July 2016

Anglicans Provide Pastoral Guidelines for Assisted Dying
Euthanasia Palliative Hospice

Assisted dying is a huge decision that should not be taken lightly.

It doesn’t matter where you stand on assisted dying when the reality is that the government has removed restrictions against physician-assisted dying in certain cases. It may not be for you personally, but what are you going to do when a loved one decides it’s the only option? Doctors are not the only ones who will wrestle with their consciences under the changing climate surrounding assisted dying. Pastoral care during this time is essential, which is why the Anglican Church of Canada released a report urging its leaders to recognize assisted dying as a reality and to provide palliative and pastoral care for patients and families.

Understanding the Framework

The Anglican Church formed a task force to study the issue. Canon Eric Beresford chaired the committee. He says, “We’re no longer in a debate about whether or not society is going to legalise physician-assisted dying – that’s happening, that train is out of the station.” The question now is how Anglicans can address the needs of those who will avail themselves of physician-assisted dying. Anglicans, like many churches around the world, believe that life is sacred. The report itself doesn’t actually answer the question of “whether Anglicans should be for or against assisted dying.” What it does do is outline theological questions and concerns while providing resources and prayers for those who are facing the end of their lives.

Quoting from “In Sure and Certain Hope: Resources to Assist Pastoral and Theological Approaches to Physician Assisted Dying,”

“Ultimately, it is not the pastoral care givers belief, nor the traditions or dogma of any faith tradition, nor the hopes and desires of family and friends which will determine the choice of assisted-dying. The final choice remains with the parishioner, informed by their own conscientious appropriation of their faith tradition. Family and friends provide the primary community within which the conversations that shape decisions happen. The pastoral care giver’s role becomes that of spiritual guide or facilitator. It is the pastoral care-giver who reminds and draws everyone’s attention back to the reality that God is present and amongst them sustaining this difficult journey of discernment and choice within God’s embrace of love and grace.”

Support and Care for Individuals

One term that is used in the report is “covenant of presence,” which is a commitment by pastors and loved ones to be there for those who are considering assisted dying. There’s no debate that the issue of physician-assisted dying is sensitive and complex, but being present to help someone at the end of his or her life is not providing support to the actual issue. It’s about individual care. Pastors cannot simply abandon members of their congregations. Families cannot step aside when a loved one has decided to take action. Being present is a way of upholding the dignity and autonomy of a life.

According to Dying With Dignity, a national organization that is an advocate for compassionate end of life choices, about 80 percent of Canadians support the right for advance consent to assisted dying, including giving individuals with dementia options for physician-assisted dying. Dying With Dignity has a website devoted to resources and support for those who are considering physician-assisted dying. Learn your rights and get a planning kit to help you talk to your loved ones and doctor.

The debate continues as leaders in government try to provide guidance over regulations for physician-assisted dying. People who choose assisted dying under the current guidelines can’t wait for the debate to end. Providing support and care for a loved one does not mean that you agree with his or her decision. It just means that you love and care for your family member and want to be there as he or she makes difficult decisions. Everyone can learn from the Anglican approach to assisted dying.

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New Guidelines in Alberta for the LGBTQ Community Moving Forward

ThinkstockPhotos-470428983Alberta has been working toward making its schools safer for all students, especially for students in the LGBTQ community. When you consider that more than two-thirds of the LGBTQ students don’t feel safe in the schools, it’s about time that the government implemented guidelines that give all kids respect, no matter where they go to school. Bill 10: An Act to Amend the Alberta Bill of Rights to Protect our Children was passed in March 2015 to protect all students, but mostly the LGBTQ community.

Parents Have Questions

The Calgary Sexual Health Centre (CSHC) launched a website to help parents, students, and educators get answers to legitimate questions. It’s located at www.UnderstandingTheGuidelines.ca. This resource helps dispel myths and misconceptions about LGBTQ students. One of the most common misconceptions seems to be that boys will just decide that they want to be a girl to use the girls’ facility. Being a transgendered student goes far deeper than simply using the facilities.

