Wednesday, November 28, 2007

On the 17th of November, the Ron Paley big band had a concert at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The event was well attended, the concert was outstanding and it featured Winnipeg Jazz singer, Maiko Watson and a guy on the Sax I do not know his name but he was great. A great Francophone musicians to watch. Ron Paley is also freshening up his repertoire by incorporating some hip-hoppy kind of sounds. He was great and shows that he is a musician not stuck in his time but open to move with the time.
Was a great concert.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Open letter by Winnipegger Kojo Williams, community activist re: A sister who appears to be against Black-focused schools which is being discussed and ready to be tested in Toronto, Ontario where black youths seem to face more than the usual problems of racism, violence etc.

Hi Elma:

Greetings my Vincentian sister!!! I will be very brief with my response.

I think you and the other Blacks and anti-blacks are dead wrong on this issue. There are Black focused schools working well (for years) in the United States of America. There are Aboriginal, Jewish and other socused schools all over Canada. There is the Catholic School Board with Catholic schools all over Canada. There are schools dedicated for girls and schools dedicated for boys all over Canada. These special focused schools were established and maintained for good reasons. So why all this fuss now that - for some of the same reasons - Black focussed schools are proposed?

The fact is: the regular school system has failed Blacks all over Canada. Their curricula do not include the Black Canadian experience. They rape and rob our children of their self-esteem and self-worth. They graduate our kids at Grade nine and ten and leave them without education and by extension marketable skills, hence the reasons there are so many single Black mothers, unemployed Black males (particularly youths) and "Black youth crime".

Those Blacks who believe they "have arrived" and live in a society above the Black community need to understand the real issues that drive real Black leaders to try to try to establish Black focused schools - which are not exclusive to Blacks. They should work with the Black (and other) leaders who really care about Blacks and Canada, to correct Canada's racist systems and the attendant problems those who manage those systems so want to maintain.

As I see it, Black focused schools could be remedial places of learning which prepare Blacks - and other youths - to find an equal space in society. There is nothing racist or discriminatory about this. It simply makes sense for Blacks and the rest of the Canadian society.

My sister, I plead with you to re-examine this issue, as well as the state of the Black segment of our Canadian society. Your commentary may be music to the ears of those who benefit from the status quo, but equally so, it is pain in the heart of every Black mother and father whose youths have been failed by the present system.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

News Release: Manitoba Human Rights Commission
November 14, 2007

Manitoba Human Rights Commission Releases 2006 Annual Report
Formal Complaints received is the highest since 1990

The total number of formal complaints the Manitoba Human Rights Commission received in 2006 is reaching record highs. According to Dianna Scarth, Executive Director of the Commission, the number of formal complaints received (297) is the highest since 1990 and rivals the numbers recorded in the first few years following the proclamation of the Human Rights Code (Manitoba) in December 1987. She adds that
in 2006, an additional 45 matters were resolved informally through the Commission’s
pre-complaint process.

The 2006 Annual Report also reveals that the greatest number of formal complaints filed continues to be on the basis of physical and mental disability. Ancestry complaints were the second highest. In recent years complaints based on sex, including pregnancy was second.

Statistics show that disability complaints were at 41.5%, while complaints based on ancestry were at 20%, and sex, including pregnancy, were at 18% of the total number of formal complaints filed.

The Commission is also facing more complicated systemic complaints. “One of the greatest challenges,” says Ms Scarth “is the level of resources available to deal with systemic complaints.”

Systemic complaints raise allegations of discriminatory treatment of large groups. Examples of systemic complaints range from the accreditation of foreign trained doctors to the treatment of women incarcerated in provincial institutions.

“Systemic complaints require extensive research and investigations, but resolutions have a great impact in addressing large scale patterns of discrimination,” says Ms Scarth.

Other highlights of the 2006 Annual Report include:

• Mediation commenced in regard to the Elizabeth Fry Society complaint against the Government of Manitoba. This was the first mediation about the treatment of female prisoners in a provincial system in Canada. (The mediation concluded successfully in 2007).

