Archive | April, 2011

Region of Peel asks federal candidates’ to address Peel priorities We’re not here to confront your policies, we’re here to work with you – Brampton Regional Councillor Elaine Moore assures federal candidates

Posted on 25 April 2011 by admin

In an effort to get federal candidates to talk about what really matters to Canadian cities and towns in the federal election, Peel’s four municipal governments banded together and voiced their collective concerns.

“This spring campaign has remained largely silent on the key issues, such as infrastructure funding, which urban and rural communities are facing,” said Emil Kolb, Chair, Region of Peel. “We’ve heard a great deal about health care, security and the economy, but there are other pressing priorities that impact these issues and still need to be raised.”

“We have over 15,000 families and individuals currently on our wait list for affordable housing; the wait time is unacceptable. As well, our homeless shelters are needed to provide emergency and temporary housing to thousands of children and families,” said Chair Kolb.

“Our economic potential is being choked by gridlock,” said Chair Kolb. “We encourage the federal government to take ownership of long-term infrastructure planning and to fund municipalities so that they can plan more effectively for these critical public services.”

“We fully recognize that reducing the infrastructure deficit facing our communities calls for the commitment of all levels of government, but we believe that the federal government has a key leadership role in building the foundations for a solid, sustainable infrastructure,” said Susan Fennell, Mayor, City of Brampton.

“Long wait times for affordable housing and the lack of subsidized rental units mean that low income residents may have no alternative than to live in over-crowded and potentially unsafe housing,” said Marolyn Morrison, Mayor, Town of Caledon.

“We need to work with the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec to expedite the Ontario-Quebec Continental Gateway and Trade Corridor Strategy and ensure long-term federal funding for improvements to the transportation system in Peel and across the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area,” said Hazel McCallion, Mayor, City of Mississauga.

During the session, the Councillors asked the federal candidates of each party to respond to their questions:

Mississauga Councillor Ron Starr: How do we get people out of cars and into public transportation to reduce congestion on roads?

NDP candidate Jagtar Shergill (Brampton West): Carbon pricing can help people use vehicles less. NDP will make 1 cent investment will be injected back into municipalities.

(Both Liberal candidate Andrew Kania and Conservative candidate Kyle Seaback skipped the meeting)

Liberal candidate Peter Fonseca (Mississauga-East Cooksville): Liberals were the first to introduce the Gas Tax money. This money is invested in municipalities but in Peel region, the Conservatives won’t invest in the same kind of light rail that is there in Kitchener and Edmonton.

Conservative candidate Even Adams (Mississauga-Brampton South): Conservative government is the first government that entrenched the Gas Tax money into the 2011 budget.

Mississauga City Councillor Pat Mullen: Peel region that accommodates 10 % of Ontario’s population has the highest growth and the highest immigration rates. How will each of the party address the social housing in Peel region where people have to wait up to 21 years to get social housing? Can the parties’ look into the policy that Peel region can keep the interest on mortgages and that can be then invested back into muncipilaities.

Liberal candidate Navdeep Bains (Mississauga Brampton South): Liberal Party has holistic approach to address affordable housing. We will make the Gas Tax permanent. We will invest $550 million to affordable housing. And we will sit down with municipalities to discuss the issue.

Green Party candidate John Fraser: We’ll stop investing in exotic things such as jets and jails and put priority on the family as a basic unit.

Conservative candidate Brad Butt (Mississauga Streetsville): We shouldn’t let the provincial government off the hook. We can look into all viable solutions including a suggestion by Councillor Mullen that municipalities can keep interest on mortgages and invest it in social housing. But that’s my personal commitment to look into, I can’t commit it on behalf of the Party.

Caledon Town Councillor Richard Paterak: Is there federal structural deficit? And how will it be reduced?

NDP candidate Jagtar Shergill (Brampton West): We need to set the priorities right. Cutting GST from 7% to 5% cut out the revenue that could be invested in addressing the deficit. We’ll increase the corporate tax rates to bring them up to par with the rest of G8 countries.

Liberal candidate Omar Alghabra (Mississauga Erindale): There’s all this muscular talk about prudent spending when there has been out of touch spending in G8 Summit and corporate tax rate reduction.

(Conservative candidate and the only Conservative MP in Peel region was not in attendance).

Conservative candidate Even Adams (Mississauga-Brampton South): We’re paying off the debt a year earlier than expected.

Caledon Town Councillor Richard Paterak: I didn’t get my answer.

Caledon Town Councillor Richard Whitehead : How much can we afford in taxes?

Brampton Regional Councillor Elaine Moore: Whosever is elected in the government, please use us [Peel region] as a resource. We are not here to confront you about your policies; we are here to work with you, so please come talk to us.