The guidelines are not to give students a pass to behave disrespectfully but are to help all students feel safe and supported while they are at school. It’s more than just providing safe access to facilities; it’s about keeping records that maintain a student’s privacy. Using the correct terminology when referring to a person’s gender identity is another important aspect that cannot be overlooked.

Opponents to the Bill

The publicly funded Catholic schools have maintained that they should not have to comply with the guidelines, with Calgary Catholic Bishop Fred Henry being the most prominent opponent. However, a 2015 survey found that Catholics are very supportive of the policy. There was concern that the Alberta legislature would not pass the bill that protected the rights of all children, but in the end, only two MLAs who are members of the PC party opposed it. The majority supported the bill, but that doesn’t indicate that things will change overnight for these students.

Show Your Support for Equal Rights

Even though the bill passed last year, in March 2015, it’s important to let your MLA know that you support Bill 10. The CSHC website offers a sample letter that you can send to your MLA to let that person understand that the community stands behind this decision. You can also let the school board and staff know that you support the new guidelines. On the CSHC site, there’s a link to find your school board contact.

Parents should also talk to their kids. Use the resources on Understanding the Guidelines from the CSHC site to open a dialogue. Educating yourself is the first step to creating kids who are welcoming and inclusive. You don’t need to have family members who are part of the LGBTQ community to be open and talk. As a parent leader, when you see discrimination happening in the school community, you should step up and stop it.

Students can also take a stand against the discrimination in the LGBTQ community. First, students should not use derogatory language that hurts someone. Help your student report behavior that he or she sees to the proper authorities. Sadly, bullying not only happens during the day while kids are in school, it’s moved to social media. It might be unreasonable for schools to monitor Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, but posts can certainly be reported to the platform being used. Students should also understand that it’s okay to block bullies and unfriend other students because of their actions.

Alberta schools are working hard to make schools a safer place, but change will only happen within each individual. Use the information available to help understand why it’s so important for each child to have respect at school. Share this with your family to make a difference within your own circle. Together, we can change the attitudes around us.

Getting Involved in Marriage Fraud in Canada

Scheming lawyer committing Marriage fraud

It used to be thought that the ticket to citizenship was marriage to a citizen. When the marriage is only to gain entry to Canada, this is fraud. The Canadian government is cracking down on marriage and immigration fraud. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is not just targeting individuals who came to Canada under false pretenses, but the ringleaders who put the process in motion.

False Documents for 1,000 Clients

Wang Xun, who is an unlicensed immigration consultant, just plead guilty to eight charges that related to his fraudulent business of providing services to clients who married to obtain Canadian citizenship. It’s estimated that he helped over 1,000 immigrants come to the country, all of whom may face having their status revoked. Wang’s sentence has been delayed while the judge makes a decision. The CBSA is investigating the clients and has confiscated 165 passports so far.

Project Honeymoon

Unfortunately, Wang Xun is not the only person who has been committing marriage fraud in Canada. The CBSA called their 2008 investigation “Project Honeymoon.” It discovered 130 Chinese nationals who came to Canada, got married for residency status, and then divorced. Not only did Project Honeymoon go after the clients, it also targeted one of the ringleaders, Wei Ren Z, who goes by multiple names. Wei served an almost two year house arrest for her part in the scheme.

One of the clients, Xiulan Li, has spent the past seven years fighting her deportation. She married her Canadian spouse in 2006 in a staged fake wedding. She received her permanent resident status in 2007, then divorced her spouse in 2009. The couple never lived together during any time of their marriage. In 2010, Li faced deportation, and she tried to ignore the interview requests from CBSA. It was a year later when her fraudulent husband admitted to the scam.

Li was ordered to leave Canada, but appealed the decision. She asked to stay on compassionate grounds. Just days ago, the Federal Court refused to block the lower court’s ruling that Li be deported. She is leaving Canada for her homeland, which she states that she no longer has ties to. Interestingly, there is very little information about the groom and whether or not he was charged with illegal activity.

