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FROM THE PUBLISHER Happy 150th Birthday, Canada! The Canada 150 celebrations are a great time to reflect on how important diversity and multiculturalism is for Canada, as we look back at where we have come from, and where we are going to go as a country. AAJ Magazine is honoured to be a part of this. We’re so proud to say that our Canada 150 commemorative issue is our first national issue. AAJ Magazine is a platform for South Asians and all cultures all across Canada to share their stories with the world. Inside this
issue you’ll find stories that unite us as a country and advocate for an even better future. We’re looking forward to our one-of-a-kind bus tour across Canada to celebrate Canada’s beauty and diversity in both the people and the landscape, as well as Canada 150’s Canada Day. Be sure to join us on our trip by keeping up with us on social media with the hashtag #AAJ150Tour.
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THE TEAM Publishers Suki Pangalia Goldy Pataria Steve Sandhu
AAJ Magazine is published by AAJ Media Group, doing business as AAJ Magazine Inc. AAJ is a magazine that is published every two months. Any reproduction of the magazine, editorial content, images or advertisements cannot be reproduced or reprinted in any form, without written permission of the Publishers. The views expressed by the writers in this publication are not the views of the Publishers or AAJ Media Group. The Publishers assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Copyright 2017 AAJ Magazine Incorporated. All rights reserved. 6
Administration Reshma Mohammed Executive Assistant
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Editors Navkiran Brar Matt WIlliams Investigative Journalist Salim Jiwa Medical Editors Dr. Paramjit Bhui Dr. Raj Bhui Dr. Dennis Bhui
Editorial Paarull Bakshi Zakiyah Shafique Neelam Gandevia Ferzana Jamani Sharon Dhaliwal Pooja Patel Imtiaz Popat Navkiran Brar Nalini Bhui Ricky Kej Ken Herar Dr. Paramjit Bhui Peter Hall Chris Gardner Barbara Bell Olson Jai Birdi Aman Gill Anna Jorgensen Narges Nirumvala Karin Rai Pete Poovanna Mandy Sanghera
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Photography Thinqx Creative Mark Lewis Silvester Law Pink Star Photography Shahzad Shah Aziz Ladha Images Credits 123RF Pixabay istockphoto Thank You! Harpaul Lehry Dr Suman Kollipara Tennis BC Tohmm Cobban Bilal Cheema The Bhui Family Jordan Bateman And all of our volunteers!
Cycling For Diversity
ISSUE 150 Amazing Things to Do Across Canada 10 Carla Qualtrough: Sport, Disability & Canada 150 18 Colourism 22 Remembering the History of Immigration in Canada 26 Bilal Cheema: A Cultural Ambassador 30 Sangeet in Nature 34 Dear Prime Minister Lest We Forget 36 Sunny Singh 40 Cycling for Diversity 42 A Proud Canadian: Perminder Chohan 46 Aren't You a Terrorist? 48 Aga Khan Celebrates Diamond Jubilee 52 CANADA 150, a Bhui’s Eye View 54 India's Golden Moment 56 Canada’s Prosperity Depends on Saying Yes, Not No 60 How are you Going to Get Vacant Posession? 64 Anmol "The Priceless" 68 The Voices of Muslim Women 72 Alcohol …It’s Everywhere 76 Secret Radical Hustling Tip Attracts Babes 80 2017 Leith Wheeler Stanley Park Open 84 5 Quick Tips To Speaking With Confidence 88 Why Parents Need To Take Time For Their Mental Health? 92 How To Get Your Home Ready for Home staging 96 South Asian Bridal Expo in Edmonton 98 India’s Solar Rush! 100 Not Yet For The Dress 104 Community Events 108
Aren't You a Terrorist
5 Quick Tips to Speaking
150 Amazing Things
10 88 South Asian Bridal Expo
98 18 Carla Qualtrough: Sport, Disability & Canada 150
Not Yet For The Dress
Canada is an amazing country, but unfortunately, due to human nature and the fast paced lifestyles we live, many of us take the beauty of the place we live in for granted. Most of us have probably seen the typical landmarks or tourist hotspots of Canada – the national features that we hear about the most. But what about the “hidden gems” of the country? To celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday, AAJ Magazine has carefully compiled a list of 150 typical and atypical things to do, see and explore across Canada. We’ll start with 25 activities in British Columbia, 5 in Yukon, 15 in Alberta, and 5 in the Northwest Territories. We’ll share 50 more in our next two issues. Become a tourist in your own country! Save this list and check off the activities as you complete them! Share your experiences with us or send us more ideas via #AAJ150Tour.
AMAZING TO THINGS DO ACROSS CANADA
BRITISH COLUMBIA 1. Bike the Stanley Park Seawall This tops the list and is an absolute must! Rent a bike from a shop nearby; if you have more time on your hands, walk the wall instead. This is the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path, and is our absolute favourite thing to do in Vancouver. 2. Take a drive up the Sea to Sky Highway Also known as Highway 99, this breathtaking route begins in West Vancouver, through Squamish and all the way up to Whistler and beyond. Make sure to stop at the designated viewpoints and hotspots such as Shannon Falls. 3. Relax at Cultus Lake This lake is perfect for a day trip to get away from the craziness of day to day city life. Located near Chilliwack, it’s not too far away from all the major cities of the Lower Mainland. 4. Re-energize at Sparkling Hill Resort A google search of “things to do in BC” won’t lead you to this gem,
but visiting Sparkling Hill Resort in Vernon, BC is a must. The resort itself is beautiful, but the views and surrounding areas are equally as amazing. 5. Visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge This treetop bridge offers beautiful views of the forest below. During Christmas, lights are added for a seasonal effect! 6. Explore the Othello Tunnels near Hope These old train tunnels and bridges pass over the Coquihalla River. 7. Conquer the Grouse Grind Challenge yourself to hike up a 2.9 km vertical trail, known as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster.” 8. Check out Whistler Whistler is awesome both in the winter and summer. In the winter, it’s known for snowboarding, skiing and more. In the summer, it’s fun to explore the village and enjoy some epic views via the gondolas.
9. Treat yourself at the Scandinave Spa If you have extended health benefits through your employer, you may be able to score a “free” treat – a massage from a Registered Massage Therapist. Make sure to book way in advance! 10. Play volleyball at Kitsilano Beach You may need to bring your own net, unless you’re able to join a group that is already playing.
13. Hike the Chief This hike is well worth the trouble – you can choose to complete all three peaks of the Stawamus Chief Mountain, or do a shorter trip to the South Peak. Either way, you will be rewarded with a spectacular view of mountains, Howe Sound and Garibaldi Provincial Park. 14. Hike to Garibaldi Lake This hike is challenging and one of the lesser known and less popular hikes in the Lower Mainland. However, if you complete it, you won’t regret it. Known to take six to ten hours to complete, the hike ends at Garibaldi Lake (a scenic glacial lake located south of Whistler). 15. Drive towards Kelowna through Penticton, Summerland, and Peachland
11. Bar-hop through Granville Street or Yaletown This is always a good time! Make sure to end the night with Canada’s favourite – poutine! 12. W a l k t h e L y n n C a n y o n Suspension Bridge This British Columbia Hotspot is often forgotten due to the popularity of it’s commercialized relative, the Capilano Suspension Bridge. While trekking across the Capilano Suspension Bridge involves admission fees, the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is free for all visitors. 12
This drive is super cute as it takes you through the heart of the Okanagan, a region known for its fruit orchards and wineries. 16. Check out British Columbia’s Wineries You can find some in the Fraser Valley but our favourite is Desert Hills Winery in Osoyoos! 17. F e a s t a n d d r i n k a t T h e Boathouse Restaurant …Or Cactus Club! If you don’t eat here, did you even go to B.C.? These two franchises have found the best spots in the Lower Mainland to eat amidst the west coasts’ beauty.
18. Visit Harrison Hot Springs Enjoy the beauty nature has to offer, or visit the lakeside resort that offers a spa, tennis courts and fine dining. 19. Cliffwalk at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park This is one of the newer activities available at the park, and offers a journey to previously unexplored areas. It involves trekking through cliffside walkways that jut out from the mountain above the Capilano River.
To name a few: The Spa at Painted Boat Resort (Sunshine Coast), Grotto Spa (Parksville), Halcyon Hot Springs (Nakusp), and Sante Spa (Victoria). 24. Go River Tubing This is one of the most relaxing and scenic ways to experience nature, especially in Beautiful British Columbia. Choose from a number of rivers, including: Shuswap River, Okanagan River
20. Sky Climb at SkyTrek Adventure Park Climb trees for a special view of nature in Revelstoke! 21. Explore the Enchanted Forest Also in Revelstoke, this man-made artistic dreamland is a perfect place to spend the day with young ones. 22. Go Whale Watching A number of companies provide whale watching opportunities from May through October. It’s an experience you’ll never forget! 23. Treat yourself to a Spa Day …or three! There are a number of hidden spas across British Columbia and they offer super affordable packages.
Channel, Kettle River, Cowichan River, Granby River, Davidson’s Pool, Similkameen River, Slocan River, Thompson River, Capilano River, Goat River, Puntledge River, and The Nechako River . 25. Visit Craigdorroch Castle I bet many locals haven’t e ve n e x p l o r e d t h i s Vi c t o r i a n masterpiece! It’s a forgotten work of art found in Victoria, BC.
YUKON TERRITORY 26. Relax at the Takhini Hot Springs These are natural hotsprings located just outside the border of Whitehorse. 27. Explore the Miles Canyon Basalts This is a terrain in Whitehorse that involves a package of extremely old volcanic rocks. 28. Take a look at Mount Logan Mount Logan is the highest peak in Canada, and the second highest in North America.
29. Explore Glacier Bay National Park The best way to explore this remote but breathtaking park would be to arrange for a tour. Go to www.visitglacierbay.com for more information 30. Visit Sign Post Forest This collection of signs at Watson Lake has been attracting visitors (and sign-bearers) from across the globe. There are over 77,000 signs in the forest today.
ALBERTA 31. Explore the town of Banff Banff is a resort town that has mountain peaks dominating its’ skyline. It is surrounded by Banff National Park, which is home to a variety of wildlife including grizzly bears and elk. 32. Visit Lake Minnewanka Located 5 km northeast of the town of Banff, this glacial lake is a hidden beauty that is often overridden by the hype around another lake nearby - Lake Louise. Simply driving up to this lake and talking a walk along its shores is breathtaking! You may even be lucky enough to spot deer or bighorn sheep like we recently did. 33. Visit Lake Louise – once in the winter and once in the summer Lake Louise is a glacier-fed lake surrounded by mesmerizing mountain peaks. If you can, try to make a stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, which overlooks this
natural masterpiece. In the summer, the lake is a clear blue colour. In the winter, ice on the lake gives an added effect. 34. Visit Moraine Lake This additional glacier-fed lake is one of the most photographed lakes in the world. 35. Relax in the Banff Upper Hot Springs The Banff Upper Hot Springs are Canada’s highest thermal mineral springs and provide panoramic views of The Rockies. 36. Take a Via Ferrata Tour The Via Ferrata on Mount Norquay allows you to scale a mountain without mountaineering experience, with a certified guide leading the way. There are various packages available, depending on the type of challenge you are looking for. The most comprehensive package is the Summiteer, which includes a trek across a suspension bridge, and a aajmag.ca
lunch on the mountain at Cliffhouse Bistro.
40. Go on a Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tour
37. Take a Helicopter Tour
Lead by qualified instructors and a group of well-trained huskies, this is a once in a lifetime experience through the Canadian Rockies.
Take in breathtaking aerial views of the Rocky Mountains via helicopter! 38. Go on a Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure Tour the Rockies and Athabasca Glacier, learn how glaciers are formed, and see other amazing geological features in an Ice Explorer.
41. Visit Dinosaur Provincial Park This park is known for being one of the richest dinosaur fossil locales in the world and became a World Heritage Site in 1979. 42. Visit Drumheller Also known as Dinosaur Valley, this town boasts the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology – a museum that showcases Canada’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils. 43. Check out the Athabasca Falls These powerful waterfalls are located just south of the Jasper townsite. 44. Make a trip to see Maligne Canyon
39. Experience the Glacier Skywalk in Jasper This is a glass-floored cliff-edge walkway overlooking the Sunwapta Valley. The 1 kilometre walk showcases giant glaciers, waterfalls, wildlife, fossils and more.
Located near Jasper National Park, the Maligne Canyon has eroded out of the Palliser Formation and is over 50 metres deep (one of the deepest river canyons found in the Canadian Rockies). To get the best view, gain access via fifth bridge. 45. Shop at West Edmonton Mall Known to be the world’s largest mall until 2004, it is now the largest mall in North America.
NORTHWEST TERRITORY 46. Explore Nahanni National Park Reserve
49. Attend the Snowkingâ€™s Winter Festival
Various different landforms in the park give way to a diversity not seen in any other national park in Canada.
A winter wonderland consisting of snow sculptures, created on Yellowknife Bay over the course of 2 months, takes place in March every year.
47. Take in the Northern Lights at Great Slave Lake The deepest lake in North America is the perfect place to witness the beauty of the Aurora Borealis from mid-December to midApril.
50. Visit Wood Buffalo National Park An abundance of campsites and trails, and wild bison, are featured in the largest national park in Canada.
