Richmond, B.C. politicians push Ottawa to address birth tourism and stop ‘passport mill’

CTV News

One in four births taking place at Richmond Hospital involve an international mother, according to new statistics.

So-called “birth tourism” is a controversial phenomenon in which expectant mothers from other countries come to Canada for the purpose of accessing a Canadian passport for their newborn babies and skipping the standard immigration processes.

“It’s perceived as an abuse of birthright citizenship,” said Andrew Griffith, a former director of Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada who is currently a fellow at the Environics Institute. …

Politicians from all three levels of government in Richmond have been pushing Ottawa to do more to stop the practice.

“We just feel that that is not fair, it really degrades the citizenship that we all enjoy,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie.

He said the municipal government has been advocating that birth tourism be addressed, but those requests seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

“We can insist that those practices that are operating a business to house the birth tourists have a business licence. There’s not all that much more that we can do, other than keep highlighting the problem,” Brodie said. …

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City of Richmond receives $6.2 million grant to help reduce greenhouse gas

Richmond News

The City of Richmond received a grant of $6.2 million to help speed up their Oval Village District Energy Utility (OVDEU) project that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city. …

“This project will help move the city closure to its objectives of providing low carbon energy for residents while further reducing greenhouse gas emissions from developments in Richmond’s city centre area,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie.

“This funding, through the CleanBC Communities Fund, recognizes the innovation and commitment we have made to improving our environment and making Richmond a sustainable and environmentally conscious city.” …

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Douglas Todd: ‘Birth tourism’ jumps 22 per cent in B.C.

Peace River Record Gazette

The number of women coming to Canada to give birth, which automatically bestows citizenship on the baby, is expanding much faster in British Columbia than the rest of the country.

Richmond Hospital is the centre of the trend, often called “birth tourism.” New data released this week shows one out of four births in the past year at the hospital in the Vancouver suburb, which features many illicit “birth hotels” advertising their services in Asia, were to foreign nationals. …

Birth tourism has recently been strongly condemned by Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, Liberal MLA Jas Johal (Richmond-Queensborough), former Liberal MP Joe Peschisolido (Richmond East), the head of Doctors of B.C. and others. …

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Richmond mayor credits proactive Chinese population for keeping COVID-19 cases down

CTV News

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie says early adoption of measures like wearing masks and staying physically distant helped keep the COVID-19 caseload relatively low in his city.

New data released by the province shows Richmond has the lowest number of cases, per capita, in all of Metro Vancouver.

Brodie says he noticed people in Richmond changing their behavior as early as January, around Chinese New Year.

“By that time, which was far earlier than the major alarm and the shut down, probably two months before, the crowds at events were noticeably smaller,” Brodie said. “I believe that a big part of it was the fact that we have a very large Chinese population in the City of Richmond, that they were aware of what was happening in the infected areas of China and that they knew the dangers that were being faced.” …

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Letters: Kudos to Richmond council for McCallan Park

Richmond News

Often we find it easier to criticize our elected officials than commending them for some of the sound decisions they make. Take, for example, the McCallan Park/Railway Greenway tucked between Westminster Highway and Granville Avenue.

During the past couple of years, the city has done an excellent job in making improvements to this much-used park. Not long ago, the playground equipment was in bad shape and had become a safety hazard. I brought this to Mayor Malcolm Brodie’s attention. Immediately, the old play equipment was removed and replaced with a brand new one. Now, a large number of children in this neighbourhood enjoy themselves while playing there. A number of park benches placed in the area enable parents and grandparents to enjoy the fresh air and greenery while watching children play. …

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Richmond Maritime Festival sets sail for online celebration

Richmond News

The annual Richmond Maritime Festival is returning with its week-long celebrations, except this year all the events will be online because of COVID-19 restrictions.

The Richmond Maritime Festival has been showcasing the cultural and maritime heritage of Steveston for 17 years. …

“As with every year, we look forward to celebrating Richmond’s strong maritime heritage,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie.

“And though normally we would gather at Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site, we look forward to gathering in a different way and enjoying incredible performances and the spirit of the Richmond Maritime Festival from our own homes.” …

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Richmond makes call for advisory committee volunteers

Richmond News

Various positions in Richmond’s advisory committees are now accepting applications and Richmond residents are encouraged to volunteer for them.

There are more than 90 positions in the advisory committees are accepting applications. …

According to Mayor Malcolm Brodie, the committees are an “important aspect” of the local government.

“The expertise and insights shared from the members on these committees directly help establish strategy and decisions that impact current and future residents,” said Brodie.

“With over 20 committees, there is sur to be one that falls in the area of our many residents’ interest – from intercultural harmony, childcare, seniors, the environment, arts, agriculture and the economy.” …

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Richmond RCMP and City join forces to combat hate, racism

Richmond News

There’s no place for hate in Richmond.

That’s the message being shared through a joint initiative launched Wednesday by Richmond RCMP and the City of Richmond, aimed at reaching out to the community to combat racism and hate-motivated incidents.

Starting this week, anti-hate posters will be distributed throughout Richmond, according to a press release issued by RCMP. The posters will urge people to reach out police if they experience or witness any hateful behaviour. …

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie also condemned any racist or hateful behaviour in the city.

“The public can be certain the City of Richmond does not, and never will, tolerate hateful behaviour,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie, in a statement.

“Such attitudes and actions do not reflect the community’s celebration of our rich history of culture and diversity. Council supports the RCMP’s focus on building public awareness to call for help if they experience any hateful behaviour.” …

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Metro Vancouver to invest over $1 billion to secure region’s water supply for next century

CBC News

The Metro Vancouver region uses almost 400 billion litres of water per year. By 2120, as the population grows, demand on the region’s three watersheds is expected to increase to more than 600 billion litres per year.

To ensure there’s enough water — and the capacity to support that demand — Metro Vancouver is investing more than $1 billion to increase access to the region’s largest water reservoir, Coquitlam Lake. …

“Once operational, this major infrastructure project will help meet the region’s water needs well into the next half-century while increasing our system’s resilience to climate change,” said Malcolm Brodie, chair of Metro Vancouver’s water committee. …

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Richmond library centre upgrades reduce GHGs six-fold

Richmond News

It will cost $1.5 million more than originally budgeted to replace the heating and cooling system in the Library Cultural Centre, but this is estimated to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions almost six-fold.

The total project will cost $3.5 million while the original plan was to spend about $2 million replacing the system that city staff say is on its last legs. …

City staff had recommended the less expensive system, just over $1 million, which would have reduced GHG emissions by 10 per cent – the option chosen by council will reduce emissions by 60 per cent but, in addition to costing $3.5 million, it will require $53,500 per year in maintenance costs.

The staff recommendation was based on the cost impact to taxpayers, especially given that “revenues are uncertain due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a report to council.

While he supported the more expensive system, Mayor Malcolm Brodie pointed out it’s hard to look at one project in isolation. He added city staff noted the money could be better spent on other projects to reduce GHG even further, for example, at a new Steveston Community Centre.

“We get a better environmental bang for our buck in other ways,” Brodie said. …

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