Fighting for a new fair and equal deal with the federal government for newcomers – Sousa


By William Doyle-Marshall


Charles Sousa Ontario’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration said the ethnic media provides his a sense of what is important to their respective communities. Speaking to members of the National Ethnic Press and Media Council at their December meeting, the minister said they are very important for him to have a sense of what’s going on.

   “You have the pulse, you are there all the time reporting and capturing the activities in the respective communities out there,” he emphasized. Sousa has come to appreciate and learn so much more even in the Portuguese community for example because of the ethnic media activities and outlay.

   The assembly of journalists, editors and broadcasters heard from the minister that they have very much captured the essence of things that are important locally. “The multilingual press, the media, you are very much the window to millions of Ontarians. So much of what I see is happening because of the work that you do. You are respected, you are trusted in your communities and you become such a vital bridge to new comers,” Sousa said.

 While the broad scope of issues are sometimes well known, Sousa observed that he is satisfied with the coverage of “those more intimate issues that are important for folks like me who want to do my job that much better.”

   He confessed that being at the meeting of the NEPMCC had a two-fold purpose. He was there for their benefit and his own. Sousa said their questions will help him better understand some of the communities’ issues.

   The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration said he is excited to having his present portfolio following a lot of experience in the financial area.”Now in my new role in citizenship and immigration as well as the Pan Am Games its giving me a bit of exposure to things that are more diverse,” Sousa continued.

   “Going forward this position allows me to work with folks like you to effect some change in the province and there are a number of issues that we need to address.  Immigrant issues affect him personally, being the son of an immigrant.

  “My father came to Canada to Pier 21 in 1953. I grew up just a few blocks away in Kensington Market. He (his father) had a saying even then when he came over. He fled a fascist regime in post-war Europe to come to Canada and he said then when he was starting off there is room for everyone; there is room for everyone to live to work, to compete and more importantly to help each other.”

   The minister said he always finds himself fighting for improvement and he got into politics because I want to effect some change. That has driven him over the years to take a stand at times against his federal counterparts especially when it comes to settlement funding and the unreasonable cuts experienced over the last two years.

   Emphasizing that Ontario is the engine to Canada and our engine to growth, Sousa said this province welcomes the most immigrants than any other province or territory. “For that reason we deserve the same level of success and the same level of fairness as some of the other parts of the country have,” Sousa emphasized.

  “I feel strongly that we as a province have a responsibility and duty to support our new comers and I made it very clear to the federal government that Ontario deserves a better share; not at the expense of other jurisdictions or provinces but because we know that Ontario has the most migration of immigrants than any other provinces combine,” Sousa concluded.