Caledon Town Councillor Patti Foley: There’s been much talk about democracy. The Green Party had gained one million votes last time, yet I didn’t hear any outrage from any other political party when Elizabeth May was left out of the leader’s debate.

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There’s potential of Beauty Everywhere Natasha Arora, interior stylist and Founder of Eco Deco

Posted on 23 April 2011 by admin

Natasha Arora, Founder of Eco Deco

“I am an active listener and a holistic thinker and, essentially, my job as interior stylist is to facilitate the redecorating process so my client can live better and smarter in their home.”

“It’s imperative to determine a budget, yes, and how much padding, if any, you can actually add to it.”

“I tend to be aware of trends but I don’t usually follow them. My tastes are eclectic and my influences are global.”

While tough economic times have led people to spend less, it has also been an opportunity for young professionals to think out of the box. One such professional is Natasha Arora, who has come up with a distinctive concept to live better in your home.

Eco Deco (as in Economical Decorating) refers to “no throwing no buying — a redecorating service that can be completed in just one day using the homeowner’s existing furniture and accessories.”

It’s a unique idea which is “an extension of my personality in part because ever since I was a child, I had always been sensitive to space, lighting, lines, textures, temperature, and the emotions thus created,” says Natasha.

Her unique approach “is also democratic in design because not only can every household essentially benefit from my interior styling service in just one day, but my hourly rates are competitive and I work toward maximal tangible results.”

In this fast moving world, fashion changes with the season. Sometimes it can be challenging to keep up with trends and to satisfy the tastes of a customer. How does Natasha see it?

“I tend to be aware of trends but I don’t usually follow them. My tastes are eclectic and my influences are global. But more importantly, it depends plenty on the openmindedness of my client and her/his willingness to explore what it is in design and in their inherent personality that they actually like, want to embellish, need or aspire to. I am an active listener and a holistic thinker and, essentially, my job as interior stylist is to facilitate the redecorating process so my client can live better and smarter in their home or office.”

As an interior stylist, does Natasha believe that beauty is in the eye of the beholder?

“Who’s the author of that saying? Interpretations of beauty are reserved for the viewer. I optimize beauty in a house, condo, loft…because I see the potential of beauty everywhere. In my work I use my skills in visual and spatial thinking, aesthetics, intuition, and diplomacy to enhance the way my client lives. The difference after a productive working session is often like night and day.”

Often, in our home and work life, furniture can appear scattered or a room can be over decorated with over sized items. Sooner or later, the need to bring harmony into the space becomes crucial. “Harmony can always be found but it needs to be organized in a structured way, in an eclectic way, in a snug way, in a formal way, in a multitude of ways!” says Natasha. “I always work with the bigger items first before assembling thoughtfully the art and accessories, whatever they may be. But then, depending on a client’s attachment to a said mounted textile, pouf, or even mirror, one can create a whole room around it.”

With more and more industry professionals obsessing over organization, items sold at stores like IKEA have gained their own market. Are people really big on organizing?

“Every individual has their own personality and essentially it is their personality traits, inclinations, aversions, which determine their degree of organization or chaos. I like order. In fact I love order. It simplifies the act of living. But in a client’s home I try to create sense, that is to say order, where it might not otherwise exist, so that I can see clearly and work efficiently in the limited time I am in her/his home.”

In general when we think about decorating a home, spending extra money for an interior decorator or a stylist can be the last thing that come to mind mostly because the perception is that they are expensive.

Natasha’s  mantra is live better within your means. It’s imperative to determine a budget, yes, and how much padding, if any, you can actually add to it. From there together we can determine what is realistically possible to achieve while also attain our combined goals: as interior stylist I want to deliver a home worthy of my client while my client wants to feel noticeably if not optimally better in her/his new and improved living space.”

As she walks into a house “the first thing I notice is the homeowner’s smile and then I pay attention to everything that would affect both my senses and those of my client. I like to think that inspiration is everywhere and certainly in the details!”

Natasha says her experiences working with South Asians “are not any more different than working with other ethnic groups. The common denominator with all my clients from all levels of society is that they all desire to live better — and I encourage them to live better within their means.”

Natasha has a Bachelor of Arts in French Studies: Translation from Concordia University and a certificate in Public Relations Management from McGill University. She is fluent in French and Italian and follows international news with deep interest. She describes herself as “an egalitarian” with a passion for art and architecture. Proper education of children and proper care of the elderly are issues close to her heart.



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There are 2.9 million electors under the age of 25. That’s a powerful voice. Imagine if all of you vote – Marc Mayrand, Chief Electoral Officer

Posted on 23 April 2011 by admin

Hi. I’m Marc Mayrand, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada.

There’s a federal election happening on May 2nd, and I believe voting matters.

