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For information about Dhaliwal Group and events contact: 778.384.2004

Bali Dhaliwal VP of Dhaliwal Group of Companies


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FROM THE PUBLISHER As the celebration of the harvest arrives, we are looking forward to attending both Vaisakhi parades this year as well as Vaisakhi On The Hill and handing out this issue to everyone in the community with great pride. In this issue, you will find stories that reflect the joy we find in Vaisakhi. We are also aware that there is an upcoming BC election and therefore we have a story on some of the faces running in this provincial election and more importantly, what motivates them. Elections are an opportunity to exercise our

civic duty - our votes matter and truly affect the future of our cities, our province and our country. I personally would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to go and vote in the upcoming BC election. We are excited to announce that in celebration of Canada 150, we will be announcing a special project very soon! We live in a land of great opportunity and we look forward to celebrating all cultures and festivals that make up the Canadian mosaic. Happy Vaisakhi and best wishes from all of us here at AAJ Magazine!

Suki Pangalia CEO P: 604.590.0007 E: info@aajmag.ca AAJ Media Group Surrey, BC ISSN 2371-2481

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.


THE TEAM Publishers Suki Pangalia Goldy Pataria Steve Sandhu Administration Reshma Mohammed Executive Assistant

Neelam Gandevia General Manager

Editors Navkiran Brar Matt WIlliams

Investigative Journalist Salim Jiwa Medical Editors Dr. Paramjit Bhui Dr. Raj Bhui Dr. Dennis Bhui Editorial Navkiran Brar Shabnam Khan Sanjeev Virk Alex Shanga Raj Singh Toor

Neelam Gandevia Nalini Bhui Advertising & Sales Paul Baraich Kelly Uppal Steve Sandhu Sonali Pangalia Melina Pham Sammy Randhawa Jay Nair Jaswinder Saggi Design & Layout Brugge Design

Adrian Brugge Tina Theuer Distribution Sahil Pangalia Photography Mark Lewis Images Credits 123RF Pixabay istockphoto Thank You! Perminder Chohan Bhui Family

Diva! Design Post Idol Media Blackbox Print


ISSUE Why Is Vaisakhi Important? 12 Vaisakhi 18 Moving Forward from the Komagata Maru Incident 26 Top 20 Bhangra Songs of 2016/2017 34 International Bhangra Competitions Dates + Details 40 Creative Cost Cutting Strategies for British Columbians 46 Leveraging Your Brand Online 52 Dear Editor BC Election: Campaign Finance Reform & Electoral Reform Proposal 56 Looking At The Upcoming BC Election As A Twenty Something 64




The vibrant festival of Vaisakhi, or Baisakhi, is considered to be an extremely important festival in India and around the globe for many reasons. Besides being important to the farmers as the harvest festival, this is of prime importance in Sikhism as the founding day of Khalsa Panth!! ASTROLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF VAISAKHI The festival of Vaisakhi falls on April 13 every year and April 14 once in every 36 years. This is due to the fact that date of Vaisakhi is reckoned according to the solar calendar. Astrologically, the date of Vaisakhi is significant as it marks sun’s entry into Mesh Rashi. For this very reason, many people also know Vaisakhi as Mesha Sankranti. The auspicious date of Vaisakhi is celebrated all over India under different names and rituals. It is celebrated as 'Rongali Bihu' in Assam, 'Naba Barsha' in Bengal, ‘Puthandu’ in Tamil Nadu, 'Pooram Vishu' in Kerala and ‘Vaishakha’ in the state of Bihar.

SIGNIFICANCE OF BAISAKHI FOR FARMERS For the agriculturally rich state of Punjab and Haryana, Vaisakhi marks the time for harvest of Rabi (winter) crops and is therefore extremely significant for the farmers. The Vaisakhi Festival is also celebrated as a Thanksgiving Day festival in these states. After waking up early and dressing themselves in new clothes, farmers visit temples and Gurdwaras to express gratitude to God for the good harvest and seek blessings for the ensuing agriculture season. Farmers also celebrate Vaisakhi by performing energetic bhangra and gidda dance and participating in Vaisakhi Fairs. 13



Vaisakhi is of major importance for the people following Sikh faith, as it was on a Vaisakhi Day, in the year 1699 that the Tenth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh founded Khalsa Panth or the Order of Pure Ones and gave a unique identity to Sikhs. On the same day the guru administered amrit (nectar) to his first batch of five disciples making them Singhs, a martial community. By doing so, he eliminated the differences of high and low and established that all human beings were equal.

Sikhs attend prayers at the Gurdwara (temple) in the morning. In large cities throughout North America there are Nagar Kirtans (processional singing of holy hymns) or parades held to commemorate the day.

Sikhs celebrate Vaisakhi by participating in special prayers organized at Gurdwaras. They also carry out joyful Vaisakhi processions to mark the day.

SIGNIFICANCE OF BAISAKHI IN OTHER RELIGIONS The day of Vaisakhi is of significance for the Hindus as it was on this day in 1875 that Swami Dayanand Saraswati founded the Arya Samaj - a reformed sect of Hindus who are devoted to the Vedas for Spiritual Guidance. Besides this, Vaisakhi day is of relevance for the Buddhists as Gautama Buddha attained Enlightenment and Nirvana on this auspicious day. 14

The Nagar Kirtan usually departs from a Gurdwara and

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO GET INVOLVED AND VOLUNTEER, YOU MAY ATTEND THE LOCAL NAGAR KIRTAN IN YOUR CITY follows a parade route throughout the morning and afternoon. Sikhs will often do Sewa (volunteer services) at a Gurdwara or make and donate food to people during the Nagar Kirtan or parade. The individual groups, families or organizations that make or donate the food may set up Langar or snack stations throughout the Nagar Kirtan route for the Sangat (community of people) that attend. Sewa is an important pillar in the Sikh faith, and there is no better time to do Sewa than to do so with all of your community around you!

