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“Using the power of the pen to facilitate smooth integration for immigrants into the Canadian society.”

Canada Day Canada Day (French: Fête du Canada), formerly Dominion Day, is Canada’s national day, a federal statutory holiday, celebrated on July 1 annually by all governments and most businesses across the country; the date, though, is adjusted in cases where July 1 does not fall on a working day. Canada Day observances take place not only throughout the nation, but also internationally. Frequently referred to as “Canada’s birthday,” particularly in the popular press, the occasion marks the joining of the British colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada into a federation of four provinces (the Province of Canada being divided, in the process, into Ontario and Quebec) on July 1, 1867. However, though it is regarded that Canada became a kingdom in its own right on that date, the British Parliament at first kept limited rights of political control over the new country, which were shed by stages ∞ continued on page 

Hamilton Home to the Karen Refugees A

group of 62 Burmese-Karen Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) arrived in Hamilton at the fall of 2006, thereby being the City’s newest refugees to settle down here. Like others before them, the Karens are integrating into the North American life styles through programs and services offered by RAP (SISO). Canadian Government on June 20, 2006 announced Canada’s pivotal role in an international effort to provide solutions for Burmese (Myanmar) refugees stranded in camps in Thailand for more than a decade. Canada accepted to resettle a group of 810 predominantly Karen ethnic group within 2006-2007 as GARs. The groups identified are those who have suffered severe persecution, including torture, imprisonment, forced labour, the burning of villages and forced relocation in their homeland. According to CIC “KAREN CULTURAL PROFILE” Karen was the first group of refugees

Names from left to the right: Hsa K’ Tray Say, Hsa K’ Prue Lwe, Hsa Ler Moo, Hsa Wah Lu, Ler Wah, Hsa K’ Tray Soe, Has K’ Prue Soe

who were resettled in temporary accommodation in nine refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border over 20 years ago. The camps are still the home to over a 150,000 people crop. One of the nine camps in Thailand, Mae La Oon has the dubious distinction of being the most remote and the most difficult

for aid workers to reach, and of having the worst living conditions. The camp is extremely overcrowded. Refugee dwellings are built on steep hillsides that are susceptible to landslides. The lack of appropriate sanitation and water facilities for a population of 14,000 creates a situation where serious public health risks are endemic, and where other social problems associated with such conditions are reaching alarming levels. It is because of the worsening ∞ continued on page 

World Population Day 11 July 2008 In 1968, world leaders proclaimed that individuals have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and timing of their children. Forty years later, modern contraception remains out of reach for hundreds of millions of women, men and young people.

Open to mothers registered in LINC or I-WORK this summer.


This year’s World Population Day reaffirms the right of people to plan their families. It encourages activities, events and information that will help make this right real – especially for those who often have the hardest time getting the information and services they need to plan their families, such as marginalized populations and young people. When people can plan their families, they can plan their lives. They can plan to beat poverty. They can plan on healthier mothers and children. They can plan to gain equality for women.

Ride for Refugees makes a stop in Hamilton Dubbed Love + sweat + Gears, the refugee ride tour stopped over at SISO for press conference to share their experience on the road and to raise awareness about refugee issues on Tuesday June 10. About 30 people were on hand to receive them and urge them on. 3 men, Mark Sinke, Leo Johnson and Steve Green set off for this 2500 KM bike ride on June 8 in Windsor Ontario. The ∞ continued on page 

Happy celebrations!


Protest for Prisoner In China

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Story of A Survivor Page 6 Families In Need Get Help With Rent Page 7 Immigration Bill Will Cause Irreversible Damage Page 7

Global Skills @ Work Page 9 AnInclusive Citizenship Page 14

The Co$t of Corruption Page 14

Women Sleep More... Page 6


The Voice in Diaspora It is with great excitement that the Voice in Diaspora rolls out this edition. The journey has not been easy, but where there is a will, there is a way. As we are heading into the warm summer months, businesses slow down and people are looking forward to spending quality times with families, the Voice in Diaspora will still be publishing to keep you abreast with news happening in and around our Hamilton. We will be publishing bi-monthly till the fall. Please keep us informed with your events this summer. These months of June and July are agog with many important celebrations. Among these celebrations are the World Refugee Day that took place June 20th, and Canada Day event coming up July first. The world will also be celebrating world population day this July. The World Refugee Day has come and gone, but the meaning of what that day stood for will always be remembered by many refugees. The day helped people to reflect on their journeys to the land of freedom. Canada is a country of Immigrants and Refugees, and each year, the numbers keep growing. People migrated from all nooks and crannies of this earth to Canada with their experiences. For some newcomers, the journey to this place is not a futile effort. But for some who are still facing barriers in this new place of abode, it is a new nightmare. As the world celebrates the World Population Day, there is a lot to ponder on how to help balance the equation between countries with dense population and those with scant population. What Canada lacks in population, under-developed countries have in abundance. The strategy is how to ensure the ageing population here is taken care of when they need help. Hamilton Immigration Strategy has to pave the way to ensure the strategic plans to bring the right mix of immigrants into Hamilton is happening sooner than later. A stitch in time saves nine. Though Father’s Day celebration has come and gone, yet it is worth sharing how this important celebration came to be. The importance of a father in a child’s life cannot be over-estimated. The presence of a father in a home adds a sense of security and pride in that home. It takes a man to raise a son. Homes without fathers have missed the special touch the presence of a male brings to that home. (No offence to single mothers which I happened to be one). We encourage all our readers to help get their families together, and that means, fathers staying with their families and help in raising their children. If the absence of a father in a home is by an act of God, it is a different case. Finally, as you browse through the Voice in Diaspora Newspaper, enjoy what you read and take advantage of the free services and programs we connect you with. Help another person know and read the Voice in Diaspora. Thanks

Veronica Chris-Ike (Publisher/Editor)

P.O. Box 417 Hamilton, Ontario Tel: 905.920.1752 - Fax: 905.769.5483

Our Mission Using the power of the pen to facilitate smooth integration for immigrants into the Canadian society.

Publisher/Editor Veronica Chris-Ike

Art & Creative Design Jihan C. Aydin www . A4AMEDIA . com

Advertising & Marketing Contact Us @ 905.920.1752

Contributors Roberto Lavidez, Nica Brown, Veronica Chris-Ike, Priya Verma, Sayed M. Tora, Free Husyincan Celil Org., Hamilton Downtown Mosque & SISO (Settlement And Integration Services Organization)

Publication will be done Monthly. 5000 Free copies will be distributed to businesses, shopping malls, churches, Non-profit organizations, adult learning centers, etc, in Hamilton and environs. The Voice in Diaspora Newspaper is published and distributed monthly free of charge. The views expressed by writers do not necessary reflect the opinion of this newspaper. All rights reserved. The Voice in Diaspora is not responsible for accuracy of information provided by advertisers and contributors. Reproduction in whole or in part without prior permission is prohibited.

Feedback We Need Your

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Ride for Refugees makes a stop in Hamilton three are riding their bikes and sharing their stories along the route.

Starting in Windsor, an entry point for so many people trying to claim the safety of living in Canada, they hope to ride over 2500 kilometers around Ontario and into Montreal in two weeks. 2500 km, the distance a person displaced in Darfur would travel before reaching safety in Egypt, or an Iraqi fleeing war and insurgents would travel to the capital of Syria to seek resettlement. Just a small step on the refugee highway for some of the over 30 million people displaced in our world. On their stop in Hamilton, they shared their experiences on the route which including missing a falling tree by a couple of feet, facing high winds, tornados but most memorable were the people they met on tour, the lack of awareness in the places they stopped and the great reception they got from communities they visited. The tour has brought the three even closer and has started changing their lives as well. “Its not about rich Canadians helping refugees” said Steve “it’s about understanding that these people are here to stay and they are an important part of our society.”

Leo shared his personal struggles as a new immigrant from a refugee background and how even now he faces challenges for who he is. His story about a local housing provider trying to play unfair and exploit his newcomer status for financial gain demonstrated what new immigrants of a refugee background have to put up with. “My case is now in court and I am

not settling for less than justice, because it’s situations like this that raise awareness about challenges for refugees, even after they find refuge”, he added. Mark decided to do the tour after developing a friendship with Leo through volunteering to coach a newcomer youth soccer team. Having worked in different countries on refugee issues, Mark didn’t feel confident that he knew much about refugee experience and he wouldn’t bike the distance without his newfound buddy. So Leo gets to ride in the van and share the refugee perspective on tour while Mark and Steve sweat in love and grow as they raise awareness and funds for CURE Canada, an organization Leo founded to help refugees in Canada and Africa. The ride Tour has been completed. Visit to read about the exercise and to make your donations to a worthy cause. Thanks to all our supporters for helping to raise awareness about the plights of Refugees the world over.

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Karen Refugees

World Refugee Day June 20

The United Nations General Assembly designated 20 June 2000 as World Refugee Day to recognize and celebrate the contribution of refugees throughout the world. The date of June 20 was chosen to coincide with Africa Refugee Day. The first World Refugee Day was celebrated in 2001. Since then, World Refugee Day has become an annual commemoration marked by a variety of events in over a hundred countries. This year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will commemorate World Refugee Day for the fourth time with the inspirational theme: “To Feel at Home,” in order to draw the public’s attention to the millions of refugees world-wide who are forced to flee their homes. Photo Taken By Margaret Aguirre

Canadian Multiculturalism Day The Government of Canada announced on November 13, 2002, the Canadian Multiculturalism Day which will be held on June 27, every year, in the context of Celebrate Canada. The celebration gives every Canadian and even new comers to Canada, an insight into the greatness of this nation, brought about by the tireless efforts of various communities and individuals from diverse background. In deed, June 27 is a celebration of Canada’s richness and diversity.

