canadian Research Centre in Abbotsford. "Our application for a regional innovation chair is one of the keys to the establishment of the Centre," said UCFV president Skip Bassford. The Fraser Valley has the highest proportion of Indo-Canadian people of any metropolitan area of Canada. If the application is successful, the provincial government will provide $1.25 million in matching funds to establish this position. "Recognizing early pioneers is important and with the launch of the Indo-Canadian Research Chair at UCFV it will be written and taught in courses," said writer Ken Herar whose father Tok Herar was a "True Valley Pioneer."(News: The Link, 27 March 2004, Surrey, English.)

History, ethnic

Filipino and Canadian parishioners in Toronto are currently busy planning for the annual celebration of the Feast of Santa Cruzan scheduled for late May 2004. Santa Cruzan in the Philippines, which was brought in Toronto by Catholic religious leaders and parishioners, including many Filipinos, commemorates the search of the Holy Cross by Queen Helena and her son, the converted Emperor Constantine in the 4th century. After the Holy Cross was found in Jerusalem and brought back to Rome, there was a joyful celebration. It has become an "iconic cultural event," reflecting the ingenuity of the Filipino people in adapting to Western practices without losing indigenous tradition. The highlight of this annual celebration is the parade of Queen Helena, with her entourage of "sagalas" (royal court). Local Filipina beauties vie to be chosen as 'Queen Helena,' while runners-up will settle as one of her entourage.(News: The Philippine Reporter, 16 March 2004, Toronto, Filipino.)

Dr. Taner Aksham has published a ground-breaking new book titled "From Empire to Republic: Turkish Nationalism and the Armenian Genocide," which addresses the genocide taboo in Turkey, but instead of trying to deny the historical event, "he creates a meaningful historical dialogue towards a reconciliation between the two communities." The first three chapters of the book give a framework for understanding Turkish nationalism, from its origins as a reaction to the 1912 Balkan war to the on-going relationship with the Armenian genocide. Chapters 4 and 5 look at the events that led to the decision to implement the genocide. Dr. Aksham's analysis of the treaties of Sèvres and Lausanne provides an alternative framework for understanding the causes leading to the genocide. In the concluding chapters 6 and 7, he makes a convincing case that no progress towards greater Turkish democratisation may be expected, unless the genocide debate is resolved in favour of historical facts or truth. "He is the first Turkish academic to acknowledge and openly discuss the genocide" commented genocide historian and Zoryan Institute Director Vahakn Dadrian" and the first to document it from a perpetrator , rather than a victim perspective.(News: Horizon, 22 March 2004, Montreal, Armenian.)


A Canadian nurse saved thousands of orphan children from fire, destruction and the Turks, a writer who has discovered a collection of photographs Yarmouth County Museum (Nova Scotia), reported. The collection includes photographs of Armenian orphans, brought to Canada by Sara Corning of Chegokin - eight kilometres North of Yarmouth, NS. The writer provides an account of how she saved them from burning Smyrna. This 3,000 year old port founded by ancient Ionian Greeks was turned to Izmir by Mustafa Kemal and his nationalist Turks after deliberate arson to forcefully deport all Christians - Greek, Armenian as well as European - to ensure "Turkey for the Turks." A report gives an account of Sara Corning's heroism in saving some 5,000 Christian children from the Turks. Born in 1872, this brave Canadian nurse found herself in a little Armenian village near Ararat in 1921 and escaping Kurdish and Turkish harassment on her way West, she ended up in Smyrna, where she arranged for 5,000 orphans to be taken up by United States warships, to be transferred to the States and Canada. Sara Corning continued to care for the orphans accepted in Canada, until they reached the age of 16, entered farm work and grew into independent adulthood as Canadian citizens.(News: Horizon, 15 March 2004, Montreal, Armenian.)

The largest aquarium in China, Beijing Aquarium, and Vancouver Aquarium signed a memorandum in Vancouver in mid-March to strengthen cooperation in scientific research and training. The general manager of Beijing Aquarium Hu Weiyong said they are working with the Chinese Academy of Sciences on artificial reproduction of Zhonghua White Dolphin. If the research is successful, Beijing will give a few Zhonghua White Dolphin to the Vancouver Aquarium so that people in North America will have a chance to see this Chinese national treasure. The director of Vancouver Aquarium John Nightingale said the agreement was reached after two years' negotiation. Vancouver Aquarium will send people to Beijing to help staff training and Beijing will send people to Vancouver to study. The cooperation will broaden the horizon of both aquariums.(News: Ming Pao Daily, 26 March 2004, Vancouver, Chinese; News: World Journal, 26 March 2004, Vancouver, Chinese.)


Broadcasting licenses

The Legislative Assembly of Quebec has recently passed a motion in support of the application for a 24/7 digital TV Channel broadcasted from Italy by RAI International. Quebec Immigration Minister Michelle Courchesne, and many other Quebec parliament members have openly expressed their hope for a rapid and positive approval of the application presented to the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Television Commission over a year ago. More than 100,000 letters of support in favour of the approval were received, as well as 344 letters from public and private Canadian organisations. Only 250 letters and documents were sent against the application.(News/Opinion: Corriere Italiano, 17 March 2004, Montreal, Italian.)


Toronto's mayor David Miller will be the guest of honour during a fundraising dinner that will be held soon on behalf of the "On your mark" project. A partnership between the Portuguese-Canadian Coalition for a Better Education, the Portuguese Interagency Network and the Working Women Community Centre and the cooperation of both school Boards, the project offers individual and group tutoring programs to students of Portuguese ancestry who are attending primary or secondary school grades. "On your mark" is an answer to the results of a study, conducted in 2000, that identified the Portuguese community students with the lowest rates of academic success. Thanks to the project, over 90 tutors have helped more than 220 primary and secondary students in the last three years. Two thirds of students who participated in the program improved their academic results and increased self-esteem.(News: Sol Português, 18 March 2004, Toronto, Portuguese.)


The recent incident at a Somali-owned restaurant in Ottawa highlights, once again, the need for police accountability to the community it allegedly serves and protects. Currently there is no effective external accountability - the police complaints procedure, in which police investigate themselves, is a charade. But what the latest incident reveals is that there is no internal accountability mechanism either. What are we to make of the fact that the first that the Police Chief heard of the incident was when he was called by a CBC reporter? Since the incident, we have seen spectacular backpedalling and attempted face-saving by the Ottawa police. There is a systemic problem with police services that requires far more than ad hoc investigations now and again. The political will to grapple with the problem is building. Will this latest incident be the tipping point? (Opinion: The Spectrum, 19 March 2004, Ottawa, African/English.)