In many cities, Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtans are huge events with over 150,000 people in attendance. As it is a celebration, entertainment and fun events are part of the festivities. Many Vaisakhi festivals have stages where performers entertain the crowd. If you would like to get involved and volunteer, you may

attend the local Nagar Kirtan in your city - help set up, distribute food to attendees during Vaisakhi or visit your local Gurdwara to do some Sewa.

VAISAKHI IN CANADA Canada has a thriving Sikh population and their community, together with people from many other diverse cultures, beliefs and backgrounds comes to life on April 13th for Vaisakhi Celebrations. Their warm,

welcoming, friendly and inclusive attitude has made Vaisakhi celebrations in Canada a global phenomenon. The province of British Columbia is home to Surrey, a city rich with Sikh culture and people. One of the greatest contributors to Vaisakhi celebrations in Canada, and Surrey in particular, is the Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar

Temple. The Gurdwara is the chief organizer of the Surrey Vaisakhi parade, which is said to be the largest Vaisakhi celebrations in Canada, and outside of India as well. The Gurdwara has been organizing the parade for a period of almost 2 decades. The second largest parade takes place in Vancouver, both usually approximately within a week of each other! 15

The turnout at Vaisakhi celebrations have been increasing over the years as more people have started partaking in these celebrations. It’s just breath taking to see how much time, energy and effort are put together before, during and after the celebrations. There is so much generosity, love and care that is shared amongst people regardless of who and what their faiths are. There are children and elders who are all equally involved in doing Seva during Vaisakhi. Everyone has beautiful smiles and are greeting each other as well as offering to

others - making sure everyone gets something and no one gets missed out. It’s a very colorful day with people in beautiful suits and the little ones in their adorable traditional outfits. The air is filled with the aroma of pots of hot steaming spicy chai, freshly made jalebis in huge frying pans and freshly made pakoras. Their hard work, dedication, unity and togetherness is admirable. It’s an amazing day to spend with your families, friends and loved ones - to learn, enjoy and simply to celebrate.



inclusive | innovative | independent

wishes you a

Happy Vaisakhi From the Directors and Staff at the Surrey Board of Trade

Dr. Greg Thomas Chair

Anita Huberman Chief Executive Officer

Indra Bhan Chief Operating Officer

Celebrate Vaisakhi 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




VAISAKHI “Saaryaanu vaisakhi de lakh lakh badhaiyan. Guru di kirpa hamesha bane rahe!"


IN THE 21ST CENTURY IN UK, USA AND CANADA, VAISAKHI CELEBRATIONS ARE SYMBOLIC OF PUNJAB’S RELIGIOUS AND SOCIAL HISTORY. Many of us are not familiar with some immigrants still miss those the challenges faced by farmers aspects of their previous lives. on a daily basis. Gone are the Some of us still believe in prayer days when a very young bride in but, all of us believe in fun and India was married to someone in enjoyment. a faraway village. Then, she had So, in the Western world we to move after marriage and start an entirely new life with total adapt. We have huge ‘Baisakhi strangers. In that context, valuable Melas’ in cities such as New life lessons were learnt through York, Vancouver, Toronto and Edmonton. social activities during major More than a festivals such as quarter million MORE THAN A Vaisakhi. It was people of all QUARTER MILLION an important religions - Sikh, event signifying Hindu, Muslim, PEOPLE OF ALL the day of Christians, RELIGIONS - SIKH, ‘Thanksgiving’ etc. - attend to God for these events HINDU, MUSLIM, th e b ounti ful in some cities. harvest of the CHRISTIANS, ETC. They partake winter Rabi ATTEND THESE EVENTS in the delicious crops and a free vegetarian prayer for future IN SOME CITIES. food from stalls prosperity by generously the farmers in s p o n s o r e d b y t h e va r i o u s Punjab. Today, social situations and value systems have undergone businesses and families of the local great changes. We do not all need Indian community. All traditional to grow crops – we have grocery foods such as Chole Bhature, stores to get them from. However, Kadhi Chawal, Rajma, Aloo Poori, 19

Kachori, Pakodas, Chaat, Masala Tea, fruit, fresh spicy lime juice, yogourt, Jalebi, Gulab Jamun, fresh sugarcane juice & vegetable or paneer cutlets are served. Nowadays, Bhangra and Giddha and other traditional Indian dances and music are performed on stages and enjoyed by all. Open teaching and participation are also encouraged. Whole areas of streets are closed off along parade routes which stretch over miles. Parades have several beautifully decorated floats and donations pour in as ‘Kada Pershad’ (sacred sweet dish) and almonds and fruit are generously distributed. Martial arts displays by young students both boys and girls and singing of kirtans accompanied by Harmoniums and Tablas, portray great skill, strength and practice by the youngsters. It is truly heartwarming to see youngsters involved in such activities. Kudos to their Gurus and parents for the effort to keep these youngsters as good, productive members of society and out of trouble. ‘Kavi Sammelans’ (poetry readings), turban tying sessions and contests, and ‘wrestling matches’ are also organized at several venues.



Attendees of all ages, races and religions enjoy every aspect of the Vaisakhi celebrations in canada. This is proof of true multicultural tolerance, acceptance, participation and enjoyment. This popular ‘Harvest Festival’ celebration is unparalled even in modern times and brings great joy, and provides a valuable source of outdoor exercise. The community spirit of togetherness & bonding and the economic benefits of such an event is a welcome bonus!

