DAVAO CITY, Philippines —- National Anti-Poverty Commission Lead Convenor Liza Maza said she and two other Left-leaning Cabinet officials and government negotiators will be meeting President Rodrigo Duterte on February 20.
Maza said the Cabinet has not yet taken up the issue of the terminated peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines during the recent Cabinet meeting.
She said Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza was supposed to give updates on the third round of talks in Rome, Italy. “But we were not able to go there anymore because there’s a lot (of items) in the agenda,” Maza told reporters in a press briefing in Malacañang on Thursday.
“The President told us that he will meet us, kaming mga ano, pursigido,” she said. The other cabinet officials in the meeting will include Social and Welfare Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, GRP chief negotiator Silvestre Bello III and Dureza.
Film about a Filipino family’s struggles in Toronto
By Althea Manasan
A new documentary about an immigrant Filipino family will have its world premiere in Toronto this month, highlighting the struggles and hopes of newcomers building a new life in Canada.
My First 150 Days follows single mother Melona Banico as she welcomes her three children and grandchild to Toronto after eight years apart, and then chronicles their first 150 days together. It will screen at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema on Feb. 23.
“It’s really a story about a family struggling,” said director and writer Diana Dai. “The story of this family mirrors the struggling, the hardships, and also joys of all immigrants in general — not just Filipinos.”
Melona’s story is a familiar one for many immigrants: she moved to Canada as a caretaker, working three jobs over several years in order to earn enough money to sponsor her children: daughters, Judelyn, 26, and Jeah, 14; her son, Jade, 24; and her grandson, Clyde, 10. Long divorced from her husband, her children were raised by her own parents in a rural part of the Philippines.
Associate producer Rita Kotzia found the Banico family through an immigration lawyer. Dai says she wanted a family spanning across several generations, so she could explore their different perspectives and challenges.
The film begins with the family’s tearful reunion at the airport. But it doesn’t take long for that honeymoon period to end and for the cracks to start showing. Life in Canada doesn’t turn out to be as easy as they were expecting, and overwhelmed by financial struggles, cultural differences and a lack of mutual understanding, the family begins to fight.
She remembers having to cancel a shoot because the children didn’t want to be filmed anymore. Melona, however, kept pushing to continue on.
“They were separated for so long, eight years…so they [the children] emotionally were not connected to Melona. They were basically strangers to each other,” Dai said.
“I think this not only has happened in Filipino families. I also saw it in the other nationalities, in other immigrants — just the gap between children and mother.”
Dai is familiar with the immigrant experience. Originally from China, she moved to the United Kingdom in 1991 to study television production at the University of Leeds.
Although she admits her journey was simpler than the Banico family’s, Dai says she could relate to what they were going through, which made it easier for her to connect with them.
“I experienced the loneliness, the hardship and the language problems,” she said. “You have to work harder than local people…An immigrant life is so hard.”
But that life also gets better. Dai says the family is now “on track.” Melona, who was a teacher in the Philippines, is set to graduate from teaching courses, and her adult children now have full-time jobs.
The most inspiring story, says Dai, is 10-year-old Clyde, who could hardly speak any English when he landed, and now is more fluent than his mother, Judelyn. He talks about wanting to be an engineer and having his own family.
“This really shows this is Canada’s future,” Dai said. “A land of young immigrants.”
After its premiere in Toronto, the film, which is produced by 90th Parallel Productions, is set to air on TVO in April as part of the network’s programming to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary. It will also eventually air on the CBC Documentary Channel.
Dai hopes that immigrants will be able to relate to the Banico family’s story and be inspired to not give up.
“The hardship is a very normal period, but don’t give up,” she said. “There’s hope there. Be resilient. Canada is a great country. If you work hard and don’t give up, you will have a great life here. That’s the message I want to send.”]]>
OFW Advocating for Temporary Foreign Workers
Almost deported, but for Gina and others, the fight is still on
By Pet G. Cleto
On Sunday, January 15, 2017, Gina (Gregorgina) Bahiwal, former social worker turned farm worker, was to be deported back to the Philippines. She was judged to be illegal because she was way past the 4 in-4 out rule created by the Harper government, and although the rule was rescinded by the Trudeau government last December 13, 2016, her case was already judged as falling under the rule. The rule forced out of Canada temporary foreign workers who have worked here for four years without being able to get permanent residency, and obliged them to remain in their countries of origin for four years before they could apply to work here again. This scheme in effect assured Canada of a steady supply of cheap labour through temporary workers, making them “permanently temporary”. Worse, it also forced many to go hidden and illegal, hoping to survive somehow and send money back home.
