Today, the Weston Farmers Market officially began its 39th year and a trio of local politicians was there to celebrate. Local folklore as recorded by Councillor Nunziata claims that there’s never rain on opening day and this year was no exception. The Market is in its second of three years at the UP Express parking lot.
Ahmed Hussen, our MP and the Minister of Immigration, is still refusing to answer direct questions in the House.
This week, Michelle Rempel (CPC) asked him about the failure of more than half of Syrian refugees to find jobs, and how much that has cost the provinces.
Hussen did not answer. Instead, he told her how much the feds (not the provinces) have provided—not how much the refugees have cost.
Rempel pointed out that he did not answer the question, and posed another:
My question is very simple. How much will the government pay in Canadian taxpayers’ dollars to support its ill-fated refugee plan?
Hussen said that Canada is consistently praised for being compassionate (the thirteenth time he has mentioned that this year!) and said (for the fourth time) that the Liberals would “take no lessons” from other parties.
He then brought up Mexican visas for no discernible reason.
Weston native born politician, George Smitherman has announced he will run for council in next year’s civic election. While he will not run in York South-Weston, he plans to take a shot at one of the three new wards created after a boundary review and council vote last November. The condo boom of the past few years, has seen population growth in the downtown core and Smitherman hopes to end up with a home and seat there.
While a progressive councillor for Ward 11 might have been a big change from the current incumbent, all is not lost. Many vital decisions at council have been won or lost by only a few votes. Mayor John Tory opposed adding three extra wards. Why? Possibly because the new wards are downtown and could add three progressive voices and votes which might improve the tone and dare I say humanity of Council decisions. As an added bonus, Smitherman has close ties with the Liberal Party of Canada along with Immigration Minister and York South Weston MP Ahmed Hussen so no doubt there will be a strong link to the federal government.
Here begins the speculation that the long term plan is to knock John Tory off his mayoral perch in 2022.
Donald Trump’s repugnant policies reached right into Weston this week. Our MP, Ahmed Hussen, who is the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, had to deal with the prospect of dual citizens, permanent residents, and in-transit travellers unable to go to the US after Donald Trump signed a travel ban.
Bizarrely, Hussen even had to consider whether he, the Minister of Immigration, might be unable to travel there.
Asked about his own situation and whether he worried that he might be blocked from travelling to the U.S. because of his birthplace:
“Yes, I was born in Somalia, but I took my oath of citizenship to this country 15 years ago. And I’m a Canadian. I’ve spent most of my life here and I continue to be proud of our country our ability to be generous and to view those who seek protection.”
Hussen, though a Canadian citizen, fled to Canada as a refugee when he was a teen. Somalia is one of the seven predominantly-Muslim countries whose citizens are now disallowed entry into America.
Though Hussen did not “bluntly denounce” Trump’s policy, he did say “Canada is a country of immigrants…. We have always welcomed people in need and will continue to do so.”
Laura Albanese, Ontario’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, reiterated that commitment today in a news release. She said:
I spoke to the federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, and reiterated Ontario’s open door stance with respect to receiving immigrants and refugees from all countries, irrespective of race, ethnicity or faith.
We will proudly continue to welcome people from all parts of the world as we continue to create economic security and opportunity and develop the diverse and inclusive communities where all people thrive.
Ezra Levant is a an abrasive right-wing commenter on all things political. He reports for Rebel Media and has a lot to say about the Liberal government – most of it sharply critical. On Friday, he had a few things to say about our MP Ahmed Hussen’s recent promotion. In Levant’s video piece from last Friday, January 13, he shows Hussen in extracts from CSPAN, testifying in 2011 to a U.S. Congress Homeland Security committee concerned with the radicalization of recent immigrants, particularly those from Somali communities south of the border. In the first clip, he states,
I’m a Canadian Muslim who is proud of his faith and heritage, and I truly believe that the Canadian and American values of liberty, democracy, rule of law, human rights and respect for minorities do complement and work neatly with the tenets of my faith.
Levant likes Hussen’s stance on immigrants and their need to adopt Canadian values. Levant thinks that this viewpoint is in sharp contrast to the one held by the the Liberal Party and in particular, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The video is posted below. Thanks to commenter ‘Westonarian’ for the tip.
In a cabinet shuffle announced today, newly minted MP Ahmed Hussen has been promoted to Immigration Minister and becomes the first black and Somali-Canadian member of the Trudeau cabinet. Hussen will take the place of John McCallum who has been appointed Ambassador to China.
Hussen came to Canada from Mogadishu as a 16 year-old and later managed to put himself through York University, earning a B.A. He worked in provincial politics before standing in the 2015 general election for the Liberals.
As a rookie MP, his rise to cabinet has been meteoric by any standards. York South Weston is already represented by influential representatives; the Speaker of Toronto Council, Frances Nunziata and the provincial Minister of Citizenship, Laura Albanese. Let’s hope this increased power and influence translates into some positive results for York South-Weston.
Today was the last day of the Weston Farmers’ Market. I went with my family at midday, when the vendors were beginning to wind down. There was a pronounced melancholy in the air, along with the threat of rain.
The three local politicians were there, announcing to a small crowd a new—and quite nice—mural facing the GO parking lot. It has a quite different aesthetic than most of the murals in town: more abstract, with an 1980’s colour palette.