Canada is a great country, and you’re a big part of what makes us great.

Voting is about having a say in the decisions that affect your life. A say in who forms your government and who represents you in Parliament.

Voting matters and every vote counts.

There are 2.9 million electors under the age of 25. That’s a powerful voice. Imagine if all of you vote.

So use your voice, discuss the issues, learn about how voting works, and make an informed decision. Post, share and talk about why voting is important to you.

If you have questions on how, where or when to vote, don’t hesitate to call us at Elections Canada and visit our Web site. We’re here to help you.

You can show the world that Canada is a place where democracy is strong, where citizens are engaged and everyone has a voice.

So on May 2nd, vote. Shape your world.

– – –  –

AskingCanadians™ Poll Points to Online Voting, Social Media as Effective Tools for Targeting the Youth Vote

Having the ability to vote online—and using social networking sites to promote the importance of voting—could have a big impact on voter turnout in Canada, particularly among digitally-savvy South Asian youth who are heavy users of sites like Facebook and Twitter.

According to a recent AskingCanadians™ poll, 64.8 per cent of Canadians said the ability to vote online would have a favourable impact on their decision to cast a ballot. Given the low voter turnout in the October 2008 federal election, when only 59.1 per cent of Canadians went to the polls, that’s a statistic Elections Canada should be paying attention to.

Although the ongoing federal election has been labelled as Canada’s first Twitter campaign, Elections Canada—the independent agency responsible for conducting federal elections—has remained absent from social networking sites, choosing instead to deliver information through traditional media.

The electoral watchdog has also been slow to adopt Internet voting—the agency is seeking parliamentary approval to conduct a test run of electronic voting in a by-election by 2013.

However, the Town of Markham, a diverse community of more than 300,000 residents located just north of Toronto—with a South Asian community that represents 20 per cent of the total population—has been successfully offering online voting since the 2003 municipal election. In an effort to reach youth between the ages of 18-25, the municipality also began using social media raise awareness of the election for the first time last fall.

The Town of Markham recognized the fact that young people particularly in the Asian and South Asian communities were heavily engaged in social media and used the campaign to connect with young voters online. The award-winning campaign received more than 3,300 views on Facebook and of the 17,231 Markham electors who registered to vote electronically, 10,597 used the Internet to cast their ballot.

A new study from AskingCanadians™ and Environics Analytics supports the fact that social media is heavily used by young people. The study, released in March, found that the creators of social media content are more likely to be young, upwardly mobile immigrants living in Canada’s largest cities–Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

This study of 23,144 people also found that newcomers from China, India and the Philippines have an edge over their Canadian-born counterparts because of their youth, sociability, desire to stay in touch with relatives living overseas, and the tradition of mobile-phone use in their homelands.

By offering online voting, and using social media to raise awareness of the electoral process, Elections Canada could see a spike in voter turnout among young people in diverse communities across Canada.

What’s your opinion?

You too can make a difference, influence key decision-makers in Canada and earn rewards for your opinions!

Speak out and join AskingCanadians™ TODAY and you could WIN an iPad!


Founded in 2005, AskingCanadians™ is an online consumer panel with 160,000 members across the country. The panel is comprised of Canadians from all walks of life that have opted to share their opinions and influence products and services in exchange for prizes and rewards.

e-balloting should be explored – NDP leader Jack Layton

The NDP has been calling on reforms to Canada’s electoral system, such as introducing proportional representation and encouraging more women and people from various minority groups to run for political office at all levels of government.

Ideas such as e-balloting or online voting should be explored as they could help more people participate in democracy. Technology is always changing and Canada should keep up with the progress and advances.

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Scarborough-Rouge River

Posted on 23 April 2011 by admin

Scarborough-Rouge River  Profile

Population: 130,980

Eligible voters: 85 505

Number of votes in 2008: 40 619

Voter turnout: 42.4%

Immigrant population: 88,445

Visible minorities: 117,085

South Asian population: 39,065

Employment rate: 60.1

Median household income: $52,016

Median age: 36.2


Rana Sarkar  — Liberal

Baljit Gosal – Conservative

Rathika Sibestian  — NDP

2008 Results

Total Number of Votes: 49,737

Derek Lee: 58.78% Liberal

Jerry Bance: 22.70%Conservative

Ryan Sloan: 14.71%   NDP

2006 Results

Derek Lee: 65.62%Liberal

Jerry Bance: 20.44% Conservative

Andrew Brett: 10.77%NDP

– – –

Tories look at Canada-India relations politically not strategically

Rana Sarkar, Liberal candidate from Scarborough-Rouge River

Rana Sarkar, Liberal candidate from Scarborough-Rouge River believes that Canada’s relationship with international world is crucial because “our future prosperity lies in these relationships.”