Happy Vaisakhi from

Where taste & tradition blend the largest ethnic importers & distributors in Western Canada

8137 Swenson Way, Delta, BC V4G 1J5 Phone: 604.583.6000 | Toll Free: 877.327.9611 Fax: 604.583.6001 Email: info@gaganfoods.com

www.gaganfoods.com 21

Happy Vaisakhi from

Nana’s Kitchen

Shelina Mawani Co founder

Unit 12 - 8125 130 St., Surrey, BC, Canada V3W 7X4

Tel: 604-572-6202 | Fax: 604-572-6275 Email: info@yournanaskitchen.com


WISHING YOU A HAPPY & BLESSED VAISAKHI Let’s keep BC strong! For more information on our PLAN visit: www.BCLiberals.com

Your BC Liberal Candidate


Authorized by David Goldsmith, Financial Agent for the BC Liberal Party | 1-800-567-2257




The Komagata Maru came to Vancouver on May 23, 1914 with 376 passengers including my grandfather. His name was Baba Puran Singh Janetpura. He was a student on the ship. He was already well educated, having studied at an EnglishLanguage High School in Ludhiana, Punjab, and had studied telecommunication at the University of Amethi. He was on his way to Canada for higher education, and was told at the time that any Indian who was part of the British Commonwealth would be welcome to study further in Canada. They were British subjects and they were also holding British passports. Sadly, he told me the Canadian government denied the ship entry and did not treat them very well. No food, water and medication was provided by the government. Only the local Sikh community provided them with these essentials. The Komagata Maru was forcefully sent back to India after 2 months under the shadow of a military ship. When the Komagata Maru returned to India, the British were ruling the country. British troops shot the passengers of the Komagata Maru: 20 were killed on the spot, many were injured,

and the rest of them were put in jail for a long period of time. My grandfather served approximately 5 years jail term. When he was released, the government put restrictions on him: he could not go out of his village. In protest, most of the surviving passengers of the Komagata Maru joined the freedom movement, including my grandfather. India finally gained independence in 1947.

My grandfather, Baba Puran Singh Janetpura, was recognized by both the Punjab government and the government of India for his services, and he played an active role in the India freedom movement. Around 1968, my uncle sponsored my grandfather 27

to come to Canada, but he refused. He said that he had a painful, bitter memory of Canada. He said that he would not go there, but he predicted that the South Asian community would set strong roots in the country and would be very successful and live happily there. His words came true - today the South Asian community is living very successfully and happily here in Canada. Descendants of the survivors of the Komagata Maru incident, and the Komagata Maru Society, lobbied and worked for over 10 years for an apology from the government, and never asked for any compensation. In 2016, the BC Government finally apologized for the incident at the BC Legislature Building. The Federal Government


also apologized for the incident in the House of Commons. I was able to attend both events. An official invitation was sent to us by the Prime Minister's office, to witness a formal apology at the House of Commons, regarding the mistreatment of the passengers of the Komagata Maru. We travelled to the House of Commons and sat in the speaker gallery in front of the Prime Minister. Trudeau stood up from his chair and apologized to the descendants of the Komagata Maru and the South Asian community as a whole. He gave us a respectful and a formal apology. As the descendants of Komagata Maru passengers, we are very appreciative of this gesture. During the tragedy, 376 people went

through a lot of pain, suffering and mistreatment. Their struggle and sacrifice was finally recognized in the House of Commons. We would like to say thank you to Prime Minister Trudeau and his team for keeping their promise. We also want to say thank you to the South Asian media, Canadian media, South Asian community and Canadian brothers and sisters for supporting us.

ministers and prime ministers, so they will learn from history. My grandfather used to say, “One day you could be rich, the next day you could be poor. You could lose everything, but the one thing that no one can take away is your education.” So give more education to your children. As my grandfather said, “the more education you give to society the less discrimination there will be.”

The Komagata Maru incident of 1914 was also recognized as an event of national historic significance, with National Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan unveiling a commemorative plaque from the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. We are very happy and we want to say thank you to the Government of Canada and Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, for recognizing the incident as an event of national historic significance.

He passed away in 1974. In 1976, for his legacy and his memory, the Punjab government and family built a hospital in his village Janetpura. 50% of the cost was paid by the government of Punjab and the other 50% was paid by the family. About 6 villages near this hospital use their medical services.

We cannot undo the past, but we can move forward and leave a legacy for future generations by educating them about the past. They are going to be future





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Administrative Executive for Surrey

International business transactions

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Wishing You a Happy Vaisakhi








In honour of Vaisakhi and harvest season in Punjab, and in no specific order, here are some of the top Bhangra hits for 2016/2017!


We’re not biased but we absolutely love it when one of Surrey’s very own make it to the top! Jazzy B’s new album (Folk N Funky 2) is amazing, especially the remake of this blast from the past.


by Guru Randhawa featuring Arjun W ith over 42 million views on YouTube, this hit could be recognized as 2016’s summer anthem for bhangra lovers!

JATT 24 CARAT by Harjit Harman

Whether it be the classic folk beat, or the lyrics, this song is perfect for pre-wedding celebrations!


by Sharry Mann This song is just so awesome and the remixes out there are great too! Check out the original on YouTube, or hit up Soundcloud for the Zamaikan Edit.


by Harman Virk, Zora Randhawa, Rupali and Dr. Zeus The beats for this tune are perfect for a dance off at a wedding reception!

MINI COOPER by Ammy Virk

Ammy Virk has been on fire over the past couple of years! Check out his movies as well – they are actually quite good. 35

DO YOU KNOW by Diljit

LABEL BLACK by Gupz Sehra

Interesting lyrics, great song.


by Mankirat Aulakh Shot in Surrey, featuring a local model, great beat. What more do we need?

PEGG PUGG by Deep Karan

Perfect tune for a picker-upper on Senti Sundays! If you find the original a bit slow, check out the abundance of remixes out there.

Okay, yes – we’re kind of obsessed with Diljit.

SAME TIME SAME JAGAH by Kulwinder Billa

You can picture bhangra dancers with huge smiles on their faces, just having a blast with this one.