On January 13, just 2 days before her deportation date, Gina was told by the federal government that she would not be deported after all and was instead given a temporary resident status. This enables her to remain legally in Canada and work, while waiting for the result of her application for permanent residency under Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds.
On the phone, Gina’s voice comes across with the warmth – a voice that has been engaged for many hours discussing problems or speaking up to employers, recruiters or government personages. It’s evening- she must be tired from a full day of work, but she was enthusiastic about the interview.
Many new facts and issues surfaced in the interview. Some passages:
The Philippine Reporter: Tell us about your first years in Canada.
Gina Bahiwal: When I arrived in 2008, I worked in Leamington for almost 4 years, in vegetable packing. When the 4 year in-4 year out rule came out, I went to BC, to Dawson Creek. I wanted to apply for the BC Provincial Nominee Program, but they didn’t sign my papers for that.
TPR: Let’s get to that later. How did you become an advocate for migrant workers’ rights?
GB: I became one in 2009. I met several advocacy groups then- some were Pura’s (Velasco) group, Justicia ((Justice for Migrant Workers). I learned that there are so many things that are prohibited, yet people are doing these. By then, I was already helping workers about the additional fees recruiters were asking, and also about housing issues. Recruiters were asking fees to renew our two-year contracts, even when we were just over the first year. They were asking for $2500. per worker. I told them I didn’t have to pay them that much, because I could do it myself. I already knew people who could help us do that then. The recruiter said she would remove me from the list of LMIA applicants, because I was a union organizer. I was only fighting against injustices!
TPR: I read that you were also an organizer of the march in Leamington.
GB: In 2011, I helped organize the march from Windsor to Leamington, and spoke regarding the exploitation of workers in the farms. But you know, there’s also another big problem. In my first years, we were invited to Christmas parties in Toronto, organized by some remittance agency. In my second year (2009) of going to these parties I was told that people from the Philippine Consulate wanted to speak with me at the party. My friends were afraid to meet with them, but I went ahead because I wanted to tell them about our problems regarding these excessive fees of recruiters. They said if I really wanted to fight them, I must promise I would not back out from the fight. Of course I said I wouldn’t . The next thing I know, this recruiter,Mike Galpin, the counterpart in Canada of our recruiter in the Philippines, calls me up to say he knew all about what I told the Consulate people, and threatened me he would use his contacts at the Philippine Embassy.
TPR: Did you check that with the Consulate?
GB: A Consulate official called me to ask me about going to Windsor, so I asked him why the recruiter knew about our conversation. He denied that anyone told Mike . When I saw him (Consulate officer) in Windsor, and asked him again, this time he said, why don’t you just look after your own self first, instead of looking after others?
TPR: So what happened to this offered help?
GB: I completely lost trust in them so I stopped contacting them. They also didn’t communicate with me anymore. At least I tried to reach out to them.
TPR: Were you ready for these problems when you left the Philippines? Someone had commented in an ABS-CBN interview that you knew all these things beforehand, and maybe he meant that’s why you knew how to deal with them.
GB: That comment is so hurting, because we were in fact victims of the sudden announcement of the 4-4 year rule. Many of us had to go to many places like Saskatchewan and BC so that we could try for the Provincial Nominee Programs there, which is information given us by the advocacy groups we knew.. Like so many others, I didn’t know anything. No one of us knew that there are rules to which you should comply. All the advice I got in the Philippines was from the recruiters. They said when somebody interviews me about what I paid to come here, I should answer: I paid nothing.
TPR: And so you became a volunteer with Justicia?
GB: They asked me, and I agreed to become one.
TPR: And then you went to BC when the 4-4 rule came out. What job did you find there?