48. Hunt, Fish or Camp at Great Bear Lake This is the largest lake located entirely in Canada, and the eighth largest lake in the world.
NAVKIRAN BRAR, Editor of AAJ Magazine, is a well rounded professional, with a passion for writing, academics and entrepreneurship. aajmag.ca
SPORT, DISABILITY & CANADA 150 This article has been optimized for people with visual impairments. 18
As I enter the room, Minister Carla Qualtrough greets me warmly. We shake hands, and I sit down next to the Federal Minister for Sport and Persons with Disabilities, who also represents Delta in the House of Commons. Although these two government ministries may seem like they have nothing in common, the minister embodies both of these ministries perfectly. “If you know me, you know that [my portfolio] is a pretty good fit, because I come from a background in sport, and I have a disability. …The Prime Minister managed to take my two passions, sport and disability, and made a cabinet position for me.” Minister Qualtrough’s disability is known as an invisible disability, which is a type of disability that is not immediately visible such as visual or auditory disabilities. “I’m legally blind, so if you saw me in the bright sunlight or trying to read something, then you could probably tell. But a lot of times when people meet me they don't understand that I really can’t see very well. What having a disability exposed me to was how people can make assumptions about what you can and cannot do, just because you have a certain personal characteristic. …And those are false assumptions.” Growing up with a disability taught the Minister how to advocate for herself and for her needs, as well as not letting anyone tell her she could or could not do something. She took her passion for advocacy with her to law school, where
she became a human rights lawyer and has been advocating for issues related to disability ever since. Minister Qualtrough is currently working on creating new accessibility legislation - a bill of rights for people with disabilities, which aims to proactively help people with disabilities gain access to employment services, transportation, and much more. It aims to remove the barriers for people with disabilities in broad ways across Canada that none of Canada’s legislation has done previously. “It’s going to be very cutting edge, we’ve never had a law like this before in Canada. We have good human rights law, but you have to wait until someone is discriminated against before you can help them. … [This new legislation] is going to be very, very good for all of Canada. It is going to have a big impact.”
The Prime Minister managed to take my two passions, sport and disability, and made a cabinet position for me.”
Minister Carla Qualtrough is also passionate about sports - she swam in the paralympic games in 1988 and 1992 and is an enthusiastic advocate to support sports in Canada in all forms. The Minister has also been tasked to increase the overall sports participation among all Canadians. “We know that participating in sport is good for your health and social well being. It combats things like social isolation and exclusion. It’s also a really powerful tool to address broader public policy objectives. …[Such as] using sport for reconciliation, using sport to address youth at risk, or to address diabetes or teen obesity. There’s so many things we can use sport to do. And we’re just starting to think of sport not just as an aajmag.ca
ends, but a means.” On a personal level, Minister Qualtrough is also a mother and works hard to support not only Delta and all of Canada, but also her four children, all at various ages and stages of their lives. She says her kids serve as her reminder of who will inherit whatever she does at work. “Managing [to juggle work and family] ...It’s an accomplishment,” she chuckles, “But I have a very strong support network …[and] they’re exposed to so many unique things. ...Of the 30 of us at cabinet, there are 30 kids under the age of sixteen. That’s a pretty big deal. There’s nothing more humbling when you think you’re helping to run a country when you have to go home and potty train!” The Minister is quick to find the humour in her world, but on a more serious note she adds some heartfelt advice, “Be bold. Don’t be afraid to take the path less taken. Some of the best things that have ever happened to me in my life are when I made decisions that make people go, ‘why is she doing that’, but it’s taking me down this incredible journey. As an athlete, you learn there is no substitute for hard work. The advice I would give to people is be bold and dream big, but just be prepared to roll up your sleeves and do the hard work.” And the Minister certainly works hard - she takes pride in her various achievements and the hard work she has done behind the scenes, such as being involved in a national consultation which visited 19 different 20
cities to ask thousands of Canadians what an accessible Canada looked like to them, and what they would fix. She also was a part of a national youth forum where 110 youth with disabilities from across the country sat down with the Prime Minster of Canada, Justin Trudeau, to talk about the barriers they face as young people. “It’s been awesome. It’s been a fantastic journey.” She beams. Minister Qualtrough's journey is far from over – Canada's 150th anniversary celebrations have begun, but there's even more in store: “In 2017, Canada is officially 150 years old, and we just think it’s time to look back and celebrate what makes Canada so great.” She says to look out for all the various celebrations taking place in communities across the country, as they will all be Canada 150 themed with lots more exciting announcements in the pipeline throughout the year for both signature Canada 150 events that are national in scope, and their legacy, as well as unique community events funded specifically for those places in Canada. With every government of Canada department getting involved, there’s something out there for everyone. Not only are there going to be celebrations and community and legacy initiatives across the country, but each of the different departments of the Government of Canada are also finding meaningful ways to get involved with Canada 150 too. For Canada 150 as the Minister of Sport, Minister Qualtrough and all of Canada voted for a list of 150
truly Canadian activities. That list of activities is now the ParticipACTION 150 Play List and involves activities from curling, water polo, hockey, canoeing, and snowball fights, to fruit picking, the polar bear dip, washing your car, and even raking the leaves and dog sledding. Although there is indeed a contest with prizes for people to win if they complete the entire 150 activities, the Minister publicly announced that she would work her way through the Play List and try all 150 activities. “It’s pretty fun,” she smiles, “I did a bunch last week. We did kayaking, surfing, tennis, and hockey.” On the flip side of things, as the Minister for Persons with Disabilities, Minister Qualtrough is working with Rick Hansen on his Access For All initiative, which is a national school
program that raises awareness about accessibility issues by bringing local heroes and champions into schools to talk about barriers that exist and how kids perceive disability. Canada 150 is important to Minister Carla Qualtrough because it allows Canadians to celebrate our community and to find the common themes among all of us. “It’s not where we come from, it’s not what religion we practice, it’s the things we value. It’s fairness, it’s equality, it’s diversity, it’s inclusion. It’s all the common values that make our country strong. Talking about these things for a year is not just good for Canada, but for the world. ...I think there’s no better time in the history of Canada to be Canadian.”
Be bold. Don’t be afraid to take the path less taken. Some of the best things that have ever happened to me in my life are when I made decisions that make people go, ‘why is she doing that
NEELAM GANDEVIA, is the General Manager at AAJ Magazine, and is currently completing her Communications degree at SFU. Writing is one of her many passions. aajmag.ca
Open up any magazine or turn on a Bollywood movie, and light skin glorification is everywhere. Whether it’s ads for fairness creams or movie tropes suggesting no one will marry the dark skinned girl, colorism is highly prevalent in the South Asian community, and global community alike. Being Indian, it’s no secret that we admire whiteness as the optimal ideal of all that’s superior, good, and beautiful. Growing up, I knew that fair was lovely, white was better and “dusky” or “wheatish” was undesirable, simply by the way people talked about my skin tone, the lack of dark skinned Hollywood and Bollywood stars, and because growing up in Canada, the western representatives of beauty were all white skinned, blonde haired, blue eyed Barbies, something I was far from. I remember not being told I was pretty growing up when other light skinned counterparts were constantly complimented, being told to stay out of the sun, being bullied in school for my dark skin, being called dark chocolate or being called black, as an insult. I really couldn’t understand this Indian obsession with whiteness especially considering the fact that Indians are rarely white. It boggled me that we worshipped Krishna, otherwise known as Shyaam, meaning dark skinned, yet taunted our own dark skinned people. It amazed me that we were so ashamed of our
dark skin, we refused to paint our Shyaam Krishna with brown skin, so we painted him blue instead. Maybe it represented our internalized blues with skin pigmentation and deep inferiority complex. As I grew older and learned more about the history of India, I knew colonization was
a culprit. Colonization has turned whiteness and Eurocentric beauty standards into the global beauty disease, where people of color, like myself, would be plagued with toxic ideas of white beauty we would never be able to achieve. H o w d o e s i t w o r k ? We l l Eurocentric standards of “beauty” have been forced into other parts of the world like India, through globalization, western media, colonialism, and Eurocentric power, domination and superiority. More aajmag.ca
importantly, what does this mean? European people colonized India and exercised their power over brown skinned Indians, based on racist ideas of world domination and white superiority. Indians were seen as savage, uneducated and less than, so this justified white domination over them. This also caused power dichotomies based on race, skin color, and internalized racism. The masters were white skinned, so naturally dark skin meant inferiority. Through colonization, white people, particularly white men, became the global prototype of what it means to be human, and therefore the global prototype of beauty. Even after the British left, the minds’ of Indians remained colonized, the true marker of successful colonization. To this day, Indians still have a throbbing colonial hangover, internalized racism and an inferiority complex, which says English medium is best and whiteness reigns supreme. It’s no wonder Fair and Lovely is one of the biggest cosmetic companies in Asia earning a huge fortune annually. And for those who can’t afford it, a concoction of toxic household bleach and cream seems to do the trick. The Indian diaspora carried fragments of this colonial hangover and colorism into the places they inhabited, and in those places, they perpetuated. Even growing up outside of India, in the growing city of Surrey, these biases about skin color still held weight and impacted by life.
They did not stop with the British’s departure nor with the migration of Indian people outside of India. In fact, they still live strong in almost all communities of South Asian people anywhere in the world. Growing up, I hated myself because my skin tone was symbolic of difference, otherness, exoticness, darkness, evil, night, inferiority, low caste etc. I didn’t fit in anywhere, whether that was in the Indian community, or in Canadian society. For Indians, my skin was too dusky. For my white counterparts, my skin was too other, too foreign. I was too dark for here, and too dark for home. It definitely led to identity confusion and self esteem issues for me. Everyone wants to belong and feel valued, and when you don’t get that from your own community based on a factor like skin tone, which you have no control over, it feels extremely unfair. I grew up feeling like I had been dealt the worst cards in the deck. I was a daughter, and on top of that, I was dark. A dark daughter. I internalized this dark skin inferiority complex for much of my early childhood and teenage years. At some point, I got very tired of hating my skin and features. I realized how “unfair” it was to be treated poorly based on my skin. I knew I was ready to decolonize my mind and unsubscribe to Eurocentric ideals that were never meant for me anyways. Resisting Eurocentrism and coming to terms with yourself is a battle, but it’s possible. Whiteness is not a life long subscription. You can opt out at any
time and move towards a path of selfacceptance, care and love. That’s why I started The Pooja Project, to promote cultural beauty and acceptance. I was tired of not seeing girls like me in the modeling industry and on social media being unapologetically dark and beautiful. I decided that I’m not
going to wait for someone to find me pretty. I bought a camera and starting photographing myself and my work, with the help of my sister Meera Patel. Soon, people starting responding positively to my work because it was rare to see a dark skinned woman of color being open, honest and strong. Today, I
want to change this. I want more girls to come out and be themselves regardless of whether they fit the beauty standard or not.
POOJA PATEL is a second generation Gujarati Canadian, and a Psychology and Counselling undergraduate student at SFU. B:7.25” T:7.25” S:6.75”
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REMEMBERING THE HISTORY OF IMMIGRATION IN CANADA 26
2017 is a significant year for Canadians across the country. It is the year our beautiful nation turns 150 years old. Canada is famously known as being welcoming, peace-loving, multi-cultural, and just plain nice. And many of us would also agree that our leader, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau is the embodiment of all the positive attributes Canada is always given by the rest of the world. The Sikh community in British Columbia has helped to shape Canada as a country and the general immigration laws in Canada. As members of the Sikh community celebrate this momentous occasion, we should take a moment to think about and appreciate our collective history. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia (2013), the first Sikhs came to Canada in the 20th century, when Canada was still under British control. Some of these people visited Canada as part of the Hong Kong military contingent en route to Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897 and the coronation of Edward VII in 1902. The first immigrant Sikhs to settle in Canada arrived in 1904 and established themselves in British Columbia (Canadian Encyclopedia, 2013). As immigration expanded in Canada and as more immigrants
made their way to Canada, the country created a number of laws and policies in order to restrict different groups of people entering Canada. Part of those changes required Indians to pay a “landing money” fee, and in 1908, the Continuous Journey rule was imposed by the Order in Council which increased that fee from $50 to $200 (Passages to Canada). The most famous of incidents occurred on May 23 1914, when the Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver, having sailed with 376 Indians. Upon arrival, 352 of these individuals were refused admittance to Canada and were forced to sail back to India where they faced violence and turmoil (Canadian Encyclopedia, 2013). Then in 1919, further immigration restrictions were put in place after World War I because of fears of communism and “enemy aliens”. This caused many to become suspicious and act discriminatorily towards individuals of different backgrounds (Passages to Canada).
Despite this discrimination and the negative attitudes, Sikhs in British Columbia quickly established a strong community which centred around their religious institutions
Despite this discrimination and the negative attitudes, Sikhs in British Columbia quickly established a strong community which centred around their religious institutions (gurdwaras) (Canadian Encyclopedia, 2013). In 1907, the Vancouver Khalsa Diwan Society (commonly referred to as the “Ross Street Gurdwara”) was founded (www.kdsross.com). Shortly after, many more gurdwaras were aajmag.ca
established in Surrey, Abbotsford, and other surrounding cities (Canadian Encyclopedia, 2013). Through these gurdwaras, Sikhs provided much help to fellow community members in need and they also fought hard to rescind immigration bans Canada put in place (Canadian Encyclopedia, 2013). In the 1920s, the gurdwaras reached a significant development, when wives and children of legal Sikh residents of Canada were allowed to entry into Canada (Canadian Encyclopedia, 2013).