Is the Honeymoon Over?

As of October 25, 2012, the regulations for marriage sponsorship changed. You must now live with your spouse for two years in a genuine relationship from the time you get permanent residency. The sponsor has to provide financial support to the spouse for three years, even in the event of a divorce. Although there are exceptions in the case of abuse or neglect by the sponsor. Citizenship and Immigration Canada is cracking down on fraudulent marriages because the generous program was being abused.

Canada is not the only country to implement tougher measures. Great Britain, Ireland, and the United States have all seen a rise in immigrant marriage scams. Australia canceled 1,053 visas since 2010 due to fake relationships. It’s an international problem that is affecting families around the world. Marriage fraud makes it more difficult for genuine families that need to relocate.

Don’t Be Involved in Marriage Fraud

The CIC and CBSA recommends that all citizens think carefully before getting involved in a marriage with someone from another country. Sponsors who enter into a marriage of convenience may face criminal charges and will be required to fulfill the sponsorship terms of their contract. Applicants who misuse the system may be banned from travel to Canada for two years and be deported. There may be additional legal action that can be taken as well. Immigration fraud is taken very seriously and Canada is no longer the “soft target” that it once was. The laws have been toughened and the CIC is cracking down.

The Battle Over Niqab

Beautiful blue eyed woman in traditional niqab veil

Zunera Ishaq, a woman who holds devout Muslim beliefs, moved to Ontario from Pakistan in 2008. When she was going to participate in a citizenship ceremony, she had to decline because she would be required to remove her niqab, a head veil that is a symbol of her faith and modesty. This set off a battle in the courts. On September 17, 2015, the Federal Court of Appeals upheld Ishaq’s right to wear her niqab, stating that, “banning face coverings at such ceremonies was unlawful.”

Head Coverings – What’s the Difference?

Muslim women wear different types of head coverings. If you aren’t familiar with these articles of clothing, the names can be confusing. Here is a primer:

  • Hijab – A hijab covering is the most common in the West. It covers the head and neck while leaving the face clear.
  • Niqab – A niqab is a veil for the face that usually leaves the eyes clear. It’s typically worn with a headscarf.
  • Burka – A burka is a one-piece veil that covers the face and body and has a mesh screen for the eyes to see through.
  • Shayla – A shayla is a long scarf that is wrapped around the head and leaves the face clear.
  • Chador – A chador is a full cloak that covers the entire body and is typically worn when outside the house.

The Argument Against Head Coverings

One of the reasons that the government is arguing that Muslims should remove their veils during the citizenship ceremony is so they can hear them say the oath. However, it is possible to hear someone speak under the veil. Another argument is that of identification. Again, women who wear these garments are willing to accommodate the need to be identified. One survey of Muslim women found that they would be happy to remove their veils for facial identification. Wearing veils during the ceremony doesn’t change who they are.

Earlier this year, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper went so far as to condemn the wearing of the niqab because it is “rooted in a culture that is anti-women.” The Conservatives are being charged with practicing divisive policies because they have taken this fight over the niqab so far. The Conservatives say that they will appeal the most current ruling of the Federal Court, making some wonder why it is so important to them when the women are not complaining.

Freedom of Religion

Advocates for the right to wear the niqab believe that it is a restriction of religious freedom when the state tries to use its power to dictate what a woman can or cannot wear. Justin Trudeau believes that in a free country such as Canada, individuals should have the right to wear a niqab, just as others can choose to dislike it. However, the state itself should not be in the middle of it unless it poses a threat to society.

How Do You Respond to a Woman Wearing a Niqab?

The Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) surveyed Muslim women across Canada to give them a voice by asking why they wore the niqab. Not one of the women surveyed answered that they are forced to wear the veil. The two most common reasons that women gave for wearing it were for religious beliefs and personality identity. The CCMW is working to ensure Muslim women are not denied their rights just because so many people do not understand this minority.