June was Seniors’ Month

Theme: Discover the Possibilities June is Seniors’ Month, an opportunity for all Ontarians to recognize and value the contributions made by seniors every day in communities across the province. This year’s theme is Discover the Possibilities was kicked off in Niagara-on-the-Lake with the launch of the website. The website will make it easier for seniors to access local information, programs and services from all levels of government. Seniors’ Month is an annual celebratory tradition in which the contributions of seniors are acknowledged and honoured throughout the province. Seniors account for approximately 13 per cent of Ontario’s current population. Seniors’ Month events include award ceremonies, recognition events, socials and seniors’ information fairs. Ontario is one of the best places in the world to grow old. Ontarians across the province are encouraged to join in the celebrations taking place in their local community to recognize and thank older Ontarians who have worked hard and continue to contribute to the prosperity that we all enjoy today. (From:

conditions in Mae La Oon that the UNHCR has pushed for group resettlement from Thailand as a matter of priority The camps are remote and isolated, so placed, to ensure that the refugees do not spill out of the camps and flood into Thai towns and cities. Life in the camps is basic and harsh. Within a two week period in the fall of 2006 RAP Hamilton received 62 BurmeseKaren GARs. The family combinations were mixed with couples, single parent and young singles and older singles. Approximately 40% of the groups were children. In the Picture (Page 1) we see the first Karen Family who arrived on September 12, 2006

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Canada Day over the years until the last vestiges were ended in 1982, when the Constitution Act patriated the Canadian constitution. Canada Day, thus, differs from Independence Day celebrations in other countries, in that it does not commemorate a clear-cut date of complete independence. On June 20, 1868, then Governor General Lord Monck issued a royal proclamation asking for Canadians to “celebrate the anniversary of the confederation. However, the holiday was not established statutorily until 1879, when it was designated as Dominion Day, in reference to the designation of the country as a Dominion in the British North America Act, 1867. The holiday was initially not dominant in the national calendar; up to the early 20th century, Canadians thought themselves to be primarily British, being thus less interested in celebrating distinctly Canadian forms of patriotism. No official celebrations were therefore held until 1917 – the golden anniversary of Confederation – and then none again for a further decade. This trend declined in the post-World War II era; beginning in 1958, the Canadian government began to orchestrate Dominion Day celebrations, usually consisting of Trooping the Colour ceremonies on Parliament Hill in the afternoon and evening, followed by a mass band concert and fireworks display. Canada’s centennial in 1967 is often seen as an important milestone in the history of Canadian patriotism, and in Canada’s maturing as a distinct, independent country, after which Dominion Day became more popular with average Canadians. Into the late 1960s, nationally televised, multi-cultural concerts held in Ottawa were added, and the fête became known as Festival Canada; after 1980 the Canadian government began to promote the celebrating of Dominion Day beyond the national capital, giving grants and aid to cities across the country to help fund local activities. The name was officially changed to Canada Day on October 27, 1982, a move largely inspired by the adoption of the Canada Act, earlier in the year. However, many Canadians had already been informally referring to the holiday as Canada Day for a number of years before the official name

change. As the anniversary of Confederation, Dominion Day, and later Canada Day, was the date set for a number of important events, such as the innaguration of the CBC’s cross-country television broadcast (1958), the flooding of the Saint Lawrence Seaway (1958), the first colour television transmission in Canada (1966), the innaguration of the Order of Canada (1967), and the establishment of “O Canada” as the country’s national anthem (1980). Other events fell on the same day coincidentally, such as the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916 – shortly after which the province of Newfoundland and Labrador recognised July 1 as Memorial Day to commemorate the Newfoundland Regiment’s heavy losses during the battle – and the enactment of the Chinese Immigration Act in 1923 – leading Chinese-Canadians to refer to July 1 as Humiliation Day and boycott Dominion Day celebrations, until the act was repealed in 1947.

Hamilton’s Grandmothers of Steel (Winners of the 2008) World Citizenship Award).

Hamilton’s Grandmothers of Steel have taken the African adage ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ to a new international level. A group of conscientious women,

the poor, suffering and disease-ridden of this world. And in so doing, they raised thousands of dollars, touched the hearts of two continents, and won the 2008

armed with steel courage to trade on paths where the most powerful countries and individuals failed to walk, have captured the un-dying spirit of the African continent with their selfless thoughts. The HIV/AIDS scourge of the African continent is no longer news. What is news worthy these days is the impact concerned organizations and individuals have to put a final stop to the senseless death of many a victims in the African continent to the disease of Aids.

World Citizen Award. Hamilton Grandmothers of Steel are open to all women: students, married, single, aunts, mothers, grandmothers, and great- grand mothers. They meet monthly and focus on initiatives, including lobbying, education, and fundraising activities related to the HIV/AIDS infections. The World Citizen Award was bestowed on these worthy grandmothers on May 8, 2008 by the Hamilton Mundalization Committee. In attendance at the award ceremony was Stephen Lewis, whose foundation; the Stephen Lewis Foundation inspired Hamilton’s Grandmothers of Steel to get involved in creating awareness about the negative impacts of HIV/AIDS in Africa, and raising funds to support grassroots projects that supports grandmothers and their grandchildren.

Activities Most communities across the country will host organized celebrations for Canada Day, usually outdoor public events, such as parades, carnivals, festivals, barbecues, air and maritime shows, fireworks, and free musical concerts,[11] as well as citizenship ceremonies for new citizens.[12][13] The locus of the celebrations is the national capital, Ottawa, Ontario, where large concerts, presided over by the Governor General, are held on Parliament Hill, as well as other parks around the city and in Hull, Quebec. The sovereign may also be in attendance at Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa; Queen Elizabeth II was present in 1990, 1992, and 1997.[14] The Queen also helped celebrate Canada’s 100th anniversary on July 1, 1967. Given the federal nature of the holiday, celebrating the event can be a cause of friction in the province of Quebec. For example, the federal government funds events at the Old Port – an area run by a federal Crown corporation – while the parade is a grassroots effort that has been met with pressure to cease, even from federal officials. International celebrations Canadian expatriates will organise Canada Day activities in their local area on or near the date of the holiday. For instance, since June 30, 2006, annual Canada Day celebrations have been held at Trafalgar

Hamilton’s Grandmothers of Steel does not have millions of dollars to help the Stephen Lewis Foundation fight the spread of HIV/AIDS infections. What these grandmothers have is the courage to stand up to be counted amongst thousands of people and organizations who want to be part of a good cause to help

– in London, England. Organised by the Canadian community in the United Kingdom and the Canadian High Commission, the event features Canadian performers and a demonstration of street hockey, amongst other activities.[16] Also, since 2000, the Victoria Cross bar in Sydney, Australia, is the location for official Canada Day celebrations,[citation needed] and mem-

bers of the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan mark each Canada Day at their base. Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario, have, since the 1950s, celebrated Dominion Day or Canada Day and the United States’ Independence Day with the International Freedom Festival. A massive fireworks display over the Detroit River, the strait separating the two cities, is held annually with hundreds of thousands of spectators attending. Exceptions Under the federal Holidays Act, Canada Day is observed on July 1 unless that date falls on a Sunday, in which case July 2 is the statutory holiday, although celebratory events generally take place on July 1 even though it is not the legal holiday.[19] If it falls on a Saturday, the following Monday is generally also a day off for those businesses ordinarily closed on Saturdays. Photo Taken By Nikki Tate

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Protest for prisoner in China A group of supporters comprising relatives, friends, and conscientious Canadians gathered in front of the Chinese Embassy in Toronto on June 22, 2008, urging both the Canadian and Chinese Governments to look into the release of Celil, who had been behind bars in a Chinese prison for over two years. The peaceful demonstra-

of the government is to the governed. The friends and well meaning Canadians are collecting signatures to petition the Canadian government to make Celil’s freedom a reality. Visit us via” to add your support. Below is an excerpt of a letter Celil wrote to his mother from the Chinese prison.By

time I was blessed seeing my sister when she visited me. I missed my mother and two son from the bottom of my heart. I really want to see them one more time. I wrote twice to you but received no reply so far. Maybe you did not get my letters or the letter you send did not reach me. I can figure out the reason. How about my all relatives? Are they fine? How about my son Abdusemi, Abdugheni and Esma?

tion was started around 3pm in the afternoon. Speeches, songs, display boards, and slogans were used to raise awareness to the continual detention and loss of Celil’s fundamental human rights, and the pain and sufferings his family and well-wishers are going through as a result. The protesters marched peacefully through Victorian Park with raised placards that bore their messages of plea and support for Celil. The call to release Celil is a reminder to the Canadian government of its responsibility to defend and protect its citizens whose freedoms are being infringed without caution. Celil’s continued detention in a Chinese jail without recourse to the rule of Law raises the eye brows as to what the responsibility

History of Fathers’ Day Celebration “I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.” -- Sigmund Freud Fathers’ day celebration dates back to antiquity, when a young boy named Elmusu wished his Babylonian father good health and a long life by carving a Father’s

Day message on a card made out of clay. History did not tell us what happened afterwards with Elmusu and his father, but the tradition of having a special day honouring fathers has continued through the years in countries across the world. The modern celebration of Fathers’ day originated from a thoughtful apprecia-

Free Husyincan Celil Organization, Hamilton Photos Taken By Gizem Aydin

How about my lovely wife Kamila and my children in Canada? (naming his all children one by one) . were you able to continue to contact with my wife Kamila and my children in Canada? How are they doing? What is my wife Kamila saying on my bad luck? Please ask Kamila, let her continue to do something for me in Canada. I am now loosing my all hopes of returning back to my country and see my wife and children. I can not sleep by thinking my old handicapped son. Because I

If I am in jail know it is just because I got a bad luck. Otherwise I have not done any thing wrong in my whole life. I really want to talk with some one from our Embassy in Beijing, I would like to tell them that I am absolutely innocent person. I want them to know my story. Why they are not coming to see me? I want them to ask for me why I am in jail for so long? What went wrong? What is the reason? I want to know all of these. I could not find any one here to listen me. But our Embassy personal can ask these questions on my behalf. I am always dreaming of Mehmet Salih and my wife Kamila. I can not pass any single minute without thinking them. So many things presses me all the time. In one hand

