Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Province welcomes special immigrant

Child reunites with her mom in Russell

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Russell owes Japan one wiener only. Why doesn't the Town of Russell just settle its debt with the Land of the Rising Sun and end this national nightmare?

Actually, Russell Owes Japan One Wiener Only is a mnemonic all children there learn to help them memorize the town's postal code: R0J 1W0.

Now a new kid in Russell will be memorizing it. The first Filipino child funded by local kids in an effort to reunite immigrant families has landed.

Shaina Tacaldo, 9, arrived recently and is already attending school. She has been reunited with her mom, Sarah. They'd been separated almost three years. Shaina had been living with her grandmother in the Philippines.

Only high-skilled immigrants arriving under the immigration nominee program can bring their families immediately. For people filling service-industry jobs such as in Russell, there is at least a two-year waiting period. Airfare and various immigration fees further delay arrivals.

Sister-brother team Ayla and Van Hamilton, ages 13 and 8, spearheaded the fundraising. They have opened lemonade stands, gone knocking on doors and made speeches at schools, churches and auxiliary groups to raise funds. Other kids have rallied around them, as has the entire community. The program is called Kids Helping Kids.

Newcomer Shaina "is a very bright spark and very happy to be here," the Hamilton kids report via email. Ayla and Van also thanked Manitobans for their "huge hearts." Shaina had pumpkin pie for the first time in her life on Thanksgiving.

The kids are continuing with fundraising and hope to reunite up to 30 Filipino kids with their parents in Russell. The Free Press first wrote about Kids Helping Kids on April 14, 2012.


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IT'S bad enough the Saskatchewan Roughriders beat us in home-and-away football games, starting with the Labour Day Classic.

Now they've whupped us in population growth, too.

Saskatchewan's population grew by 22,154 last year, versus 15,313 for Manitoba. A large reason is Saskatchewan has figured out the immigration nominee program Manitoba has used like a secret weapon to turn around near-stagnant growth.

Saskatchewan's international immigration hit almost 14,000 for 2011-12, way up from previous years. Manitoba's immigration was just over 15,000 for the same period.

Of course, the other reason for the higher growth is Saskatchewan's booming resource industry, particularly oil and potash.

That's attracting interprovincial migration, much of it returning Saskatchewan residents. Saskatchewan's interprovincial growth was plus 2,846 for the period ending June 30, versus minus 4,675 for Manitoba. There's your roughly 7,000 difference.

Natural growth (births minus deaths) is about equal in the two Prairie provinces at just under 6,000 for each.

The 22,154 figure is the biggest population growth for Saskatchewan since 1921, said Curtis Woloschuk, Saskatchewan's senior economic statistician.

But Manitoba's chief statistician, Will Falk, points out Saskatchewan went through six straight years of population decline before turning it around in 2006. It began copying Manitoba's aggressive immigration program.

Both provinces now get 75-80 per cent of their immigrants via the immigration nominee program.

Unfortunately, growth in both provinces is now being stymied by the federal government's decision in 2010 to cap nominee-program immigrant totals.

Manitoba is still larger than Saskatchewan with a population of 1,252,690 versus 1,079,958.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 12, 2012 A9

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