GB: At Holiday Inn. A housekeeping job. For almost 2 years. But my application for the Provincial Nominee Program was denied.
TPR: You went there first and then applied there for the program?
GB: Yes, since they require 9 consecutive months of work for the same employer in the province for you to be eligible. I needed to know from the groups here about contacts in BC because I knew I would find problems there again.
TPR: Did you have experience doing advocacy work in the Philippines?
GB: I was a community organizer with the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), Ifugao Branch. We were organizing farmers and farm workers. But the organizing wasn’t like what we do here. Mahirap din ang kalagayan ng mga farmers doom, pero iba yung mga problema dito. Basically, I was assigned to rural areas.
TPR: So what happened in BC?
GB: I continued my advocacy there. There were problems you couldn’t avoid so you should really help. There were issues like it was in Ontario. I was trying to help a co-worker, a Filipina who came from Taiwan, working for another hotel, who was brought in by the same recruiter who helped reach BC. She was then just newly arrived- just three months and was really in need of help.
TPR: You paid this recruiter?
GB: Yes, $1,500. We were four in all who came from Toronto.
TPR: You said you also worked in another job.
GB: In MacDonalds, their problem was the exploitation by employers. Their employers didn’t want to give them application papers for PNP. So they got recruitment agencies to help them, for $5,000. The problem was, there was an income bracket: singles could make it with their minimum wage income, but if they have families , they couldn’t make it. So many couldn’t make it because they had families and their income was insufficient.
TPR: Were there many who helped you in BC?
GB: David Ferry, a labour consultant. I also was referred to the West Coast Domestic Workers.
TPR: Let’s talk about your success – your campaign to stay in Canada.
GB: Justicia helped me with that. First, Patty Collar, a consultant in Windsor, helped me get a legal aid certificate, so that I could pay a lawyer to help me file my case. Mr. Lee was my first lawyer. Then Justicia fundraised for my legal fees, and I decided to ask Mr. Richard Wasana to be my lawyer because we had heard he was very good. The government had already told me I was to be deported, sent me my notice of deportation so I applied for Permanent Residency on Humanitarian & Compassionate Grounds (H & C).
TPR: I’ve been told that when you file this application, you’re protected from arrests, deportation, etc,
GB: That’s not true. Especially in my case, because I was already given a deportation order.
TPR: Whar about the other temporary worker who also had a campaign and lost?
GB: He asked for help way too late- he was going to be deported the very next day.
TPR: Why do you think you won?
GB:I think it’s because I was active in working for justice. I was also one of the two from the Temporary Workers’ Program who spoke as witnesses before the Parliamentary Committee that was studying the TFWP. ( Gina also appeared in the documentary The End of Immigration, helped organize the J4MW Pilgrimage to Freedom in 2011, and spoke at a press conference on Parliament Hill for the launch of the 2016 J4MW Harvesting Freedom campaign.)
TPR: Yes, many people know you!
GB: I’m glad so many supported me! I had so many letters of support I couldn’t print them all!
TPR:What can you say about the government’s announcement about their action based on the recommendations of the HUMA parliamentary committee?
GB: Ok, the part about the 4-4 rule being removed is great. I have my case as an example of victimization by this rule at the HUMA hearing. But …It’s so short! That’s funny that they have to disclose the rest only when the budget comes out, because – is it the budget that’s the problem? How much does it take to put a law into motion? Why is it so difficult for them to listen and act? We’ve fought for so long .
TPR: Who are you helping now?
GB: Some people who tried to get employed here by direct hire, so they won’t be charged recruitment fees. I spoke with some employers, and then Marco (Luciano of Migrante Alberta) gave me some application forms to fill out for them. I finally got them their work permits and entry visas. But then I was told by the Consulate that there were new requirements from the POEA! Their papers had to be authenticated by a recruitment agency the Philippines! They had to pay the agency $500 US for authentication, and they had to present that authentication certificate to the POEA! This was already under the Duterte administration.
TPR: What would you advise to our fellow Filipinos?
GB: Don’t be afraid – go to the Canadian Immigration website so that you will know the rules. If something wrong is being done to you, report that! Don’t think you owe recruiters anything, even if they say you should be grateful they brought you here- you’ve paid them several times over! If they threaten you, report them! If you know it’s wrong, fight for what’s right.