Best Greetings of God over you From Huseyin Celil My Lovely, gracious mother, how are you doing? I caused you tremendous suffer and pain. You spent whole of your life with my suffer. As a your child I only beg your pardon and pray for me. I missed you very very much. If they allow, if your financial situation permits, I would be feel like myself in heaven with your one more visit along with my two children. Last tion of a daughter about the selfless and caring devotion of her single-parent daddy. It began in Spokane, Washington. A woman by the name of Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father’s Day while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Having been raised by her father, Henry Jackson Smart, after her mother died, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora’s father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father’s Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910. In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. In 1926, a National Father’s Day Committee was formed in New York City. Father’s Day was recognized by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1956. President Nixon, in 1972, established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the third Sunday of June. So Father’s Day was born as a token of love and gratitude that a daughter cherishes for her beloved father. Roses are the Father’s Day flowers: red to be worn for a living father and white if the father has died. The Voice in Diaspora hope you enjoyed this year’s fathers’ day.

am in Prison now I am not aware of any thing about outside world. My days are passing with hoping of a miracle that can save me from this place and gives me chance of hugging my wife and children in Canada. I am worrying for my children all days scratching my head as a hopeless and helpless person. When I met with my sister last time she mentioned me in brief that Kamila would be coming to see me? Any thing new about this? Please if you know any thing let me know with any possible ways. Dear Mother, you are getting old. Please take care of yourself well, even though this is an empty wish, Please rest well. Do not cry for me too much. I could not stand this unjust world. I am supposed to serve you as your son, I am supposed to help you under your knees all day and night, but now you are helping my son and taking care of them for me. You have raised my two children as you did all my brothers and sisters. This is painful. This is indigestible. Dear my sisters and brothers, Please take care of my mother well. Every thing can be found, not father and mother. We have only one mother who are precious for all of us. Think of me for a second, now I can do every thing to be able to see the face of my mother, I am thinking all day and night to serve her for a second, but I can not. Therefore you should know the value of our mother when she is alive and take this golden opportunity to serve her. Please send my heartfelt greetings to my wife Kamila if you have a chance to talk with her on phone. Dear Kamila, if possible please contact with the Embassy personal in Beijing and let them know my situation. So far nearly two years I have not seen any one from Canada. I am citizen of Canada and I belong to this great country. w w w.thevoiceindiasp

my children in Kashgar grown up without seeing my fatherhood. Another hand my children in Canada living without knowing what has happened to their father. Also my mother is suffering and crying for me all day and night. Worst thing is I can not do any thing for my mother, children, wife and relatives except pray in my heart. I pray my mother all the time. She has raised my children without me since years. I can not pay it back in my whole life. When I was about to be a person who can do some thing for my children and family, I ended up in jail for nothing. Please pray for me. That is the only thing that I can ask from you. I can feel from the bottom of my heart that you came to Urumqi many many times and spent days and night for the hope to see me, visit me. I am grateful, I am thankful for the hardship you have experienced in cold and hot, snow and rain. I know you are doing it. I know the thin heart of my mother and my children and all of my relatives. I hope my paper is enough to pour ( I think it meant to express) my heart. I would like to put each and every name of my relatives on this paper and send my greetings from my heart. He names all of his relatives one by one. Dear mother, Please forgive me if I have done any thing wrong to you in my life. Please forgive me if I even have spoken loudly in front of you. It is only God who can help me to meet with all of you. Respectfully Huseyin Celil March 10, 2008 No: 5th subdivision of 6th district, Number 1 prison in Urumqi

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Story of a Survivor A Karen Refugee Klo Say, 34, was born and raised in Ya Plo Der village in Mu Traw district in the Karen Sate in Burma. In 1988, he was forced to flee when the Burmese army launched an attack on his village. Along with many other Karen people Klo Say was internally displaced in Burma, before he entered Thailand without authorization in 1992. After living in legal limbo for two years in Thailand, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees recognized Klo Say and fellow Karen people as legitimate refugees. Since then, Klo Say has lived in Mea Kong Kah and Mea La Oon refugee camps located near Thai-Burmese border. In 1998, while living as a refugee, Klo Say attended Bible College conducted by Karen Baptise Convention. While studying there, he became fluent in English. After completing his Diploma in Theological Studies, he taught Karen History, in the camp high school and English in the primary school. After teaching for four years, Klo Say was elected as the camp secretary where he played an actively role in the camp administration. In 2006, Klo Say along with his wife, Paw Gay and son,

New Boy were selected for resettlement in Canada. In November, 2006, he and his family arrived in Hamilton. The day after his arrival, Klo Say began to assist SISO’s Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) counsellors as a stand-in Karen language interpreter. Later, he was trained as a Life Skills Trainer and began to work closely with Karen newcomers who subsequently arrived in Hamilton. In July, 2007, Klo Say was invited to Newfoundland to assist the Association for New Canadians in their efforts to resettle Karen newcomers in St. John. After successfully assisting in the resettlement of Karen in Newfoundland, Klo Say retuned to Hamilton and continued his work as an interpreter for SISO and other community agencies. In January 2008, Klo Say joined SISO’s RAP team as a Community Outreach Worker. Klo Say plans to attend college in the near future with an aim of becoming a Social Service Worker. Stories below continued from March edition “Personalities of the Month” Enjoy the conclusion.

Carolann Fernades - A Social Activist ...continued from Last Issue Carolann is quick to admit that she could not have made it here in Canada without the relationship she formed with her Canadian neighbours and friends. “They supported me and guided me through the journey of integration,” she states. Carolann not being one to neglect joining a worthy cause spent a great deal of time

volunteering on community committees, and boards. Some include: SISO, Hamilton Mundialization, Social Planning and Research Council (SPRC), Hamilton’s Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI), United Nations Hamilton, etc. Carolann believes being an immigrant allows her to see things through more objective lens and helped her think outside the box. This is the perspective she

believes she brings to the table. Currently, she is involved with issues of ageing. As an established immigrant, one has to think and plan for one’s ageing years, Carolann reasons. Her tireless contribution to the betterment of immigrant issues over the years has won her much recognition in notable quarters. She has been recognized for social activism by Status of Women

(2001). She was nominated for the YMCA Peace Award, and was the finalist of the Athena Award (2004). Carolann is a happy Hamiltonian. She wishes new immigrants to Hamilton a peaceful integration which could be achieved through creating more favourable opportunities for these new arrivals.

Yassah Kollie’s Dr. Nathalie Xian Yi Yan - An Enigma Experience In A Refugee Camp ...continued from Last Issue

The lack of permanent full time positions and prevalence of temporary short shift jobs have perpetuated poverty in the lives of new immigrants in Canada.

...continued from Last Issue PART IV: MISSION SERVICES I am presently employed with Mission Services of Hamilton. I have worked for this agency for 2 years and have grown from my experience and training there. Through this job I have been able to work with women’s issues, particularly those related to violence and abuse. PART V: CONCLUSION My recommendation to my fellow immigrants is to be confident about those talents and abilities that are brought from home. In terms of employment and opportunity, this kind of knowledge contributes to the rich tapestry of diversity within our community. There is no need to hide those things that make our communities more colourful and beautiful. Don’t give easily in the quest for a better life. Always work to create more opportunities for your own life and those around you whether it is by setting higher goals or appealing to the government to continue to provide and expand support for immigrant opportunity.

Q: How did you get integrated into the community?

A: I started volunteering with the church. I also got involved with SISO and that helped opened up more opportunities for me. Some of the places where I volunteered include: Hamilton Urban Theatre; Canada Customs and Revenue Agency; YMCA, YWCA; Wesley Community Homes Inc.; Hamilton Dragon Boat Race; Women’s Detox center, Theatre Aquarius; Tourism Hamilton; Hamilton Book Sale, Tele-Touch of Hamilton United Way Agency, etc. At present, I have my medical office full time running but I still keep at least 5 volunteer jobs.

Are you an ethnic/ cultural artist? Do you want to showcase your work and talent?

The Voice in Diaspora wants to hear from you to participate in a cultural artistic exhibition taking place fall next year.


for more information. Also visit our website at 

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Q: What is your advice to policy makers and Canadian public towards the plights of new immigrants/refugees settling in Hamilton?

nity, and do something meaningful for posterity. Settling down here was very difficult for me. However, I survived through determination.

A: I love Hamilton; it is a great city to live in. However, like most cities grappling with influx of new comers, there are needs for our policies to be inclusive of diverse populations. SISO is one of the organizations that are doing a lot to settle immigrants in Hamilton. We need services and programs that are culturally sensitive to the diverse populations residing here now.

I tapped into the knowledge and skills I grew up with to start Traditional Chinese Medicine from items donated from friends. I earned my doctor title after internationally acknowledgement of my contribution to the academic field and community at 2005. Things are different compare with 5 years ago. 95% of my clients are typical Canadians, and clients are all over Ontario, Canada and the world that trust the services I offered.

Q: What advice do you have for new comers to Hamilton? A: New comers should always remind themselves they made commitments to come to a new land, and should stick to those commitments. Coming to Canada is a privilege; one can do what one wishes to do irrespective of challenges/hurdles in the system. You have to get involve with the community; be useful to the commu-

Q: Any other thoughts? A: Though Canada is a land of opportunity; it does not come easily if there is no hard work involved. My philosophy in life is when you decide to dig a well and there is no water, keep on digging until you see water – that’s what made me survive.