• A settlement was reached between the Rainbow Harmony Project and Camp Arnes, balancing freedom of religion and the right to protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

• The Commission and the University of Winnipeg’s Racialized Communities and Police Services Project held its first community consultation, which resulted in a joint news release agreed upon by all the groups in attendance, including the Winnipeg Police Service. The project began at the request of a group of inner city residents who alleged racial profiling by the City of Winnipeg Police.

• Legal proceedings included two successful adjudications (Amy and Jesse Pasternak v The Manitoba High School Athletic Association and Hank Richard v the Brandon Youth Hockey Association), and one successful Manitoba Court of Appeal hearing (Thorvaldson Care Homes Ltd. v the Manitoba Human Rights Commission).

• The Commission, with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, was granted intervener status at the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities v Via Rail. In support of the CCD, the Commission argued that human rights principles should be applied in the context of specialized human rights legislation. (The decision, in favour of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, was released in 2007.)

• The Commission developed guidelines for retailers, emphasizing the importance of respecting human rights when attempting to control the sale of intoxicating substances.

The 2006 Annual Report is available on the Commission’s website

For more information please contact:
Patricia Knipe
Communications Director

"Nothing like this has ever happened to me"

The University of Manitoba continues its excellent record for its
winning Rhodes Scholarships with the awarding of a 2008 Rhodes
Scholarship to Akosua Matthews, who graduated from the University
of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Arts (honours) in 2006.

Ms Mathews, who also won the Gold Medal in Philosophy in 2006, is
currently a full-time policy analyst for the Province of Manitoba.
Born in Edmonton, she moved to Winnipeg at an early age, attending
Bairdmore, Dalhousie and Acadia schools, all in Fort Richmond.
Matthews is also a graduate of nearby Fort Richmond Collegiate. Her
mother is from Ghana, and her father, a three-time graduate of the
University of Manitoba, currently works for water stewardship with
the Province of Manitoba. She also has a brother currently enroled in
University 1 at the University of Manitoba.

"In school, Akosua was a leader in so many ways," says Kathleen
Crang, science teacher at Fort Richmond Collegiate. "She was active
in the Charity Club, Amnesty International and other groups."

"It´s been a whirlwind twenty-four hours," says Matthews. "The
stakes were very high, and I was blown away by the calibre of the
other candidates."

"What´s the right adjective to use?" her father muses. "We are
extremely pleased and excited for Akosua. She´s worked very hard
for this. After she got the call Saturday night, we phoned relatives
here in Canada to tell them the news and then woke up our relatives
in Ghana."

In addition to her outstanding academic credentials, Matthews is an
army reservist, where she is a corporal and plays bugle and trumpet in
the company band. "I was very busy performing at Remembrance Day
services this year," Matthews notes.

Matthews says she enjoyed her time in the philosophy department,
enhancing her ability to learn and share knowledge.

"My department was very small and hands-on," she says. "I got to
know my professors on a one-to-one basis. Many people think that
University of Manitoba is a really big school, but for me, my
experience was that once I got into a specific discipline, it became
quite small."

"People really got to know you," she adds.

Matthews is the 87th Rhodes Scholar to hail from the University of
Manitoba, which has produced more Rhodes Scholars than any other
university in Western Canada.

Matthews plans to eventually study law. Her Rhodes Scholarship is
tenable for studies at Oxford in England for two or three years
commencing in the fall of 2008, covering all tuition fees plus an
annual stipend.

For more information, contact Ms Akosua Matthews at: 204-880-
1514 (cell), or John Danakas, public affairs, at: 204-474-8551 or
204-228-9527 (cell).

A Winnippegger and member of the Ghanian community has won the Rhodes Scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships worldwide.
Akosua Matthews has been very active in the community. She participated in Folklorama and was a member of the Youth Parliament in 2004. She was the Director of Finance of the Board and acted as the Youth Parliament's 86th Deputy speaker with responsibilities of keeping accurate financial records; receiving all dues paid by members; and fundraising.

"I have been lucky to take part in a lot of youth groups based on interests such as politics. I was a page at the Manitoba Legislature. I took part in the Forum for Young Canadians in Ottawa, and this Holiday break I took part in Youth Parliament at the Manitoba Legislature. The great thing about these programs is the opportunity to meet other youth who are interested in politics and government"
Congratulations to you and family.

