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After losing $7K in a scam, this newcomer to Canada has words of caution and a positive spin –



A London, Ont., woman who handed over thousands of dollars to scammers hopes her story is a cautionary tale that will prevent other newcomers to Canada from being defrauded.

Saifora Ibrahim Paktiss settled in southwestern Ontario with her family in mid-December after she was forced to leave Afghanistan. She’s choosing to focus on the positive reaction of those who rallied to help her family after the scam rather than on the fraudsters who ended up with her $7,000.

“I couldn’t believe that something like this happened in a country like Canada, where we have heard about all the positive and good things,” Paktiss told CBC News. 

“The community showed me love and affection, and they really gave me a hope for a better life. I mentioned this to my kids, that we really have to work hard and we have to be good citizens for this country who really supported us in our hard times.” 

I have given my money to nobody.” ​​​​​– Saifora Ibrahim Paktiss

Paktiss, her husband, three kids and sister-in-law came to Canada after the Taliban took over Afghanistan. They were brought here by the Canadian government because they worked for Canadian non-governmental organizations and feared for their safety, and were staying in a south London hotel while finding a permanent place to live and figuring out their financial situation. 

“Three or four days after opening an account in the bank, a call came and it said that something had been caught on the border, there was a problem, they were calling from the border agency and they had something in my name,” Paktiss said. 

Newcomer education needed

1 day ago

Duration 1:09

Saifora Ibrahim Paktiss says she wants resettlement agencies to educate newcomers about different scams. 1:09

“They said there are 10 to 15 bank accounts in your name, that there are many other illegal transactions made under your name. I told them, ‘I’m not a culprit.’ I was afraid because I really did not want to have a criminal record. I will need to live in Canada, I will need to work, to make a career, so I did not want to start with a bad name. Honestly, I was not even aware about all these scams before.” 

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre said extorting money from people is a common scam, and although newcomers aren’t specifically targeted — scammers use auto-diallers that places thousands of calls at a time and wait for someone to pick up — they are more likely to be susceptible, because they’re not familiar with government policies or the types of scams. 

Money unrecoverable

“They manipulate the caller ID and it does make it very believable,” said Sue Labine, who oversees the call centre that takes reports about fraudsters. 

The fraudsters kept Paktiss on the phone, got her banking information, and had her go to the bank to withdraw money before asking her to go a convenience store to put money into a bitcoin machine. After that, the money becomes unrecoverable, Labine said. 

Paktiss was then asked to go to a store to buy gift cards to make sure her credit cards worked. When the scammers asked her to start confirming her sister-in-law’s banking information, she refused. 

“When I went home, I told my husband that the border agency had called me and he said it was a scam, that I have given my money to nobody.” 

So far in 2022, there have been 14,200 reports of fraud to the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre. More than 3,100 people have fallen victim to scams, totalling about $18 million in lost money, Labine said. 

A helping hand

Paktiss spoke to the Cross Cultural Learners Centre as well as the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, which were helping the family with resettlement. They reported the fraud to the police and tried to get the money back from the convenience store bitcoin machine and the bank, but there was nothing they could do. The family was out more than $7,000. 

When he heard about Paktiss being taken by scammers, Rob Stainton said he knew he had to do something.

Stainton started a GoFundMe for the family, which raised enough money so they could repay a loan for first and last months’ rent.

“He came to the house and noticed that we were sleeping on the floor, on the carpet, and he was so kind,” Paktiss said. “That was a big lesson for me and my family. We saw the love, the care and attention from the Canadian people here.” 

People in Stainton’s circle contributed kitchen items and furniture to get the family set up. 

“Rob hired a truck and collected all the donations and brought them to our house,” Paktiss said. “I was quite discouraged because I didn’t have anything to start my life with, but this was a very open arms welcome. They supported us with their love and affection, and they really gave me hope for a better life.” 

Now, Paktiss is advocating for the Cross Cultural Learners Centre and other settlement agencies to include information about common scams in their information to newcomers, so others don’t get caught up in the same web. 

“There should be practical information and videos as part of your orientation package because I have heard of two or three other newcomers in Toronto and those areas who were also scammed,” she said. “I think newcomers are easy targets because they may not even be aware of such scams.

“People need to know that the government is not contacting or doing anything via phone or via email, or by WhatsApp or text messages. They only do postal mail. I really want to convey this message to all the newcomers and others.” 