Hiring practices at Ottawa City Hall raise auditor’s concerns The City of Ottawa is providing opportunities for unqualified people to get municipal jobs if a relative or someone else they know already has one, says the city’s auditor general in his annual report. In addition, it is allowing employees to report to their relatives and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to recruit managers who were already working for the city, according to Alain Lalonde’s three-volume 2007 annual report, tabled Wednesday morning. The report includes more than 350 recommendations following 23 audits of areas ranging from staffing to misuse of vehicles to financial information reported to council. Some concerns raised by Lalonde in areas other than staffing: - Development fees, which are meant to recover costs related to new development, are too low in Ottawa compared to those in other municipalities. That means property taxpayers are subsidizing planning and engineering costs related to development by millions of dollars. - There are not enough food safety inspections of restaurants and disclosure of the results is too slow. - The protocol division, which deals with official visits, is way over budget. City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick said management agrees with 85 per cent of the

recommendations and has already acted or begun taking action in some cases. Unqualified son hired in mom’s branch With respect to staffing practices, Lalonde’s report said a call to the city’s waste and fraud hotline flagged a case where someone was hired in the branch where his mother was a manager. A review found that the person hired didn’t possess the minimum experience described in the job posting, and was therefore originally screened out, but somehow later granted an interview. “The lack of consistency in screening... provides potential opportunities for people who know someone (family members or others) to be screened in without meeting the basic requirements,” the report said. In fact, a sample of hires found that in 27 per cent of job competitions, some candidates who didn’t meet basic requirements were interviewed. The city made six out of 44 offers to such candidates, or about 13 per cent of the sample. Not only does that put the city at risk of having unqualified workers, it also wastes money, the report said. “The job requirements directly affect the level of compensation of the position. If the person in the position does not meet the job requirements, they are being overpaid. Similarly, if the position does not

Families In Need Get Help With Rent

need the requirements, then the position is overclassified.” The report recommended allowing only candidates who meet basic requirements to apply for the job. The audit found a number of instances where family members work in the same unit or report indirectly to each other. It recommended reviewing the city’s definition of family in its policy on hiring and employment of family members, which bars spouses, parents and children from reporting directly to each other, but says nothing about siblings or indirect report-

ing. The auditor also criticized the city’s use of outside firms to help recruit managers. The report noted that the city spent $282,223 to recruit four managers “who were already working or known to senior management.” More than 95 per cent of the money was paid to a single firm, which charged the most out of three firms that qualified through a request for proposals. From CBC News

Immigration Bill Will Cause Irreversible Damage Hamilton – NDP MP, Wayne Marston [Hamilton East – Stoney Creek], and MP for Outremont, Thomas Mulcair, denounced the offensive amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that was hidden deep inside the Conservative’s budget implementation act, Bill C-50. “It is a sneaky and unusual way to introduce changes to the Immigration Act

McGuinty Government Announces Funding For Rent Banks Low-income Ontarians who occasionally need help to pay rent will get more support. The Ontario government is investing $5 million in rent banks to help more families stay in their homes. Missing the occasional rent payment is the most common way low-income families are forced into shelters. Since launching the Rent Bank program in 2004, the government has helped save over 13,200 families from eviction. Ontario renters who face possible eviction can apply to their local rent bank for support. If a tenant’s application is approved, the outstanding rent is paid directly to the landlord on behalf of the tenant. Renters can apply for financial assistance from a rent bank no more than once in two years, and get up to two months help with rent. The McGuinty government will be developing a long-term strategy for affordable housing as part of its poverty reduction strategy. The strategy will build on the broad range of programs and services that are already helping more Ontarians work,

build and contribute to a stronger economy. QUOTES “It’s in no one’s interest to put families on the street. The rent bank helps Ontarians stay in their homes, which strengthens the well-being of families and the communities they live in,” said Premier Dalton McGuinty. “Short-term arrears are the most common reason tenants with lower incomes lose their homes and are forced into shelters,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Jim Watson. “Our rent bank program has proven to be a great success in helping tenants to remain their homes.” QUICK FACTS • In 2007, the average rent for an apartment in Ontario was $870 per month. • It costs between $60 and $80 for one person to spend the night in an emergency shelter. • 29 per cent of Ontarians rent their homes. 71 per cent are home owners From

that guarantees that the changes will not be reviewed by the Immigration Committee” said Marston. The offensive changes include giving major new powers to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to impose quotas, discard immigration applications and facilitate queue jumping by certain categories of immigrants. In addition, they would limit the ability of ordinary Canadians to be reunited with overseas family members based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. « Lorsqu’il est question de diminuer l’accumulation des demandes d’immigration, les Conservateurs de Harper sont indignes de confiance! Plutôt que des politiques arbitraires et un ministre tout-puissant, il nous faut des changements aux conditions d’entrée, une augmentation du nombre d’immigrants ciblés et des investissements dans les ressources dans les bureaux canadiens à l’étranger aussi bien que chez nous. », a dit Mulcair, le Leader adjoint du NPD et porte-parole des finances. « Le NPD croit en une stratégie d’immigration équitable, qui favorise une w w w.thevoiceindiasp

économie robuste sans exploiter les travailleuses et les travailleurs et qui réunira sans délais les familles. » Over the last 10 years, the Liberals, and now the Conservative government, have quietly shifted Canada’s immigration policy towards one where poorly paid and often abused foreign temporary workers get priority over family class or permanent resident applicants. According to statistics, in some years temporary workers have more than doubled the number of permanent residents accepted into Canada. Mulcair was in Hamilton to tour SISO (Hamilton’s Settlement and Integration Services Organization), to draw attention to the changes being made to Canada’s Immigration system and to attend a fundraising dinner with MP, Wayne Marston. For more information, call Wayne Marston at 905-662-4763. June-July 2008 • Vol 1 • Issue 8-9

April Showers - May Flowers For Karen Refugees Some Karen refugees in Hamilton are reliving the farming experiences that were part of their lives in Burma, thanks to a parcel of land from City of Hamilton, and seeds from William Dam Seeds. The rationale for the community garden was developed in 2007 from the realization that among the group of refugees who were coming to SISO at that time the there was a group of clients who were not going to be able to achieve the Life Coaching objectives of Community Relatedness, Efficacy and Autonomy , through the traditional processes . Most refugee clients are able to achieve these objectives through the process of education and training which leads to jobs and independence. Some clients however , because of extenuating circumstance such as being elderly, or having to support family members who have a disability or a serious illness. These issues can isolate the people in these categories, making it necessary for Life Coaching to find creative ways to support clients with special issues to achieve their life coaching objectives. As well the clients who were coming at that time (Karen) came from an agrarian culture where independent subsistent farming was they way people provided food for their families. During Home Visits, when clients were asked how they provided for themselves in the camps and in their lives before the camp experience, they consistently told the story of agricultural farming. When asked if they would like to be part of a community garden they responded enthusiastically with a yes. Our first gardeners were the elders in the community, and their families. The pilot project reached out to a partner in the community., the True City Churches, who donated their back yard for the pilot. The back yard contained enough space to accommodate the four families in the pilot who’s gardening activities are represented in the pictures provided. The pilot was successful and the project has since been taken up by the host department which is now running the garden with (the support of Life Coaching) from the Churchill Park Aviary in West dale. Teresa Simms-Obidi Life Coach and Personal Mentor

Thank You! The Voice in Diaspora wish to thank all our readers and customers for their continued support every month” 

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The population of the world will be older According to the 2006 Revision of World Population Prospects, by 2045 the number of older persons in the world (those aged 60 years or over) will likely surpass, for the first time in history, the number of children (i.e., persons under age 15). This crossover is the consequence of the long term reductions in fertility and mortality that are leading to the steady ageing of the world population. Today, the major areas find themselves at very different stages in the path to population ageing. Ageing is most advanced in Europe, where the number of persons aged 60 or

over surpassed the number of children in 1995. By 2050, Europe will have twice as many older persons as children. In fact, in Europe only the older population is expected to increase in the future, whereas the population under age 60 is expected to decrease. This combination of a declining population of children and a declining population in the working ages leads to very rapid population ageing and poses major challenges for the social and economic adaptation of societies. Northern America has a quite different pattern of population ageing than Europe. Contrary to Europe, the population in main working age between 15 and 59 will continue to grow during the next 45 years. Other than Europe, Northern America still has a larger number of children then elderly. Only after 2015

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the number of people aged 60 and above will become larger than the number of children aged 15 and below. And other than in Europe, the number of children age 15 and below will not decline but grow between 2005 and 2050. Among the developing regions, population ageing is accelerating in Asia and in Latin America and the Caribbean. In Asia, the number of persons aged 60 or over will surpass the number of children by 2040. At about the same time, the population aged 15 to 59 is expected to reach a maximum and begin a slow decline. Similar trends are expected for the population of Latin America and the Caribbean, where the number of children is expected to fall below the number of older persons in 2040 and the population of working age is

expected to stop growing at about the same time. Africa stands out as the only major region whose population is still relatively young and where the number of elderly, although increasing, will still be far below the number of children in 2050. In fact, the number of children in Africa is projected to rise from half a billion in 2050 to over 1.2 billion in 2050, a number larger than the number of children that India has today. For further information please visit:

Global Skills @ Work

An Initiative to Assist our Local Businesses Aurelia Tokaci Attraction and retention of a skilled workforce and a population that can sustain economic development and carry some of the fundamental activities, is critical today for all industrialized nations. Today’s immigration policies practiced by most countries are driven by the competition to “attract the best and the brightest”. In Canada, cities and regions across the country are also competing to attract and retain the skills and talent brought by new immigrants. From small communities in Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland to our neighbouring cities and regions (London, Kitchener-Waterloo or Windsor), communities across the country look at the attraction and retention of global skills and talent as an important strategic opportunity they need to take advantage of. Studies from the Conference Board of Canada and Statistics Canada suggest that by 2011, immigration to Canada will account for 100% of net labour force growth and 75% of net population growth. Provinces like B.C. and Alberta are already experiencing a chronic shortage of skills at all levels and in all sectors, prompting some businesses to literally shut down or decrease their operations. Business associations are also quick at grasping these realities: the impact of a declining population coupled with anticipated retirements in all occupations over the next 10-15 years, will translate into a

chronic skill shortage for all sectors across the country. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Association of Manufacturers and Exporters, to name just a few, are actively lobbying federal and provincial governments to eliminate systemic barriers which hinder the integration of skilled immigrants into the workforce. Hamilton is facing the same dilemma: the HR Matters-Hamilton Human Resource Strategy has identified the year 2013 as the year of critical impact for businesses in Hamilton to experience a severe shortage of workers. The results would directly impact production and the local economy. It is the main reason which prompted the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce to take an active interest in issues related to immigration. Over the last five years, the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce has provided support to both Ontario and Canadian Chambers on some key policy resolutions in this area. A practical example is the current partnership between the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and SISO to assist local businesses. The new project, under the Global Experience @Work initiative includes a combination of information sessions and free consulting services to assist Hamilton businesses recruit, select and integrate global skills and experience in the workplace. It is one of only seven projects approved