Canada as well. During this time, more Sikhs immigrated to Canada as immigration laws became more relaxed and racial restrictions were removed (Canadian Encyclopedia, 2013). Due to this change in the laws and policies, in the 1960s and 1970s, thousands of Sikhs (some very highly educated) came to and settled in Canada. As the numbers grew, more gurdwaras were also established across the different cities in Canada (Canadian Encyclopedia, 2013).
In 1947, the Government of Canada, which was under the rule of the Late Right Honourable William Lyon Mackenzie King, created formal Canadian citizenship which formed a status separate from the United Kingdom. Under the Citizenship Act of 1947, people who were previously classed as British subjects were allowed to be classed as Canadians, and those who were not naturalized in Canada, remained classed as “aliens” (Passages to Canada). In 1962, the Government of Canada, which was under the rule of the Late Right John Diefenbaker, introduced further changes to immigration policies. Canada eliminated significant racial, religious and ethnic barriers to Canadian immigration and applicants were now assessed based on skill, regardless of race, ethnicity or origin (Passages to Canada).
From the years 1968 to 1979 (and later from 1980 to 1984), the Late Right Honourable Pierre Trudeau served as the Prime Minister of Canada. He was loved and respected by the world and known for many memorable and significant reforms. In 1971, the Government of Canada introduced an official multiculturalism policy for Canada (Passages to Canada). This policy recognized the many different cultural groups that co-existed and contributed to Canada. Five years later, in 1976, the Government of Canada introduced a new Immigration Act. This Act reflected progressive attitudes toward immigration, and reinstated Canada’s commitment to accepting refugees, and defining Canada’s immigration goals; nondiscrimination was stated as one of these main goals (Passages to Canada).
In the 1950s and 1960s, Sikhism in Canada began to change its character alongside the changing immigrations laws and policies in
Every country has its own rules and policies when it comes to immigration, however it can be agreed by most that the current
Government of Canada, which is under the rule of the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, holds true to what the Late Right Honourable Pierre Trudeau introduced for Canada. On May 18, 2016 the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau formally apologized in the House of Commons for the Komagata Maru incident (CBC, 2016). He stated very eloquently “Canada does not bear alone the responsibility for every tragic mistake that occurred with the Komagata Maru and its passengers, but Canada's government was without question responsible for the laws that prevented these passengers from immigrating peacefully and securely, for that, and for every regrettable consequence that followed, we are sorry,” (CBC, 2016). Further to this apology, the Honourable Rona Ambrose stated “we take these actions [to reinstate change in the government] because we want to live up to our own values. We cannot change the past but we can demonstrate that Canada has changed,” (CBC, 2016).
Parliament on Immigration. The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, revealed various immigration statistics pertaining to Canadian immigration. In 2015, Canada admitted 271,845 new permanent residents, which was an increase over 2014 (260,404). In 2015, a total of 15,489 individuals were admitted by utilizing the super visa which allows parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to visit Canada for up to two years at a time, with the visa being valid for 10 years. And in 2015, a total of 9,411 people were admitted as governmentassisted refugees, which was 45% above the planned admission range of 5,800 to 6,500. As the Sikh community celebrates Canada's birthday, we should take a moment to look back and remember the history of Canada, and what sacrifices took place in order to shape such a multicultural, hospitable, warm, peaceful, loving, and welcoming place to live.
It is no secret that Canada is truly an amazing place to immigrate to. It is also no secret that our positive reputation across the world is what draws many people into its borders. This is demonstrated in the 2016 Annual Report to
SHARON DHALIWAL studied law at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. She currently advises clients on Wills and Estates and is an instructor in the legal program at CDI College. aajmag.ca
BILAL CHEEMA: A CULTURAL AMBASSADOR On one of the rare few sunnier spring afternoons in MetroVancouver, I first met Bilal Cheema. From the outside, he seems like an average, hard working dad, but I quickly realized when I started talking to him that he is anything but ordinary. He may seem normal, but he has a wisdom that he speaks so simply, it immediately filled me with admiration.
Bilal Cheema was born and raised in Metro-Vancouver. He is Punjabi by culture, and Muslim by faith. While growing up in East Vancouver, he recalls that he and his friends - while from a diverse range of backgrounds - never saw each other as anything but equals. The notion of discrimination by race, culture, or religion was nonexistent. It was when he moved to Surrey in his high school years, that he noticed something different.
was the rock of his large family that kept everyone together and busy, including his brother and sisters. While his father was constantly dedicating time towards community initiatives, he always made sure to carve out time for his kids. Bilal always cherished spending time with his father.
In 1990, the city of Surrey was considerably less developed than it is today. At the time Bilal recalls it seemed like moving to a whole new country, or like moving to a village from the city. Things were different here - Bilal can recall places in Surrey where he wouldn’t want to walk alone at night. An incident he vividly recalls is at the age of 15 while walking home from a swim, an older Caucasian man started following him and picked on Bilal for who he was on the outside, uttering racial slurs and threatening physical violence. While things didn't get physical, the experience sat with Bilal for some time as he tried to understand if all white people thought this way about people with a different skin colour. The experience, along with the encouragement of his father is what most likely led Bilal on his mission to unite, help, and empower people towards tolerance and acceptance.
“We always look to the future, but if we don’t understand where we’ve come from (as a collective) and acknowledge what [our parents] have done by coming to a whole new country. …Honour your parents while they’re still around. Recognize them while they’re still around. Let them know that their efforts didn’t go unnoticed - that we thank them for paving the way for us, because surely the opportunities we have today are because of them and the sacrifices that they made.”
One of Bilal’s main sources of inspiration still remains his parents. While his father would work double or triple shifts at his union job with a steel fabrication company, his mother
It was this desire to honour his parents that inspired Bilal to work towards his university degree and more. He can still vividly recall trips in his father’s station wagon to the
I do it because I have the capacity to help people, I don’t wait for community organizations to take initiatives, I’ll take initiative and bring on others
airport on weekends at the age of 8 or 9 to watch airplanes take off and land. During these trips his father would bring home newcomers to Canada from abroad and help them find homes and get jobs. When he asked his dad why he would bring home total strangers, his father would tell him, “ ‘They needed someone, and I remember when I came, how difficult it was for me. So we need to help people.’ It was kind of very simple.” It was also his father that got him involved in politics - his father was politically active, and would bring Bilal along with him to political conventions. As Bilal progressed through university, he got involved in working in the government and would spend summers working in Ottawa and learning how the Canadian government works for a number of years. In his final year at Simon Fraser University, he accepted a position in the Office of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and has since then worked in various capacities for the government of Canada. He has played a significant role in the building of the Liberal Party of Canada, especially across western Canada. He has served as the Campaign Director for Michael Ignatieff during his leadership run in 2006 and has most recently, during the 2015 federal election, successfully managed both MP Randeep Sarai's and MP Joe Peschisolido's campaigns. Bilal has dedicated his entire adult life to public service. "It's pretty neat," he says, "It broadens your perspective." Reflecting on his years of service, Bilal thinks about his files and how his 32
contributions, along with many others helped shape public policy. This is a man who is grounded, and never far from the grassroots. While Bilal’s work focuses on policy and how we can build a better future for all, he also gets deeply involved in the community too. “I do it because I have the capacity and this burning desire to help people, I don’t wait for community organizations to take initiatives, I’ll take initiative and bring on others,” he tells me. He often works independently of formal organizations and focuses on ad hoc groups coming together without rigid structures and titles to work and focus on a project. Bilal draws inspiration from his kids and his desire to want his family and three children to have an even brighter future. He worked intimately with the founder of the Muslim Youth Centre to ensure it was created, on antigang violence and keeping youth away from the get-rich-quick schemes that most times involve selling drugs, and approached Mosques, Gurdwaras, and Temples to work together on initiatives around the environment for youth such as the Bear Creek Salmon Initiative while he was a Director with the Pacific Salmon Foundation. Bilal feels that our faith is something that connects us to our creator, but that we all can do better in connecting with each other as human beings and that when we all stop to think about it, there's more that brings us together as caretakers of this world than divide us. Diversity, he feels, is our strength. Bilal believes in communal responsibility towards creating an environment for
success. He feels that communities succeed when everyone works together. Bilal Cheema is often the guy behind the scenes - he doesn’t want credit for the work he’s doing, he just wants to bring people together to breathe life into good ideas and help ensure they come to fruition for the community.
enemy? We need to look at the problems [in the world] differently, not through war or force, but we need to realize that some of the things happening in our world today are because of desperation. ...Very rarely do we look at the past. Before you look at where you wanna go, understand where we came from.”
Another source of inspiration for Bilal is his faith. Bilal is a recognised face around town. While a new age Muslim leader in Canada, he doesn't necessarily lead with his faith. “Why is it so hard to believe that [myself and other Muslims] want to get along with others, or want a community to be much more than one ethnicity and include everyone? Like, is that a hard concept to believe? It shouldn’t be - we’re all in this together.”
Bilal’s simple wisdom, passion for humanity and for building a better future drive him in everything his does - and it resonates in the people around him. From negotiating with First Nations chiefs to working with political parties and religious groups, Bilal’s humility and passion allows him to serve not just his community, but the entire country and beyond for the greater good in ways that most people normally cannot achieve, on more projects that he can even name. Perhaps it’s for this reason that Bilal is seen as a cultural ambassador in all that he does.
He states very simply that so long as he gets recognition from his creator, he is happy. One significant thing he has done recently for his personal faith is Umrah, a pilgrimage that is a precursor to a larger, significant pilgrimage called Hajj. For Bilal, it’s just part of his duties as a person who is lucky enough to be able to make the trip. And he'll share with anyone who wants to listen! “You know, everyone has faults,” he says. “We’re human. We’re all in this together and we need to uplift one another. Why do we always need an
“The greater good involves everyone. I have a tendency to include everyone. I connect with people, even though I’m just being me. We live in a world of seven billion people, and the ability to establish, nurture, foster and sustain relationships [with communities] needs to be normal.”
NEELAM GANDEVIA, is the General Manager at AAJ Magazine, and is completing her Communications degree at SFU.
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THINQX C R E AT I V E
SANGEET IN NATURE 34
Hi! I’m Ricky Kej, a music composer based in Bengaluru, India. I consider myself a ‘global citizen’, concerned about the environment and nature all over the world, and I’m really honored to write this debut column for AAJ Magazine. I met with the team of ‘AAJ’ during my recent visit to Vancouver. I was amazed by this beautiful city – I felt it is the perfect example of a city where development and nature go hand in hand. I took a long leisurely walk, about eight kilometers, in Stanley Park which I learned is 1000 acres large and was rated ‘Top park in the entire world’ in 2014. I even got to experience a concert there in the ‘Theatre under the stars’ - that was an unforgettable experience! This column that I will be writing is called ‘Sangeet in Nature’. ‘Sangeet’ means music. The oldest forms of music came from the sounds of nature and I believe nature is the oldest fan of music as well. Being a proud Indian, I’m going to tell you all about celebrating nature in India; its unique biodiversity and everything that makes it what it is. Another thing I believe is that we, as a race only protect that what we love, and it is my mission to make you fall in love with the natural world in India, and through that love, protect it. You will hear all about our wildlife, the beauty found in nature here and many photographs that will take your breath away!
I’d like to start on an auspicious note with a little info about the Peacock, the National Bird of India. Its dazzling plumage never fails to leave onlookers awestruck. It also holds a revered place in Hindu mythology as it is believed to have been created from a feather of Lord Vishnu’s mount Garuda - the King of the Birds. With the first showers of the monsoon, peacocks spread their wings in their famed rain dance; the males display their brilliant plumage. They face many threats though they are a protected species and hunting the bird is illegal. Though the exact number is unknown, there are numbers enough for them to have a ‘Least Concern’ label on the IUCN Red List. So that’s it from me this time, but like I said, I’m going to treat you to much, much more about India’s biodiversity, and you’re going to fall in love with it! Until next time then, enjoy nature! Ricky Kej and Team RoundGlass Samsara
RICKY KEJ is a Grammy® Award Winning Composer, Billboard #1 Artist, Conservationist and Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, India.