TPR: How do you think the fight for migrant workers should be carried out?
GB: We should also make our government in the Philippines do something about our conditions here. First, they should monitor how we are and find out how they can help us. They should know what’s happening between the employee, the recruitment agency, and the employer, and correct the exploitative and abusive ways by which the two victimize the employee! I always thought that was the proper duty of consulates and embassies, but that’s not the case, sadly.
TPR: What about the campaign for TFWs here?
GB: We must continue to fight for permanent residency upon arrival and open permits instead of employer-specific contracts. Why should there be a difference between skilled workers and unskilled workers, so that there are so many limitations for the unskilled? We’re all workers here! Why is it taking them so long to hear our difficulties?
TPR: Are there any conditions attached to your Temporary Residence permit?
GB: It’s essentially an open work permit, and the only thing I can’t do is study. I keep updating my H&C file, putting in new articles and letters. They say my case is strong. I hope and pray it is.]]>
TORONTO–At its meeting on Jan. 30, Toronto City Council approved the appointment of Dr. Eileen de Villa as Toronto’s new Medical Officer of Health, following recommendation from the City’s Board of Health. Dr. de Villa will begin her position at the City on March 27.
“I’m very pleased with the appointment of Dr. de Villa,” said Mayor John Tory. “Public health matters are critical to the people of Toronto and I am extremely confident that Dr. de Villa is well-prepared to take on the top leadership role for Toronto Public Health in its service to our residents.”
Dr. de Villa’s career in the public health field spans over a dozen years, during which she served as Medical Officer of Health and Associate Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Peel and professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health.
“I’m very pleased to welcome Dr. de Villa and wish her every success as Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health,” said Councillor Joe Mihevc, Chair of the Board of Health. “Throughout the selection panel process, she demonstrated solid leadership and management skills, in-depth understanding of public health issues and a passion for public health promotion that will surely benefit the residents of Toronto.”
Dr. de Villa is a distinguished scholar and physician, and has been recognized and awarded throughout her education and career. She received her medical and public health training at the University of Toronto. She is certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in public health and preventative medicine. She also holds a Master’s degree in Health Science, a Master’s in Business Administration with a specialization in not-for-profit management/leadership and a certificate in Health Law from Osgoode Hall Law School.
Dr. de Villa has international experience and has worked with many organizations on prominent public health issues. She has published numerous research papers and made presentations on issues including public health considerations for city planning and emergency preparedness, communicable and infectious disease control, and public health policy development.
Migrants protest against Trump’s travel ban
By Lui Queaño
TORONTO– U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning the entry of immigrants and travellers from seven predominantly Muslim countries sparked protests in Toronto in front of the U.S. Consulate, on University Ave. south of Dundas St., on Monday, Jan. 30. Thousands of demontrators again regrouped on Saturday, Feb. 4, and occupied three to four city blocks along University Ave. while RCMP put barricades in front of the U.S. Consulate where migrant protesters carrying anti-Trump signs chanted: “Justice for migrants, freedom for refugees.”
In a solidarity statement , the Coalition for Migrant Worker Rights Canada (CMWRC) called Trump’s recent announcements “anti-immigrant”. It also said Trump’s immigration ban could have led to the massacre of six Muslims in Quebec City on Sunday, Jan. 30.
“We cannot allow racism and xenophobia to win. We must link the struggles of refugees, immigrants and migrant workers starting with labour mobility and permanent status,” the statement said.
The group also challenged the Trudeau government to consider the people’s dissent over travel ban as an opportunity to prove to the world that Canada is really a welcoming country for refugees and migrants by making substantive changes in the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP). The Federal government’s TFWP review last Jan. 31 offered no new changes in the program and instead put it on hold until the budget is released in the spring.
“While the four-and-four rule was revoked, other more substantive changes that workers and allies have been demanding that could help build decent work and decent lives for migrant workers have not been implemented,” the statement further said.
Trump’s true color
Jesson Reyes, Migrante-Ontario Coordinator, said he already senses this as happening driven by a mix of demographic changes, security issues and economic problems being experienced by the working class Americans.