KALI CAMARO by Amrit Mann

Featuring local talent, this song can be heard blasting in cars all over the Lower Mainland.



by Kulwinder Billa, Dr. Zeus, Shipra and Wamiqa Gabbi

There’s no way that Diljit wouldn’t make it on a bhangra hot list.

The female vocalist sounds kind of like Miss Pooja, and the music is by Dr. Zeus, so you know what’s up!

by Diljit


One word: Diljit.



by Sunanda Sharma There’s no way you haven’t heard this one.



Need to bring a smile to your face? Listen to this one! Perfect for weddings!

This is a newer song featuring the one an only Kaur B, a leading female vocalist for the past year or so.



You’ll find yourself laughing listening to the lyrics of this one. Shout out to Winnipeg!

And last but not least, the Punjabi song that was resurrected by Bollywood! Three Words: Wedding Season 2016.

by Mankirt Aulakh

by Sharry Mann

by Kaur B and JSL

by Amar Arshi







Do you love Bhangra? Here is a list of upcoming Bhangra competitions that you should plan to attend.


BRUIN BHANGRA COMPETITION DATE May 28th, 2017 VENUE Orpheum Theatre; 842 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014, USA

CLUTCH CITY BHANGRA COMPETITION DATE July 1st, 2017 VENUE Cullen Performance Hall; 4800 Calhoun Road, Houston, TX 77004, USA

Boston Bhangra Competition DATE November 11th, 2017 VENUE Orpheum Theatre; 1 Hamilton Place, Boston, MA 02108, USA


Here is a list of competitions we missed, but we should keep an eye out for: BHANGRA DOWN UNDER Date: September 24, 2016 Location: Australia TASHAN COMPETITION Date: November 6, 2016 Location: Philadelphia, PA, USA BUCKEYE MELA Date: January 27-29, 2017 Location: Columbus, OH, USA REIGN OF BHANGRA COMPETITION Date: January 28th, 2017 Location: Tacoma, WA 98402, USA WEST COAST BHANGRA COMPETITION Date: February 4th, 2017 Location: Davis, CA 95616, USA THE BHANGRA SHOWDOWN Date: February 18th, 2017 Location: London, UK NACHDI CLEVELAND Date: February 18th, 2017 Location: Cleveland, OH, USA

BIG 10 BHANGRA COMPETITION Date: February 25th, 2017 Location: College Park, MD 20742, USA AA DEKHAN ZARA Date: March 11th, 2017 Location: Madison, WI, USA THE BHANGRA PROJECT BY HARBOUR CITY BHANGRA Date: March 17th, 2017 Location: Sydney, Australia CAPITAL BHANGRA COMPETITION Date: March 25th, 2017 Location: London, UK NACH KE DIKHA BHANGRA AND FUSION DANCE COMPETITION Date: April 1st, 2017 Location: Williamsburg, VA, USA CIRCLE CITY BHANGRA COMPETITION Date: April 8th, 2017 Location: Indianapolis, IN 46208, USA NACHLE DEEWANE Date: April 15th, 2017 Location: Santa Barbara, CA, USA


Lavish Limousines when only the best will do  Happy Vaisakhi




Vaisakhi Greetings From Jay Jagpal at Olympic International

E: Jay.jagpal@olympicinternational.com P: (604.986.1400 ext. 141 C: 604.518.2767 www.olympicinternational.com







With the housing market the way it is in British Columbia, it is extremely difficult and sometimes even near impossible for first time home buyers to fathom a point at which they may be able to purchase a property in this beautiful province.

As mentioned in various news articles, inflated costs of living are regrettably pushing a lot of people out of the Lower Mainland. Many people simply just cannot afford to live here. I agree that it is difficult, but I don’t necessarily think it is impossible; there are good and reasonable ways to cut corners in your budget and maximize your savings. Having moved from Manitoba to British Columbia, and equipped with knowledge acquired from comparing the two provinces, here are some of my tips and creative cost cutting strategies for people who desperately want to live here and are increasingly worried that they won’t be able to; or even just for people who want to put their dollars to better use.


Stop eating at fast food joints, and limit expensive restaurant dinners to once or twice a month. Furthermore, maybe

even stop buying groceries. Switch to healthy meal preparation services instead! Not only will you be putting nutritious food into your body; you will also reap the benefits of limiting food wastage. You won’t find yourself throwing out rotten cauliflower or expired yogurt. Buying your own groceries and cooking your own meals may be cheaper if you are really conscious about what you buy and make sure to use all ingredients before they expire. But if you find yourself throwing out grocery every week, meal preparation services may be the best option for you.



Buy property somewhere else, and rent a place in the Lower Mainland.


If you don’t like to take affordable transit, get a used car for cash rather than a brand new car requiring monthly payments (and more often than not, interest charges). This is a

huge bill that could be eliminated before you look at buying your first house.


E l i m i n a t e entertainment expenses by doing fun things that cost you pretty much nothing.

British Columbia is beautiful, and there are a ton of things you can do here without spending a dollar. Check out this article by Canadian Traveller for ideas: http://www. canadiantraveller.net/89_Things_ to_do_in_British_Columbia_this_ Spring




I love this strategy, and came up with it by reflecting on my own situation. Properties in Winnipeg, for example, are super affordable; but not a lot of people want to live there. Buying a property or two out there and renting them out to tenants, could lead to mortgage payments that equate to monthly rent payments for a nice condo or apartment in the Lower Mainland. This strategy is doable, provided that you have someone to manage and watch over your “remote” property.

If you don’t want to buy property somewhere else, but you also can’t afford a million-dollar property in Vancouver, look at other areas within the Lower Mainland. Properties in different municipalities have very different price ranges. Your commute to work may be longer, depending on where your job is, but your monthly mortgage payments may be much smaller.