DEAR PRIME MINISTER
LEST WE FORGET 36
Dear Prime Minister, Happy Birthday Canada! 150 years and still counting. Looking back, it is important to be proud of Canada's achievements. It is also the juncture at which to look forward to rectifying areas where much can be done. Let me share a story: It is the summer of 1985 and a ten-year-old young lady is admitted to the children's ward in Saskatoon. She was brought to the hospital in a coma and required help to breathe. Her mother had noted that the child had been unwell for a few days. She lived on a reserve in Northern Saskatchewan and was visiting her cousins in Saskatoon. Sitting next to the child, the mother was in tears keeping a close vigil. A CT scan of the head revealed a tumor-like mass in the brain. What could this be? Was it a brain tumor, a collection of blood in the brain, or something else entirely? Based on past experiences, we tested her for tuberculosis and the test came back positive for something called a tuberculoma - a severe form of tuberculosis which causes the formation of a lump that looks very similar to cancer. Treatment was initiated with anti-tuberculosis drugs and over the next several weeks the child showed improvement. It is one of the most gratifying weeks as a physician to be able to help a family and the community recover, and I remember how her motherâ€™s face lit up with a smile. For a small price, the rewards were priceless - the child recovered from near death to lead a whole life. The question that arose, however, was: how do you find a third world
disease in a first world country? Having trained as a pediatrician in Bombay, I had seen the devastation caused by tuberculosis in all its forms and its varied manifestations. That was the reason we investigated the child for tuberculosis because if it was TB, it would be treatable. Aboriginal and First Nations people on the west coast were exposed to tuberculosis, or TB, about 200 years ago after being brought to the continent from Europe. About 150 years ago, around Canada's birth, as the Canadian Pacific Railway was being built and the reserve system was established, TB spread to the First Nations in the prairies. Morbidity and mortality rates were very high due to malnutrition and the crowding in the reserves. The TB rates across Canada have dropped significantly across the country but the rates among the Aboriginal People is 6 to 38 times higher. New data from the National Household Survey (NHS) shows that in 2011 the Aboriginal people represented accounted for 4.3% of the Canadian population. Aboriginal children aged 14 represented 7% of all children in Canada. Aboriginal youth aged 15 to 24 represented 5.9% of all youth in Canada. Do we not have an obligation to reduce the disproportionate burden of disease? Not only TB but also HIV, diabetes and substance abuse?
* Results will vary by individual.
Just as one part of the body when diseased ultimately affects the whole body, not addressing the needs of the vulnerable Aboriginal youth will have a major impact on the overall health of Canada. Let us be inclusive rather than exclusive and begin our journey towards fixing the issues facing these youths. aajmag.ca
Awareness and Acceptance are the first steps to Addressing these issues, and finally Analyzing how far we have come and how far we have to go will lead us forward.
the least effort. What price does one put on the health of the youth? By changing their destiny, we change ours! Happy 150th birthday, Canada!
We are at a juncture where a bipartisan effort to address this will provide the most value in humankind for
DR. PARAMJIT S. BHUI MD FRCPC is a Paediatrician practicing in Surrey & clinical faculty at UBC for the past 28 years. Prior to moving to BC he was an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa & worked at the Childrenâ€™s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).
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SUNNY SINGH For the First Time in Canada, The World Police and Fire Games Have Been Boycotted â€“ Sunny Singh is Fighting to Bring Them Back
Amarpal Singh, known by his friends and family as Sunny Singh, is fighting to bring back The World Police and Fire Games, which were cancelled this year due to Canada’s Bill 15. Originally slated to be held in Montreal in 2017, if a host city is not found, these games will be scrapped for the first time in history. Hosted biennially (every other year), these games are open to both active and retired law enforcement and fire service personnel all over the world. Only surpassed by the Olympics, Summer Olympics, and Commonwealth Games, The World Police and Fire Games are highly popular. In terms of diversity, the games are third only to the Olympics and the Asian Games. Sunny Singh is the only Canadian athlete to have ever won 3 gold medals in The World Police and Fire Games in Taekwondo. The World Police and Fire Games were cancelled in Montreal due to ongoing labour disputes between the city and its’ fire and police unions. Singh hopes to shed light on the issue and bring the games to the city of Calgary instead, with the support of Mayor Nenshi.
Sunny Singh immigrated to Canada from the United Kingdom 12 years ago. A former police official with the Calgary Police Service, Sunny currently works with the City of Calgary as a Taekwondo and kickboxing instructor. He also works as a Private Investigator, and provides security services for high profile individuals, such as Bollywood celebrities. Sunny has been competing in Taekwondo since 1992. He is also active in kickboxing, sanshou and other martial arts. His qualifications include (but are not limited to) a black belt in Yogakondo, a second degree black belt in Taekwondo Kukkiwon, a Red Arm belt in Muai Thai, and a black belt in Mixed Martial Arts.
䈀䠀䄀一䜀䄀刀䄀 㜀㜀㠀 㔀㘀㔀 㠀 ㈀
圀圀圀⸀嘀䄀一䌀䤀吀夀䐀䄀一䌀䔀⸀䌀伀䴀 唀一䤀吀 ㌀ ㈀㠀㠀㈀ 㠀㔀 䄀嘀䔀 匀唀刀刀䔀夀 䈀䌀
The inception of the World Police and Fire Games began in 1983, created and run by the Californian Police Athletics Federation. The first World Police and Fire Games were held in San Jose in 1985. The 2011 games were the largest games to date, with over 16,000 athletes from 59 nations in attendance.
NAVKIRAN BRAR, Editor of AAJ Magazine, is a well rounded professional, with a passion for writing, academics and entrepreneurship. 41
CYCLING FOR DIVERSITY
The 6th annual Cycling4Diversity ride is officially a wrap. The C4D team visited 6 cities and 10 schools, during our two-day ride. The journey started in Burnaby on May 25th and ended in Mission at the Leisure Centre where around 70 guests were fed and listened to various guest speakers, including former white s u p r e m a c i s t , To n y Macleer. Other guest speakers included C4D members, Seon Design Inc. employee Mike Bismeyer, who spoke about bullying, and Kristine Kuol, who threw rice bags in people's driveways to combat the Ku Klux Klan campaign in Abbotsford with her innovative art project. The presentations were inspiring and timely due to the recent KKK flyers that have surfaced in the area over the past year. Kuol said, "The Rice Gathering as my rice bag event was originally titled - was crafted in an art studio at Trinity Western University for a Socially Engaged Art (SEA) class.
SEA builds bridges between art and activism. The Rice Gathering was a neutralizing act to counter the Ku Klux Klan threats weighted with white rice in January of 2017. Cycling4Diversity’s vision of ‘building bridges of dialogue’ provided a perfect opportunity for partnership and joint vocalization of the cause that is: celebrating diversity. I was impressed by the compilation of innovative, accomplished advocates that Cycling4Diversity brought forth who empowered students in their role of fighting racism, ableism and discrimination.” "What I found most important was the creation of safe conversational space; I was challenged to encourage minorities that their voices, linguistic skills and cultural backgrounds are intrinsic to the growth of this nation and in contrary that the white majority must be avid students of invaluable minority wisdom. In reflection, I am encouraged to discover that despite graduating in spring with a degree in International Studies it was my minor in Art - my hobby and outlet – from which my advocacy for minorities liquefied." The C4D team focused primarily on the message of building new relationships through our diverse population, during Cycling4Diversity Week in BC from May 21st to May 27th. Some often say they believe in diversity, but unfortunately, lack it in their personal actions. Diversity is an action related word and can only work if you believe in one hundred percent. aajmag.ca
Diversity is a full-time commitment, not a part time conversation. I often hear, “Ken, I believe in diversity, but I don’t like those people, but I am not racist. Or, I am not sending my son or daughter to that school because there are too many of those people there." Well, I hate to tell you, but that is kind of racist. The understanding of diversity takes time and we are all at
various levels, but it doesn’t hurt to keep an open mind. As one Mission student put it when he was asked what does diversity mean. He said it’s about possibilities. What a brilliant and unique way to describe it. When we spoke at some of the Khalsa Schools in Surrey and at our local Dasmesh Punjabi School I shared with them
that the South Asian community are not a bunch of gangsters. Actually, the South Asian community are philanthropists and are constantly giving to their local communities each and every day. The shootings may never stop, but the giving will always continue and that should remain our focus.
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A PROUD CANADIAN: PERMINDER CHOHAN Perminder Chohan is a name that is synonymous with the finance industry in Canada. He is an immigrant success story like many others in a country we call home, the ever so multi-cultural Canada. Like many immigrants, Perminder also held a dream while 46
immigrating here in 1990, he saw a land full of opportunities and decided to make this country his home. Like many others, he faced much trouble with not being able to find proper work and worked several odd jobs in fields like plumbing, sales, etc. He also tried out many ventures such as owning cellphone stores, direct Business to Business selling and many others.
Then he finally ventured into the area of RESP Funds and found great success in this field. Since then he has excelled in this field and found great success until now. He joined Desjardins soon after and is now the owner of Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network – Richmond South which has four branches: Richmond, Surrey, Abbotsford and Calgary with over 300 Independent Financial Advisors working within the DFSIN – Richmond South network who he has personally hired, mentored and trained to excel. Some of these families are now earning way above average salaries in Canada. Perminder says that he owes his success to the community and everything he has is because of them. Perminder has led by example and is an inspiration to a lot of new immigrants; he gives them hope of a better life and also shows them how to make it happen. According to Perminder, “all dreams need action and action is the key to success or failure.” Chohan hopes to train and create more leaders within his network and hopes that he is able to help as many people gain financial independence as he can.
Perminder is a well-known figure in the South Asian Community and is mostly known for his work, his leadership skills and his philanthropic work. Perminder says that he believes in giving back to society as the society needs to become stronger and better for a better future for the country. Some of these charitable organizations include: the Surrey Newton Rotary Club, Surrey Food Bank, Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation, Richmond Hospital Foundation, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, BC Cancer Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Kids Play, and numerous others. Perminder says that the secret to his success is that “I’ve never hesitated to learn from others whether someone is old or young as I feel that learning is a continuous process and if we have knowledge then it’s our duty to share it with others to help them grow.” He says that his hope and dream for Canada and its citizens would be to really utilize the tremendous opportunities that it has to offer. He says that this country is great and he will forever be grateful to Canada for what it has provided him.
PAARULL BAKSHI aajmag.ca
AREN'T YOU A TERRORIST?
In many cases, just the pure utterance of the word "Muslim" makes some people feel very uneasy. Thoughts of, "oh they must be a terrorist", "what if they're part of ISIS?" or "she's wearing a niqab, she must be oppressed", sound absolutely delusional and ridiculous but the fact of the matter is that these thoughts and opinions are increasingly polluting our communities. Muslims and in particular, Muslim women are some of the most misunderstood and misrepresented people in the world. It comes as no surprise that the flawed rhetoric that is in circulation about the Muslim community and Islam in general has increased tremendously since the events of 9/11 and subsequent attacks of terror by extremist groups such as ISIS. These events have influenced the perception of Muslim people and the way that non-Muslims view Islam to such an extent that oftentimes people automatically conjure up images of Osama Bin Laden, suicide bombers and fundamentalists when thinking about Muslims. It doesn't help that the world in which we live in today is absolutely c o n s u m e d b y t h e m e d i a . We are constantly bombarded with headlines and images on social media of "Muslims" around the world who are caught committing horrific acts of terror in the name of the religion and are ultimately perpetuating flawed ideology of the Islamic faith. The media
takes advantage and contorts this content in a manner which spreads Islamophobic ideology and circulates mass misrepresentation of the Muslim people. The reach and impact of the media on our everyday lives is so substantial that people are quick to believe that the rhetoric and images about Muslims which are distributed by the media are actually true. While the media can be a wonderful source for information and for connecting people, it is a downfall when it comes to the way in which it routinely misrepresents Muslims and furthermore feeds into the growing realm of Islamophobic thought. If one were to only do some minimal research, they would discover that Islam quite literally translates to "submission (to Allah)" and is rooted in the Arabic word "salaam" which means peace. It does not entail any type of violence, terror, oppression or inequality. Furthermore, Islam is seen as being a predominantly patriarchal religion which constantly aims to form a divide between men and women and sees men as the superiors. This could not be more false. While it is true that certain cultures which practice Islam have patriarchal values, this does not stem from the teachings of the Quran. Rather, Islam promotes equality and respect amongst its followers. Though this is the case, greater emphasis is placed on the divide between men and women and the media has continually aimed to amplify this and in doing so, Muslim aajmag.ca
women are generally perceived to be oppressed, powerless, passive and lacking agency. This stream of thought is typically rooted in Western ideology and stems from the misunderstanding of Islamic practices. The stereotypical Muslim woman is thought to be someone who wears a hijab and silently stands by her husband's side. This viewpoint has cast the hijab as demeaning and as a way to muzzle women from expressing their thoughts. This could not be farther from the truth. Muslim women are strong, educated, opinionated and are active social citizens. There are Muslim women all over the world who hold university degrees, have careers of their own and are wildly successful and are anything but wallflowers who play second fiddle to their male counterparts. One such woman is American, Linda Sarsour who is a passionate racial justice and civil rights activist and was one of the national co-chairs for the Women's March on Washington earlier this year. She is a phenomenal example of a Muslim woman who is going against every single misconception about her and is projecting to the world that she is a proud Muslim woman who is anything but oppressed and has an opinion and a voice which deserve to be heard.
Women like Linda Sarsour help to reinforce that Muslim women do not come in a "one size fits all" type mold. They are not one-dimensional beings who lack all agency. Instead, Muslim women are strong, educated and richly opinionated with voices which need to be heard. Stereotypical discourses which stem from mass media have twisted the identities of Muslim women and as a result have caused them to be one of the most misrepresented demographics in the world. Muslim women come from incredibly diverse ethnicities and backgrounds and should not all be placed into a singular category which continues to perpetuate formulaic misconceptions about them. Rather, a Muslim woman has the power to be whoever she wants to be and the ability to live her life on her own terms and by her own rules.