Host Program Activities Carolyn Vanderlip SISO’s Host Program has been busy with a variety of events and activities for newcomers. On May 28, the Rotary Club of Hamilton AM hosted a reception for some of the newest members of our community. Families from Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, and Iraq were treated to a delicious dinner and a very warm welcome by the Rotarians. The Rotary Club members had a chance to spend some time talking with their guests and learning about other cultures and experiences. Thank you to Rotary Hamilton AM for hosting this event! Newcomers from Burma have been spending their Saturdays at the Churchill Park community garden in Westdale,

where they have planted tomatoes, eggplant, lettuce, beans, onions, and a variety of other vegetables and herbs. They have been enjoying the beautiful and restful atmosphere at the Aviary Garden, and look forward to a bountiful harvest throughout the growing season. We appreciate the assistance of the City of Hamilton in obtaining the plots, and the donation of seeds and plants by William Dam Seeds.

in Ontario and an integral part of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce strategy to better promote Ontario as a career, business and investment destination of choice, and to ensure that Ontario keeps pace with a competitive global economy by investing in human capital. “We’re already facing crippling shortages of skilled workers in Ontario, a shortage that will only get worse as a result of a declining birthrate and more retiring workers,” explains Len Crispino, CEO for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.  To take advantage of free consulting services through this initiative, call your Hamilton Chamber of Commerce at: (905) 522-1151, ext. 237 or SISO: (905) 667-7476 ext. 287. Quick Facts: • With 23.6% of its residents born outside Canada, Hamilton is the third most diverse place in Canada • Over 60% of all new immigrants to Canada have some vocational or post-secondary education • The reliance on immigration to offset local skill shortages will only increase over the next decade, as Hamilton experiences the same issue related to an aging population and retirement of “baby boomers’ as all other communities across the country • Hamilton is already experiencing skill shortages in a number of trades and health care occupations have expressed interest in a series teaching more advanced sewing skills. We are thankful to our partners, the Jamesville Community Centre who provided space and sewing machines, and the Junior

• Hamilton’s ability to attract immigrants has continued to decline, from an annual 4,264 in 2002 to 3,836 in 2006, while the total net migration has slipped from an annual 6,600 in 2001-2002 to 1,249 in 20052006 • The overall population growth for Hamilton has dropped to a low 2,763 in 20052006 from 8,701 in 2001-2002 • Hamilton’s successful transition into the knowledge economy will increasingly depend on its ability to attract, produce and retain a highly skilled workforce Aurelia Tokaci is the Manager of the Employment, Career & Business Development at SISO and the Chair of the Chamber’s Community Development Committee. An expert in immigration, diversity and integration of global talent into the workplace, she is available to answer your questions via email: League of Hamilton-Burlington who funded the purchase of additional sewing machines.

The SISO Sewing Club wrapped up with a graduation ceremony on May 31. Eleven women received participation certificates. The Sewing Club ran on a weekly basis for 10 weeks, and allowed newcomer women to learn basic sewing skills through the help of volunteer instructors. Most of the women improved their sewing skills, and

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Welcome to the Business Hub On June 6th SISO officially opened the Business Hub at its new Mountain Office on 1030 Upper James.

integration of business immigrants into the economy; and connect Canadian companies with markets overseas.

The Business Hub is a Global Business Innovation Centre which assists the start-up of new and emerging businesses by immigrants, through the provision of advisory services, business links and connections, physical facilities, training, assistance, and access to resources. Our program participants and graduates will commercialize innovative products and services, create jobs, pay taxes and strengthen the Hamilton economy.

The Business Hub provides a space for organizations and services already available in Hamilton to: connect with business immigrants and new Canadians; deliver programs and services that assist the business start-up process; provide information and support to assist new Canadian entrepreneurs. In addition, the centre connects business immigrants and entrepreneurs with services and assistance essential in their settlement process.

The services available through the Business Hub aim at assisting prospective entrepreneurs establish new businesses in Canada; develop business and management skills; facilitate the settlement and

Client Market: Newcomers with a business/investment, entrepreneurial or professional back-

ground, a strong entrepreneurial spirit, motivation and interest in opening a business in the Hamilton area. Service Areas: • Access to business start-up information and resources • Assistance in defining business start-up requirements and pathway • Assistance related to market research, development of business plan, access to investment, loans, incentives or subsidies • Information related to market entry and distribution plan of product/services • Information and workshops related to legal aspects of business start-up/management • Information related to taxation, import/

My Personal Experience of SISO By Tesfalem Aboye I am 20 years old and a citizen of Ethiopia. I immigrated to Canada in September 2006 with my family. When we first arrived in Canada, we were disoriented and confused, not knowing what was to come. It was a very depressing experience for me, for I was homesick and felt very lonely because most of my family and friends are still back home in Ethiopia. SISO is the organization that helped us resettle in Canada. Due to our limited English, every time we had an appointment, it was coordinated in such a way that an interpreter was present to translate for us. After I started at SISO and met the staff, every bad and negative feeling went away. I felt that there was hope. The Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) program helped us to find an apartment, furniture, and our many household

necessities. SISO reminds me of home and I’ve gained confidence that all will be well. Everybody at SISO is friendly and they welcome people with open arms and friendly faces. They treat everyone with the same respect and create friendship with them… you wouldn’t feel like a client if you accessed their services. I’m currently a volunteer at SISO for the Clothing program to obtain my community service hours. This gives me an opportunity to give back to the newcomers the services that I received when I first arrived in Canada. It gives me a wonderful feeling when I see SISO’s clients smiling and thanking me when I hand them clothes. It means a lot to me, and I see it as a blessing to be part of your community and helping newcomers.

SISO Youth Program I am sure, that all of you are in the midst of your exams, anticipating your summer holidays just ahead of you! Well I have great news for you. The Youth Program has some fantastic activities planned for this summer 2008! We have arranged exciting field trips to Canada’s Wonderland, Marineland and Niagara Falls and more! Lots of fun sports activities are taking place, such as soccer, swimming, basketball, volleyball, Martial Arts, yoga, and pilates. Other activities that we have planned for this summer include an outdoors club, Arts & Crafts, a girls’ club, a Bowling Tournament, Movie Days, Dancing and even an English Conversation Circle! The Youth Team is anticipating your presence, so please do not be shy. Call us! Come make new friends and have a great time this summer!

A Day at the Youth Program On Wednesday, May 18th, SISO Youth Program held a sports banquet in honour and recognition of the tremendous efforts of the SISO youth house league at Soccer World. The team worked and played very hard and made it to the championships undefeated – they came in second, but are still victorious, having played a remarkable season against many teams from around the city. This season may be ending, but it also marks a new beginning for the summer soccer program and a bright future for the Soccer World house league next season! From Deanna, Sport & Recreation

From Gigi, Youth Organizer For further information and to register with our program please contact us at (905) 667-7476 or email All our programs are free of charge.


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export and customs regulations • Networking opportunities with established businesses • Business Mentoring

Youth Programming Do you want to play Soccer this summer? If you have answered yes then this is the time for you to register with our Newcomer Youth Soccer League. This free Summer

Soccer program is for those aged 10 to 24. The League starts on Monday June 16, 2008 and goes until early September. Location: Eastwood Park, 111 Burlington Street Date and time: Every Monday and Wednesday from 4PM-6PM For further information please contact: Deanna (905) 667-7476 ext 369

ship and Immigration.

The Way I See It! “The Way I See It” Award Event Thursday, June 19, 2008 6pm- 8:30pm Hamilton Central Library, Hamilton Room 55 York Boulevard, Hamilton A Special Arts partnership between Arts Hamilton and SISO Titled “The Way I See It” (TWISI) invites you to a wonderful Award Event. The event attempts to provide bridges between the Hamilton arts community and newcomers to Hamilton. “The Way I See It” is a photography exhibit made possible through support and contributions from the Hamilton Community Foundation and the Ontario Ministry of Citizen-

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“The Way I See It” is “Hamilton through the eyes of newcomers via the medium of photography, pure and simple”. Participants will have their photographs on display at the Hamilton Central Library. The project is a good opportunity for newcomers to Canada and Hamilton to have a voice and presence in the local arts community. The public and participants are invited to participate in this Award Event and appreciate how some of Hamilton‘s newest residents share their view of Hamilton. Check for the most up to date listing under TWISI. For further event information, please contact Gigi at (905) 667-7476, ext. 368.

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The Library…A Magic Castle Come to the library when you are growing tall. Rows upon rows of word windows line every single wall. They reach up high as high as the sky and you want to open them all. For every time you open one! A

Library work on designing programs that fit the newcomers’ needs specifically. The programs encourage children to practice their reading and to borrow books to continue their reading at home. They also cre-

Multicultural Event The entrance was decorated with the world’s national flags and full of delicious smells that caught the attention of over 100 people. People were wearing traditional clothes and posing for pictures with the guests. This was a scene at the Multicultural

new adventure has begun….. (Dragon in a Wagon, Jane Belk Moncure) The library is one of the most visited places in Hamilton during the summer. Every year after all of the schools close their doors, the library adventure begins. The Hamilton Public Library opens its doors to students and parents to experience the joy of reading and to have a great time together. The Hamilton Public Library prepares well in advance in order to provide its clients the best service possible. Every summer, the library hires approximately 40 students to run the summer reading programs and activities throughout the 24 branch locations and bookmobiles. As well, every year the library has a theme for the summer reading program and this year’s theme is “LAUGH OUT LOUD!” Newcomer children are not forgotten at the library. The library, in partnership with SISO, ensures that every summer 4 students are hired to run programs targeted specifically to the newcomer community. The Enjoy Summer Learning program is delivered in areas of the city where newcomer families settle. The 4 libraries include: Central, Westdale, Redhill and Terryberry. SISO and the Hamilton Public


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ate an opportunity for ESL students to volunteer. By volunteering in the library, ESL students build new friendships and also strengthen their language skills.

Not all schools organize such a big event but certain teachers set a time to talk about the different cultures with their students in class. Learning about new cultures is not only limited to the differences, but also includes discovering the similarities. “I was surprised, when I saw the Philippine’s Rice Cake at the event. It was exactly the same as our Rice Cake,” Mrs. Joo told me. Par ticipants were amazed twice over, once with seeing the similarities and the other one with meeting uniqueness in the cultures. Through this sharing we would feel unified some how.