Surrey-Panorama is my home and where my daughter goes to kindergarten. Like you, I want our community to be healthy, safe and a place where my families can work together to fulfil their dreams. I will always work to ensure we all benefit from the success our province is achieving



Fastest growing economy in Canada Highest job growth in Canada - 191,500 jobs created since 2011 Lowest unemployment rate in Canada Lowest income taxes for British Columbians earning less than $125,000 in Canada


Creating 7,900 new student spaces with a $317 million investment to ensure Surrey remains a great place for young families to call home $246 million for transit improvements in Metro Vancouver, including funding in support of a new LRT network in Surrey $23 million to combat gang violence and guns in Surrey and increase public safety throughout our neighborhoods


Authorized by Mandeep Tung, Financial Agent for Puneet Sandhar





Are you someone who wants to dabble in the online marketing world and don’t really know where to start?

if you choose this path. One of the biggest things I’ve noticed is that people are not willing to put in the time required for this business, or are not managing their time wisely. This is one thing that must top the list for what needs to be mastered to be successful. Even if you only have 45 minutes a day to give to this business, make sure you set the time and stay consistent. Most of the people that fail don’t actually fail. They just don’t take the right steps or actions. Don’t waste valuable time procrastinating or trying to perfect everything. You can always perfect things down the road. The key is constant and consistent time and action focused on you only your goal.

Or have you heard about people making money online and want a piece of that pie but once again kind of get stuck when there are so many different types of opportunities and so-called gurus giving advice, which ultimately leads to information overload and stops you dead in your tracks? Well, being one of those people that tried, and gave up, and then tried and Even if failed, and then have 45 minutes a kept trying until day to give to this From my finally learning a business, make sure experience, the best few things that you set the time way to make money work, I can tell you and stay consistent. is to brand yourself, that it’s a journey; meaning you, not a and that if you really company name or want it, you can get a logo, but you, the it. The reason I am human being. People are numb to writing this article is to hopefully logos and company names. They want guide you in the right direction to deal with a real person that they can and tell you about some of the trust, see, and talk to. Whether you are slips and falls in this business in selling a service, your own product, or advance, so you can avoid them 53

someone else’s product, it’s important that you first sell yourself in the sense that you create a relationship where you are now a trusted person and from there you can sell whatever you want. The best way to create this relationship is to deliver content that has high value to your niche market. For example, if you are selling curried goat meat on a bi-weekly subscription model (yes, laugh out loud) you will get in front of a camera and speak about the different spices you use and the techniques you use and how your recipe is the best and start answering people’s questions, create a relationship and dominate your space. If you are not interested in selling your own product and would like to be an affiliate and sell other people’s products or services and make a nice commission, then you also have to explain to people why they should trust you and your recommendations. The best way to do this is to deliver content showing them that you know what you are talking about, and that you have reviewed other similar products or services that they may



be interested in, but the reason you recommend this or that is because... The last thing and probably the most important thing I will touch on is the importance of list building, collecting names and emails of anyone and everyone interested in what you have to offer. If you are going to upload your video to YouTube, make sure you guide them to a website landing page where you simply collect emails in exchange for a free 2-3 page report talking about your niche or a video doing the same. Give them something of value, and in return get their contact information. In the long run, this list is what will consistently make you money, as you can send them offers once a month or as you desire. If you are having a hard time staying disciplined and focused then there are coaches who can hold you accountable and guide you, which can boost your chances of succeeding tremendously, so that’s also something to keep in mind.


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The provincial election is around the corner. Is it going to be a fair election? Is there going to be a level playing field for all the candidates and the political parties? I would say no! Premier Christy Clark has already stated she is open to campaign finance reform after the election, but she has already ruled out replacing private donations with public subsidies. What does this actually mean? This means that corporations, the rich, lobbyists, and third party advertisers will continue to have a huge influence on the election outcome. This skews the election results in favour of the political and economic elite instead of the poor, working, and middle class.

In other words, our political system is “up for sale” to the highest bidder. The system is set up for special interests to officially rule the people. The citizens are just lucky we have a vote once every few years, and even then the media is usually biased and supporting corporatist political parties. No wonder the poor don’t have a say on anything - they have no money or influence. Is it any surprise that we are still the only province in Canada paying for MSP premiums and that disability benefits have not had a significant increase for years?


By ruling out public subsidies the political candidates and political parties will have to rely even more on private donations. No one gives money for nothing. With every donation there is an expectation that certain policies will be enacted.

Of course it’s not a surprise. These issues are not a priority for the government.

The political system at every level is held hostage by big money, partisan politics, and special interest groups such as by real estate developers, corporate lobbyists, as well as labour. There needs to be a direct connection from the citizens to the elected official without all these special interests trying to skew the outcome of the election or trying to 57

influence the voting intentions and platforms of the candidates. The end result would be elected officials who would be truly independent and can vote with their conscience and what is best for the citizens and their community. I don’t believe in complaining about something without proposing a solution for people to

consider. I believe there is a way to make politics more democratic, competitive, and accessible for the rest of us.


It’s a simple six-step electoral reform plan that attempts to create a level playing field for all political candidates and would involve the following changes:


A candidate would have to live in the riding he or she hopes to represent for at-least two years prior to the election. This means a candidate who does not know anything about the community cannot be parachuted into the riding at the last minute.


A candidate would have to be nominated by 25 citizens who live in the riding he or she hopes to represent.


A candidate would pay a deposit to a private bank in exchange for a campaign loan. The loan would be capped at a legislated maximum.


A candidate would submit his or her campaign receipts to the bank after the election.


The elections office would reimburse banks for all official campaign expenses from official candidates up to a pre-set maximum amount, which would be the same for all candidates. The candidate would not 58

have to repay the loan if his or her campaign abided by the rules of the election and did not violate any campaign finance regulations. If the candidate violated the campaign finance rules he or she would forfeit their deposit. With serious offences the candidate could be asked to repay the loan in full and/or be levied an additional fine. In extreme cases the candidate could be pulled from the election.