According to Reyes, Trump has now shown his true color as a neo-fascist, ultra right-wing leader belonging to the same class of elite leaders as the previous U.S. administrations.
The attacks on Muslims and Islam are very worrisome especially when the populist Trump’s anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiments are realized by way of his executive orders. This is quite alarming for all the migrants of the world,” Reyes said.
“ Ang immigration ban sa U.S. ay isang taktika ng mga naghaharing uri (Trump) para ilihis ang discontent ng mamayan sa America. Mas lalong tumitindi ang economic crisis ng U.S. bilang isang monopoly capitalist state na patuloy sinu-supress ang wages ng mga mangaggawa. Ganito na rin naman ang pang ekonomiyang kalagayan ng U.S. kahit bago pa naging presidente si Trump
(The U.S. immigration ban is just one of the tactics of the ruling elite class (Trump) to divert the discontent of the American people. The economic crisis in the U.S. has intensified as a monopolist capitalist state that continues to suppress worker’s wages. This has been the economic situation in the States even before Trump became the President), Reyes further commented.
Racism and Islamophobia
The public mood shown during the two recent protests confirms that immigrants and refugees were very much affected by Trump’s ban. In fact, when people were called to join the protest through Dave Meslin’s facebook account, non-Muslims, non-refugees, migrant organizations and community groups came readily to express their outrage.
“When racism is being promoted by those who hold the highest offices of power everyone has responsibility to speak out against it. The recent murders in Quebec remind us of what happens when we don’t speak out against racism. This protest also sends a message that the Muslims, non-Muslims and non-refugees are not alone in this fight, ” said Meslin, who posted the “peaceful non-disruptive protest” on his Facebook event page.
A Syrian immigrant who requested anonimity said he joined the protest march to say “ no to hatred and madness. If we don’t stand for others or for ourselves there’s gonna be one point in time that no one’s gonna stand for us”. He said the protest personally touched him because of the amount of support of people from different backgrounds denouncing Trump’s Muslim ban.
Rights for all Migrants
The protest also opened the floodgates to all the migrants and community advocates to protect their rights and welfare as shown last Saturday’s protest in defense of rights for all migrants.
Elaine Valenzuela, an immigrant from the Philippines, said she came voluntarily and joined the protest march to show her support to the community of immigrants who are affected by the travel ban. She is worried this may be the start of crackdown on immigrants and refugees and they may be in danger of deportation.
“The protest is inspiring because there are issues that I agree with. I’m actually a Filipino… The way that people consider citizenship and the rights to be here-these have always been contested. So I think it’s important for all the people to fight for that. I think now there’s a level of drive and passion because of what’s been happening. And I think people are reacting and being active in that reaction,” Valenzuela said.
Elaine Manlongat who was born in the Philippines and now works as a pharmacist and owns a small business in Canada said she came to protest against the travel ban as it’s a “very empowering experience” seeing different all types of people coming together as Canadians speaking out against racism.
“I think Trump’s Muslim ban definitely highlighted this issue of undocumented migrants. But being an immigrant myself, I feel Canadians as a whole we tend to govern ourselves differently, meaning we embrace other cultures, religions, races, etc. The diversity we have in Canada is what makes us so great. Obviously there will be prejudices out there but generally there’s really no better place than here. You work hard and you reap the benefits. I think most Canadians embrace migrants”, Manlongat said.]]>
NEW JERSEY, NY–More than 50 community members attended a town hall forum last Sunday at the Philippine Community Center in Jersey City, aimed at tackling the impacts of the Trump administration on the Filipino community. The town hall forum was held a couple of days after Donald Trump signed a series of anti-immigrant executive orders.
“The recent executive orders by Trump are an attack on all immigrants. The past few days have further shown the gravity of the threat that all migrant and immigrant communities are facing. It is in that context that we call on the Filipino community to come together, take a stand and link arms with other vulnerable communities to fight against what we believe is a rising fascist state,” said Nick Cordero, chairperson of Migrante New Jersey, a Filipino immigrant workers organization, in his opening remarks to the town hall forum.