In addition to all this excitement at the library in the summer, SISO and the Hamilton Public Library, through funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, have launched a settlement program located at the library (LSSP). This program offers year round information and referral services specifically for newcomers. The services are provided at different library locations including; Central, Terryberry, Red Hill, Kenilworth and the bookmobile stop at the Riverdale Community Centre. The settlement workers at the library are very friendly and very welcoming. They speak Arabic, Chinese, French, Urdu, Punjabi, and Hindi, and are able to offer information on the following settlement issues; employment, counselling and settlement services, language training, social activities, recreation, school information and more.

Event organized by Central Public School in May 2008. Each year during the month of May, schools within HWDSB celebrate their diverse cultures with the students and parents. Invitations are sent home and parents voluntarily sign up to bring their cultural dishes. Some even dress in their traditional clothing.

It is our hope, that with the many exciting and free programs and services available to you in the local library, you and your family will come together and visit your local branch and see what services can benefit you!

Mrs. Joo, a Korean mother of two said “This is something new. I have never seen such an event in Korea.” She added “My kids like to dress in our own ‘Hanbok’ on that day and they also like being asked about our traditions. I think they feel proud of where

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they come from.”

We as a parents brought our heritage to Canada and our children are making a new legacy here. Knowing about each other’s heritage and respecting it is what the Multicultural Event was all about. Next year, if you receive an invitation from your child’s school, why don’t you be a part of it? Dana Kim Information and Referral Counsellor SWISH

Every month the Voice in Diaspora will try to publish articles from different faith groups

“I thought, he too would be declared an heir” Prophetic saying Our heirs are those who will inherit us, often, our wives, children, parents, etc. What if you were told there is another person who could be declared as part of your heirs, but that individual is neither a parent, nor a wife, nor a sibling, nor a child. It is some one with whom you have a permanent association and contact; and weather the association is good or otherwise, has a great impact on your life, wellbeing, and morals. So who is this person, that he too, as Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) thought, would be declared by God an heir? It has been reported that Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) said: “Angel Gabriel counseled me so frequently regarding the rights of the neighbor that I thought; he too would be declared an heir.”

This is a commandment from the Almighty God, so frequently revealed to Prophet Mohammad (P.B.U.H) to stress the importance of being kind and courteous to the neighbour with such emphasize and regularity that the Prophet (P.B.U.H) thought that the neighbour also will be given a share in the wealth and property left by the deceased. This is not merely to state a fact, rather a way to highlight the importance of the neighbour in Islamic faith. It is essential for the true believer to be mindful of his neighbors at all times so that he does not harm him in any way: “Whoever believes in God and the final day (Day of Judgment) it is essential that he does not harm his neighbors “Prophetic saying. “He is not a true believer who eats to

his satisfaction and sleeps comfortably at night while his neighbor goes hungry and he is aware of it.” Prophetic saying These traditions and teachings explain clearly the importance of good and kind treatment to neighbors and they are a clear admonition to those who remain indifferent to the needs and difficulties of their neighbors and care nothing for them. To bring in practice these Islamic values, on March 15, 2008, Hamilton Downtown Mosque, located on 96 Wilson St., held an Open House, and extended its invita-

tion and hospitality to its neighbours and friends. It was an opportunity for Muslims in Downtown area to send a message to the neighbours “ We are part of this wonderful mosaic, our doors and hearts are always open for our nieghbours” Members of the Mosque are there to work hand in hand with the neighbouring organizations, institutions and individuals to provide a safe and clean neighbourhood. By Sayed M. Tora, Imam of Hamilton Downtown Mosque

Every Saturday After Sunset Come & Study Islam 96 Wilson St.

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Canadian Multiculturalism: An Inclusive Citizenship “The essence of inclusiveness is that we are part of a society in which language, colour, education, sex and money need not, should not divide us, but can make us more aware and sensitive to difference.” Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, October 7, 1999 In 1971, Canada was the first country in the world to adopt multiculturalism as an official policy. By so doing, Canada affirmed the value and dignity of all Canadian citizens regardless of their racial or ethnic origins, their language, or their religious affiliation. The 1971 Multiculturalism Policy of Canada also confirmed the rights of Aboriginal peoples and the status of Canada’s two official languages. Canadian multiculturalism is fundamental to our belief that all citizens are equal. Multiculturalism ensures that all citizens can keep their identities, can take pride in their ancestry and have a sense of belonging. Acceptance gives Canadians a feeling of security and self-confidence, making them more open to, and accepting of, diverse cultures. The Canadian experience has shown that multiculturalism encourages racial and ethnic harmony and crosscultural understanding, and discourages ghettoization, hatred, discrimination and violence. Mutual respect helps develop common attitudes. New Canadians, no less than

other Canadians, respect the political and legal process, and want to address issues by legal and constitutional means. Through multiculturalism, Canada recognizes the potential of all Canadians, encouraging them to integrate into their society and take an active part in its social, cultural, economic and political affairs. All Canadians are guaranteed equality before the law and equality of opportunity regardless of their origins. Canada’s laws and policies recognize Canada’s diversity by race, cultural heritage, ethnicity, religion, ancestry and place of origin and guarantee to all men and women complete freedom of conscience, of thought, belief, opinion expression, association and peaceful assembly. All of these rights, our freedom and our dignity, are guaranteed through our Canadian citizenship, our Canadian Constitution, and our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Multiculturalism has led to higher rates of naturalization than ever before. With no pressure to assimilate and give up their culture, immigrants freely choose their new citizenship because they want to be Canadians. As Canadians, they share the basic values of democracy with all other Canadians who came before them. At the same time, Canadians are free to choose for themselves, without penalty, whether they want to identify with their specific

group or not. Their individual rights are fully protected and they need not fear group pressures. Our diversity is a national asset. Recent advances in technology have made international communications more important than ever. Canadians who speak many languages and understand many cultures make it easier for Canada to participate globally in areas of education, trade and diplomacy.

Canada and the Canadian people. Our citizenship gives us equal rights and equal responsibilities. By taking an active part in our civic affairs, we affirm these rights and strengthen Canada’s democracy, ensuring that a multicultural, integrated and inclusive citizenship will be every Canadian’s inheritance. (Taken from: progs/multi/respect_e.cfm). Photo/Image By Alexindigo

Multiculturalism is a relationship between


Countries with a Compromised Future By: Priya Verma The age-old debate about mankind has never ceased, are we naturally savages and selfish individuals or are we generous enough to care for the well-being of our fellow man? We would all love to live in an ideal world free of war, violence and poverty, however, this is a bitter reality many of us live everyday. The consequences of such social ills are corruption. The cost of corruption is often never considered, but almost half of the countries in the world are corrupt. Dishonesty, bribery and fraud happen everyday. Corruption hurts everyone and Forbes magazine also looked at the top 10 most corrupt countries in the world. Countries from all over the world were recognized as the most corrupt, from Haiti to Turkmenistan. The Voice in Diaspora will take a “snapshot” look at each country and discuss the current climate in each place, but the result has been the same for all, endless corruption. Countless nations are poverty-stricken and face many challenges, which paves the way for a compromised future. Corruption makes room for evil and often innocent people suffer. We do not realize the impact of corruption and the linkages between corruption, poverty and basic human rights being abused. It becomes a social justice issue, which needs to be addressed, and many crucial changes need to be made on both local and national levels. Yet, not much is being done to eradicate this problem. We cannot stand back and act as if it does not affect us at all when in fact it does. We need to think global and act local. To reveal what truly goes on in each of these countries helps us discover if any of these corrupt nations share any similarities or unique differences. Often times, in many of the countries such as Kenya, Paraguay, Chad and Bangladesh, the funds the government receives goes into the wrong hands. Millions of dollars go into the pockets of those with power. There are similar, but shocking trends in each of these countries I found. Most people with power such as ministers, other key political figures and govern-


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ment parties, gangsters, drug lords and military regimes abuse their authority and steal money away from their citizens. The money that is pocketed is kept for themselves and their families. It is speculated that most of the money is put into top-secret, foreign bank accounts. These people can afford lifestyles of the rich and famous at the expense of many poorer members of society. They spend huge sums of money on luxurious items such as mansions, fancy sports cars and exotic getaways. These culprits are responsible for smuggling illegal items such as drugs, guns and other weapons of destruction. Money laundering and terrorism are also supported and the list goes on and on. Corruption is never far from those who are supposed to be trusted leaders, expected to set an example and represent their nation, while fulfilling the needs of their citizens. Instead, many citizens are used as workers and exploited. They have no rights, no power and no voice. Numerous people are also abused and held captive. For example, in Sudan, many