If you are in a position of authority and need to see a woman’s face for identification purposes, politely explain your position and make the request. A woman may be more comfortable allowing another woman to identify and see her face, but most agree that they have to cooperate with the government as part of their religion. Otherwise, you should just consider the niqab as any other item in a woman’s attire. Respect their choices, even if you don’t agree with them. As for Ishaq, she plans on taking her lawyers to the citizenship ceremony, just in case.

Understanding Civil Disobedience

Protesters exercising Civil Disobedience

Civil disobedience is a way that people rebel against what they feel is an unfair law. Mahatma Ghandi, Rosa Parks, and Henry Thoreau are just a few of the most common names associated with civil disobedience, but historians know that the concept is much older than Thoreau’s essay from the 1800s. Sophocles depicts civil disobedience in his play “Antigone.” The heroine, Antigone, defies the King of Thebes, who won’t let her give her brother a proper burial. He not only threatens her with death, but carries it out. However, her conscience is clean.

Ride With Pride Controversy

A bus driver for Calgary Transit refuses to drive any bus that is decorated in rainbow colors. Jesse Rau states that his religious beliefs are being violated and that he shouldn’t have to support the LGBT community. In a news conference, he told reporters that he would quit first. The Transit Authority says that this is a personnel matter between an employee and the employer. Is this civil disobedience?

The United States Gay Marriage Controversy

In the United States, Kim Davis has the spotlight after not issuing marriage licenses in a protest against gay marriage. She states that she is acting under “God’s authority” and doesn’t want her name on the licenses issued to gay couples. The issue has gone all the way to the United States Supreme Court, and it doesn’t seem finished yet. Davis is still in office, but refusing to comply with the law. Some people believe that what Kim Davis is doing is civil disobedience.

What Is Civil Disobedience?

Ronald Dworkin, a philosopher, asserts there are three types of civil disobedience:

  • Integrity-based civil disobedience – this is when a citizen disobeys a law that they feel is immoral.
  • Justice-based civil disobedience – A citizen disobeys a law in order to claim a right that has been denied.
  • Policy-based civil disobedience – A person breaks the law so that the policy changes.

One of the principles of civil disobedience is that it must be publicly announced. Most people believe that it should be non-violent, but this is highly debatable. However, one article states that civil disobedience should be “carefully chosen.” Think about Nelson Mandela’s stand against apartheid in South Africa, or the northerners’ approach to slavery with the Underground Railroad during the United States’ Civil War.

Just Don’t Take the Job

Drawing a line in the sand isn’t always easy. The Ontario government put together an advisory panel on assisted suicide and euthanasia. They selected a prominent bioethicist, Moira McQueen, to serve on the panel to bring a Catholic counterweight to the table. McQueen is a professor of moral theology at St. Michael’s College in Toronto. She turned down the job, with the reason being that there is no way to mitigate the damage “when something is seriously wrong in the first place.” She asserted that she could not do more than make a moral objection to the process.

Civil Disobedience in Canada

In 2012, when Bill 78 was passed, thousands of people came together in Montreal to protest the new law. College and university students went on strike. Citizens banged on pots and pans daily at a specified time to express opposition. The demonstrations worked. The punitive sections of the bill were repealed in September after the general election.

Civil disobedience isn’t always cut and dried. Rosa Parks sat down on the bus to obtain basic human rights that were being denied to her. Nelson Mandela lingered in jail for years because he threatened the South African government. Bill 78 was wrong, and people came together to abolish the bad parts.

On the other hand, Jesse Hau could have gone to his employer and requested an undecorated bus for the duration of the festival. The city isn’t going to be intimidated by Hau, but will continue its message of inclusivity and diversity. It would seem that Jesse Hau wanted publicity, and that his actions were not civil disobedience.

To Pray or Not to Pray?