The elections office would produce an elections website that would list the biographies, community experience, education, employment, and qualifications of all the candidates. This would provide an unbiased source of information for the voters to quickly compare candidates without media influence.

This simple six-step electoral reform plan would essentially eliminate big money in politics! Politics would shift from the political and economic and corporate elite to the people. Any citizen including the poor and working class could afford to run for office. The elections would be more democratic and accessible. And there it is! This six-step, electoral reform plan would be a huge step forward in ensuring that the best interests of all citizens are reflected in

government policy and decisionmaking. It would reduce the influence that big money and corporations currently have on the political process. The provincial legislature is the “people’s parliament.� The government spends billions of public dollars on everything under the sun. It makes sense to also set aside some public money to ensure free and fair elections and ensure the politicians are elected first and foremost to represent the citizens and not special interests.



Taking Back Control

2nd Annual Sahaara Wellness Society Mental Health Fundraiser Keynote Speaker: Shea Emry

Former CFL player, Founder & CEO of Wellman Project



APRIL 21, 2017 6:30 PM

at Royal King Palace 8158 128 St, Surrey, BC


$60.00 each $400.00 for table of 8

For more information contact us at 604-897-8469 778-896-2265 sahaaracws@gmail.com


From Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Caucus

Happy Vaisakhi

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau Papineau

John Aldag Cloverdale–Langley City 604.575.6595

Terry Beech Burnaby North–Seymour 604.718.8870

Sukh Dhaliwal Surrey–Newton 604.598.2200

Ken Hardie Fleetwood-Port Kells 604.501.5900

Ron McKinnon Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam 604.927.1080

Hon. Carla Qualtrough Delta 778.593.4007

Dan Ruimy Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge 604.466.2761

Hon. Harjit Sajjan Vancouver South 604.775.5323

Randeep Sarai Surrey Centre 604.589.2441

Jati Sidhu Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon 604.814.5710

Happy Vaisakhi from Sher Vancouver LGBTQ + South Asians & Friends Strength & Diversity shervancouver.com





I don’t think a single day goes by where I have not turned on the news and seen something to do with politics - either at the local, provincial, national, or international level. In the last year alone, we have seen major political news stories, such as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. The decisions made by the a difference - every vote counts. people of these countries will I realised that the civic duty of completely alter the future of all voting, no matter how frustrating citizens living there and beyond or inconvenient it may seem, is an as these countries and major incredibly important part of being decisions influence foreign policy. a citizen in a democracy no matter where you are in the It’s not hard to see world. If I do not why people become exercise my right to disenchanted these people are vote, I don’t think I by elections, from all walks of should be allowed to particularly when life, but they are complain or critique we feel there is no all motivated by my government, party worth voting wanting to make because I did not do for, or when we where they live my duty as a citizen. s e e n e g a t i ve a d even better campaigns on TV I was lucky and hear them on enough to interview some of the radio that only tell you why you the candidates running in the shouldn’t vote for the other party. upcoming BC Election on behalf of Growing up, I was never certain if AAJ Magazine. I got to know what people ran for politics because they inspired them to run for office, their really wanted to make a difference, goals and vision to try and help or if they simply wanted a career in the future of our province, as well spending taxpayer dollars. Did my as what sort of work they have elected local representative really previously done in the community. represent me? Does my one vote I realised that these people are from really make a difference? all walks of life, but they are all As I grew older, I learned that motivated by wanting to make where my single vote does indeed make they live even better - regardless of 65

which party they belong to. Every single candidate means well - they want to do something good for their province, even if their vision of how to get there is different from the other party. I also made a point to ask each and every candidate the same question - if they were granted a magical wand that allowed them to make an instant change to BC, what would be “The One Thing” that they would choose to change? I found different answers from everyone, but each answer was thoughtful, passionate and full of hope for the future of BC. Read on to learn about a few very different candidates and what unites them.

Group in Surrey. At first glance, I was puzzled by why such a successful solicitor would want to step into politics. I quickly learned that Puneet, however, is not someone who has become complacent after becoming so successful. Instead, she’s inspired each and every day to serve the community both through her work as a lawyer, and outside of that work as a volunteer. She has chosen to leave her comfortable life for the new challenge of running for office to continue giving back to her community and making a difference in Surrey as a community leader. Puneet moved to Canada about 14 years ago at the age of 24 with her husband. “I came with my law degree from India and then started with literally zero when I started with my practice. ... We knew no one here [when we arrived].”


Puneet Sandhar is a successful real estate lawyer and named partner of Sanghera Sandhar Law 66

Puneet takes great pride in her work at Sanghera Sandhar Law Group, and admits to spending many long hours establishing her business while simultaneously helping her family join her in immigrating from India to Surrey. “One thing I have always been very passionate about is community work. From the day

She admits she had no we moved here, we used to put in time and effort - even if we didn’t intentions to run for politics, have money to donate. We used despite being told in the past that to go feed the homeless, blanket she would make a good candidate drives, sock drives, plant trees… b e c a u s e o f h e r c o m m u n i t y And along the way I started being involvement, instead choosing to a part of various organisations focus on her family. that I felt were in line with what “But the one thing that stuck I wanted to do, so I would go with me was that I’ve been doing so mentor kids at schools, mentor many events encouraging women new immigrants, whatever I to participate in politics. That could do. I had my experiences of doesn’t mean they have to run, what someone would need in my but to be more of aware of what’s position. I remember what I looked going on in politics for as a new immigrant around us. You know, when I felt I had no ...how am I we drown ourselves help, so now that I am going to be a with responsibilities in a better position I role model or such as home and kids should help others. So an example and everything and I’ve been doing that for other we just think when it a lot, and I’ve joined women? comes to politics or various boards and any political discussion both government and that it’s for men. So, I’ve done a non-government bodies.” few events such as with Pamela Puneet’s extensive volunteer Martin encouraging women about work includes organisations how it is to be involved, and I such as Rotary Club of Surrey keep preaching that, and here I am Newton, Association of South getting an opportunity now and Asian Professionals (ASAP), I’m not stepping up because I’m Legal Services Society, and was giving a preference to my life - so the founding member of the how am I going to be a role model Southasian Business Association or an example for other women? So (SBA). She sees a common thread that was one reason why I decided between volunteering and politics to do it.” - both work to identify problems It was a decision Puneet did and find solutions, just in different not take lightly, finding herself forms. torn between being present for her 67

