A large reason why Canadian politics often seems so boring is because Canadians (or at least our politicians) are usually too timid to honestly debate the issues that actually make this country an interesting place -- Quebec, immigration, the constitution, etc -- and instead pass off stuff like cheese market reform as brave iconoclasm.
Here in the "Canadian Mosaic," issues of race are largely stricken from the language of the everyday. We prefer not to speak openly about racism, for deconstructing it might chip away at that illusory façade of Canada as a nation of perpetual tolerance and chronic multiculturalism -- a delusion we all hold dear to our glowing hearts. Unfortunately for all those "liberal-minded" Canadians out there who view our country to be so forward thinking and accommodating that racism is a non-issue, institutionalized multiculturalism is not the same thing as social racial equality.
People who have lost their mothers know how profoundly painful and life-changing that loss is. Many immigrants and refugees experience that loss through separation from their mothers in the process of migration. Some mothers migrate before their children, and some children before their mothers. Whatever the process, that separation has a devastating impact on mothers and children.
Toronto City Council has decided to do something about this for those without health insurance that live in our city. Council voted in favour of abolishing the three-month waiting period for new immigrants and also rescinding the recent cuts to the refugee health care program. I have never been more proud to call this city my home.
During a brief vacation away with my Greek immigrant parents in sunny Florida, I had the serenity to engage them in several wonderful lengthy chats about their past (always a favourite topic of mine) and to quietly observe them. These are the additional gems that I have gained from my parents' experiences.
A common misconception by most Canadians is that all immigrants (regardless of country of origin, religious background, ethnicity) face a common set of experiences (opportunities and challenges) as a group. There-in lies the basis of misunderstanding of the immigrant phenomenon by most Canadian-born residents.
With little fanfare, Canada was scolded last month by both the United Nations and Amnesty International over its human rights record. Yes you read this correctly -- Canada. The two areas that attracted the most attention by the UN/ Amnesty International human rights experts were Canada's record when it came to refugees and internally the manner in which we continue to discriminate against our First Nations people. As Canadians we consider ourselves to be open, honest -- a welcoming society. Yet for those from afar struggling to build a new life and for our First Nations right here struggling to change their lives for the better, that openness rings very hollow.
According to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, the upcoming "Web-based 'Expression of Interest' system" for immigrants advertising their skills is "like a dating site." Like a dating site!? Is that the model Canadians favour to pick our future citizens? For every Cinderella who finds her Prince Charming on an online forum, there is a string of Chris Brown's meeting their Rihanna. Once newcomers take the bait, are there any measures to ensure the Government of Canada won't be rendered to playing matchmaker-middleman to abusive relationships, thefts, misrepresentations of employment conditions, or scams?
The World Junior Hockey Championship has captivated Canadians again this holiday season. But the sight of Team Canada's goalie's skin colour was met with laughter, bemusement, confusion and contempt in Canada and abroad. Thankfully, the long-ignored vestiges of disdain for diversity in hockey have been gaining attention nationwide, in the USA, and across the pond as hockey fans and foes band together to address long-standing pressures that still blight the game.