ThinkstockPhotos-77746967The Canadian Supreme Court’s unanimous mid-April ruling banning prayers before city council meetings in Saguenay, Quebec, has stirred up quite a debate across the country. Many municipalities believe the decision is now of the law of land and are following suit. Others are suspending the practice and taking time to debate the matter, and some are ignoring the ruling all together. There are a number of different alternatives being considered.

The Lord’s Prayer

Over the years, many municipal meetings have begun with the recitation of The Lord’s Prayer. This tradition likely evolved out of Canada’s Anglican and Roman Catholic heritage. However, today the country is much more spiritually diverse. It is difficult to dispute the religious sentiment of the text which reads:

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name; thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.”

House of Commons Prayer

In 1927, the House of Commons formalized the practice of opening sessions with its own prayer. There have been some changes made to the wording over time. The current language was implemented in 1994 and is still being used today. The House of Common is independent from the country’s judicial branch and does not have to adhere to Supreme Court rulings, unless the representatives choose to do so. The House of Commons prayer is recited before the public is allowed in chambers and TV cameras turned on. It reads as follows:

“Almighty God, we give thanks for the great blessings which have been bestowed on Canada and its citizens, including the gifts of freedom, opportunity and peace that we enjoy. We pray for our Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth, and the Governor General. Guide us in our deliberations as Members of Parliament, and strengthen us in our awareness of our duties and responsibilities as Members. Grant us wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to preserve the blessings of this country for the benefit of all and to make good laws and wise decisions. Amen”

Generic Invocation

Another option is for municipalities to agree on a nonreligious “invocation.” One that has been proposed by Owen Sound, Ontario resident Terri Hope is:

“As we approach our work here today, may we be mindful of our role as leaders in Owen Sound, a city of great beauty and opportunity. As we face our decisions, may we be guided by strong ethics, wisdom, fairness and sound knowledge. May we never forget the trust placed in us by the people of Owen Sound.”

Observe a Moment of Silence

A number of city councils opted prior to the April 15 Supreme Court decision to have a moment of silence instead of a prayer. This alternative appears to be gaining steam after the ruling. Some municipalities have adopted the practice as an interim step while they consider the implications and alternatives to the recent ruling. Observing a moment of silence can allow time for personal, independent reflection, regardless of one’s religious beliefs.

Skip It Altogether

There are some municipalities that believe that the Canadian Supreme Court is the ultimate authority of these matters, and the affairs of church and state should be separate. They have chosen to eliminate prayers, and anything comparable, and get straight to the business at hand. Over time, it is possible forgoing a prayer, invocation or moment of silence will become standard practice.

The Supreme Court of Canada’s April 15 decision to ban prayers before city council meetings in Saguenay, Quebec, is bound to have a wide-ranging impact. It remains to be seen what the specific ramifications will be.

Religious Equality in Canada

Saquenay, Quebec, home of the Canadian Government's acceptance of religious equality.

The debate over religious equality has been a hot topic in Canada. While approximately 67 percent of the country’s citizens identify themselves as Christians, that still leaves a large part of the population to embrace other forms of spirituality (or claim no religious affiliation whatsoever). Issues such as employers providing time-off for non-Christian holidays and the legality of prayers before municipal meetings have both been issues.

Celebrating Non-Christian Holidays

Having time off to celebrate religious holidays is important to many people. The majority of Canadians receive paid days off for the following statutory holidays. Some are nationwide and a few are province specific.

  • New Year’s Day
  • Good Friday or Easter Monday
  • Victoria Day (except NB, NS, PE, NL)
  • Fete Nationale (Quebec only)
  • Canada Day
  • Labour Day
  • Thanksgiving (except NB, NS, PE, NL)
  • Christmas Day

While the majority of these dates are secular, two are religious (Easter and Christmas). Christians don’t have to request time off for these days because they are automatically included in the list of statutory holidays. People of different religions often need to ask for time off for their holy days since they are not usually recognized vacation days in Canada. In most situations, employers now have to accommodate the religious beliefs of eligible employees and grant them leave, if requested.