The 22 year old Matthews was born in Edmonton but was raised and schooled in Winnipeg. She graduated from Fort Richmond Collegiate. In 2006 she received a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and the gold medal in philosophy from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. She was lead intern for the Manitoba Legislative Assembly and is now a policy analyst with the Province of Manitoba. She is also a corporal and military musician in the reserve – Royal Winnipeg Rifles Regiment and an active member of the Youth Parliament of Manitoba. she intends to pursue graduate studies in philosophy in Oxford.

Updated November 21, 2007
Matthews thanks the Ghanaian community as being instrumental to her success
Please note that the Ghanaian Community has played a big role in my upbringing and personal development. My parents are very excited and we have shared the news with relatives in Ghana. A big thank you to all of my aunties, uncles and cousins who have been with me as I grew up.


Akosua Matthews

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Eritrean Motivational Speaker at Success Skills Centre

Robel Kidane an Eritrean-Swedish motivational speaker and counselor . Mr Kidane who resides in Sweden is a psychologist and specializes in mind-body relationships. Mr Robel Kidane has been part of the Rwanda genocide reconciliation Committee and he is an expert in cultural impacts that affect immigrants in general and Eritreans in particular. He is invited in Winnipeg by the Eritrean Community In Winnipeg to present a week session-seminar on "Knowing Your Inner Self" in English and Eritrean languages. Mr Kidane has done several seminars in all major European Capital , in 15 cities with refugee population in the USA and in Toronto and Calgary. Presently he is in a tour in North America addressing intergenerational issues and impact on developing healthy families in refugee population from Africa.

Friday, November 02, 2007


Labour and Immigration Minister Nancy Allan, Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Rosann Wowchuk and Dr. Emõke Szathmáry, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manitoba, today announced the establishment of the Internationally Educated Agrologist pilot program (IEAP).

"We congratulate the University of Manitoba's faculty of agricultural and food sciences and the Manitoba Institute of Agrologists, the two organizations that developed the pilot program so internationally-trained agrologists can work in their chosen field as quickly as possible," said Allan. "The province is pleased to support this innovative program which demonstrates our government's commitment to fast track skills recognition and integration into the labour market."

In the past year, Manitoba welcomed over 10,000 immigrants. A significant number of these new Manitobans are professionals who have international education and work experience in their chosen fields.

"These skilled individuals can make a strong contribution to Manitoba's agricultural economy, but first need supports to overcome barriers to professional recognition and job entry,"
Wowchuk said. "The people using this 12-month IEAP program will now be able to contribute their knowledge, skills and expertise to our workforce more quickly and benefit our agriculture industry sooner. The transfer of information and technological skills from qualified, internationally-trained agrologists will enhance and expand the options of our own industry now and in the future."

The pilot program provides eight months of study and four months paid work experience with an agricultural company in Manitoba.
Currently, 13 students are enrolled in the program.

Szathmáry praised the IEAP. "This program will meet the needs of internationally-educated agrologists at the same! time as it meets the needs of the Manitoba economy which requires highly-educated and experienced professionals,'' she said. "It is an excellent example of how the University of Manitoba recognizes and responds to the demands of the workforce in practical and effective ways."

"The IEAP is a tremendous opportunity for the Manitoba Institute of Agrologists (MIA) to help well-qualified people replace frustration with hope and to help internationally-educated agrologists demonstrate to employers that they have the appropriate level of knowledge and skills so their talent and experience will not be wasted," said Earl Geddes, MIA president.

Agrology is the application of the sciences to agriculture and the bio-resource sector. Agrologists are trained and qualified to provide advice on the production, processing and marketing of agricultural products, crops or livestock. The Manitoba Institute of Agrologists is the provincial accreditation organization that operates under authority of the Agrologists Act.

The Internationally Educated Agrologist pilot program, the Internationally Educated Engineers Qualification program and the Academic and Professional Bridging Program for Internationally Educated Teachers are initiatives Manitoba has developed to help newcomers use their professional skills in Manitoba workplaces.

The province recently introduced legislation that builds on these initiatives and qualifications recognition efforts. The proposed Fair Registration Practices Bill would also help reduce barriers to the recognition of internationally-educated professionals in Manitoba through transparent, objective, impartial and fair registration practices.