President of the Philippine-American New Jersey Jaycees, Maricar Taino, said “It is important because it is when we, as a community with leaders and fellow Filipinos come closer together, unified, informed, engaged, equip and support one another of concerns and issues and committing for a sustainable solutions and development.”
The town hall forum tackled the impacts on health, reproductive rights, public education and immigration.
Atty. Cristina Godinez of the the Migrant Center at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi spoke about Donald Trump’s controversial executive orders.
“The 2 EOs are just the beginning. They are un-American not just because they go against the proud history of the US as a nation of immigrants.
These EOs pose a national security risk because they drive the undocumented deeper into the shadows. Non-citizens who had or will have any encounter with law enforcement -no matter how minor- are at risk. The EO’s language is so broad that this Trump dragnet will potentially capture TNTs, those who are here as tourists, students or temporary workers, and even green card holders – most of whom are peaceful, productive members of our communities,” said Godinez.
Godinez also discussed the possible impact on the Filipino community. “The chilling effect on the Filipino American community will be palpable because among those who will be affected will be someone’s parent, child, spouse, friend or neighbor. We need to prepare and strengthen our local communities now,” Godinez ended.
After the presentations, community members broke out into discussion groups to further air their concerns and to brainstorm concrete actions that the Filipino community can take. The community concluded to work together in protecting and advancing immigrant rights and advocating for the interests of the Filipino community.
Participants then transitioned to a candlelight vigil in solidarity with those affected by the temporary ban on refugees and immigrants from the seven countries covered by Trump’s executive order. Participants held signs saying “No bans! No Walls! Filipinos stand in solidarity with Muslims and refugees” and “End forced migration, no to deportations now!” Participants also delivered speeches.
One of the participants is Ren Clacer, a member of the New Jersey Filipina Women’s Organizing Committee. “It isn’t just Trump’s disgusting treatment of women that alarms us. It is his regime’s continuation and intensification of unjust policies towards immigrants, the poor, people of color, and other marginalized groups – further oppressing people who are victims of US policies in their homelands. When we defend people’s rights, we defend women’s rights. We call Filipinos around the US to unite and organize against rising fascism and attacks on jobs, education, healthcare and other social services,” said Clacer.
Council President Rolando Lavarro also gave a message to the community. “As he did on the campaign, Trump continues to appeal to the worst in us, sowing fear and divisiveness. Trump’s executive orders unfairly target Muslims, and are an affront to Jersey City and our incredibly diverse community. We will resist and fight the hatred bigotry coming out of DC. We will stand with and protect our immigrant family in Jersey City and throughout the nation.”
Anakbayan New Jersey Chairperson, Ruthie Arroyo concluded the vigil with a challenge to the Filipino youth to get involved. “Filipino youth must be critical and play close attention to the Trump administration that is spearheading aggressive cuts to funding and access to education, our healthcare system, all while military spending to wage wars abroad will sharply increase. We must also take the next step as people who are inheriting the future and this worsening global economic crisis to fight for our rights by arousing, organizing, and mobilizing our communities. Join organizations like Anakbayan to defend the rights of Filipinos and all marginalized people.”
The town hall forum and candlelight vigil was organized by Anakbayan New Jersey, Migrante New Jersey, Filipina Women’s Organizing Committee, Philippine American New Jersey Jaycees and the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns.
America’s inauguration of its 45th President sent jitters across the world as to the future of foreign policies, said research group IBON. For the Philippines, whose economy has been influenced largely by the US for many decades, this is an opportune time to rethink its economic policies and its relations not only with the superpower but with other nations that have the same interests in the Philippines as the US, IBON said.
Controversial Republican standard-bearer Donald Trump with campaign motto ‘make America great again’ defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the US November polls. According to IBON, Trump’s inaugural themes such as ‘America first’, ‘buy America, hire America’, and ‘American carnage ends now’, and Trans Pacific Partnership pullout in preference of bilateral deals hint a more aggressive US in terms of engaging with other nations. This, as the US economy remains a struggling one despite recent claims of recovery.
The Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) and PIX FILM is pleased to announce that local filmmaker Leslie Supnet is now in residence as our first filmmaker in the new Studio Immersion Program, supported by the Petman Foundation. The award enables Canadian and International artists to use the studio at PIX FILM and production resources from LIFT in order to make a new artist project. Leslie will use the award to work on a new hybrid super 8 project using analogue and digital animation techniques.