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AGA KHAN CELEBRATES DIAMOND JUBILEE
Ismaili Muslims will celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of their hereditary Imam, Shah Karim Al-Hussaini, Aga Khan IV on July 11, 2017, succeeding his grandfather Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah, Aga Khan III as the Imam of Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims The Ismailis to belong the Shia branch of Islam, who are mostly from South and Central Asia. Many arrived in Canada in the 1970â€™s from East Africa around the expulsion of South Asians from Uganda. Canadian Ismailis currently trace their origins from Africa, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Syria. Ismaili Imams migrated from the Arabian Peninsula to Persia over time. Hasan Ali Shah, al-Hussieni, Aga Khan I, was the Khan of Mahallat in Iran. Khan is the title of a feudal ruler in Central Asia. He was succeeded by in his son Ali Shah, Aga Khan II of Mahallat. There
were many Ismaili followers throughout Central and South Asia who would travel to Iran to pay homage. Ali Shah also travelled through the region and gave audience to his followers. He lost his role as the Khan of Mahallat due to the regime change in Iran, but retained the title Aga Khan. He was appointed the Bombay Legislative Council where he played an important role advocating for laws pertaining to Muslims. Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah, Aga Khan III, was born in Karachi, which is now in Pakistan. He studied at Eaton and Cambridge. He followed his father’s tradition of advocating for Muslims and became the founding President of the All India Muslim League, a political party which advocated for an Independent Muslim nation in the north-west region of India, which was the genesis of Pakistan. He represented India at the League of Nations (precursor the United Nations) and became its President in 1937. He was given the title of the Knight Commander of the Indian Empire by Queen Victoria. Karim Shah, Aga Khan IV, became Imam on July 11, 1957 at age of twenty when he was studying at Harvard University. He was given the title His Highness by Queen Elizabeth when he became Imam. In his sixty years of Imamat, he has accomplished a great deal. He established the Aga Khan
Foundation which evolved into the Aga Khan Development Network which has built and maintained hospitals, housing projects, schools and universities around the world. The work of the AKDN is not charity in the western sense of handouts, its mission is to empower people to become more sustainable. He has also established partnerships with many universities and NGO’s around the world. He has a particular relationship to Canada. He has established a Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat building to represent him alongside embassies representing their countries. He has chosen Canada as the only country to have such a delegation building. He has built the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto alongside the second Ismaili Centre. The first Ismaili Centre is in Burnaby, British Columbia. The Canadian government has given him an honorary Companion of the Order of Canada in 2005 and an honorary citizenship in 2009. Earlier this year he inaugurated the Global Centre for Pluralism in Ottawa in partnership with the Canadian government. July 11, 2017 will be the beginning of a yearlong celebration of The Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee and of sixty years of his Imamat, with over 25 million Ismaili Muslims world-wide.
Aga Khan Development Network which has built and maintained hospitals, housing projects, schools and universities around the world.
IMTIAZ POPAT is a long time community advocate and a TV and Radio host on Access TV as well as Dreamzz and CO-OP Radio.
CANADA 150 A BHUIâ€™S EYE VIEW 54
Demographically, statistics tells us that the number of seniors in Canada is on the rise. Also, in 2015 the population of seniors outnumbered the number of kids below age fifteen. Since access to healthcare is a fundamental right for all Canadians, the access of ‘health and wellness’ is a responsibility one must not ignore. Several government subsidized programs encourage our youngsters to participate in sports and stay fit. Our seniors too, I am proud to say, follow through and participate in exercises such as walking, swimming, pilates, yoga & meditation. Certainly, those who maintain their fitness levels continue to participate in major tournaments in sports such as field hockey, soccer, cricket, racket sports, long distance marathons and triathlons. In the early eighties, for us new immigrants and new parents to be, the thoughts and struggles seemed so very different from today’s immigrants in the 21st century. It is as though we lived in an entirely different era. As an Indian vegetarian living in the prairies, in severely cold weather for almost nine months a year, finding ingredients for a simple nutritious meal was a challenge. Many a time, we travelled five hours to access some substandard quality of lentils - the main source of protein in my diet. Being professionals we held responsible jobs, however, it was virtually impossible to find access to appropriate individuals to assist with childcare for our children. We
certainly did not have the luxury of any maternity leave and such benefits that are available today. Other people smoking without restrictions even in meetings at work, translated into major respiratory problems for someone such as myself who was very allergic to cigarette smoke. In 2017, it is heartening to note that, we now have some of the best quality and variety of ingredients and food available. Maternity leave benefits have greatly eased the worry for new parents. Best of all, smoking is not permitted at most work or recreational facilities. All this has given us an opportunity to pursue our dreams and the ability to be a leader on the world stage.
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Sure, we always have room for improvement and some of this progress may be attributable simply to the advances made by man and technology. However, growth and progress in the generous-spirited, multicultural mosaic of Canada is certainly commendable. Hopefully, governmental policies will assist Canada to continue on this path of progress both financially and socially. Today, as a proud Canadian I am happy to say that, my home is the best place on earth! As responsible community leaders, we are contributing our fair share to your progress. From our family, a big thank you, lots of love and we wish you a very “Happy 150th Birthday Canada”!!!
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NALINI BHUI is a talented award winning scientist, media host, community leader, an inspirational speaker and produces The Nalini Bhui Show on TV.
INDIA'S GOLDEN MOMENT Excitement is building around India’s economy. With the other BRICS economies mired in challenges, India’s growth has moved to top spot, and there’s no real challenger. Cynics can be forgiven; modern India has had episodes that looked promising, only to see them fizzle. There are certainly factors, some of them age-old issues, that could play the spoiler this time. But is it possible that today’s conditions make a more compelling case that ‘this could be it’? Consider these six stage-setting factors:
GLOBAL GROWTH. The world economy is poised for further growth, and for some years to come. The US market has taken its time, but business finally appears ready to engage large groups left out of the postrecession economy. This will extend and enhance its growth phase, and give Europe more runway to get going. This is a needed backdrop for emerging markets in general, as even the big ones are still ‘follower’ economies, and for India in particular, as generalized growth is a necessary precondition for leveraging India’s other budding opportunities.
ASPIRATIONS. Indians want more than they currently have. Programs are leading to significant progress on the poverty front. It’s a good thing, as prosperity is far more visible to a greater number of Indians than in the past. They can more easily see the prosperity of other countries through increasingly-present media and smart communication devices. They can also see it on their own doorstep: the evidence of India’s recent growth is hard to hide, especially the excesses of neo-wealth. All this is feeding a more broadlybased desire for a better life, and as the movement hits a critical mass, there’s inevitability to it.
REFORM. India itself has long since realized the inefficiency of many of its internal systems, and the difficulty that poses for investors both inside and outside of the country. That gives it a 2017 ranking of 130 among the 190 countries in the
World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings. But the number is improving; India moved up one spot last year, due to significant improvements in getting electricity and enforcing contracts. Reforms are steadily occurring, as evidenced by the progress of the GST, greater inclusion of people and the expanding coverage of the biometric ID system. There is clearly still a lot more work to do on this front, but momentum is building.
INFRASTRUCTURE. Long a nemesis of the subcontinent, this category is also on the up and up. An oft-cited improvement is transportation networks that together with an increase in cold-storage facilities, are increasing the amount of foodstuffs that make it to market before spoiling. India also appears to be turning very backward infrastructure into an advantage: the ability to leapfrog generations of technology, moving to the forefront of systems like smart cities, the nextgeneration Aadhaar ID system and the like - and the marketable home-grown innovation it is spurring.
India has a large, available and growing labour force. In the coming years, the rest of the world will increasingly be making its way to India
OPENNESS. For a large emerging market, India has traditionally been far less open. The key measure is trade as a share of GDP, which was extraordinarily low in the 1960-2000 period. More recently, the number has doubled, great progress indeed, but the overall number remains low. Even so, India is a part of 14 FTAs, and pursuing 14 more. There’s a longer list of double taxation treaties, and a dated list of investment protection agreements, mostly inked in the 1990s. aajmag.ca
On balance, India is steadily embracing greater openness â€“ and reaping its benefits.
FUTURE ENGINES. This is why openness is critical. In a world facing shrinking populations, India has a large, available and growing labour force. In the coming years, the rest of the world will increasingly be making its way to India in search of spare labour. China is already active
on this front. A second wave of growth comes from the increased wealth of these newly-employed masses. As this tide rises in the economy, their increased consumption activity will fuel growth in domestic Indian business and also direct investment from foreign businesses wanting to access the market. In many ways, this dynamic is key to the view that India is the China of the next growth cycle.
The bottom line? Is this all the stuff of dreams, or is it in the works? With growth consistently above 7 per cent annually, India is already on the march. EDC is seeing large gains in Canadian business there as we speak, and British Columbia has seen torrid double-digit export growth on a consistent annual basis since 2009. But the best is yet to come. And much depends on how these six
PETER HALL has spent his entire 30-year career forecasting the economy, in his current role at Export Development Canada (EDC) leads a team of expert researchers, analyzing and projecting movements in the world economy.
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Nana’s Kitchen wishes everyone a very Happy Canada 150! Nana’s Kitchen is proudly Canadian and we are so privileged to call Canada our home. We are proud of how Canada embraces diversity. Our diversity makes us stronger as a country.
Congratulations Canada on 150 years of prosperity! aajmag.ca
CANADA’S PROSPERITY DEPENDS ON SAYING
YES, NOT NO 60
Today, in Canada’s 150th year, more than 200,000 British Columbians got up and went to work in the construction industry. They were out there working, busy building the roads and homes and schools and bridges that we need to enjoy this diverse and expansive province. These are good jobs that make up 9 per cent of B.C.’s economy.
Another 63,000 people went to work on pipelines, in mills, in the forests, in the mines, on the water, and in the oil and gas sector – responsibly harvesting and adding value to B.C.’s abundant natural resources. So much of our economic prosperity in B.C. depends on these workers and what they do, every single day. Many South Asian families already know this, as the community plays an important role in B.C.’s construction and responsible resource industries. You are literally helping build British Columbia, one job at a time. But these jobs, and this booming economy, can quickly disappear – if governments raise taxes or bring in too much regulation, or start spending beyond their means. They can vanish if politicians cave into the narrow views of loud special interest groups. That’s why it’s important for all of us to stand up for these workers. B.C. cannot afford to gain the reputation of a place where the voices of “no” can stop investment in our province. In Alberta, they are nervous that environmental groups will block B.C.’s Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project, which would cripple the Alberta oil industry and hurt the Canadian economy. Va n c o u ve r M a y o r G r e g o r Robertson has banned natural gas in new buildings, which will increase people’s energy costs by $1,500 per year. He has also allowed an American environmental group, the Rockefeller
Foundation, to pay for a Chief Resilience Officer in City Hall. A private group, paying a City employee? That feels like a conflict of interest. Who does she work for – the taxpayer or the foundation? And Robertson has extended this U.S. hire’s job description to allow her influence in everything from homelessness to energy policy. Housing proposals in the Lower Mainland often draw a mix of professional protestors and neighbours who move into a community and then want to close its doors to others. Instead of encouraging B.C.’s young Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) industry, environmental and labour activists attacked it, dragging out approval timelines and then gloating when the Asian market for B.C. LNG softened and the industry didn’t boom as predicted. It’s sad that these groups cheered the idea of keeping people unemployed. The Site C Dam has been one of the most-studied projects in Canadian history, but that’s not good enough for the professional protestors, who made wild, unproven claims about it. They even said Site C will ruin enough farmland to feed a million people. Actually, it’s about 1,600 people. Considering that 2,100 people are working on the site today, earning money to feed their families, and millions more will benefit from the dam’s electricity, it’s a reasonable tradeoff. Polls consistently show that the majority of British Columbians support construction and responsible resource aajmag.ca
development. But we’re busy people, busy raising families and working ourselves. So the loud minority that loves to say “no” to everything gains power. It’s important we speak out our support for these projects and for good jobs for our communities. We need to get to “yes” and encourage entrepreneurs and job-creators to set up shop in B.C. When we are asked about a good project proposed for our city or province, we need to take the extra minute and send the email, or make the
phone call, or answer the survey, and support it. It’s hard to imagine what Canada would be like if our leaders and builders had constantly listened to the naysayers and stopped all significant projects over the past 150 years. Building on their successes, and saying “yes” is a necessary step to making sure Canada is prosperous for another 150.
CHRIS GARDNER is the President of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association.
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HOW ARE YOU GOING TO GET VACANT POSESSION? 64
Good news! When you are buying a property that is tenant occupied and you or your immediate family are going to occupy the space now used by tenants you can ask the seller/ landlord to serve the official ‘Notice to End’ on your behalf. This is based only on month to month tenancies where the rent is payable on the 1st of each month. This is the only reason you are allowed to have the seller/landlord serve the notice unless you and/or the seller/ landlord come to a mutual agreement with the tenants to mutually agree to end the tenancy. This usually involves some kind of monetary compensation to the tenants. If this is the case, make sure you confirm this by having a statement in your offer and you could also ask for a copy of the ‘Mutual Agreement to End’. When you make your offer there are three items you must always consider in order to make sure you do receive vacant possession. 1. The first is that you write a clause in your contract asking the seller/ landlord to serve the official ‘Notice to End’ if so requested by you. If you do not ask the seller/landlord to do this then they do not have to serve the tenants notice so make sure you always include this statement. Your REALTOR® will assist you with the correct clause. 2. The second item is that you must have removed all your subject clauses. In other words, your offer must be subject free.