family and two young children aged 5 and 1, and her opportunity to run. Puneet started getting involved in the BC Liberal party because she resonated with their focus on jobs and growing the economy. “The first thing you need as a new immigrant,” Puneet told me, “is a job to sustain yourself.” She has seen Surrey grow, and says a very important challenge for government is to ensure the growth needs are met. Puneet says her focus is on Surrey and helping Surrey in it’s continued growth. She’s proud of BC’s AAA credit rating, among other things, and looks forward to guiding BC to continue along the path to success. “Every MLA is going to be focusing on their riding, but we can only do well if all of BC is doing well.” I asked Puneet what would be her “One Thing” that, if elected and granted a magical wand, would change for BC. She acknowledged that although change is never that easy, if she could, she would in s tantaneousl y rem ove a l l portables from BC schools, and notes that BC is already on track to do so, but would love to use her hypothetical magical wand to fasttrack that. 68

One of her parting thoughts to me was, “Our ancestors fought to get us the ability to vote.” She wants to encourage everyone to not only get out and vote, but to be informed, to read up and understand what is going on in politics - perhaps to even tweet questions at candidates running in their riding before and after the election. She says MLAs are there to serve the community and they want to hear from the people they are serving about how to continue to do so.


Hon. Peter Fassbender is running for re-election in his riding of Surrey-Fleetwood, and has served his riding and the province of British Columbia in various capacities. Most recently, he made an announcement about bringing ridesharing services such as Uber to British Columbia, and in addition to the upcoming election,

he talked in more detail about what this will mean for British Columbians and the taxi industry.

Interestingly, Peter doesn’t call this new shift to open up British Columbia to Uber and other similar ride-sharing apps as “ride-sharing”, but rather “ridesourcing”.

Peter’s resume of work while being an MLA is extensive. His first assignment after being elected “Ride-sourcing means that the on May 14 2013, was to serve as the Minister of Education, and consumer has a variety of choices in worked on negotiating a deal with things like transit, car-sharing like the BCTF. From there, on July 30 Car2Go and other similar services, 2015 Peter was appointed Minister bicycling, and the ultimately other of Community, Sport, Cultural forms like taxi rides, and ridesharing companies Development and like Uber and Lyft Minister Responsible and so on.” for Translink. Ride-sourcing Some of his work means that the Peter said that he with the Ministry consumer has and his ministry have of Community, a variety of spent the last year and Sport, and Cultural choices in things a half consulting with Development like transit, the local governments, includes funding VIA car-sharing like taxi companies, taxi Sport and the BC Arts Car2Go and other drivers and even Council. similar services… limousine companies about the fact that Further to that, technology is changing as the Minister Responsible for Translink, Peter the transportation industry, as Fassbender works closely with evidenced by the growth of ridethe Mayor’s Council to continue sharing companies around the collaborating on their vision for world. rapid transit in Metro-Vancouver, Public safety is a priority for including working on Phase One Peter, and the province wanted and initiating planning of Phase to ensure that the public was Two of the transit expansion plan, protected, that public standards as well as working on other major would be maintained, and issues such as the replacement of would be safe upon entering any the Pattullo Bridge, among other vehicle. This includes things like things. criminal record checks for drivers, 69

reviewing their driving record and ensuring they had a minimum of 3 years driving experience. While these sorts of checks may not be common for Uber drivers in other parts of the world, they are common for taxi drivers at the federal level, and Peter’s plan aims to bring equality in the regulation around both taxi drivers and Uber drivers. “I want to make it very clear: it’s not a done deal. The book is not closed. We want to continue

to hear from stakeholders [such as the taxi industry] and continue to give them more information,” says Peter, who is still listening to concerns from the transportation industry. It appears that there is great opportunity here for all parties to benefit from providing their input and reaping the reward in changes in regulation, insurance, and so on, that ultimately benefits not only the consumer, and stakeholders, but the taxi industry as well. At the same time, Peter 70

continues to emphasize with each stakeholder he meets that he intends to ensure as much of a level playing field as possible, so that neither side loses out. “For now,” Peter concludes, “there is no legislation, it’s only a framework.” Any legislated changes would take place in the fall and winter season, meaning services such as Uber would be available by Christmas of this year. “Consumers have said they want more choice. They want options. That’s clear. …And the safety of the public is paramount as far as we’re concerned,” He says. Peter also mentions that his ministry is offering up to one million dollars to the taxi industry to create a province-wide taxi app and dispatch system that would make them competitive to consumers. Peter continues to look towards the future, and how technology can continue to positively shape the transportation industry, including pilot projects with crash-avoidance systems installed in taxis. He wants the taxi industry to know that his ministry cares about taxi drivers, but that taxi companies also need to recognise what the future of the taxi industry could look like. Despite these significant portfolios,

Peter continues to be an active MLA for Surrey-Fleetwood, and remains involved, attending many events and continuing to serve. When asked about his “One” thing that he would magically change, if he could, he stated three wishes: to solve the overcrowding in schools in Surrey, to work on increasing the community’s access to healthcare, and to solve all the transportation problems. His parting thoughts to me were on the subject of Vaisakhi and Surrey, “We have such a culturally diverse city. ...In a community as diverse as we are, we need to focus on what the benefit is of that diversity, as opposed to the differences.”