As CEO of Canada India Business Council (CIBC), Rana has been to India with the Conservative government delegations. And he is not impressed with the way Tories conducted the government business on Canada-India file.

“Let me tell you we [Liberals] can do a lot better job on this file. I think they [Conservatives]look at it [Canada-India relations] far too politically. I think theirs is a political view rather than a strategic one. If we spend more time on public diplomacy, putting money into cross governmental strategy on engagements..rather than having it run event by event from the Prime Minister’s office,” a lot more can be done said Rana in an interview with Generation Next.

He criticizes Conservatives for adopting “slicing and dicing strategy.” As a Canadian he is offended by this strategy. As an individual he says that “I am a Canadian candidate that happens to be a South Asian” and deserve respect as Canadian and not somebody from an ethnic background.

Rana is busy talking to people from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. at night. He describes Scarborough-Rouge River as a riding that is heavily dependent on public transit, where people have to use public transit to get to work and to come back home. So one of the things he is hearing on doors is “where’s public transit, how’s federal government ensuring that there’s infrastructure” in the riding.

Voter turnout in the riding was just under 43% in the last elections. One of the reasons Rana believes for the lower voter turnout is “Voting is not very convenient for people..We’re not making it easier for people to vote,” he says “which makes people think my vote doesn’t count.”

Rana has also observed discomfort among constituents with the Harper government. “There’s a lot of quiet discomfort in where this government is leading us..there’s accumulation of scandals of this people are wary of the Harper government, and they question if the Conservatives’ priorities are right.”

He is appalled by Mr. Jason Kenney’s insincerity. “On the one hand Jason Kenney is spending a lot of time with immigrant population, wooing them, but their actions are very different. They cut $44 million from settlement agencies, clogged up the system for family reunification..Conservatives see family reunification as economic policy..rather than to see it as a way to increase productivity of the second generation.”

Coalition controversy is a non-issue for Rana. “There’s nothing to coalition controversy. It’s not a substantive issue at all,” he says. The Conservatives he believes want the Conservative majority. Like his leader, Rana says “they should earn it.” But then his leader didn’t show up to work 70% per cent of the times says NDP leader Jack Layton.

– – – –

Why are we criminalizing our racialized youth?

Rathika Sitsabaiesan, NDP candidate from Scarborough Rouge River

The most pressing election issue on the door is affordability of daily items like gas and groceries says NDP candidate Rathika Sitsabaiesan, NDP candidate from Scarborough Rouge River.

68 per cent of the people residing in the riding are new Canadians “who are disenfranchised” who feel apathetic to the political process because the predominant feeling is that “nobody speaks for us,” she says in an interview with Generation Next. She says “immigrant vote definitely was taken for granted” in this riding by serving member of Parliament Derek Lee who has decided to retire.

The young NDP candidate criticized the Trudeau Liberals for supporting “an extremely right wing Conservative with Conservatives more than 100 times on various legislations..and not showing up for work..Liberals are openly supportive of Conservatives,” she said.

She believes that the Conservative Party has discriminatory anti smuggling policy. “It discriminates against immigrants of certain backgrounds. Just look at Bill C50.”She says that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has “unilateral control..which gives him power to choose which applications get processed faster.”

She says that in Scarborough Rouge River, she was the first South Asian to be nominated by NDP a year ago. Now the Liberal Party has a South Asian candidate Rana Sarkar and the Conservative Party has nominated Marlene Galloyat, a South Asian with European ties.

NDP is also the party that has nominated most women candidates. Rathika says that the United Nation’s  report has said that when there are women representatives there is less conflict and the governments are more transparent and accountable.

She chastises the Conservative party for giving away billions of dollars to corporate companies, the companies “that are shipping the jobs overseas.” NDP is the only party that will invest in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that will create jobs for Canadians especially the young Canadians. She has the first hand experience of having to choose between being unemployed or underemployed. For obvious reasons she chose to be “underemployed.”

Rathika is also very critical of the Conservative party’s strategy of “criminalizing our racialized youth” and not investing enough in keeping people out of prisons. Rathika’s political, social, and cultural consciousness took shape early on in her life as her parents have been community activists who worked towards the advancement and injection of Tamil culture into the Canadian fabric.

Rathika attended the University of Toronto for the first two years of her undergraduate studies, where she as he Vice-President of the Tamil Students’ Association. She then transferred to Carleton University, where she completed her Bachelor of Commerce degree. While attending Carleton University, Rathika served as a Vice-President of the Carleton University Students’ Association, as Caucus Chair of the New University Government, and as Operations Manager with the Rideau River Residence Association.

“And why does Canada need fighter jets,” she asks Mr. Harper. “Are we planning on attacking somebody?” “There was a time when international community looked at Canada and said these are peace loving people..only NDP has the policy of books not bombs,” said Rathika.