3. Once steps one and two have been completed you as the buyer give the seller/landlord written notice that you and/or your family are moving in. The seller/landlord will then serve the official ‘Notice to End’ to the tenants as per the Residential Tenancy Act. There are severe penalties if you do not move in and occupy the space used by the tenants, so be sure to follow the rules of the Residential Tenancy Act. Because notice cannot be served to the tenants until all subjects are removed a seller/landlord will often serve the official ‘Notice to End’ on the subject removal date. [There are ‘official’ forms on the Residential Tenancy Office website.] The official notice period for month to month tenants who are paying rent on the 1st day of the month is 2 months ending on the last day of the tenancy period; not the first day of the month. Tenants have to vacate at 1:00 p.m. Calculating the date and time you as buyers can move in is critical. Since the tenants must vacate on the last day of the monthly tenancy period [not the 1st of the month] and they have to leave by 1:00 p.m. you would want your offer to allow you to move in after 1:00 p.m. You don’t want two moving vans at the same time; therefore, make your possession time around 4:00 p.m. or so. Most of the official ‘Notice to End’s’ are served by the seller/landlord on the date your offer becomes subject free. If your subject free offer is December 31st and that is the date the seller/landlord serves the 2 month notice to the tenants aajmag.ca
it means you would be allowed to move in on February 28th any time after 1:00 as per your instructions in your offer; often 4:00 p.m. If you or the seller/landlord delayed serving the notice until January 1st then you could not move in until March 31st. The easiest way to calculate the dates is to take the date the notice is or will be served to the tenants; e.g. December 31—go to –January 31 – go to -- February the 28th which is the end of the tenancy period and the date you could move in. If you or the seller/landlord delayed and served notice January 1 – go to February 1 – go to March 1 – and then you must go to the end of the tenancy period which would be March 31st. You lose a month by delaying just one day. So, if the 2 month term falls in the middle of a rental period, go to the end of that period. Notice is not effective until the last day of that rental period.
of the tenants, the monthly rental, any deposits taken, etc. You could add in that “Any damage/security deposit and any pet deposit taken will be adjusted between the parties on closing”. This is then an agreement between the sellers/ landlords and buyers that the lawyers/ notaries will take care of calculating everything. One other statement you may want to include in your offer is that the seller/ landlord guarantees that they will pay the one month’s free rent or give the tenants one month’s rent free. This is a regulation under the Residential Tenancy Act. Your REALTOR® is familiar with the Residential Tenancy Act rules and regulations when asking tenants to vacate and will make sure your offer contains all the correct statements and subjects. They will also assist you with calculating the date and time you can move into your new home.
Remember that real estate agreements must be in writing so it is often wise to add in a statement where you receive the confirmation of tenancy arrangements. Your offer will have the seller/landlord confirm that the tenancy is month to month, the name
BARBARA BELL OLSON is the Author of ‘Stay out of Real Estate Jail’ a Managing Broker Royal LePage Westside and instructor for BCREA. 66
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Priceless would indeed capture who Shital ‘Anmol’ is. Anmol taught as a teacher and served as a school principal before migrating to Canada in 2003 to be reunited with his adult children. Whenever Anmol has an opportunity, he is very open about sharing his gratitude to Canada for not only helping him to reunite with his family and for giving him the opportunity to continue with his passion for arts. As this year marks Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, I decided to approach Anmol and hear his reflections on what living in Canada means to him. Not surprisingly, what Anmol had to say was indeed very “anmol’- priceless! In his own style, Anmol started the conversation by sharing his greetings on the 150th anniversary of Canada. He also acknowledged the Great History and contributions of the First Nations communities and wisdom being passed on from one generation to another through elders and community leaders. "For me, I am very grateful to all pioneers, early settlers, and Aboriginal people who have contributed to making Canada as one of the best places in the world to live and work in”, said Anmol. Being the realist that he is, Anmol was quite mindful that along the way, there were times in the history of Canada where significant prices had to be paid. “Making or keeping Canada as one of the best places in the world does not come without a price”, continued Anmol.
One of the prices early settlers paid was when the Komagata Maru ship was nearing the shores of Canada and was forced to return without any of the passengers having the opportunity to walk on the shores of this paradise; their entry to Canada was denied – unethically, if not illegally. Although the undue denial of entry will always remain unforgettable in Anmol’s mind and in minds of millions of other Canadians, Anmol says he now feels a sense of healing and reconciliation is starting to emerge. For this transformation, Anmol highlights the role and leadership that was provided in 2016 by Canada’s Prime Minister, Hon. Justin Trudeau. Anmol continued the conversation by asking questions - and at times, giving his own explanations. "How many countries in the world can actually say, 'we and/or our ancestors made mistakes and we are sorry for it'? Hardly any! To preserve global peace and democracy, the opportunity to not only witness but also be a part of the healing and reconciliation process is one of the major highlights and most memorable experiences of my life." To initiate this healing and reconciliation process, Anmol felt very happy that he also had the opportunity to make contributions. “I was pleasantly surprised and honored when I was approached to do paintings for the Komagata Maru Museum managed by the Khalsa Diwan Society in Vancouver”, continued Anmol. aajmag.ca
“This helped me to not only utilize my passion - but, also to be a part of the movement that led to the legacy of healing and reconciliation in Canada." During the conversation, Anmol took a short pause and looked outside, quietly seeming to be at peace. After a few seconds of silence, Anmol continued: "150th anniversary of Canada has a special meaning for me". In addition to the healing and reconciliation process, Anmol says there are other reasons why he feels pleased to have adopted Canada as his country to live in and make contributions as a citizen. “My works of art has been gifted to City of Burnaby; Consulate General of India (Vancouver), Delta Hospital, and Shri Guru Ravidass Sabha in Burnaby and it is installed with pride at these remarkable institutions of democracies.”
I recently needed a bypass surgery and I received it without any regards to any of my socio-economic-political considerations. The treatment and care I received was excellent. Universal Health Care is one of the Canadian values that I hold near and dear to 'my heart'", Anmol continued with a lively smile. “For Canada to continue be one of the leaders and best places to live in, we need to ensure this value is preserved and protected." Indeed! Anmol is as priceless as are his words, observations, or his respect for Canada and is a great testimony to not only this ‘land of opportunities’, but also as a symbol of respect, forgiveness, humbleness, and willingness to correct mistakes and move on.
When asked if there are any other attributes of Canada that he feels proud or grateful of, Anmol shared what he described as his ‘utmost respect’ for the universal health care system in Canada. “Our universal health care system is foundation for creating equality and treating individuals with dignity.
JAI BIRDI is the General Secretary For the Chetna Association of Canada. He is an activist and writes on social justice issues and concerns. 70
THE VOICES OF MUSLIM WOMEN 72
Taking place on Wednesday May 17th, 2017 at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Surrey campus, the first ever Voices of Muslim Women Film Festival was an immensely successful night of celebrating and embracing the diversity of Muslim women. The Voices of Muslim Women (VMW) program was created by program instructor and coordinator, Aisha Amijee, with the help of program assistants, Zakiyah Shafique and Yusra Said and was sponsored by the Muslim Food Bank, Freed Education Co., the Visual Media Workshop, the Kwantlen Students' Association, Bombay Couture, Bombay Collection and Astra Dental. It consists of a four week long curriculum which saw Muslim women from diverse backgrounds, ages and ethnicities come together from across the Lower Mainland to meet each Saturday during the month of April at KPU Surrey. Here, 16 women aged 15-72 learned the art of “digital storytelling” through the lens of critical social justice theories. Digital storytelling is the practice of writing and narrating stories into short 2-5 minute films. The finished films are brought to life through editing, images, clips and music. These workshops provided a safe space for these courageous women to open up and share their experiences as Canadian Muslim women and cultivate their own unique stories. The night of the Film Festival commenced with an opening address from Aisha Amijee and a beautiful Arabic rendition of “O Canada” by Seemi Ghazi, a professor at UBC and one of the 16 women who partook
in the program. The screening of the first half of films then took place and was followed by a small intermission where participants and guests had the opportunity to mingle and help themselves to refreshments which were provided. The program commenced again with performances by Sumaiya Tufail (SumiSpeaks), a writer and slam poet and Jaeda Malawiya, a talented young singer and another participant in the VMW program. Afterwards, the last half of films were screened. Though they all tackled social justice issues, the films were all extremely diverse and showcased the unique and eclectic identities of each woman. The topics ranged from body image, Islamophobia, overcoming hardships and challenging cultural and societal gender roles. Each film reinforced the notion of being proud of who you are and your own identity as not only a Muslim woman, but as an individual. By sharing their very personal stories through their films, each woman firmly expressed that they are “unapologetically Muslim” and by doing so, took back their own agency and the power to write their narratives on their own terms. The night came to a close with the presentation of the first ever Voices of Muslim Women: Woman of the Year Awards. The awards were handed out to five remarkable women who are doing groundbreaking work in order to make a difference in our community. Naveen Zafar received the Young Woman of Distinction Award, Itrath Syed received the Social Justice and Community Activism Award, aajmag.ca
Qamrul Mohammed received the Lifetime Achievement Award, Nassim Elbardouh received the Education and Leadership Award and Yasmine Youssef received the Champion of Women Award. Like the name of the program states, "The Voices of Muslim Women" is quite literally all about the voices of Muslim women. The initiative seeks out to inspire and empower Muslim women from all walks of life to take back the control and power over their own identities and how
they are represented by showcasing that Muslim women do in fact have a voice and that these voices are powerful agents for change and will not be silenced. These voices were displayed loud and proud at the Voices of Muslim Women Film Festival and did not go unnoticed. The stories that the women who formed the first ever VMW cohort shared, had the audience on an emotional roller coaster throughout the evening. There were tears, laughter, applause and most importantly, endless appreciation. These women demonstrated courage and bravery by
sharing their stories and making their voices heard and ultimately helped to convey that Muslim women have voices and opinion that need to be heard in our society. Full names and bios of all the participants of this year's VMW cohort can be found at www.freededucationco. com. For further inquiries about the program or to be added to the waitlist for next year's cohort, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
ZAKIYAH SHAFIQUE, has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from SFU and is the Educational Consulting Coordinator at Freed Education Co.
HAPPY CANADA 150 A celebration of the shared values of our communities, our achievements, our majestic environment and our place in the world.
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…IT’S EVERYWHERE 76
Have you ever wondered why your family member will not stop drinking? Why do they continue to drink despite all the negative things that have happened? Despite all of your pleading and begging they just continue. Why does alcohol have so much power over an individual? Dean Burnett, a Neuroscientist recently wrote in The Guardian, “alcohol increases activity in the dopamine neurons in the mesolimbic reward pathway, as well as opioid cells that release endorphins. Both produce feelings of joy, pleasure, euphoria.” In the short-term, alcohol can reduce anxiety and inhibitions but longterm use can be detrimental leading to physical and emotional dependence, social isolation and ultimately alcoholism. In many cultures, alcohol is socially acceptable. We can find alcohol at many cultural and social events like weddings and festivals. References about alcohol are found everywhere we look: from billboards to TV shows to any social event. Also, alcohol can be paired with all kinds of food, and is in fact even promoted to be paired. And at some events, it’s taken for granted that it’s almost a necessity, such as when watching the game at a friend’s place. It is assumed that alcohol ensures fun and a good time always. The expectation is that alcohol will be available almost everywhere, or you can bring your own (BYOB). Tony Wilson, a lawyer special to the Globe and Mail recently wrote, “effective January 23, 2017, barbershops, salons, spas, cooking schools, art galleries, bookstores and other B.C. businesses that do not have bars and restaurants on their premises
can apply for a liquor-primary licence so that liquor can be served to customers in these non-traditional establishments. All sorts of businesses will be able to apply for a liquor-primary licence as long as they do not operate from a motor vehicle, or target minors.” With alcohol being so readily available, it almost seems too easy. Not drinking seems abnormal and you often get a look of shock and are asked, “What do you mean, you don’t drink?” Having a drink now and then seems acceptable and even a drink a day is considered normal. When you see an individual always drinking and displaying non-normal behaviour, you often hear comments like, “That person is definitely making some poor life decisions.” Or “That person really has a problem.” Now the individual is labelled as having a problem with alcohol but when alcohol is not consumed it is considered unusual and abnormal and you almost feel like you are a social outcast. But why do some people get hooked on alcohol and others do not? This is an extremely difficult question to answer. Just as every individual is complex, alcohol addiction is just as complex and affects everyone differently. Alcohol addiction results from an interplay of genetic and environmental factors. Mental illness, trauma, abuse, neglect and early alcohol usage are some of the reasons that explain the vulnerability to alcohol addiction. Individuals may even experiment with alcohol because they have been told to stay away from it or the mere existence of alcohol has been considered taboo by some cultures.
Not drinking seems abnormal and you often get a look of shock and are asked, “What do you mean, you don’t drink?”