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human rights activists have raised awareness on the fact that the government has overlooked the enslavement of its own citizens, as war troops are able to buy, sell, and torture rebels and their families in certain areas. They argue that it is capturing and not slavery. Sudan’s great oil production, which is now at 500,000 barrels per day along with the sale of its national oil company to China, is anticipated to increase resources for a war intended to protect the government and the advantages of being in authority. Through war and torture, the government is able to preserve and prosper from the perks of this power. Corruption is a sad reality that many face on a daily basis. It makes life very difficult and affects people on both social and economic levels. Transparency International has measured worldwide corruption for a long time. It is a German-based think tank at the University of Passau. Last year, they developed a tool known as the “Corruption Perceptions Index” (CPI), which “captures perceptions of the public sec-

tor corruption in 163 countries around the world. It scores countries on a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 indicating high levels of perceived corruption and 10 indicating low levels.” Therefore, the higher the number the less perceived level of corruption. According to the World Bank Institute, almost one trillion US dollars are paid in bribes around the world every year. It works out to about 2.8 billion dollars each day! It makes you wonder why poverty is even an issue in our world. With this much money flowing through our global economy, there should be more than enough wealth to eradicate such social injustices. There is a definite unequal distribution of wealth. The rich keep getting richer and the poor barely make ends meet. There is an evident correlation between corruption and poverty and such countries have weakened economies as a result. The money is there, but it is not going into the right places. There would not be “Third World” countries if the distribution of wealth in the world were dispersed equally. Instead, it

goes to those in places of power and prestige to feed their lavish lifestyles. More initiatives such as Transparency International are needed, as they have exhaustive tools to measure various levels of corruption worldwide. These tools are valuable because they can help us see where the problem lies, the severity of these issues and can help us come up with concrete solutions to advocate for political and practical change. These changes are essential and must begin at the national level where those in political power must adjust their personal agendas. Money that should be put into the economy is simply being used for selfish means. Countries such as Angola, Nigeria and Pakistan face this problem where corruption is widespread and something needs to be done about it. There is more than enough wealth to put back into the system and help citizens, however a great deal of people suffer due to a lack of resources, rights and knowledge about where to turn to for support. These very people are in dire need to have their basic needs fulfilled such as shelter, clothing and a warm meal to eat everyday. We take these things for granted, nonetheless, advocacy and activism are the key to abolish such unjust realities. The wealth in such countries must be diverted equally and should be put towards services and facilities for its citizens. Furthermore, funds need to be put into areas such as education and health care, in addition to building other things such as roads and creating sanitary amenities in order to better the lives of these nations. Over and over again I have heard the story where innocent victims are raped, murdered or beaten, yet the offenders simply hand over wads of cash to police officers or those in power. The outcome is always the same: the heinous crime did not even happen. I think that poverty puts people at a disadvantage because it is an issue due to an imbalanced allocation of wealth and rights. The money goes to those who are most greedy and taken away from the poor. You can buy innocence in this case. Money talks and makes people turn a blind eye. The most common equation plays itself out time and time again: money = power and respect. Another commonality I found amongst the most corrupt countries was each nation’s supposed effort to fight against corruption and do away with such crimes. Many countries give lip service and their attempts to monitor and catch the culprits are hopeless. How can this be done if the people “in-charge” are the cause of the problem in the first place? Endless examples of tightened laws and legislation to fight corruption are presented, watch dog groups and other harsh penalties for those who offend exist, but who will be there to enforce them? The ones who make these laws are the very same ones that break them. In Bangladesh, their attempts to battle against corruption have failed time and time again. There is a lack of initiative and effort on the part of the government and the citizens suffer as a result. Officials have not yet shown any signs of consistency or urgency to do away with this problem. Bangladesh has also failed to sign the United Nations Convention against corruption. The head of the state and many public officials reap the rewards of power and if they sign it, their ticket to wealth is lost. It is a complete different story in Myanmar. This country is run by a brutal military dictatorship who will acquire wealth or what they wish by any means necessary. The military wants to hold onto their power and there is no room for change in such a place. Even to have a telephone installed requires a bribe. The poor are stripped of their human rights. In certain parts of Somalia the country is lead by a bunch of power hungry military leaders and in order to get anything done, you must support the local thug. However, he should win if you are to get what you want. The head of each nation is at the head of the game. Even if there are some members in political office who wish to abolish corruption and create positive change, the numbers are so few that this type of change will not have a ripple effect to wipe out corruption completely. Just when you think it could not get any worse, we hear another scandalous story. Sometime a few years ago, the governor of Bayelsa, was caught in London’s Heathrow Airport and was put on house arrest. The police discovered $1 million pounds ($18 million US) in his apartment in London. However, the twist of the story is that he managed to escape back

to his homeland. How did he do this you ask? He dressed up as a woman. Money and brains, what a combination. The 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index reinforces the link between poverty and corruption. In terms of social stratification, the ones left at the bottom are the poor victims of these nations. Several nations face high levels of domestic corruption, while places such as Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago and even the United States are beginning to show a significant increase in corruption. The problem of corruption is escalating worldwide and almost three quarters of the countries rated by the CPI scored below 5, indicating that many world nations face some sort of corruption. Seventy-one countries (nearly half ) scored below 3, which tells us that corruption is increasing. Haiti had the lowest score at 1.8, while Iceland, Finland and New Zealand shared the top score of 9.6. The instigators of such corruption help those in power fill their wallets. Leaders get support with money laundering, storing their money and profiting in a big way. The facilitators are often the middlemen and lend a “helping hand” to keep the cash flow coming in. Perhaps we need to consider the governmental structure and legislation that countries such as Finland and New Zealand have adopted in order to see if there is anything that other nations can implement or incorporate into their own national structures. Corruption hits the poor the hardest. In spite of this, it is something that can be eradicated, but we must fight for it on a global level. It is a worldwide issue and requires a collaborative effort to achieve equity. Corruption eats away at a nations economy, people’s rights and more importantly, their futures. The ministers, presidents, political officials and others steal more than just wealth, they compromise the futures of the very places they are the leaders of. In the short term, it may seem beneficial and look “good” to profit because they become rich overnight, but no one has considered the long-term effects of such actions. It limits the opportunities and prospects for each country to flourish and grow on a global level. In terms of economics, it has affected businesses and the local economy to the point that no one will invest in such places. For example, in the Ivory Coast, Houphouet Boigny was the president and built the world’s largest cathedral that replicated St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. It has 7000 seats, but all of them are empty. Due to corruption, U.S. trade representatives strongly felt that corruption is a barrier to investment in such a place. Corruption has the greatest impact on judicial proceedings, contract awards, customs and tax issues.” These nations cannot build their futures until there is a “clean-up” of legal processes, legislation and investigating the nation’s leaders of wrongdoings.

bribery costs Kenyans about US $1 billion each year, yet more than half live on less than US $2 per day.” -Transparency International (2007). http:// According to the CPI, Haiti is the most perceived corrupt country (1.8). Followed by Myanmar, Iraq and Guinea all tied with a score of 1.9. -Transparency International (2007). http:// “In 2002, the African Union estimated that the continent was losing US $150 billion a year to corruption, and things haven’t improved much since.” - Andelman, D.A. (2007). Forbes Magazine: Most corrupt countries.

Regardless of anti-corruption laws and endless hard work to do away with corruption, the truth remains the same, not enough is being done. The United Nations Convention against Corruption, the OECD Anti-bribery Convention and other efforts have not been enough. We need to see significant improvements in this area and in the lives of the world’s poorest. Numerous countries have yet to approve the UN Convention. Every nation needs to come together to live in a world where what is fair is not just written in policy, but also carried out in practice. I think that corruption is a universal matter, it may be more overt in “Third World” nations and covert throughout North America and Europe, but it is still rampant. Those who have engaged in unlawful activities must be held accountable and the principles of honour, honesty and looking out for the good of the group should be the standard. All sectors of society must fight for this in order to put an end to poverty. A compromised future hurts everyone.

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The definition, level of corruption and corruption measures are based on information using the CPI scale in this article. It is vital to look at corruption on a global level to see one of the root causes of worldwide poverty. OTHER INFO: “One trillion US dollars are paid in bribes around the world each year, according to the World Bank Institute.” -Transparency International (2007). http:// “According to TI Kenya’s Kenya’s Bribery Index,

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not luggage at the terminals. Immigrant teachers should teach classes, not babysit. Internationally experienced journalists should deliver the news, not pizzas. Registered immigrant nurses should assist doctors, not clean toilets.

...continued from Last Issue

Diversity Beyond Ethnicity Corporate greed and government insensitivity are preposterously complementary that both cannot resist marginalizing the meek of the world. If being displaced was an educational attainment, the marginalized immigrant would have acquired a doctorate degree with honors. To paraphrase Nietzsche, what doesn’t kill the immigrant will make him strong. They make do wherever they choose to be even where there are no choices left. It is Canada’s loss that immigrants remain in the fringes of progress. To stall their growth is to deprive this society a diverse world of great possibilities. Opportunistic political endeavors of buying ethnic votes through mantras of goodwill do not bring the best out of diversity. It stalls the creativity that is expected to arise from a genuine interaction with all cultures represented in the Canadian mosaic. Multiculturalism is not a mere backdrop for major players or policy makers to leverage against. Tolerance is not an end in itself but a means to gather diverse perspectives to achieve a balanced objective. They are people having more things in common than differences and emphasizing tolerance is keeping immigrants static and isolated from active involvement in adapting institutional changes. Culture is life and cultural diversity is at stake when we speak of lives of immigrants. If distinctions keep ethnic communities apart from each other instead of bringing overt differences to melt stereotypes and fortify commonality of vision, multiculturalism will remain a misguided political tool to advance interests of opportunists. Diversity of cultures is a wealth of solutions, not an added burden to a shaky in-

frastructure. To ghettoize immigrants is far from enhancing their development. To disqualify them from getting decent jobs is disrespectful of their skills and strong credentials. To pressure them to integrate is not interaction but imposing restriction as to how they can be acceptable or tolerated in society. To segregate them into enclaves is not promoting unity but divisiveness that enhances racial stereotypes and ignorance that breeds animosity. If multiculturalism is to be a progressive social policy, participation in the mainstream conduct of affairs should be collective and inclusive of multiethnic contributions. Human capital must not be squandered on such a diverse field of professions that immigrants bring to this country. Internationally trained doctors should treat patients, not drive cabs. Foreign-educated lawyers should handle court cases,

The Act for the Preservation and Enhancement of Multiculturalism in Canada, better known as the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, abounds in wellmeaning generalizations. The act recognizes “the existence of communities whose members share a common origin and their historic contribution to Canadian society” and promises to “enhance their development”; it aims to “promote the understanding and creativity that arise from the interaction between individuals and communities of different origins” and commits the federal government to the promotion of “policies and practices that enhance the understanding of and respect for the diversity of the members of Canadian society.” Multiculturalism needs to be acted out if diversity is to consolidate energies into a unified Canada rather than build imaginary walls segregating ethnicities from mainstream politics and social interaction. Much had already been wasted on the talents, skills and capabilities of immigrants who are confined by ‘stick with your own’ aloof and xenophobic reactions. Canada needs to emancipate immigrants from their marginal status by providing equal rights and opportunities, treating

Acrylamide Raises Kidney Cancer Risk Study found high intake of compound in fried foods, snacks, coffee upped chances of disease

Those who took in the most -- averaging 40.8 micrograms a day -- had a 59 percent higher risk of kidney cancer (but not the other cancers) than those consuming the least.