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There is a very large and underserved immigrant population

–          Marlene Fallyot, Conservative candidate from Scarborough Rouge River

Marlene Gallyot, Conservative candidate for Stephen Harper in the riding of Scarborough-Rouge River, met with members of the media to discuss her election campaign and her plans after she becomes the next MP for the riding.  She shared her views on immigration and how she intends on improving that process.

As a previous owner of an immigration consultancy firm, Marlene has the experience to help a Conservative government continue to improve the immigration process. “There is a very large and underserved immigrant population in Scarborough Rouge River,” said Marlene to room full of reporters.  Once elected as MP for Scarborough Rouge River, Marlene will focus her time and energy on improving Canada’s immigration system; specifically she wants to reduce the immigration applicant backlog.”  A Stephan Harper led government has already taken steps to rectify the problem that the Liberals left behind.

Improving immigration policy is only the first step.  People in Scarborough Rouge River need more investment.  Marlene will also pursue more foreign investment into the riding, which will help improve local businesses and job creation.  “I will also encourage local businesses to hire locally because this will enhance the local economy in Scarborough and these types of policies will benefit everyone in the Scarborough community.”  Job creation and infrastructure investment will be vital to helping immigrants.  Under Stephen Harper, the Canadian economy has recovered faster than any other country.

Each and every day of the campaign, Marlene and here volunteers will canvass door-to-door asking constituents to vote for a Conservative in Scarborough Rouge River.

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York West

Posted on 23 April 2011 by admin

York West  Profile

Population: 103,945

Eligible voters: 59,583

Number of votes in 2008: 26,792

Voter turnout: 44.96%

Immigrant population: 63,635

Visible minorities: 70,425

South Asian population: 19,140

Employment rate: 54.3%

Median age: 34.6


Judo Srgo  — Liberal

Audrey Walters – Conservative

Giulio Manfrini — NDP

2008 Results

Judy Srgo: 59.39% Liberal

Giulio Manfrini: 18.74% NDP

Kevin Nygyen: 16.64% Conservative

2006 Results

Judy Srgo: 63.78% Liberal

Parm Gill: 18.59% Conservative

Sandra Anthony: 14.07%  NDP

Why you must Vote Liberal

By Judo Srgo, Liberal candidate for York West

On May 2nd, we can elect a government that respects Canadians, and earns the respect of the world.  This election is more than just an exercise in democracy – it is about democracy itself. For five years, Stephen Harper has put himself and his party ahead of the Canadian people.  Stephen Harper’s government was found in contempt of Parliament – a first in Canadian history – for refusing to share the costs of their corporate tax breaks, U.S.-style mega-prisons, and stealth fighter jets.

Four members of Stephen Harper’s inner circle are facing jail time for election fraud, including two men he appointed to the Senate. His former chief of staff is under investigation by the RCMP for influence-peddling. One minister altered documents and misled Parliament, and another had been running the Conservative election campaign out of his department. To cap it off, the Conservatives wasted over $400 million of taxpayer money on partisan government advertising.

Liberals Invested in reducing backlog

It was the previous Liberal government that invested $700 million in the system in 2005 to deal with the backlog and that was one of the first things Stephen Harper cut after coming to power.  We have now seen the backlog balloon to more than 1 million on Stephen Harper’s watch.  A Liberal government will make getting the backlog under control a key priority.

In 2005 the previous Liberal government also significantly increased family reunification targets for 2006, including targets for parent and grandparent visas.  Liberals deployed temporary duty officers and hired additional administrative support staff specifically to accelerate the processing of parent and grandparent reunification.  These changes resulted in 70,517 family class visas being issued in 2006, including 20,005 parent and grandparent visas.   A Liberal government will restore balance to the immigration system by reversing five years of Conservative cuts and return family class visas to the same proportion of overall immigration as in 2006.

Over the last five years the settlement funding increases were the  result of an automatic formula in the Canada Ontario Immigration Agreement, which was delivered by the previous Liberal government in 2005.  Unfortunately the Conservatives refused to deliver on the commitments under that agreement holding back more than $200 million of funding over the last five years   Now that the agreement has expired the Conservatives have begun to cut.  The Harper government has slashed $53 million dollars –about 10% – from the 2011 budget for programs that offer support and integration services for new Canadians.  A Liberal government would restore that funding and more by investing an additional $100 million per year into immigrant language training by year four of our platform.

Immigrant issues addressed seriously

The Liberal party understands that Canada continues to be built on immigration, particularly now as we face simultaneous skills shortages and unemployment—jobs without people, people without jobs.  We have to compete for the best and brightest talent from around the world so we can create the jobs of tomorrow in Canada.  The Liberal party has put forward serious initiatives like significant investments in settlement services, increasing family reunification and dealing with credential recognition before individuals come to Canada.

