Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ukraine mission beats new rules on immigration

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The province is leading a delegation to Kyiv, Ukraine, next month to drum up immigration one last time before the federal government narrows the door.

The province is making the trip before the Harper government tightens English-language standards starting in July. The trip runs from June 7-11.

Ottawa's tougher standards are seen as a direct slap at the provincial nominee program, which has helped revitalize Manitoba's economy by boosting immigration numbers.

Tougher English-language standards favour young professionals. But Manitoba has a labour shortage in skilled and semi-skilled workers. English skills are typically determined through interviews on Skype.

The changes also come at a time when competition between countries for foreign trade workers has never been so great. Critics believe the Harper government is handicapping the country's ability to source labour at a crucial time.

Manitoba's recruitment of immigrants from Germany also took a hit recently. The federal budget closed the immigration and visa office of the Canadian Embassy in Berlin.

Germany has been the biggest source of immigration for rural Manitoba, with the exception of Brandon. A total of 17 employees in the Berlin office lost their jobs because of the Harper budget. The staff at the German Embassy has been dealing with Manitoba officials for 15 years. Similar sections at Canadian Embassies in Japan, Bangladesh and Malaysia were also closed, and more closures are to be announced.

The processing of immigrant applications from Germany will be done out of Vienna. Medical records will be shipped to London, England. This is expected to only add to delays and confusion in the immigration process.

 

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MAINLY BECAUSE OF THE MEAT -- Kudos to Cantor's Meats in Winnipeg for starting a delivery service to Thompson.

That's making carnivores in the northern mining city very happy. People have reportedly been paying as much as $12 a pound for a T-bone steak in Thompson. Cantor's has been coming in at $6.59 a pound.

Cantor's, a family butcher shop, has operated in Winnipeg since the 1940s. It has always shipped product to the North, including to Rankin Inlet.

Thompson residents can place orders with Cantor's online (cantorsmeats.com) or by phone. Gardewine picks up orders from Winnipeg on Monday afternoons and transports them to a deep freezer Cantor's has purchased in Thompson. As well, handicapped adults with the Juniper Centre in Thompson are helping to fill orders. Thompson residents can pick up their meat orders Tuesday morning.

The program has just started and Cantor's is already getting up to 50 orders per week. "We got a nice deal from Gardewine and business is building," said Cantor's meat manager, Gilbert Kohlman.

 

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JUST KIDS -- Ayla and Van Hamilton, the sister and brother who were recently profiled in the Free Press for fundraising to reunite Filipino families in Russell, have received more recognition. Ayla, 13, and Van, 8, received the Manitoba Young Humanitarians Award in Winnipeg recently.

Other recipients included: Austin Skogan, a Grade 8 student at Stonewall Centennial School, who has been reading regularly to seniors at Rosewood Lodge nursing home the past three years; Jasmine Wiens, a Grade 12 student at Green Valley School in Grunthal, who spearheaded a project that collected 3,000 pounds of food for a drought-ravaged village in Kenya; and 11 students in grades 5 and 6 from Centennial School in Lac du Bonnet, who collected 287 blankets to give to Siloam Mission.

 

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MAINLY BECAUSE OF THE MUSIC -- Speaking of immigration, officials say a surprising number of immigrants request to live in Brandon because of the reputation of the Brandon University School of Music. Immigrant families with some awesomely talented children have been apparently landing in the Wheat City in recent years. It's something to keep track of.

 

bill.redekop@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 26, 2012 A12

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