You can obtain resources on how to support you or your loved ones with Alcohol Addiction at: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthtopics/alcpb http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/ health/managing-your-health/mentalhealth-substance-use/crisis-andinformation-lines http://www.camh.ca/en/hospital/ health_information/a_z_mental_ health_and_addiction_information/ alcohol/Pages/about_alcohol.aspx https://www.addictioncenter.com/ alcohol/
Just like the reasons to continue using alcohol are varied and complex, so are the treatment options. There is ‘no magic pill” that can cure alcohol addiction. An integrative approach with medication, a change in lifestyle and a supportive environment is the best approach in helping a loved one with alcohol addiction and most importantly time and patience is needed. Recovery does not happen overnight. Author David DiSalvo wrote in Forbes Magazine, “It is possible that despite these efforts a person may still use alcohol or relapse as long-term and heavy alcohol usage alters brain chemistry, which causes dependency and an individual is more vulnerable to relapse.”
Altered brain chemistry coupled with life events that create stress and hopelessness can trigger cravings for alcohol all over again – seemingly outweighing the reasons to abstain from drinking alcohol. Remember, no one chooses to become an alcoholic. Choice is no longer in the equation when your body and mind have become dependent on alcohol – when your body needs alcohol to function. To survive. When this happens, alcohol addiction becomes EVERYONE’S problem because without understanding, support, and empathy, your family member will continue to feel alone and misunderstood, deepening the downward spiral for the addict and
everyone around him or her. So despite alcohol being everywhere, take the time to educate yourself and your loved ones about the risks of becoming dependent, and also how to properly support an alcoholic without sacrificing yourself.
FERZANA JAMANI has 17 years of experience and education in the Mental Health and Addictions, and is an Instructor for Mental Health First Aid through the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
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SECRET RADICAL HUSTLING TIP ATTRACTS BABES 80
I’ll admit right this hot instant that I chose that title to titillate, inspire, stir the pot, get a convo started — you get the idea. But here’s the thing: you’re going to love this radical hustling tip because it works for men and women, and it feels damn good. This is advanced dating advice right here, folks! So, what is it? The secret radical hustling tip that attracts — either men or women, gay or straight — is… Honesty. That’s some crazy-ass advice right there, I know. Honesty is what our parents (hopefully) told us was the right policy, and we’ve probably learned over the years that if we tell the truth, we have to remember only one story. Plus, honesty actually kinda just feels better. Try it, I promise you’ll like it. Why Honesty Works Whether we’re in a stage of our love life where we want to simply “test the ice-cream flavours” or whether we’re looking for our version of a settle-downwithout-settling soulmate,we’re going to score more points and waste less time by using radical honesty. By having the self-assurance to unapologetically own whatever type of relationship we’re interested in, we demonstrate a Kilimanjaro level of confidence aka self-acceptance — a tremendously sexy trait.
And owning this agenda subconsciously gives the other person permission to own wherever they’re at, too. No judgements, no disillusionments, no shame, no games — big-time game changer. Example 1: You Just Want An Appetizer - aka Sex You’re fresh out of a long and messy relationship breakup, but you feel the need for pseudo-intimacy with some skin-to-skin contact. (“Pseudo” because men and women often tell me that they don’t find a lot of intimacy in the simple act of sex.) So, you’re in a transitional stage of life where you don’t have the emotional capacity to provide true intimacy, but you’re human and some form of closeness does feel good. And so does sex, so why not, right? I totally agree. Do it! Just be honest about it. You’ll feel better, and the other person won’t feel duped. And if you turn out to be a rockstar in bed and the other person want s more, well, you already had them sign the disclosure statement. If you’re honest and they hope for more than sex, shame on them. If you’re dishonest — by implying directly or by omitting key info — and you lead the other person on to believe there’s potential for more than what you will give, then shame on you. Avoid the shame game. Practice radical honesty. Here’s something you could say: “I’m not interested in a relationship.”
I know, right! How novel. Don’t say, “I’m not interested in a relationship right now.” Why? Because the other person may interpret that as meaning, “I am interested in a relationship (with you) in the future.” Ladies often make this interpretation, consciously or subconsciously! This also works: “I’m at a place in my life where I’m interested in casual sex only.” There are men and women who will gladly sign up for “just” sex. Example 2: You Want The Full Meal
Deal, Maybe Even Marriage You’ve tried enough ice-cream flavours or you already know you like peanut butter chocolate chip, so you’re ready to settle down a-sap. Here’s what you do: Say so! Yes, even the fellas are best off to be honest with this statement. Telling someone that you’re interested only in relationships with the potential for long-term commitment doesn’t mean you’ll take the first person who looks at you in the grocery store. You still have
standards. You simply know what you want — say, marriage and kids — and aren’t afraid to state it. Bravo, you. The bottom line on hustling is that when we’re honest about our intentions, we can get what we want without as much fallout — causing pain, hurt and negative reactions from the other lover. There will always be the potential for fallout, but if we’re honest, we don’t have to take on that responsibility, and we can make nice-nice with the ones who want to make out with us.
ANNA JORGENSEN is the founder of wingmam.com, a site that provides dating advice for professional men who want to settle down without settling.
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2017 LEITH WHEELER STANLEY PARK OPEN
This year marks the 86th annual edition of the Leith Wheeler Stanley Park Open. Organized by Tennis BC, and sponsored by Leith Wheeler Investment Counsel Ltd., this event is the largest grassroots public court tennis tournament in North America and British Columbia’s premier tennis event. With over thirteen hundred entries every summer, the Park is the place to be in July. Held over the course of 17 days from June 30 – July 16, the Leith Wheeler Stanley Park is the highlight of the season for many players, and everyone in the community is invited to attend. Its strong amateur roots, central location, open courts, summer sunshine, great vendors and people are what make this event so special. At the park you can expect to see a mix of people, players from all age categories and levels, from aspiring pros to long-time players, first time competitors to local and international tennis champions, juniors to adults, tennis fans to community partners. The Leith Wheeler Stanley Park Open is an unforgettable tennis tournament atmosphere - competitive yet always welcoming and social. The event is a yearly tradition, a two week long celebration of tennis, and a great party for the community. We pride ourselves on the fun, family and community atmosphere created throughout the 17 days. Many players and volunteers have been part of this event for years, and the spectators and fans that come on to cheer and
support have some great tennis stories to share. Some big names have played on these courts. Past champions include Grant Connell, who reached a career high of 67 in the world and Rebecca Marino former number 38 singles player in the world. Did you know that, even tennis greats, Rod Laver and John Newcombe played an exhibition match on the Stanley Park tennis courts many years ago?
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With the return of the Junior ITF Vancouver Championship and a new partner, Davis Trading, you can expect to see some of the top junior players in the world showcase their best shots. The Davis Trading Junior ITF Vancouver Championship event will be running from July 3 to July 8 and will feature some of the highest competition level tennis held in a public park setting. You will not want to miss it! The Leith Wheeler Stanley Park open is an event fit for the entire family. Some of the special events planned for this year will include a Celebrity Challenge, a Parent Child doubles event, entertaining DJ’s
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provided by TSN, daily features, vendor displays, giveaways and a social space with a beer garden. Come join us and witness some great tennis action! The Leith Wheeler Stanley Park runs from June 30 to July 16. For more details please check our website at stanleyparkopen.com. If you would like to get involved, and volunteer please get in touch with
us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Events like these would not be possible without the help of our communities and partners. Tennis BC is the official governing body for tennis in British Columbia and our main goal behind everything we do is to inspire and enable tennis throughout the province. Through our partnerships we are able to develop and deliver programs to
grow community tennis, enhance competitive infrastructure for all levels, stimulate and foster the development of facilities and highlight tennis through hosing major events such as the Leith Wheeler Stanley Park Open. All the funds we raise through partnerships and events goes back into our programs. To learn more about Tennis BC, please visit tennisbc.org.
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SPEAKING WITH CONFIDENCE
The first time I did a keynote speech at a major conference I was terrified. No one knew except my husband, who booked the day off, bless his heart, and came with me for moral support. As I got up to walk on stage my legs froze for a second, then when I was up there, my palms were sweating as I held on to the podium for dear life. Finally I looked out at the hundreds of people staring back at me, took a deep breath and started talking. I got through that first speech; in fact that was my first standing ovation. It filled me with confidence and a sense of accomplishment and every time I spoke my confidence grew a little more. Here are five tips to help you build your speaking confidence:
someone else. Promise yourself from today, after reading this article that you will embrace every opportunity to speak. Maybe you don’t like being in the spotlight, but your new promotion or small business requires it. The more you speak and capture the spotlight, the more your confidence will grow.
Confidence is something that comes from within
Practice, practice, practice
This is the first thing I came to realize that day. My confidence to speak was something I felt deep in my heart. No one can give you confidence or selfesteem; it must come from within you. Confidence is something that when properly nourished with constructive feedback and positive action grows like a healthy plant and helps your self-esteem blossom.
Allow yourself to fail and make mistakes One of the only ways to learn in public speaking is by making mistakes and allowing yourself to fail. I can tell you from personal experience, that failure is much better teacher than success. Success often makes people complacent, whereas failure makes them try harder.
Just like athletics and sports, public speaking is a skill that requires training, coaching and rigorous practice. I practice my speeches for hours at a time. You could practice with a coach or with your family or staff or even by yourself. The point is to put in the time and effort to be the best speaker you are cable of being. As the character Harvey Specter says in one of our favourite TV shows Suits “The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary.”
…put in the time and effort to be the best speaker you are cable of being.
Take every opportunity to speak Many people when they lack confidence shy away from speaking opportunities or give them to
Quiet your negative inner critic We all have that negative inner voice that tells us we are going to fail. I aajmag.ca
have it too. It’s the sound of fear. It tells you “Don’t go up there, you’ll look like a fool” or “You’ll freeze on stage and everyone will laugh at you”. Remember that you are in control of your inner voice, not the other way around. Do not let fear win. Have the courage to silence your inner critic and take the leap of faith knowing that you will succeed or learn, either way it’s worth it. I look back at that first speech, which was about seven years ago now,
with tremendous pride. It allowed me to have the confidence to take on bigger projects in the future and expand the boundaries of my comfort zone. We all have a comfort zone that is defined by our own fears and self imposed limitations. But what if I told you couldn’t fail? What would you do then? What risks would you take? Your speaking potential is truly limitless; you only have to take that first step.
NARGES NIRUMVALA is Canada’s leading executive speech coach, an award winning entrepreneur, author of the Amazon bestselling book Capture the Spotlight and a humanitarian.
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Happy 150th Birthday CANADA! From the Directors and Staff at the Surrey Board of Trade
Dr. Greg Thomas Chair
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Indra Bhan Chief Operating Officer
Celebrate Canadaâ€™s 150th birthday with the Surrey Board of Trade! Contact us at 604.581.7130 or check us out online at businessinsurrey.com
101-14439 104 Avenue Surrey, BC, V3R 1M1 office 604.581.7130 toll free 1.866.848.7130
WHY PARENTS NEED TO TAKE TIME FOR THEIR MENTAL HEALTH? "It's not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can't tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself." ~Joyce Maynard
Our children observe us to teach and prepare them for life. As parents we often are the first and strongest influence on our children’s lives. Parenting can be one of the most rewarding roles any of us have in life, however, these days there is immense pressure to keep up with unrealistic and often unhealthy expectations. With all the stresses of being the “perfect parent” many of us are challenged with balancing our own physical and mental wellness. Most of us realize it is important to keep our physical body healthy while few think about keeping our minds healthy and well. If you think Mental Illness won't affect you, the statistics are hard to dispute - 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness sometime in their life. For some it may be stress – yes, stress is a form of mental illness too! "The Life and Economic Impact of Major Mental Illnesses in Canada: 20112041", prepared for the Mental Health Commission of Canada estimates that by the time Canadians reach 40 years of age, 1 in 2 will have – or have had – a mental illness. So the next time you doctor says to decrease your stress, what he or she may really be saying is, “take care of your mental health”. Why is it important for parents to take time to care for their mental health? Research indicates that children who have a parent with a mental illness (even stress), will have a higher risk of acquiring a mental illness. Most parents will do anything for their children - who
knew taking care our mental health is good for our children too? Supporting our mental wellness is ideal for parents who have noticed the following recently in their lives: • Becoming easily annoyed or irritable • O f t e n f e e l i n g n e r v o u s , anxious or on edge • Worrying all the time • Having difficult relaxing • Little interest or pleasure in things • Trouble falling or staying asleep or sleeping too much • Feeling tired or having little energy • Poor appetite or overeating • Trouble concentrating on things If you are noticing some of these symptoms in your life more regularly than you would like, you may want to consider some strategies to support your mental wellness parenting to help you feel more balanced and supported. All parents can assess how they’re doing and how their family is doing. The BC Reproductive Mental Health program uses NEST-S as a self care model that causes selfreflection to support a self-care strategy that you can assess and implement in your life to achieve mental wellness parenting.
N – NUTRITION • Are you drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water a day? • Are you eating three meals a day including a range of foods from all four food groups? • Are you making time for two healthy snacks a day? • Are you limiting you caffeine intake?
E – EXERCISE • Are you choosing realistic activities to begin exercising? • A r e y o u f o c u s i n g o n activities you enjoy? • How are you exercising? Do you take time for even a ten minute walk? Exercise doesn’t always have to mean going to the gym for an hour, it can be as simple as a walk.