Ethnic” and “Very ethnic” Outreach

These are recent examples of an ongoing and serious issue.  Conservative’s model of community outreach is not about substantive exchanges and dialogue or about building bridges between cultural communities, but about pitting one community against another, one region against another, one group of Canadians against another.

Engaging the Obama generation

Most discouragingly, in recent years Canada’s youngest voters have consistently had the lowest turn-out and studies tell us we can no longer count on non-voters becoming voters as they grow older. The internet provides a tool to address this issue.

A Liberal government will direct Elections Canada to develop an online voting option, starting with a pilot project for individuals serving overseas in the Canadian Armed Forces and the federal public service, and post-secondary students living outside their home ridings. The pilot will support a broader discussion with Canadians about an online voting option for every voter.

Liberal Pledge:

To make equal opportunity a reality for every Canadian, whether you live in a big city, a small town, a remote community, a farm or a fishing village.

– – – – – –

Audrey Walters – Conservative candidate for York West

Audrey Walters is an accomplished businesswoman and volunteer. Her extensive career includes positions in senior management in the private sector.

Getting involved in her community is also important to Audrey. She has extensive experience as president of the Black Business & Professional Association (BBPA), based in Toronto. With her keen oversight, she developed relationships with professionals and organizations within the greater Toronto community in the best interests of the BBPA’s members.

Audrey is a strong leader who can build cohesive teams of people around her. As a team player, she believes efficient groups can meet goals more quickly and more effectively.

Audrey is looking forward to applying her leadership and commitment to her community as your Member of Parliament for York West.

– – – –

Giulio Manfrini, NDP candidate for York West

Giulio Manfrini arrived in Canada on December of 1976, and applied and was accepted as political refugee. It was granted landed immigrant status in 1978, via a Ministerial Decreed by the government of Prime Minister Pierre E. Trudeau.

Since he arrived to Montreal in 1976, and wherever he lived, whether in Canada or overseas, Giulio worked tirelessly for the restoration of democracy and freedom in Uruguay. In early 1987, Giulio made North York his home and continued his work as a community activist for improving the life of Uruguayan, Latin-Americans and immigrants from all over the world.

Now, Giulio wants to make a substantial difference for the immigrant communities, which he considers, underrepresented, invisible in the political process and manipulated by politicians, for their own personal advantage.

He is seeking the integration and participation of all communities in the political process, for the advancement of all. Giulio was a New Democratic Party’s Candidate for the electoral district of York West, for the first time, in October 2008 Federal Elections. Giulio is currently the Co-Chair of the Ethno-Cultural Committee of the Ontario New Democratic Party (ONDP).

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Don Valley West

Posted on 23 April 2011 by admin

Don Valley West Profile

Population: 117,080

Eligible voters: 80,864

Number of votes in 2008: 50,235

Voter turnout: 62.12%

Immigrant population: 53,150

Visible minorities: 50,005

South Asian population: 19,170

Employment rate: 58.6%

Median household income: $52,016

Median age: 39.0


Rob Oliphant: Liberal

John Carmichael: Conservative

Nicole Yovanoff: NDP

2008 Results

Rob Oliphant: 44.36% Liberal

John Carmichael: 38.83% Conservative

David Sparrow: 10.19% NDP

2006 Results

John Godfrey: 53.36% Liberal

John Carmichael: 33.29% Conservative

David Thomas: 9.11%

Muslim Community of Don Valley West Endorses Rob Oliphant

The Muslim Community of Don Valley West endorsed current MP Rob Oliphant for the upcoming federal election on May 2nd. The strong endorsement was announced during a community meeting held on Friday, April 15 at Cypriot Community Centre in Thorncliffe Park. Many residents of the riding were present at the meeting.

Ms. Wahida Valiante, National President of Canadian Islamic Congress, highlighted the hard work in the House of Commons that Rob Oliphant has done on behalf of the Muslim community. She said that in the short period of two-and-a-half years as Member of Parliament, Rob Oliphant has been a strong voice for our community in Canada and around the world. He has spoken many times in House of Commons in defence of Muslim rights. For example, Rob spoke strongly against Bill C-623, introduced by a Conservative member, requiring citizens to reveal their faces in order to vote. Mr. Oliphant called the Bill a “trial balloon”, re-introduced to play to the Conservatives’ base and divide voters — a similar strategy to the one they used with  Conservative MP Candice Hoeppner’s defeated bill to kill the long-gun registry. Mr. Oliphant’s words in the House addressed the Conservative’s mistrust of Muslim Canadians: “Why are they raising an issue which really has been dormant? We have a voting system that is based on trust. We have a voting system that doesn’t assume Muslim women will vote more than once, any more than any other Canadian will vote more than once. There’s no goodwill being extended. It’s a suspicion, it’s mistrust and it’s fear.”