Leslie Supnet is a moving image artist who utilizes animation, found media, and experimental practices on film and video. Her work has shown internationally at film festivals, galleries and microcinemas including TIFF (Short Cuts Canada), International Film Festival Rotterdam, Melbourne International Animation Festival, Experimenta India, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, WNDX, Edge of Frame/Animate Projects, and many others. She has been commissioned by Reel Asian, Pleasure Dome / Art Spin, the 8 Fest Small Gauge Film Festival, Cineworks, and Film Pop! (Pop Montreal). Leslie has an MFA from York University and teaches analog and digital animation at various artist-run centres, not-for-profits and for the Faculty of Art and Continuing Studies at OCAD University.
In March, Leslie will be participating in a public presentation related to her residency. Details will be announced shortly.
The LIFT and PIX FILM Studio Immersion Program is generously supported by the Petman Foundation.
PIX FILM is an independent working studio, micro cinema, event space and gallery. The modular space accommodates diverse needs of individual artists, community arts groups and arts collectives. PIX FILM values digital and film forms of production and exhibition. www.pixfilm.ca
The Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) is Canada’s foremost artist-run production and education organization dedicated to celebrating excellence in the moving image. LIFT exists to provide support and encouragement for independent filmmakers and artists through affordable access to production, post-production and exhibition equipment; professional and creative development; workshops and courses; commissioning and exhibitions; artist-residencies; and a variety of other services. LIFT is supported by its membership, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Arts Foundation, the Government of Ontario and the Toronto Arts Council. www.lift.ca
TORONTO–The 2017 budget is focused on saving money, keeping the city affordable and investing in Toronto residents’ priorities.
On Monday Feb. 6, Mayor John Tory, Councillor Gary Crawford and City staff met with members of the multilingual media for a Toronto 2017 Budget briefing. Media received a technical briefing by City staff on the budget. Mayor Tory made remarks and was available to media at the end of the briefing.
“Every service we provide is important,” said Mayor Tory. “But with this budget, we are making sure every dollar we spend is spent wisely and in the best interest of the people of Toronto. The 2017 budget is about running this government more effectively and efficiently, keeping the city affordable for residents and investing in services that matter for Torontonians like transit and community programs.”
City Council directed all City divisions, agencies and corporations to look carefully at their budgets to see how the City can run government more effectively and efficiently. It produced great insights and tens of millions of dollars in savings and efficiencies.
By finding these savings, the City is keeping Toronto affordable for residents and investing in priorities. Highlights include:
• Keeping property taxes below the rate of inflation
• Spending $80 million more on the TTC to get Toronto moving
• Buying 800 new buses
• Continuing work on the subway extension to York University, SmartTrack, the Scarborough subway extension
• Investing $185 million in the City’s Poverty Reduction Strategy to make Toronto more affordable for low-income residents
• Investing over $55 million in community grants to support recreation and art programs, festivals and special events
The City of Toronto’s Budget Committee began the budget process in December. The budget will be reviewed, debated and approved at City Council on February 15 and 16. More information about the City’s budget and the budget process is available at toronto.ca/budget2017.
GONE ARE the days when introducing oneself to prospective romantic partners required actual physical effort (and mental courage). Today it is so much easier — and convenient — to log on to online dating sites which use algorithms to try and find you a perfect date — or, as Russian cybersecurity and antivirus provider Kaspersky puts it, “the equivalent of a caveman ordering pizza delivery instead of hunting.”
To show the popularity of dating sites, one just has to know that what is arguably the largest online dating company, Match Group Inc. (the company behind the super-popular Tinder and Match.com and 45 other dating brands) posted $316.4 million in revenue for the third quarter of 2016 compared with $269 million in the same quarter of 2015, according to statistics portal, Statista.
But while it might be infinitely easier to strike up a conversation with a stranger while hiding behind a screen, one is still vulnerable to scams. Just consider that cable network MTV created Catfish: The TV Show — now on its fifth season — which revolves around people who get scammed while dating online.