Starting a new life

Now in Canada for four months, Paktiss and her family are settling in. Her kids — ages 12, 10 and 5 — are going to school and thriving. Their English is so good, they don’t need extra English-as-a-second-language classes. Her husband has a job, and she has been looking for one, too, though lack of Canadian experience is thwarting her efforts. 

Her new life is different than the 10-hour days she spent working in the Canadian Embassy in Kabul, but Paktiss is hopeful. She’s applied for more than 100 jobs, as well as a PhD program at Western University — she has two master’s degrees — and a diploma program at Fanshawe College. 

“We are living in a good community, my kids are very happy with their studies and with their teachers,” she said. “I do not have any regrets coming to Canada.” 

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UK’s Kendal Nutricare to deliver 2 million cans of baby formula to the US by June



London, United Kingdom (UK)- Will McMahon, the commercial director of Kendal Nutricare, has said the company will deliver 2 million cans of baby formula to the United States (US) by June this year.

Baby formula shortages began to take hold in the US last year amid supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the situation deteriorated in February when Abbott Laboratories, one of the country’s main manufacturers, with a 40 percent market share, recalled some of its products and shut down a manufacturing plant after four babies who had been fed formula made at the facility contracted a rare bacterial infection (Cronobacter sakazakii) with two of them later dying.

“The bigger opportunity here is as a company we have been in touch with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and working with them for over five years with the aim of bringing a product into the US. There is enormous curiosity and demand for Kendamil in the States, so we are hopeful that we will have everything in place with the FDA to be able to continue to supply legitimately well beyond November,” said McMahon.

More so, the US normally produces 98 percent of the infant formula it consumes, with imports mainly coming from Mexico, Ireland and the Netherlands but last week, the White House eased import requirements and announced an effort to transport baby formula from abroad dubbed Operation Fly Formula.

Nevertheless, the FDA said it is doing everything in its power to make sure there is enough baby formula for parents and caregivers who need it adding that it is in discussions with other manufacturers and suppliers about bringing other baby formulas to the US.

“Our recent steps will help further bolster the supply of infant formula, including through the import of safe and nutritious products from overseas based on our increased flexibilities announced last week.

Importantly, we anticipate additional infant formula products may be safely and quickly imported into the US in the near-term based on ongoing discussions with manufacturers and suppliers worldwide,” said FDA Commissioner, Dr. Robert Califf.

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Trudeau cancels appearance at Surrey fundraiser over protest-related safety concerns –



Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cancelled plans to attend a Liberal party fundraising dinner in Surrey on Tuesday evening as a result of safety concerns over a large gathering of protesters outside the event.

Protesters allegedly harassed and hurled racial slurs at attendees and volunteers, many of whom were South Asian, according to Surrey Centre MP Randeep Sarai. 

The fundraiser was being held at Aria banquet hall.

Sarai says that a group of protesters were stationed outside the front gates of the event, eventually growing to around 100 people.

“They just started swearing, yelling, screaming at anyone that was going through,” said Sarai.

“We had a lot of South Asian volunteers… that were harassed, sworn at, called towel head, rag head, you’re all immigrants.”

He says it’s unclear what the group was actually protesting.

Surrey RCMP confirmed in a statement that there were several vehicles and larger trucks towing trailers that were travelling “in a convoy style loop around the roadway.”

“Due to the size and composition of the protest group and for the safety of everyone in attendance, a decision was made that it was not safe for the prime minister to attend the location,” said Cpl. Vanessa Munn.

Trudeau did not enter the building and spoke to a crowd for about three minutes by Zoom instead of making a speech in person. Trudeau said he would return to see his supporters in Surrey in the future.

WATCH | Justin Trudeau talk about the unruly crowd and its impact on free speech:

Trudeau says nobody should be intimidated for supporting a political party

7 hours ago

Duration 1:27

The prime minister comments on protesters yelling racial slurs at an event he was forced to cancel.

Wednesday, at an event in Saskatoon, Trudeau addressed what happened at the fundraiser in Surrey, adding that nobody should be intimidated for supporting a political party.

“The safety of Canadians choosing to make their voices heard in politics should never be in question as it was last night,” he said.

“The fundamental freedoms we have as a country, and we enjoy as Canadians, need to be defended, need to be protected.”