Muslim youth activist Ammar Ashraf spoke to Rob’s staunch support of Muslim youth issues. When a Toronto Muslim youth was falsely arrested abroad, Rob was promptly available to assist and was instrumental in securing his release. While the Conservative foreign minister’s office took over a month to respond to the same issue, Rob responded overnight!

Other Muslim Community Leaders also spoke at the meeting, including Ali Baig, Abdul Ingar and Ismail Jassat. They highlighted Rob’s work for the Muslim Community and that he is a strong defender of the human rights of our community. Some of the highlights of his work are as follows:

  • Rob introduced Bill C-533 calling for a National Remembrance Day to mark the genocide of Muslims in Srebrenica. “Canada has been silent on this issue for too long”, Oliphant said. “Stephen Harper must stop playing political games and demonstrate to the International Community that we will not stand for genocide, that we support those most affected and share in their collective loss.”
  • Rob opposed Bill C-623, introduced by a Conservative MP, that would have required Canadians to show their faces before they vote.
  • Rob has repeatedly called on the Conservative government to repatriate Omar Khadr.
  • Rob has expressed outrage at the refusal of the Harper Conservatives to apologize and compensate Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin for the government’s role in their abduction and torture.
  • Rob has expressed outrage at the Harper Government for ignoring the citizenship rights of Ms. Suaad Hagi Mohamud in Kenya and demanded better policy to protect citizens while travelling abroad.
  • Rob has spoken out against Conservative cutting of family reunification visas, temporary resident visas, and cuts to settlement services organizations, which have unfairly targeted Toronto—where these services are needed most.
  • Working with Don Valley West community leaders, Rob has drawn attention to the living conditions of new immigrants to Canada, for example exposing the condition of the building at 31-35 St. Dennis St.

  • Over the past two years, Rob’s office has processed over 8,750 constituent claims and held over 100 Coffee and Conversation session across the riding.

In his closing speech, Rob Oliphant thanked the community for their support and assured the audience that he will keep on working hard for the residents of Don Valley West. He urged the community to vote on May 2nd.

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Nicole Yovanoff, NDP candidate from Don Valley West

Nicole is a passionate advocate for clean water, and water protection. Nicole fought to stop the City of Toronto from shipping its garbage to the Adams Mine. She also fought to stop the “Site 41” garbage site that would have ruined good farmland and polluted the water system of northern Simcoe County.

Nicole is currently working with the Residents of South Simcoe Conserving our Rural Environment to prevent new development from pilfering water from the Oak Ridge Moraine, a sensitive watershed that provides water for 65 rivers including the Humber River and the Don River.

Nicole has a Specialized Honours Degree in Political Science from York University.

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John Carmichael, Conservative candidate from Don Valley West with his family

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Specific degree helped me find a job – Saleha Haji

Posted on 23 April 2011 by admin


Unlike many other recent graduates who have struggled with finding work, Saleha was hired before she even completed her degree.

‘I completed a Bachelors of Commerce with an Economics major, and was hired while I was in university’. Luckily for Saleha, the insecurities surrounding the job hunting process were mostly absent from her experience. With regards to the current job market, Saleha comments that ‘it is pretty good, and has definitely picked up in the last year. There are many companies currently hiring’.

It is likely that a degree in Commerce or in a related field  has helped insulate many graduates from the uncertainties of finding employment, especially given the recent economic recession. For Saleha, the nature of her undergraduate education meant she had a definite advantage when securing a job . ‘I had a Commerce degree and a very specific qualification in accounting.’

Despite her positive experience, and perhaps precisely because she found employment through her program and not independently of it, Saleha feels that career services for youth could be a lot more developed. ‘Some universities have good services, but not all. This is especially true for larger ones like the University of Toronto which do not provide enough support.  If you don’t apply through a university, you are left with the option of job boards. Unfortunately,  there aren’t enough job boards in Toronto  that are actually helpful’.

Of course, university education cannot be taken for granted as affordable by many who are fortunate enough to gain a Bachelor’s degree. Saleha acknowledges the impact of tuition costs on the decision making process of those who are lesser privileged. ‘Many youths from lower income backgrounds find it easier to work right after high school as opposed to taking out a loan to go to university. This is because young people are able to find a job that pays decently without first obtaining a university degree.’ While this may appear to be a financially feasible option for those who are excluded from university due to income disparity, Saleha points out the opposite. ‘One doesn’t realize the negative long term impact of this on future salary increases’.