Legal Precedents

The Canadian courts require companies to allow employees who are not Christian time to celebrate their own holidays, as long it does not place any unreasonable burden on the employer. Federally regulated industries like banks, telecom companies and airlines must comply with this as well under the Canadian Human Rights Act. There a number of ways Canadian employers can accommodate these requests including switching work schedules and offering floating vacation days. There have been several milestone lawsuits that have reinforced this view.

  • Commission Scolaire Regionale de Chambly v. Bergevin

This case involved three Jewish teachers who requested time off for Yom Kippur, the most important holiday of the Jewish year. The leave had been approved by the school board, but without pay. The Canadian Supreme Court ultimately ruled the teachers should be paid for the time off, and doing so did not impose undue hardship on the school district.

  • Ontario Human Rights Commission and O’Malley vs. Simpson-Sears Ltd.

Theresa O’Malley, a Seventh Day Adventist, refused to work on Saturdays because it was the day her religion observed the Sabbath. She was subsequently fired from her job. The case made it to the Supreme Court of Canada and the justices unanimously ruled in favor of Ms. O’Malley, and ordered her employer to pay back wages.

Employers’ Undue Hardship

Employers do have a means of recourse. They can claim accommodating these requests places an undue hardship on their business or organization. However, it is relatively difficult to successfully argue these cases, because most Canadian companies routinely adjust work schedules based on holidays or sick days.

Prayers at City Council Meetings

In further support of the need to provide greater religious equality in Canada, the Canadian Supreme Court unanimously ruled on April 15 to ban reciting prayers prior to city council meetings in Saquenay, Quebec. The decision read, “The state must instead remain neutral in this regard. This neutrality requires that the state neither favour nor hinder any particular belief, and the same holds true for non-belief. It requires that the state abstain from taking any position and thus avoid adhering to a particular belief.” A number of other municipalities have already followed suit and done away with their pre-meeting prayers as well. It will take time to understand the full impact this ruling will have on religious equality in Canada.

Canada is considered one of the most religiously tolerant countries in the world. However, it has taken time and lawsuits for non-Christian Canadians to attain greater legal support for exercising their beliefs.

 

 

The Story Behind the Dropping Canadian Divorce Rate

Torn photo of home symbolizes divorceThe number of Canadian couples who filed for divorce dropped by 8 percent between 2006 and 2011, with consistent declines each year. While this positive news is encouraging, there were still over 53,000 couples who initiated divorce proceedings from 2010 to 2011. Many people attribute the dropping divorce rate to fewer partners choosing to marry in the first place and the shift in the traditional definition of family. There are now more couples in Canada that don’t have children than do. Cohabitation and common law unions have also increased in recent years.

Top Reasons for Getting Divorced

There are many reasons couples end up divorced. Here are some of the most common.

  • Different Values and Interests

Some partners may not truly discover their values and interests are misaligned until after they are married, which can cause big problems in a relationship. A disagreement that might have seemed minor when dating may develop into a huge point of contention after the wedding. People also evolve over time, and priorities, likes and dislikes can change during the course of a marriage.

  • Disagreements Over Finances

Money is a contributing factor in many divorces. One partner may be a spender while the other is a saver. Having a very candid conversation about finances before tying the knot is highly recommended.

  • Getting Married Too Young

The age at which partners marry can have a definite impact on the success or failure of the longevity of their relationship. Many studies have concluded people who wed later in life are less likely to get divorced. This trend has been linked to many factors. These factors include having time to date more people, dating the person you marry longer, more opportunity to focus on building a career and more time to fully realize what’s important and necessary for a successful relationship.

  • Infidelity

Infidelity is the cause of many divorces. Some partners may ultimately discover it is too difficult to commit to only one person. Relationships can also dissolve to a point where couples drive each other to search for someone else.

