Sweden’s ugly immigration problem

In Europe, refugees from Syria and Iraq have been cramming the ferry-trains heading from Germany to Denmark. But once in Denmark, many refused to get off. Where they really want to go is Sweden, where refugee policies are more generous. When the Danes said no, they hopped off the trains, and began heading toward the Swedish border by taxi, bus, and foot.

Sweden has the most welcoming asylum policies and most generous welfare programs in the European Union. One typical refugee, Natanael Haile, barely escaped drowning in the Mediterranean in 2013. But the folks back home in Eritrea don’t want to know about the perils of his journey. As he told The New York Times, they want to know about “his secondhand car, the government allowances he receives and his plans to find work as a welder once he finishes a two year language course.” As a registered refugee, he receives a monthly living allowance of more than $700 (U.S.).

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Court clears way for Zunera Ishaq to become a Canadian citizen with her face covered by a niqab

OTTAWA — A Federal Court of Appeal panel has dismissed a government appeal over a ban on face coverings at citizenship ceremonies in what amounts to a major policy rebuke of the Harper government.

The three justices ruled from the bench, saying they wanted to proceed quickly so that Zunera Ishaq, the woman who initially challenged the ban, can obtain her citizenship in time to vote in the Oct. 19 federal election.

Ishaq, a 29-year-old woman with devout Muslim beliefs who came to Ontario from Pakistan in 2008, refused to take part in a citizenship ceremony because she would have to show her face. Read more

Charlie Hebdo stirs new controversy with migrant cartoons

PARIS: French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is courting controversy again by running cartoons deriding the response of predominantly Christian European countries to a flood of migrants from mainly Muslim war zones such as Syria and Iraq.

The magazine became a symbol of freedom of speech after it was the target of a deadly attack by Islamist militants in January for publishing cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammad.

The latest edition has attracted renewed attention…

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Harper at odds with Canadian instinct to help in Syrian refugee crisis

The Globe and Mail is hosting a debate on the economy among the leaders of the three main political parties on Thursday at 8 pm (ET). 

Gerald Caplan is an Africa scholar, a former NDP national director and a regular panelist on CBC’s Power & Politics.

God knows he’s tried his best. Stephen Harper always said he intended to change the face of Canada if he could. He’d turn us from peacekeepers into warriors. But now we know he couldn’t.

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Refugee crisis: EU plans new detention measures – live updates



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Syrian refugees: Are they really a threat to Canadian security?

Ron Atkey teaches national security law at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. He is a former minister of employment and immigration, and was the first chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (1984-89).


There is something organic and uniquely Canadian taking place across this country as public support grows for decisive action in the wake of the photo of a body of a Syrian refugee child washed to shore on a beach in Turkey.

Yes, the faith-based groups have been out in front. And provincial governments are jumping on board with significant financial contributions toward Syrian refugee resettlement in Canada. Mayors of Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver are sticking their necks out by encouraging private sponsors to partner with the federal government to make sure we do our part to assist in resolving one of the most serious refugee crises in our time. And the general public is clamouring to jump on board.

But there’s an elephant in the room: security. Are Syrian refugees potential threats to the safety of Canadians?

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5 Ontario ridings that could help determine 2015 election

The next prime minister of Canada will be determined largely by Ontario voters.

With 121 of the 338 seats at stake in the Oct. 19 election, Canada’s most populous province is far and away its most politically important.

Ontario has more seats in the House of Commons than the combined tally of the second and third biggest provinces, Quebec and British Columbia.

MPs from the province accounted for about 44 per cent of the most recent Conservative government caucus and almost 56 per cent of the members of the previous Liberal government in Ottawa.

That’s why Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau have spent so much time campaigning here.

While the leaders are focusing a lot of attention on Toronto and its surrounding suburbs — where literally dozens of seats are in play, according to public opinion polls — there are many other races to watch over the coming weeks.

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What it takes to bring a Syrian refugee to Canada: Paperwork, interrogations and up to 18 months

The numbers are a hot-button issue. But whether Canada lets in 10,000 or 100,000 refugees fleeing the continuing crisis in Syria, the process is largely the same — slow. In the last 20 months, for example, only 2,374 of the many thousands we have promised safe haven in Canada have actually made it here. Postmedia’s Alia Dharssi deconstructs the holdups,  er, “process.”


The first step toward Canadian refuge is certification by the country you have landed in or by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. You will, however, have to get in line: the Zaatari camp in Jordan, as just one example, houses more than 80,000 people. Your status may also depend on your background. For example, if you’re Kurdish, you can’t get UN registration done in Turkey, the landing pad for about 1.9 million refugees.


Your papers all check out, according to some: now it’s Canada’s turn to decide if you’re the refugee you say you are. This is done by Canadian visa officers abroad — usually in the middle of nowhere, and often without the documentation applicants need. “Just imagine you’re doing all this in a camp-like situation and there are thousands of people, therefore we have all this paperwork,” says Ratna Omidvar, chair of Lifeline Syria and a professor at Ryerson University. Read more

Real estate developers shrug as flood of Chinese cash into Vancouver continues

The 1988 sale of the former Expo 86 lands to Concord Pacific, then owned by Hong Kong businessman Li-Ka Shing, followed by the subsequent presales of condos there to buyers in Hong Kong by his son, drew public outcry. Residential homes bought by immigrants and investors from Hong Kong were derided as “monster homes” for their size and showy details.

“I think the parallels are many,” said Henry Yu, a University of B.C. history professor who specializes in migration. “Foreign capital has a yellow face. If it’s British or American or German investment, it’s not foreign in the same way. There is this perpetually foreign element.”

Yu also said the networks bringing cash from Hong Kong in the past, and mainland China now, are highly mobile, stoking up questions of “loyalty. Are you really here?”

However, the big change is that “Hong Kong wasn’t seen as an economic threat to Vancouver,” said Yu of the city with a population of 7.2 million.

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Chinese state media slams U.S. for Europe’s refugee

It specifically slammed the U.S. of direct or indirect interventions — widely known as “regime change”– to overthrow Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qadhafi and Hosni Mubarak, while supporting Syrian opposition to topple Bashar Assad

In a string of commentaries, Chinese state media has slammed the United States for triggering the flood of refugees into Europe, following its military interventions in Afghanistan, West Asia and North Africa.

A hard-hitting commentary in Xinhua counselled the United States to see the wave of refugees into Europe as a wakeup call to reverse its flawed foreign policy.

“Especially for the United States, it is high time to reflect upon its foreign policy as history and facts have shown that forcibly promoting its ideologies is dangerous and armed interventions can only bring about perilous outcomes,” the write up observed.

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London march urges British change of heart on refugees

LONDON (AFP) – Tens of thousands of people marched through London in protest against Britain’s refugee policy on Saturday, with new Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn attending in his first political engagement only hours after being elected.

The march to Parliament Square, which went past Prime Minister David Cameron’s Downing Street office, urged solidarity with the huge numbers entering continental Europe.

Marchers on the peaceful rally danced to music, blew whistles and waved placards reading: “Refugees welcome here”, while others read: “No human being is illegal”, “Open the borders”, and “Refugee lives matter”.



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