China continues to want to do more business with Canada. However, given that many Canadians have serious misgivings about China and the communist party, various media outlets have reported that despite Chinese offers to negotiate a free trade agreement, Canada has yet to agree to such measures.
Despite their relatively small numbers in Canada, practitioners of the Falun Gong and their supporters have been very active, even getting meetings with multiculturalism minister Jason Kenney. Parliament's Subcommittee on International Human Rights also heard from individuals on the issue of organ transplants and the treatment of Falun Gong members.
Missing from the plan, however, are important policy enablers for the Canadian labour force. Canada is faced with a changed economy and the labour force has to be more flexible and mobile than ever to meet the demands of employers.
Senior leaders of organizations are too engaged, meaning they question change. Although engagement is great, it often leads to reluctance to change and unwillingness to participate in and with the unfamiliar. These feelings are often accompanied by a sense of burnout or tiredness, causing leaders to be very cautious about executive leadership and new initiatives.
Despite these negative views on the Dalai Lama coming from a more assertive China (now reportedly the world's largest economy and our second largest trading partner) Canada has provided considerable support to the Dalai Lama and issues of concern to him.
On Friday, Prime Minister Harper announced that Canada would join allies, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and others in launching air strikes against ISIL in Iraq. The announcement on Friday builds on the growing engagement that Canada has recently taken part in with respect to Iraq on a variety of fronts. Against ISIL and its genocidal agenda in Iraq, it's timely that Canada has stepped up.
One of the important figures in the democratic movement in Hong Kong is Joseph Cardinal Zen, the retired Catholic Bishop of Hong Kong. Cardinal Zen, aged 82, attended the recent demonstrations. He told Reuters that "It's high time that we really showed that we want to be free and not to be slaves...we must unite together."
In 2010, Canada imposed the toughest sanctions in the world against the North Korean regime, banning all exports and imports (albeit, actual economic activity between Canada and North Korea was extremely limited). Exceptions exist for humanitarian goods.
It seems the recent firestorm around the Temporary Foreign Worker program has brought out the very best, as well as the very worst, in Canadians. The program has some flaws. But we all need to take a deep breath and avoid the temptation to convict an employer based on a media story.
The CBC reports that the Canadian Border Services Agency raided an employer paying temporary foreign workers next to nothing to work at mall kiosks in 2011. Yet for three years, that employer was permitted to continue hiring foreign workers -- his permits were never pulled, his name was never put on the employer blacklist, and he never faced criminal charges.
PM Harper, Kenney and his crew have been careful not speak publicly on immigration matters. But Kenney slipped up while unrolling the red carpet for the Irish, not long after he cancelled 300,000 patiently-waiting skilled workers' applications. "The employers in Canada are increasingly identifying Ireland as a great source of talent, hard-working, highly-educated folks who are culturally compatible," Kenney said.
Last week, the House of Commons returned from its recess. Having spent weeks attacking the government prior to the break over its proposed Fair Electi...
If you want a glimpse of what it looks like when traditional partisan loyalties get scrambled beyond recognition, check out yesterday's epic Twitter dust-up between ex-Liberal boss Bob Rae and former immigration minister Jason Kenney over the issue of temporary foreign workers. It's getting increasingly impossible for any self-respecting partisan to take a coherent position on immigration without coming off as a heretic in the eyes of some of his ordinary allies. Immigration is the debate that exposes ideological hypocrisy and inconsistency like few others -- which is probably why we rarely have it.
The use of incorrect statistics and skewed economic arguments to demand the exclusion of Temporary Foreign Workers by people all along the political spectrum hearkens to a lengthy history of exclusion of immigrants from Canada. While in the past racist headlines read "Immigrants are taking Canadian jobs," now they insist "Foreign workers are taking Canadian jobs." What's the difference? There is more afoot here, its xenophobia and it must be challenged. It is important that we do not repeat the injustices of the past. Full immigration status for all, full rights for all workers is the only way forward. Resist attempts to divide unemployed, migrant, and poor people.
The new citizenship and immigration minister, Chris Alexander, delivered a speech last week, the day before International Women's Day. The surprising part was just short of the end, when Alexander paused, stared down at the podium. He was crying. But Alexander and his government created a fast refugee system, not a fair one.
Canada needs to step back and do a serious rethink of the training and employment support system. As part of the Canada Job Grant proposal, Minister Kenney has argued we need to "stop doing training for the sake of training." He's right. Yet we don't really know yet what works and what does not work.