Community Events Photos

NDP politicians criticize proposed federal immigration reforms

NDP MP hosts International Mother Language Day

By Dillon Hiles | Posted: Feb 22 2013 3:33 pm

Matthew Kellway, Olivia Chow and Michael Prue join the celebration of International Mother Language Day on Wednesday.

International Mother languages Day

Matthew Kellway, Olivia Chow and Michael Prue join the celebration of International Mother Language Day on Wednesday.

Canada’s new immigration point system, set to come into effect May 4, 2013, drew criticism from some New Democrats during a language and culture celebration in Toronto.

At a Wednesday (Feb. 20) celebration of International Mother Language Day, hosted by NDP MP Matthew Kellway (Beaches-East York), some NDP politicians expressed concern over planned changes to federal immigration policy.

Kellway said the planned new point system for gaining entry to Canada, as part of immigration reforms by the federal government, creates different entry criteria.

For example, there is a requirement to be proficient in either of the official languages – French or English – he said.

“I think one of the challenges where they start privileging English as a native language takes us back to a different form of immigration for different countries, and that concerns me,” Kellway said. “If the government invested in immigration and settlement services and language services and brought people to Canada from around the world, we would be a much richer country for that.”

NDP MP Craig Scott (Toronto-Danforth) was also questioned on the language requirement.

“(They will) create a bit of a barrier where there wasn’t so much of a barrier before,” he said. “Obviously folks coming from Bangladesh have English language heritage, but not everybody from Bangladesh has the highest proficiency, so it’s bound to affect independent applicants in that way.”

On the Government of Canada’s Immigration website, www.cic.gc.ca, Conservative MP, Jason Kenney (Calgary-South East) defended the reforms.

“The new Federal Skilled Worker Program criteria will ensure Canada is selecting the skilled immigrants our economy needs, who are the most likely to succeed and fully realize their potential in Canada,” Kenney said.

Kellway hosted the second annual celebration of International Mother Language Day event last night. Those attending participated in traditional song and dance through the evening.

International Mother Language Day, Feb. 21, began among Canadians originally from Bangladesh over a decade ago. It focuses on the history of the Bengali language movement of the 1950s. NDP MPP Michael Prue, (Beaches-East York) also attended the event.

“Bangladeshis have a very proud and wonderful history,” Prue said . “It is our honour, here in Toronto, to celebrate that history.”

In 1999, in commemoration of the Bangladeshi struggle for independence, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared Feb 21 to be International Mother Language Day.

His Excellency, Kamrul Ahsan, the High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Canada spoke at the event about the need to celebrate International Mother Language Day.

“The main objective … is to highlight the importance of cultural diversity,” Ahsan said.

Despite the presence of NDP politicians, the event focused mainly on the issues of Bangladesh.

In addition, Sgt. Anthony Paoletta of 54 Division of the Toronto Police Service addressed the Bangladeshi community.

“I certainly invite all of you to consider becoming a member of what we call the community police liaison committee,” he said. “There is only one requirement, and that is that you either work or live in the community.”

 

 

Photo Gallery

  • NDP MP Craig Scott speaks at the event.

    Craig Scott

    NDP MP Craig Scott speaks at the event.

  • The audience

  • NDP MP Dan Harris speaks at the event.

    Dan Harris

    NDP MP Dan Harris speaks at the event.

  • The High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Canada, Karmul Ashan, speaks at the event.

    Karmul Ashan

    The High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Canada, Karmul Ashan, speaks at the event.

  • From Left: NDP MP’s Matthew Kellway, Olivia Chow, NDP MPP Michael Prue and City Councillor Janet Davis.

    From Left: NDP MP’s Matthew Kellway, Olivia Chow, NDP MPP Michael Prue and City Councillor Janet Davis.

  • City Councillor Janet Davis speaks at the event.

    Janet Davis

    City Councillor Janet Davis speaks at the event.

  • NDP MP Matthew Kellway, whose office organized the event.

    Matthew Kellway

    NDP MP Matthew Kellway, whose office organized the event.

  • NDP MP Matthew Kellway speaking at the event.

    Matthew Kellway speaking

    NDP MP Matthew Kellway speaking at the event.

  • NDP MP Olivia Chow speaks at the event.

    Olivia Chow

    NDP MP Olivia Chow speaks at the event.

  • NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan speaks at the event.

    Rathika Sitsabaiesan

    NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan speaks at the event.

  • From right: NDP MP’s Olivia Chow, Rathika Sitsabaiesan and Craig Scott.

    From right: NDP MP’s Olivia Chow, Rathika Sitsabaiesan and Craig Scott.

  • Sergeant Anthony Paoletta of 54 division speaks at the event.

    The Police

    Sergeant Anthony Paoletta of 54 division speaks at the event.

  • From right: NDP MP’s Rathika Sitsabaiesan, Craig Scott and Matthew Kellway.

    The wreaths

    From right: NDP MP’s Rathika Sitsabaiesan, Craig Scott and Matthew Kellway.

  • The memorial: before

  • Candles

  • Wreath

  • NDP MP’s Matthew Kellway and Dan Harris lay a wreath down at the memorial monument.

    Wreath laying

    NDP MP’s Matthew Kellway and Dan Harris lay a wreath down at the memorial monument.

  • The memorial: after

 


About this article:

By: Dillon Hiles
Posted: Feb 22 2013 3:33 pm | Last updated: Feb 22 2013 3:36 pm
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Filed in: Community, Events
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