  • Substance Abuse

Having a strong, long-lasting marriage can be difficult, even under the best circumstances. If one or both spouses are addicted to alcohol or drugs, divorce is a much more likely outcome.

  • Emotional or Physical Abuse

Relationships that involve emotional or physical abuse are unhealthy, to say the least. Ending your marriage if you are subject to these circumstances is often the best alternative.

 

The High Rate of Divorce in Quebec

The percentage of couples who file for divorce varies by province and territory. The national average is approximately 37 percent. Quebec’s rate is substantially higher with a divorce rate of 48 percent, according to Statistics Canada. The lowest rate of divorce is 21 percent in Labrador and Newfoundland.

 

How Much Does Getting Divorced Cost?

The cost for getting divorced can vary widely depending on whether it is uncontested or contested. When spouses are in agreement about the terms of the divorce, including distribution of assets and custody arrangements if there are children, the proceedings are uncontested. The process is faster and less expensive because it often does not have to be resolved in court, and there are no legal fees. In 2011, the average cost of an uncontested divorce in Canada was $1,353, according to a survey by Canada Lawyers. In contested divorces, the financial stakes are usually higher and more complicated. Lawyers are involved and there may be a lengthy trial. The price tag for a contested in divorce in Canada in 2011 ranged from $7,208 to $74,122, with an average of $12,875.

Going through a divorce can be a difficult experience. The good news is fewer Canadian couples are getting divorced. However, there are many details behind this statistic that better clarify the true situation.

Why Does the Canadian Government Hate Chris Brown?

GettyImages_87755756Controversial American R&B singer Chris Brown was prohibited from entering Canada on Feb. 24. As a result, he cancelled sold out shows in Toronto and Montreal. Brown posted the news on Twitter saying, “The good people of the Canadian government wouldn’t allow me entry. I’ll be back this summer and will hopefully see all my Canadian fans.” No specific reason was cited for the denial of entry, but Brown has had a number of run-ins with the law in the United States.

Chris Brown’s Criminal Record

The 26-year-old singer has been involved in rather frequent altercations in recent years. Here are a few examples:

  • His most highly publicized offense was with recording artist Rihanna in February of 2009. The two were in a relationship when the incident occurred. They had an argument that resulted in Rihanna being hospitalized for facial injuries she sustained. Brown was ultimately charged with felony assault and making criminal threats. His sentence was viewed by many as too light because it did not include any jail time; Brown got five years probation, one year of domestic violence counseling and community service work. The judge also enacted a five year restraining order forcing him to stay 50 yards away from Rihanna and 10 yards at public events.
  • In January of 2013, Brown got into a fight over a parking space with rapper Frank Ocean. He allegedly punched Ocean and threatened to kill him, but there were no formal charges.
  • Brown was arrested for felony assault in October of 2013. He was accused of punching a man outside a Washington, D.C. hotel after he attempted to jump into a photo Brown was taking with some fans. The singer spent 36 hours in jail. The next day the charge was lowered to a misdemeanor and Brown was ordered to meet with his California probation officer within two days. Three days later Brown voluntarily entered rehab but ended up getting kicked out of the facility for violent behavior and disregarding program rules.

Reasons for Being Denied Entry to Canada

There are a whole host of reasons you can be denied entry to Canada, but Canadian officials reserve the right to evaluate each case on an individual basis. A decision is made when you apply for a visa or attempt to enter the country.

  • Past convictions

Being convicted of a crime, including a DUI, is one reason you can be prohibited from entering Canada. Many suspect this is probably why Chris Brown was not allowed in the country.

  • Ties to Organized Crime

People suspected of being connected to organized crime can be denied entry.

  • Health Reasons

If your condition is believed to threaten public health and safety, you may be refused entry.

  • Security Concerns

Individuals who are considered security threats and suspected of espionage, subversion or terrorist activities, can be prohibited from entering Canada.

  • Human Rights Violations

Anyone suspected of war crimes or crimes against humanity can be denied entry.