Jas Johal is perhaps the most well known for his work as a

journalist with Global News as a bureau chief in China and the Middle East, but has also notably been a part of CKNW as well, as was Premier Christy Clark. Jas has always valued public service, and gave me the details of his journey and what inspired him to run in this election. Jas grew up in Williams Lake, and first started his news career working in radio. From a small radio station in Williams Lake, he went on to work for CKNW in various forms, notably as an intern, and then as an Associate Producer. He says his work gave him perspective about how policy is made and how policy is influenced by media. He was hired in 1994 at BCTV, now known as Global, and worked there in various capacities until 2006. During his time there he took on various roles at Global Television and was bureau chief in New Delhi and East Asia and has covered stories such as the Air India bombings and the Arab Spring. After his time at Global, Jas went on to do something different and joined the BC LNG Alliance. When asked about what it was that drew him to the BCLNG Alliance, Jas told me that he was interested in developing business in the northern parts of British Columbia 71

When asked about his “One Thing” that he would do for BC, if possible, he stated that because he He recalls that he was 2 years old grew up in the interior, he would when he moved to Canada and was like to do further reconciliation raised in Williams work with BC’s First Lake. He used to get Nations. He feels pulled out of Grade 1 Michael feels that that the province’s class for extra help with the province’s relationship with his English and finds it relationship with the First Nations remarkable that he has the First Nations must continue to gone from being “The must continue be nurtured, so that kid that struggled with to be nurtured, the First Nations English”, to a journalist so that the First community can also that makes his living Nations community benefit from British off of words for over can also benefit Columbia’s strong 20 years. He recognises economy, and reduce that taxpayer dollars poverty in the First helped do that and Nations community. at the age of 46 feels that now is his Jas Johal, when asked about opportunity to give back. Vaisakhi, said, “I hope we all pause for a moment to think about how lucky and fortunate we are that we’re able to celebrate like this in Canada. ...This country is relatively well run. We are very fortunate. There are huge swaths of humanity that cannot say that. ...Sometimes when we have our holidays, [regardless of religion], we need to pause and be thankful for what we have. Not everyone gets to chase their dreams or fulfil their duty to worship, so I hope Jas wants to not only give back, people will pause for a moment but also bring his unique perspective and give thanks.” to politics to help strengthen the economy. and working closely with partners in Asia.


of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC), Leadership Vancouver, Science World, Arts Umbrella, and more recently was a part of the UBC Alumni Board and is currently on the YMCA Foundation Board. What is clear about Michael is that he does not do things halfway. Instead he dives directly into the heart of the things that matter to him, and has picked up RIDING: VANCOUVER-LANGARA lots of experience along the way Although Michael Lee may about looking at the structure of jo ke t hat the on l y p ol i t i ca l organisations and learning how experience he has is in student to make those structures most politics, it quickly becomes effective for the people they serve. no surprise as to why Lee, a Michael would like to bring his successful business lawyer of 20 structurally-focused years and partner approach to BC’s with Lawson legislature as well, Lundell LLP, is collaboration with if elected, to further running in this strengthen British the community, election. nonprofits and the Columbia. Michael has over private sector are Michael has 30 years of extensive all factors that can passionate dreams experience in help BC for the future of the the community. province, and for his He started in the riding of VancouverChinese-Canadian Langara and feels community, working with youththat increased collaboration with at-risk in Chinatown, and spent the community, nonprofits and time volunteering at SUCCESS the private sector are all factors (United Chinese Community that can help BC spend money Enrichment Services Society), responsibly and maximise before joining their board - twice! benefits. He feels that the He has since also served on the government needs to have fiscal board of AMSSA (Affiliation



strength first as well as the right framework and conditions for a strong economy.

That’s why I do this.”

When asked if he has attended the Vaisakhi festival Michael replied, “I’ve been to When asked the Vaisakhi festival about his “One I think as a the last couple of Thing” wish that next generation years, and I am very he would like to Canadian, I struck by how that change, he came up understand the festival, and others, with three wishes: kind of sacrifices bring community First, to grow BC that all of our together. For me, a a s a p o we r h o u s e parents and major theme that I economy and grandparents have seen for many stronger trading made for us. years is, how do we partner with the break down the silos, A s i a - Pa c i f i c a n d by investing in innovation, geographically or otherwise secondly, to continue to innovate b e t we e n o u r c o m m u n i t i e s ? efficiencies in BC’s healthcare The Vaisakhi festival is a great system, and finally, to find more e x a m p l e o f h o w w e b r i n g ways to enhance and strengthen people together and hopefully education in BC and to recognise create more understanding and appreciation… it adds a lot of life teacher excellence. to our community.” Michael knows, as a second Michael knows, as a second generation Canadian, that all generation Canadian, immigrants have a that all immigrants story of sacrifice have a story of that has brought sacrifice that has them to BC, and brought them to BC he takes that very for a better future, seriously. and he takes that “I’ve knocked very seriously. “For on over 6500 doors me, that means more in this community than just having a and I’ve listened nice lifestyle with a to every concern. legal practice and children who There are a lot of concerns, and are doing well in school. I think I understand those concerns. we have to continue to progress 74

as a community, and I think as a next generation Canadian, I understand the kind of sacrifices that all of our parents and grandparents made for us. My dad, for example, got his first job as a janitor at St. Paul’s Hospital. ...There are many stories of these kinds of sacrifices.”

His parting words came with a smile: “I’ve knocked on over 6500 doors in this community and I’ve talked to a lot of people about their concerns. People have a lot of different concerns … and I understand that. It’s why I do this.”


















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Profile for AAJ Magazine

Aaj vaisakhi 2017  

Celebrate Vaisakhi with this special commemorative issue.

Aaj vaisakhi 2017  

Celebrate Vaisakhi with this special commemorative issue.