Protesters swore at Prime Minister

Protesters used expletives as they chanted against Trudeau and honked horns outside the convention centre. About half a dozen RCMP officers stood by watching the crowd.

Sarai says the protesters turned the event into a hostile environment.

“This is not reflective of Surrey at all,” he said.

“Surrey is a very diverse city, a very friendly city, a very welcoming city.”

And while he respects the public’s right to protest, he says “you should never spew hate and use the vulgarity that was being used there.”

Protests against party leaders

Earlier this month, police began investigating after a video circulated on social media showed people hurling verbal abuse at NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh during a protest in Peterborough, Ont.

The federal NDP leader had dropped by the campaign office of an Ontario NDP candidate running in the provincial election.

A video shows Singh encountering protesters as he left the campaign office, and they can be heard shouting expletives at him and calling him a “traitor”‘ as he gets inside a vehicle.

Singh later told reporters he found the experience “intense, threatening [and] insulting”‘ but that he is more worried about what it means for politics in general.

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The latest on the French-language Conservative leadership debate in Laval



LAVAL, Que. — Conservative leadership hopefuls are squaring off — in French — in the second official debate of the race, which is being held in Laval, Que.

Here are the latest developments. All times eastern:

8:55 p.m.

Conservative leadership candidates Patrick Brown and Leslyn Lewis took turns attacking rival Pierre Poilievre for his embrace of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin as a solution to inflation.

Lewis, who is often reading from her notes during the French-language debate in Laval, Que., said Poilievre’s position was wrong.

At one point, Brown said Poilievre’s position on Bitcoin was similar to that of the leadership in El Salvador, which adopted Bitcoin as legal tender.

The International Monetary Fund urged the Central American country to drop Bitcoin as its official currency earlier this year, citing its volatility.


8:20 p.m.

Former Quebec premier Jean Charest says Canada must renegotiate the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States.

He says that is how he would deal with “illegal immigration,” such as migrants entering the country through the unofficial border crossing at Roxham Road south of Montreal.

Candidates were asked about immigration as the first question in the debate.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown used the question to say he was trying to build an inclusive party and attacked Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre for not publicly condemning the “white replacement” conspiracy theory espoused by Pat King, a leader of the Ottawa convoy protest.

Poilievre responded by saying he has in fact condemned King’s remarks and that people couldn’t believe anything Brown says.

While answering a question about public safety, Poilievre said the country needs to better deal with guns illegally brought into Canada.

Charest said Poilievre has no businesses talking about law and order when he supported the Ottawa convoy, which he called an illegal blockade.

The room then erupted into a mix of cheers and boos.


8:10 p.m.

Candidates took to the stage and began by outlining one by one what legacy they wanted to leave behind as leaders.

Pierre Poilievre says he wants his legacy to be making Canada the freest country in the world, including by making sure people don’t feel forced to get vaccinated and that young people are able to afford a home.

Patrick Brown says he can win in urban areas, which the party needs, and has what it takes to build a party that can succeed in a general election.

Roman Baber, an Independent member of the Ontario legislature, introduced himself to the crowd.

He says he knows Canada is bilingual and has taken lessons, but still asked those watching to forgive his French.


8:05 p.m.

The Conservative party’s leadership organizing committee announced before the debate began that it will announce the results of the leadership race at a downtown Ottawa convention centre on Sept. 10.

The party’s president, Robert Batherson, says it will be the first time since 2018 that members will gather together at a national event.

The party held a convention in Halifax in 2018.


7:50 p.m.

House music issued from amplifiers as Conservatives of all ages began to take their seats ahead of tonight’s leadership debate.

Several hundred attendees, who were not wearing masks, crowded the ballroom of the Chateau Royal venue north of Montreal, seated between television cameras and the stage.

The six contenders are slated to appear at their podiums at 8 p.m.


7:30 p.m.

Conservative leadership candidates filed in for the race’s only French-language debate, being held at a reception hall north of Montreal.

The suburban venue in Laval, Que., saw scores of federal Tories and onlookers mingling in the foyer before the six contenders take the stage.

Former Quebec premier Jean Charest greeted a handful of supporters with kisses, while Ontario MP Scott Aitchison chatted with party members amid sign-up booths for each candidate.

Bookending the stage beneath ballroom chandeliers were a bank of speakers and 14 flags — six with the Fleur-de-lis, eight with the Maple Leaf.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2022


The Canadian Press

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