Consuming large amounts of acrylamide, a chemical commonly found in French fries, cakes, snacks and even coffee, appears to raise the risk of kidney cancer, especially in smokers, Dutch researchers report. “Ours is the first report of a positive association between dietary acrylamide intake and renal cell [kidney] cancer,” said study author Janneke Hogervorst, a researcher at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

For most people, coffee was the major source of the chemical. However, a popular snack, Dutch spiced cake, was the main source of the chemical for those consuming the most. The relationship was found to be stronger for smokers.

The report is published in the May issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Studies of the chemical have been ongoing since 1994, when the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified the chemical as a probable human carcinogen. Experts thought the main exposure was environmental, through cigarette smoke and, to a lesser extent, cosmetics.

For each additional 10 micrograms ingested of the chemical, kidney cancer risk increased by 10 percent, the researchers found.

But in 2002, Swedish scientists reported the presence of the chemical in carbohydrate-rich foods produced at high temperatures, including French fries and potato chips.

In another study published in the same issue of the journal, researchers found no association between dietary fat intake and prostate cancer risk.

Studies of the chemical’s link to various cancers have yielded mixed results. The Dutch research team took data from the Netherlands Cohort Study on diet and cancer, which includes more than 120,000 men and women, aged 55 to 69. They followed them for more than 13 years, looking at all the cases of kidney, bladder and prostate cancers. They took a random sample of 5,000 people to look at their dietary habits.

One expert praised the acrylamide study but added that more research is needed. It is also difficult to know how much impact smoking has on the cancer risk, said Marji

The average intake of acrylamide from the diet was 21.8 micrograms -- a little less than what is included in a 2.5-ounce serving of French fries.


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every culture with dignity and respect, and giving access to education of cultural heritages. This will not only bring ethnic communities together but strengthen Canada’s ties with the outside world. There is a correlation between being responsive and sensitive to issues surrounding immigration and understanding the complexity of international relations. Every action at home has a ripple effect on the global arena that comes back to one’s own backyard with astounding precision of a boomerang. Canada being unfair to its adopted citizens might also be reflective of this country’s exploitation of other countries’ resources. This is why focusing on ethnic oriented weaknesses only foster discrimination against nations and people of those nations who come knocking on the very door of Canada. Opening that door should be an opportunity for newcomers and Canadians to develop relations and forge an alliance to making Canada distinctly progressive by mustering strengths from diverse cultures that go beyond the tolerance of ethnicity. Only then can multiculturalism work towards a vibrant humanitarian society that sees every potential for growth in each and every culture where one ethnic community cannot be more or less Canadian but equal to the rest. ■ Roberto Lavidez is a visual artist whose works can be viewed at HYPERLINK “http://” www. He is a poet, playwright and essayist whose writings can be viewed at HYPERLINK “http://www.” As Director of C.A.M.P. (Creating Art, Making Peace), an interactive workshop combining art and history to promote human rights and non-violence, Roberto can be contacted at HYPERLINK “mailto:roberto@theimmi-

McCullough, a nutritional epidemiologist for the American Cancer Society. “Smoking is a [known] risk factor for this [kidney] cancer,” she said. Exactly how the acrylamide boosts cancer risk isn’t known, she added, “but the hypothesis is that metabolites [breakdown products] of the acrylamide cause DNA damage.” Limiting the consumption of foods containing the chemical is wise, Hogervorst said. “Also, in preparing food at home, fry potatoes at temperatures below 175 degrees Celsius and fry them to gold-yellow, not dark brown [the more brown, the more acrylamide]. The same goes for making toast and cookies.” McCullough added: “It’s best not to smoke and to maintain an ideal body weight. One way to maintain a healthy body weight is a healthy diet.” And that, of course, means limiting the French fries and other snacks. (HealthDay News)

Coffee and tea don’t raise breast cancer risk Over 22 years of follow up, 5,272 women developed breast cancer.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Results from a decades-long study may enable women to drink coffee or tea without worry that doing so will increase their risk for breast cancer, study findings suggest. “In this large cohort of women, with 22 years of follow-up, we observed no association between coffee (caffeinated or decaffeinated) and tea consumption and the risk of breast cancer,” Dr. Davaasambuu Ganmaa told Reuters Health. “Coffee and tea are remarkably safe beverages when used in moderation,” said Ganmaa, of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. Ganmaa and colleagues assessed coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption among 85,987 women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study. The women were between 30 and 55 years old at the start of the study.

After accounting for other factors potentially associated with breast cancer risk, such as age, smoking status, body mass, physical activity, alcohol intake, family history, menopausal status, history of hormone therapy, and number of children, the researchers found no elevated risk of breast cancer among women who reported drinking 4 or more cups of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee or tea per day, compared with those who drank less than 1 cup daily. They also found no apparent association between the occurrence of breast cancer and intakes of other caffeinated soft drinks and chocolate, which contribute to overall caffeine intake. When the researchers further assessed breast cancer risk specifically among postmenopausal women, they found a modestly reduced risk associated with the highest versus the lowest caffeine intake. But, “this relation needs to be examined further,” the investigators note. SOURCE: International Journal of Cancer, May 2008

Chronic diseases top causes of deaths globally: WHO Chronic conditions such as heart disease and stroke, often associated with a Western lifestyle, have become the chief causes of death globally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday, May 20th. The shift from infectious diseases includ-

Single people sleep 24 minutes longer than those who are married or live common-law. Adults who have one child sleep 17 minutes less than those without kids, while parents with at least two children sleep 25 minutes less. Carrier said that people are looking for any extra time they can find in their schedules because they are filling their days with work, children and active social lives. Therefore, they feel that the only place they can find the needed time is to cut into their sleep. However, a lack of sleep affects many aspects of overall health. “The more research we are doing on sleep the more we realize that sleeping is not just important to have a good mood or to be vigilant or to not feel sleepy,” said Carrier. “It’s also very important for plenty of other body functions, for example, for your immune system, for your cardiovascular system.” Carrier added that the fact that those in a higher income bracket are sleeping less opposes findings of previous studies on income’s relationship to diet and exercise.

“It’s interesting because for many other health habits, for example eating habits or exercising, usually you see that with an increase of money that you make, people will tend to smoke less, to eat better, etc. And it’s totally the opposite with this data,” Carrier said. “So it means that education is not doing a good job; sleep researchers are not speaking loud enough yet because people do not believe that sleep is important.” ■

Could Low vitamin D cause back pain in older women?

“As populations age in middle- and lowincome countries over the next 25 years, the proportion of deaths due to noncommunicable diseases will rise significantly,” it said.

“Diabetes and asthma are on the rise everywhere. Even low-income countries are seeing shocking increases in obesity, especially in urban areas and often starting in childhood,” Chan said.

The annual report, World Health Statistics 2008, is based on data collected from the

Among those who feel crunched for time, men get 35 minutes less sleep, while women sleep for 25 minutes less.

It documents levels of mortality in children and adults, patterns of disease, and the prevalence of risk factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, in a speech to the WHO’s annual assembly on Monday, voiced concern at the growing toll of chronic noncommunicable diseases.

“In more and more countries, the chief causes of deaths are noncommunicable diseases such as heart disease and stroke,” Ties Boerma, director of the WHO department of health statistics and informatics, said in a statement.

...continued from Last Issue

WHO’s 193 member states.

By 2030, deaths due to cancer, cardiovascular diseases and traffic accidents will together account for about 30 percent of all deaths, it said.

ing tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria -- traditionally the biggest killers -- to noncommunicable diseases is set to continue to 2030, the U.N. agency said in a report.

Women Sleep More, High Income Earners Less

Tobacco use is the single largest cause of preventable death worldwide, killing “a third to a half of all those who use it”, according to the WHO. It contributes to deaths from ischaemic heart disease, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which numbered 5.4 million in 2004. More than 80 percent of the 8.3 million tobacco-attributable deaths projected to occur in 2030 will be in developing countries, it says. Photo Taken By Hamed Masoume

Older women who aren’t getting enough vitamin D appear to be at risk for suffering from back pain, new research shows. “Given that low vitamin D status is fairly prevalent in older adults and that there are significant functional consequences to untreated chronic pain, these findings argue strongly for querying adults about their pain and potentially screening older women with significant back pain for vitamin D deficiency,” Dr. Gregory E. Hicks of the University of Delaware in Newark and his colleagues write. Among older people, vitamin D deficiency has been tied to a number of health problems, including an increased risk of bone fracture, Hicks and colleagues note in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Lack of the vitamin could also, theoretically, contribute to musculoskeletal pain, they add, although research on vitamin D deficiency and pain syndromes has yielded mixed results. To investigate the relationship, Hicks and his colleagues looked at blood levels of vitamin D in 958 people 65 and older. Fiftyw w w.thevoiceindiasp

eight percent of the women in the study, and 27 percent of the men, had at least some moderate pain in at least one region of the body. For men, there was no relationship between vitamin D levels and pain. Women with vitamin D deficiency, on the other hand, were nearly twice as likely to have back pain that was moderate or worse, but vitamin D status wasn’t related to pain in other parts of the body. The gender- and back-specific effects of vitamin D found in the study could be because lack of the vitamin can cause osteomalacia, or bone softening, which is more common in women and often manifests itself as low back pain, the researchers say. But before vitamin D supplementation can be widely recommended for treating back pain, they add, randomized controlled trials should be undertaken to determine if giving people the vitamin is indeed helpful. SOURCE: Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, May 2008. Photo Taken By Pepewk

June-July 2008 • Vol 1 • Issue 8-9


June 17, 2008 SISO’s Visual Art Sale)

June 19, 2008 (Crafts from All around the World)


June-July 2008 • Vol 1 • Issue 8-9

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June20, 2008 (Five GAR families who received a plug of recognition)

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June-July 2008 • Vol 1 • Issue 8-9


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Protest for Prisoner In China Open to mothers registered in LINC or I-WORK this summer. “Using the power of the pen to facilitate smooth int...


Protest for Prisoner In China Open to mothers registered in LINC or I-WORK this summer. “Using the power of the pen to facilitate smooth int...