S – SLEEP • How many hours do you sleep each night? Is this enough? • Have you created a good sleep environment? • Would naps benefit you? Or do they disrupt your night time sleep? • Are you avoiding strenuous activity, exercise, heavy meals, caffeine and bright light for at least one hour before going to bed? 94
T – TIME FOR SELF • Are you acknowledging that taking time for yourself is not selfish, it is healthy? • Are you ensuring you receive 15 minutes a day to yourself? • A r e y o u f o c u s i n g o n activities and outings that make you happy and you enjoy?(Example: go for coffee with friends, go to a spiritual place, or, have a bubble bath). • Are you asking for help to ensure you receive time for yourself?
S – SUPPORT When parents become emotionally overwhelmed, your social lives are usually among the first areas to be affected. In depression, for example, social isolation is one the primary symptoms. Unfortunately, isolation only makes depression worse. • Do you have someone you can talk to? • Do you have supportive and caring people close by? • Do you have someone who can take care of your kids? It takes a village to raise our children – if you don’t have a village, you need to create a new village in your support network, such as neighbours, relatives, etc. You can start to build your village by asking for help, going for coffee with fellow parents, and trade off with parents (eg. pick up the kids on alternate days from school)
As parents, we take things on to try and make things the best for our kids, but we have to recognise at what cost. How many of us South Asians have heard the saying, “happy wife, happy life”? I would say, “happy parents, happy children”.
Where can I get help/resources? Canadian Mental Health, CMHA.ca Fraser Health.Ca Family Mental Health Program, firstname.lastname@example.org BC Nursing Line 604-215-4700 Mental Health After Hours 604-527-0009 Crisis Centre 604-872-3311
KARIN RAI M.A., worked in the Mental Health area for over 20 years, and is the Family Mental Health Program coordinator.
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HOW TO GET YOUR HOME READY FOR HOME STAGING 96
Interior decorating is a very personal thing. We fill our lives with little trinkets and things that are deeply personal, and when we sell our home, we may not realize that these items may not actually be helping us sell! Home staging, says Rita Chohan of An Elegant Touch Inc, needs to be neutral. Rita started out in the fashion world, growing up in Vancouver and being raised in her family’s business on Main Street, before moving forward to open up her own boutique full of stunning imports from Bombay and putting on some of the first South
Asian fashion shows in the lower mainland as young as at the age of 18. “Back then, wearing Indian outfits was frowned upon,” she says. At that time, Indian fashion was not considered a very trendy or “cool” thing to do, unlike today where in Metro-Vancouver there are rows upon rows of designer boutiques dedicated to South Asian outfits. Perhaps it’s because Rita has an eye for all things trendy and visually appealing that she ended up leaning towards home staging later on in her journey. As one of the first and very
few South Asian homestagers, Rita has created a niche market for herself and now has up to 70 homes staged simultaneously! “Home staging is not just interior decorating,” she says, “it’s about allowing the next potential buyer to be able to see themselves in your home. Home stating has to be neutral for this reason. Everything will sell for the right price, but for how long and at what price? Home staging can really help a house sell faster, for a better price.”
If you’re interested in staging your home, here are some tips and tricks from Rita to help: 1. DEPERSONALIZE - make
your home neutral and don’t leave anything out that could cause someone to start guessing about the current homeowner. Put away mail, family photos, prescriptions, and religious objects as much as you can.
2. DECLUTTER - Make things
orderly and pack away the knick knacks. Don’t leave shoes by the door and de clutter your furniture, too. The more floor space you have, the more spacious a room feels, including little things like an empty floor in a closet. The floor space can affect how people flow from room to room. It’s better to show an empty shelf - you’re a l re a d y m o v i n g , s o s t a r t packing! Rita says.
3. MODERNIZE - The age of
your furniture may be dictating the age of your home to a potential buyer. Rearrange, modernize, or make other small changes to update the look of your home.
4. G I V E Y O U R H O M E A LITTLE CURB APPEAL if
it needs a little help in this department - it’ll create a good impression before buyers even walk in!
5. BAKE FRESH COOKIES, OR BREW COFFEE before an open house - strong but neutral smells mask any other smells and make your home more inviting to people.
SOUTH ASIAN BRIDAL EXPO IN EDMONTON
The South Asian Bridal Expo was held in Edmonton on April 30th at The Royal Palace. It was a huge success and supported by all local businesses. More than 40 wedding vendors participated with vendor booths. The event was jam packed for four different fashion shows. Several models rocked the runway, giving makeup and hair artists a chance to showcase their talent. The performers included SAAM, Anjana Babbar and Wow Factor, with DJ services provided by Exclusive Entertainment and Urban Beats. The masters of ceremonies for this event here Mehauk Basin and Neha Batra, with Shikha Obrai as the stage manager.
INDIAâ€™S SOLAR RUSH! A LESSON TO THE WEST
Seventy years ago, India threw off the chains of the British empire and became a free nation. Now the world’s largest democracy is rising again headlong into the future. What we hear most these days is how it will be the most populous nation on the planet. So what does it mean for climate change? To propel the economic engine of the nation, India needs a lot of electricity. Out of all the electricity that comes from the grid to power the economic growth for 1.34 billion citizens, 60% of that power capacity comes from coal. Adding to which 30% of the generated electricity is lost in transmission. This means India has to burn more coal for the same amount of electricity and that affects the climate! India is already the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG). That’s not all, India is the fastest growing major economy with a growth rate of 7.5%. It is third largest consumer of coal behind the US and China. To meet its growing demand, the government needs to double coal production. That means massive amounts of carbon dioxide are going to be emitted into the atmosphere. Apart from pollution, the temperature will also rise. Therefore,
the effect is going to be catastrophic not only to India but the entire planet. India’s prime minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014 promising growth-oriented development and jobs for the 800 million youths. To fulfill his election promise, Modi needs to increase the electricity production – and he seems determined to find a solution using renewable energy that can he accomplish before it is too late. In summer 2013, I visit ed Coimbatore, a major city in South India usually referred as the Manchester due to its extensive textile industry, fed by the surrounding cotton fields. The day I reached Coimbatore, the temperature was around 38° C. It was a very hot day and I checked into a hotel. Suddenly during the night, the AC stopped working and I called the reception to know what was the problem. The receptionist told me that it was a power cut and advised me not to worry as they are going to start the generator. Next day, I learned that they have long hours of power cuts during the day time. The lack of adequate power supply has taken a great toll on the lives of many people. The worst affected are small farmers and the small-scale and micro industries. It was shocking to learn how they use diesel-powered generators as backups that pour huge quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Here is the scary part, India has enough diesel-powered backup generators to power all of Canada. A grid powered by coal with a large transmission loss, inefficiently run with power outages all requiring more coal and on top of that, a massive number of diesel generators,
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are warming the planet even more. There is an urgent need to generate the power from cleaner and renewable sources like solar. That is what actually Modi is trying to do. Moreover, there are around 300 million Indians without any access to electricity - that's equal to the population of the USA. So much of India lived like the people in the West lived before the industrial revolution. That is changing rapidly now and India is becoming the economic powerhouse with a growth rate of 7.5% and already has outpaced China and overtook Britain as the World's Sixth-Largest Economy. This Summer 2017 it is a new scenario in Coimbatore. Due to India’s massive solar push, the city is witnessing uninterrupted 24 x 7 power supply. Power is coming from solar panels covering an area of 2,500 acres, which, to put it in perspective, is enough space to organize about 500 parallel football matches. It has a capacity of 650 MW of clean power and provides electricity to 150,000 homes. India is now setting up another solar park over the deserts of Rajasthan that can generate 10,000 MW of solar power. Undoubtedly this plant will be another mega structure. India is also witnessing a surge in small-scale private solar companies which are trying bring light to the 300 million people living without power. For instance, OMC is a small-scale solar power company that sells power to about 200 homes. OMC had around 100 plants in 2016 and they are building plants at the rate of 1 plant per day. There are hundreds of such companies that 102
serve as mini power plants. These small plants are something like neighborhood utilities and are not connected to the power grid. Which brings clean power to villages at an affordable price of just $2 a month that for decades relied on electricity from dirty sources like coal. Today, India is taking long and fast rides towards a national goal of becoming one of the world leaders in solar power generation by 2022. That is 175 GW of energy generated from renewable sources. India has also set an ambitious target by 2030 it will cut GHG emission by 35% of 2005 levels. That is a huge energy commitment, especially as India is producing the only 1/5th of its goal now with some 36 GW renewable power generation. Out of which, only 4000 MW of the power is coming from solar. That is something like powering 60 million homes by solar by 2022. The previous government promised to boost the country’s solar power capacity from its existing level by 5 times. But after taking office, Modi bravely raised the stakes to more than 30 times the country’s installed capacity. However, this dream relies heavily on foreign investment. The government estimates it will need around $100 billion in new investment. Much of this proposed new capacity will necessarily rely on foreign technology along with improving the existing poor infrastructure and overcoming red tape. Therefore, Modi’s big dream could be a major challenge for his government. Very soon India’s population will reach 1.5 billion and to meet the aspirations of the
people - will the world help India to meet its renewable targets? Here in North America, we are certainly not as ambitious as India is in cleaning up the way we generate energy. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris climate agreement, a major break from international partners that would isolate the United States in global efforts to curb global warming.
Canada’s Justin Trudeau has been sending deeply mixed messages about the future of the country’s heavily polluting tar sands oil industry. Certainly, India is becoming climate leader as rest of the world falters.
PETE POOVANNA is a Canadian Queen Elizabeth Scholar, Research Fellow at Laboratory of Alternative Energy Conversion & Ph.D. Candidate, Simon Fraser University.
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NOT YET FOR THE DRESS
In Canada, there are young people being abused in the name of honour behind closed doors. Canada needs to take a stand against early child forced marriages. It is for this reason that on May 28th, #NotYetForTheDress took place at Krause Berry Farms in beautiful Metro Vancouver with many VIPs in attendance - to talk about honour violence and child marriage, and to begin the work of putting this to a stop. What is honour violence? Honour violence is a form of violence against women committed with the motive of protecting or regaining the honour of the perpetrator, family, or community. Women and girls may lose honour through expressions of autonomy, particularly if this autonomy occurs within the area of sexuality. Men may be targeted
either by the family of a woman who they are believed to have ‘dishonoured’, in which case both parties may be at risk, or by their own family if they are believed to be homosexual. Common triggers for honourbased violence include: • R e f u s i n g a n a r r a n g e d marriage • H a v i n g a r e l a t i o n s h i p outside the approved group • Loss of virginity • Pregnancy • Spending time without the supervision of a family member • Reporting domestic violence • Attempting to divorce • Refusing to divorce when ordered to do so by family members However, some families may resolve to abuse or kill a member on what would appear to be very trivial grounds. It is important to take clients fears of honour-based violence seriously, even when it seems unlikely. Victims of honourbased violence are more likely to underestimate the risks to their safety than overstate them and even the ‘offence’ seems trivial to you, this does not mean it is trivial to his or her family. People at risk of honour-based violence may have had negative aajmag.ca
experiences and expectations of authority. It is important to reassure potential victims, to be culturally sensitive and empathic without making assumptions about her or his culture and background. **We need to be clear about protecting young people from
harmful practices and not political correctness.** Honour based violence isn't the same as domestic violence. We need to learn the difference; domestic violence is violence by a partner or by someone you're in a relationship with. While victims of honour violence are often female, males may also be targeted by this kind of oppression and violence for a number of reasons: • A c t u a l o r p e r c e i v e d homosexuality • Dating outside of the cultural community 106
• R e s i s t i n g a n a r r a n g e d marriage We have a duty to support and empower young people in Canada and show them that they have choices. Victims of honour violence are targeted because their actual or perceived behaviour is deemed by their family or community to be shameful or to violate cultural or religious norms. Honour violence can take many forms, including verbal/ emotional abuse, threats, stalking, harassment, false imprisonment, physical violence, sexual abuse, and homicide. We cannot deny the existence of honour violence in Canada. For those who would, they are forgetting the story of Jassi Sidhu, which took place a few years ago in Metro Vancouver. The apparent "honour killing" of Jassi, a young Indian-Canadian woman, took place over a clandestine marriage to a man her family considered unsuitable. There was also a very high profile case where Hamed Shafia, his father Mohammad Shafia, and his mother, Tooba Yahya, were charged with the murder of his three teen sisters and Mohammad’s first wife, Rona Amir Mohammad, when they were found drowned at the bottom of the Rideau River in Kingston, Ontario. It is likely there may be more cases such as these that have gone unreported. We want frontline practitioners to learn about harmful practices such as these and how to detect and work towards resolving such situations. In the UK it's now a
criminal offence to force someone into marriage (Source: http://www. legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/12/ part/10/enacted).\ It's so important that we are having this event in BC as we need to raise awareness of early child and forced marriages. Whilst in BC I met with community leaders, frontline staff, universities, and many other
people. It is so important that we talk openly about this in Canada so that our young people are not forced into marriage. Only when we do this can we start to work on ending this phenomenon internationally.
MANDY SANGHERA is a Human Rights Activist and TEDx speaker who has spent years supporting and empowering others after abuse. She is one of the founders of the U.K. Forced Marriage Unit.
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In this issue we celebrate Canada's historic 150th birthday. This is also the inaugural issue of AAJ Magazine as a national magazine. In thi...
Published on Jul 8, 2017
In this issue we celebrate Canada's historic 150th birthday. This is also the inaugural issue of AAJ Magazine as a national magazine. In thi...