January 2016: Letter from the Editor

Godwin Ifedi Editor

Godwin Ifedi

Hello folks

Happy New Year and compliments of the festive season! It’s hard to believe but 2015 is already over and we are now in a new year, amazing how time flies. The big story for 2015 was of course the election of the young and charismatic Justin Trudeau as Canada’s Prime Minister. But the enduring news of the past year has been the plight of refugees fleeing wars in Syria, Iraq and other sundry places, often risking their lives as they sought safety in foreign lands.

Our January edition offers plenty on the migrant and refugee crisis, starting with the earnest plea by Dr. Nangwana, for Canada to consider the plight of thousands of African refugees languishing in camps in Kenya, Ethiopia and countries as far afield as Europe. He makes a compelling argument that their needs are just as urgent as those of Syrian refugees, who rightly or wrongly, are currently getting the lion’s share of global attention. Youth Editor Kika Otiono offers a welcome mat to Syrian children, youth and their families as they face their first winter in their newly adopted home in Canada. We also reprise a story from the National Post about the 26,000 other refugees who arrive in this country each year without the fanfare that has greeted the Syrian newcomers. We also feature the launch of a book by immigrant women in Ottawa, with testimonials of their challenges and successes in their newly adopted country. Still on immigration, we report on OCISO’s Connector Program which assists new migrants in search of employment. Somali-born Youth Outreach Worker, Mohamed Islam is the subject of our Interview as he shares his account of arriving in Canada as a child refugee and his journey since that fateful day in the nineties. And finally in Diaspora News, we report on the illegal migrant who made good in Nigeria after voluntarily leaving Britain, where he had fled to in search of greener pastures.

Our Top Story features the newly elected three African Canadian Members of Parliament appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries by Prime Minister Trudeau. One may question if this move was to make up for the omission of Blacks in the new federal government cabinet, but either way, it is a good sign of recognition of the fact that we make up an important and significant portion of Canada’s diverse population.

Late global icon Nelson Mandela gets special mention in our report of the announcement by the Government of Canada of 20 inaugural scholarships to deserving students in his honour. Other stories worth reading is the prayer vigil by the River Jordan Ministries in honour of HIV/AIDS survivors, victims and their families. We also feature the launch of the new children’s book by our own Nessa Sherwood; the award of Canada’s female soccer player of the year to teenager Kadeisha Buchannan and the award of the Giller Book prize to Andre Alexis, whose father Horace is a long-time resident of Ottawa.

All this and more in the January 2016 edition. And don’t forget to take part in the survey on whether you have any fears for our security in regard to the new refugee arrivals. Meantime, here is the result of the December 2015 survey:
Are you surprised and disappointed that no African Canadians were included in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet?
Yes: 58%
No: 42%


Godwin Ifedi


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