2013 Canadian Controversy

The February 2015 incident is not the first time Chris Brown has had problems in Canada. In 2013, he was supposed to headline the Energy Rush festival, but after thousands signed an online petition in protest he was dropped by the promoter. The festival was called off including scheduled shows in Halifax, St. John, Toronto and Winnipeg.

2010 United Kingdom Denial of Entry

Canada is not the only country where Chris Brown has been unwelcome. In 2010, British officials refused to grant the singer a visa due to his criminal history. Planned shows in Glasgow, London, Birmingham and Cork, Ireland were cancelled.

Chris Brown and Canada don’t appear to mix. If the singer can clean up his act, he may eventually be allowed in the country, but don’t hold your breath.

Canadian Government to Grant Millionaire Investors Permanent Residency

178113078The Canadian Government has begun accepting applications as of January 28 for its new Immigrant Investor Venture Capital Program. It is the latest version of a similar initiative started several years ago, and offers applicants a potentially faster track to permanent residency. The catch is that they are required to contribute $2 million to a government designated investment fund over roughly 15 years. Detractors call the program “cash for citizenship.”

The Details

Originally announced in December 2014, the final program details were made known in late January.

  • Up to 500 people may apply, but only 60 individuals and their families will be awarded permanent residency.
  • Interested parties can apply from January 28 to February 11, or until the maximum number of applications have been submitted.

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander stated, “This pilot program is designed to attract immigrant investors who will significantly benefit the Canadian economy and better integrate into our society, which contribute to our long-term prosperity and economic growth.”

Fund Directive

The investment division of the Business Development Bank of Canada will primarily manage the money, but there is no guarantee of success. The directive of the fund is to “invest in innovative Canadian start-ups with high growth potential.” Participants will receive periodic dividends if the investment choices prove to be profitable.

What It Means to Be a Permanent Resident

Permanent residents are not Canadian citizens, but have specific rights including the following:

  • They are allowed to live, work and study any place in Canada.
  • They are protected by Canadian laws and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom.
  • They will be eligible for the majority of social benefits available to Canadian citizens such as health care.
  • They can apply for citizenship.

Permanent residents are responsible for paying taxes and abiding by all Canadian laws. They are not able to vote or stand for political office, and are ineligible for certain positions requiring high-level security clearance. Another requirement is permanent residents must reside in Canada for a minimum of two years out of five. If they don’t, their permanent residence status may be forfeited.

Famous Canadian Immigrants

There are many opportunities afforded to the residents of Canada. The country is a politically stable democracy, has a robust economy and offers superior healthcare. Many people have chosen to immigrate to Canada over the years for these and other reasons. Some of the more notable immigrants are:

  • Adrienne Clarkson

Adrienne Clarkson was born in Hong Kong in 1939. Her family moved to Canada in 1941 as refugees, and she grew up in Ottawa. Clarkson is a journalist, broadcaster and stateswoman. In 1999, Queen Elizabeth II appointed her the 26th Governor General of Canada and she served until 2005. After that position, Clarkson was appointed to the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada in 2005.

  • Robert Herjavec

When he was 10, Herjavec’s family immigrated to Canada from Croatia to escape the communist regime. He started the internet security firm BRAK Systems in 1990 in his basement. In 2000, the company was sold to AT&T for $100 million. His next venture was to found the software security company, The Herjavec Group. Herjavec can be seen on the Canadian TV series Dragons’ Den and the American TV series Shark Tank. Both shows feature extremely successful entrepreneurs interested in investing in other promising start-ups.

  • Eckhart Tolle

Born in Germany in 1948, Eckhart Tolle moved to Canada in 1995 and currently lives in Vancouver. He is a renowned spiritual writer. His books, The Power of Now and A New Earth, have both made the New York Times Best Seller list.

The 60 immigrant investors who are selected will be granted permanent residency in a great country. However, there is no free lunch in Canada, and those interested will have to decide if the $2 million fee is worth it.