April 19, 2024


Leaders of Alberta’s Filipino and Muslim communities have their sights set on the provincial government in 2024 due to holdover issues from last year.

Rural Filipinos would like to see the project of developing a curriculum dedicated to their ethnicity restarted. The UCP halted the project after the party formed the government in April 2019.

The previous NDP government announced the cultural and language curriculum in early 2019, saying the program for students in kindergarten to Grade 12 would be rolled out in participating schools beginning in the 2020-21 year.

Meanwhile, many Muslims in Alberta want the province to deliver on a UCP election promise to reduce barriers to borrowing by creating halal financing options. Halal loans link the money earned by the lender to the profits or losses of the investments they have made. Interest charges are not allowed in the normal sense.

The curriculum is called ‘critical work’

Filipino curriculum development for Alberta schools is “critical work” that the government should resume, Irfan Sabir told his elected colleagues during question period on Dec. 4.

Sabir, deputy opposition House leader, said Alberta is home to the second-largest Filipino community in Canada and its people deserve more government attention.

Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides, who represents Calgary-Bow, would not commit to bringing the curriculum back. But he said he was willing to meet with members of the Filipino community to talk about it.

Nicolaides said the government is in the process of updating Alberta’s curriculum.

“Certainly, with that redevelopment and redesign there are unique opportunities to make sure that we are improving the curriculum we are delivering to our children,” he said.

About a week earlier, Sabir had addressed a conference of rural Alberta Filipinos in Calgary. Attendees at the Nov. 26 and 27 gathering talked about the lost curriculum project, Sabir said, and also expressed concerns about the conditions of health-care workers and the future of Canada Pension Plan benefits.

Sabir, representative of Calgary-Bhullar-McCall, said members of the Filipino community “work tirelessly every day as nurses in our hospitals and clinics and in other vital jobs.”

“Like every worker in health care for the past four years, they are exhausted, overwhelmed and understaffed, and there seems to be no end in sight to the chaos the UCP government has created in our health care system.”

Health Minister Adriana LaGrange, Red Deer-North, said the government has signed a memorandum of understanding to bring more nurses from the Philippines to work in Alberta.

“We’re concerned about every health care worker out there,” he said. “That’s why Alberta is refocusing on a health-care system that has “failed too many of our health-care workers.”

The previous UCP government under then Prime Minister Jason Kenney announced a memorandum of understanding with the Philippines in October 2022. Under the MOU, the province said it will provide financial, licensing and educational assistance to smooth the transition of Filipino nurses to Alberta. Workforce.

The Government of Alberta is awaiting information from the Office of the Chief Actuary of Canada on the possible creation of the Alberta Pension Plan. Finance Minister Nate Horner said the message to all communities is the same, adding there are “ongoing, active conversations” about “an certainly complex scenario.”

Drumheller-Statler representative Horner said: “If information changes, our conversations with Albertans will change, too, but I think it’s important that everyone has the latest information about the potential and promise it holds for the province, Alberta families and Alberta businesses. And if that changes, the style of engagement will change too, but right now we’re just having conversations in the most honest way possible.

According to StatsCan, the number of Filipinos in Alberta was 203,960 in 2021. This is more than 21 percent of all people of Filipino descent in Canada.

Nearly four out of five Canadians are immigrants of Filipino descent.

In 2021, about 2.5 percent of the population of Alberta reported Tagalog as their first language. A standardized form of Tagalog is the national language of the Philippines, but the country also counts English as an official language.

‘Systemic barriers’ to financing persist

Sharif Haji of Edmonton-Decor told the legislature on Dec. 4 that the lack of halal financing options in Alberta means many Muslims face “systemic barriers” when seeking a mortgage.

Muslims have been asking for halal financing for years and Premier Danielle Smith has committed the province to introducing it, the NDP member said during question period.

Finance Minister Nate Horner said a task force is working with lenders to “build this product,” but he could not say when it would be completed.

“It’s obviously complicated. If we can speed it up, we will, but I think it’s important that you get it right before you consider bringing it forward into legislation, so we are trying to do that.

He said there are complexities in what different sections of the Muslim community want. The government is working with various Muslim groups “to make sure we have something that works for everyone.”

Statistics Canada reported the number of Muslim Albertans at 202,535 in 2021, a more than six-fold increase over three decades. Muslims constituted 4.8 percent of the provincial population in 2021, compared to 1.2 percent in 1993.

In 2021, about 48 percent of Alberta’s population was Christian. After Islam, the next largest groups by religion are Sikhism at 2.5 percent, Hinduism at 1.9 percent, Buddhism at 1.0 percent, Traditional Indigenous Spirituality at 0.5 percent, and Judaism at 0.3 percent. ,

The current session of the Alberta Legislative Assembly will reconvene on Feb. 28.

Source: www.bing.com

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