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IN THE NEWS: Van Sun - Ottawa bumps up social housing funds for shortchanged B.C.

IN THE NEWS: Van Sun - Ottawa bumps up social housing funds for shortchanged B.C.

Two years ago, NDP MP Jenny Kwan protested that the federal Liberals were directing less than one per cent of their social housing budget to B.C., despite the province being home to 11 per cent of the nation’s population.
The stark imbalance has improved since Kwan aired her complaints.
“Since exposing that B.C. only got 0.5 per cent of the funding, I’m glad to report that more funds have begun to flow to B.C.”


IN THE NEWS: Toronto Star - Are you waiting for the confirmation of your extended work permits?  It may be in a stranger’s inbox

IN THE NEWS: Toronto Star - Are you waiting for the confirmation of your extended work permits? It may be in a stranger’s inbox

Vancouver East MP Jenny Kwan, the NDP’s immigration critic, said what happened is a serious privacy breach and the government should know these errors have seriously consequences.
“Despite the immigration minister’s claim that the system is working, the department continues to be in complete chaos,” said Kwan. “They are putting people in perpetual distress. I can’t believe that the government has resorted to this kind of scare tactics.
“With this kind of communication, they are telling people that they are unimportant and they are not welcomed. The Liberals are completely forgetting that immigration services can impact someone for the rest of their lives. They are putting Canada’s reputation in jeopardy.”

OPEN LETTER: Urgent Housing Crisis

As you know, the lack of access to safe, secured affordable housing in Vancouver has been a longstanding challenge. This was brought on by the cancellation of the National Housing Program in 1993 and the lack of action by successive federal governments to invest in the development of social housing. The pandemic in the last 2 years and the current heat wave has further exacerbated the situation. The latest available data indicates there are currently over 2,000 identified homeless individuals in the city, and a disproportionate number of them identify as Indigenous.
In my previous correspondence with you, I have outlined the seriousness of the housing crisis in Vancouver and called for federal action. Today, I am reiterating calls for action.
Since 2018, we have seen in our community, large scale homeless encampments erected by the unhoused, first in Oppenheimer Park, then in Crab Park, followed by Strathcona Park. In August of 2020, I issued a joint open letter with MLA Mark and Mayor Kennedy calling for the federal government to urgently address the housing crisis by entering into a 50/50 cost sharing agreement with the province to build more supportive housing and acquire new housing stock

IN THE NEWS: Canada Immigration News - Updated Anti-Racism Strategy For Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

IN THE NEWS: Canada Immigration News - Updated Anti-Racism Strategy For Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

MP Jenny Kwan, the immigration critic for the New Democratic Party in the House of Commons, echoed those sentiments, reportedly admitting that, while the language used by the IRCC is positive, there’s a lack of immediate action specified.
“As the government consults, as they examine and study these issues, the ongoing impact of discriminatory policies is having a real effect for people,” Kwan reportedly told the National Post.
African, South American and Asian delegates planning to attend a major AIDS conference in Montreal were denied visas, many of them because the Canadian government did not believe they would return home, Kwan reportedly claimed.
On social media, critics of the IRCC have noted African students who apply to Canadian colleges and universities are denied study permits at much higher rate that international students from other countries. 
Open Letter to Federal Housing Minister on urgent housing crisis

Open Letter to Federal Housing Minister on urgent housing crisis

I am therefore calling on the federal government to re-establish the Vancouver Agreement – a tripartite initiative that brought all levels of government together to support social, economic and community development in Vancouver, with a specific focus on the Downtown East Side.  We need an urgent and concerted effort between all levels of government working in collaboration with local non-governmental organizations to address the challenges in our community, with urgent interventions to find safe housing and supports for people in crisis, and long-term systemic solutions to address the needs of the community.  The status quo simply cannot continue.

IN THE NEWS: CBC - Ex-Afghan interpreter praised by top soldier is still in the dark about his immigration status

Saturday will mark a year since Ottawa created a special program to prioritize immigration applications from Afghans who worked with the Canadian Armed Forces and the Canadian government, along with their family members.

One former interpreter — whose work earned him a letter of appreciation from Canada's current chief of the defence staff, Gen. Wayne Eyre — has been waiting nearly as long to find out if he qualifies.

"Sometimes [Eyre] would put his hand on my shoulder, say, 'Hey, nice, you've been doing a very good job for us,'" the interpreter told CBC News from Islamabad, Pakistan, where he now lives...

IN THE NEWS: Canadian Press - Canada’s Immigration Department revamps anti-racism strategy following criticism

NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan said the language in the strategy is positive, but doesn’t appear to be backed up by immediate action.

“As the government consults, as they examine and study these issues, the ongoing impact of discriminatory policies … is having a real effect for people,” Kwan said in an interview Friday. 

She pointed to speakers from Africa, South America and Asia who are planning to attend a major AIDS conference in Montreal who have been denied visas, often on the grounds that the Canadian government doesn’t believe they’ll return home after the event.

IN THE NEWS: Global News - Why is Ottawa turning away from Afghans who helped Canada? ‘We’re failing them’

IN THE NEWS: Global News - Why is Ottawa turning away from Afghans who helped Canada? ‘We’re failing them’

The government conceded that there’s enough interest to fill the 18,000 spots through the special program and that there are, in fact, only 18,000 spots.

“To suggest the program is open when the 18,000 spots are spoken for, they’re lying to themselves and they’re lying to the public,” Jenny Kwan, NDP MP for Vancouver East, told Global News.

“And the sad news is this: the people who’ve been left behind, their lives are in jeopardy. If we don’t do anything about it, they will be hunted down by the Taliban. It’s a matter of time before that happens.”

IN THE NEWS: New Canadian Media - Drop time limit for Hong Kong graduates, urges NDP critic

An open letter from the NDP immigration critic is urging the federal government to drop a requirement for Hong Kong applicants looking to become permanent residents which she says is already excluding many.

“I urge that you amend the temporary public policy to drop the 5-year limit on the graduation requirement for Stream B (Canadian work experience) applicants and include all persons who hold an eligible education credential without the 5-year graduation limitation,” MP Jenny Kwan wrote on June 22 in an open letter addressed to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.

The letter was sent just days ahead of the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from British control to Chinese jurisdiction on July 1, 1997 under what is known as the “one country, two systems” arrangement. Though Hong Kong is slated to officially become part of China in 2047, pro-democracy protests broke out in 2019, followed by government crackdowns that culminated in China’s national security law implemented on June 30, 2020.

IN THE NEWS: Global News - Thousands of Afghans who helped Canadian Forces could be left behind: MPs, NGOs

IN THE NEWS: Global News - Thousands of Afghans who helped Canadian Forces could be left behind: MPs, NGOs

NDP MP Jenny Kwan said she had also been told by Afghans applying to join the separate humanitarian program that there are no more spots left.
“What I am hearing on the ground is that the spots available are getting filled up or at least spoken for,” said Kwan, a member of Parliament’s special committee on Afghanistan. “So many will be left behind.”
Over 8,700 Afghans have arrived in Canada under the humanitarian program. The program relies on referrals, including by the UN Refugee Agency and human-rights organizations based in Europe.
Kwan said she had been told that these referral spots are also filling up.
Non-governmental organizations and opposition MPs are calling on ministers to extend the programs, warning that many vulnerable Afghans including interpreters who helped Canadian Forces face reprisals from the Taliban.
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