The issues of education, affordability and income are, of course, very relevant to immigrant communities. The political leanings of Saleha’s family reflect this reality. ‘Many of my family members are pro-Liberal as Liberals strongly supported immigrants back in the day’. Saleha considers her own political orientation to be ‘generally liberal’, with some exceptions. ‘I do support some of the NDP’s policies but I really doubt they will ever come in power and do anything’.

In general, Saleha considers the involvement of South Asian youth in local politics to be on the rise. ‘Our political activity has been increasing over the last few years, especially within the GTA. However, it is still not strong enough given the current population of young South Asians’.

As for the federal elections due to be held on May 2nd, Saleha is not particularly hopeful. ‘I don’t have many expectations, given how fast it all happened. I really doubt there will be much of a change [after May 2nd] to be honest. Harper will probably be re-elected’.

By Sara Jaffri


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IIFA Buzz Brampton Festival

Posted on 23 April 2011 by admin

IIFA Buzz Brampton Festival is the name given to City events that will lead up to the IIFA awards taking place June 23 to 25 in Toronto. It is the first time the prestigious awards will be held in North America.

More than 400 members from Brampton’s South Asian community were on hand to join the celebrations, which featured a presentation of the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards, the IIFA Buzz Brampton Festival, South Asian food, music and dance.

“I am so happy that Brampton will be playing a role in this wonderful event,” says the Honourable Preeti Saran, Consul General of India in Toronto who addressed invitees. “IIFA not only provides an opportunity to showcase Indian culture, it offers South Asians living in Canada, an opportunity to be proud and to celebrate their heritage.”

Brampton’s IIFA Buzz Brampton Festival events are presented by CIBC and supported by the Government of Ontario through the Celebrate Ontario program. “Speaking on the festival, says, Sabbas Joseph, Director, IIFA. “We are thrilled that the City of Brampton will be participating in the IIFA Celebrations this year. It further fulfils IIFA’s objective of showcasing new destinations and cultures and we hope to see people from the city participate and give us their support.”

“Our government is proud to support IIFA celebrations in local communities like Brampton so more people can share in the excitement of this spectacular weekend,” says Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism and Culture. “This is a tremendous opportunity to showcase Brampton and all of Ontario as a diverse and dynamic place to live, visit and do business. I encourage everyone to join the celebration and participate in the IIFA Buzz Brampton Festival this June.”

“The IIFA 2011 program and IIFA Buzz events will not only shine a spotlight on the very best of the Indian film industry from around the world, but, as importantly, it will showcase the diversity, pride and passion of Canada’s South Asian communities, and Canadians of all backgrounds,” says Raza Hasan, Senior Vice President, Retail Lending and Wealth Risk Management at CIBC. “Our sponsorship of IIFA is just another example of how CIBC, together with our employees and clients, embraces Canada’s diversity. At the same time, we are excited to honour the cultural, artistic and business contributions of the global South Asian community.”

Bollywood, Buzz and Brampton

The month of June promises to be a busy one for fans of Indian cinema. IIFA Buzz Brampton Festival events include everything from “Bollywood Under the Stars” movie nights to a South Asian-themed Farmers’ Market and Flower City Parade on Saturday, June 18.

“It is a thrill for the City of Brampton to participate in such an incredible event as IIFA,” says City Councillor Vicky Dhillon. “With more than 100 thousand South Asians living in our City, we are honoured that we will be able to celebrate this heritage and introduce the rich South Asian culture to our greater community.”

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Shiamak Davar group teaches dance moves at CIBC

As part of IIFA buzz, CIBC organized a meeting with the press at its Albion and Kipling branch to warm up its employees and the South Asian community to join CIBC in becoming part of the IIFA celebrations this year in June. CIBC is offering people a chance to perform on stage with Bollywood mega stars. People can submit a minute long video at CIBC is also offering people a chance to put in entries at the same website to see the Bollywood stars up close by requesting the community to participate at CIBC IIFA Golden Ticket Contest.

On the occasion were also present Raza Hasan, Senior Vice President CIBC, Venki Raman, CIBC Etobicoke Vice President, Branch Manager Marina Wahabi, Anil Ferro, IIFA marketing director and Mitul and Vaibhav from Shiamak Davar group.

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Sikh Centennial Foundation Gala: Celebrating Sikhism “As you have prospered, we’ve all prospered, as you have grown, we have all grown” – Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty

Posted on 23 April 2011 by admin

Sikh Centennial Foundation is essentially “an arts and culture focused” organization says Ranjeet Bhangu, Co Chair of the Sikh Centennial Gala Committee. “The gala is our key event and this year is special as the foundation is taking new initiatives of giving scholarships,” says Ranjeet who is banker by profession.

The Gala “celebrates Sikhs who have accomplished different things and Sikhi values,” however the Gala is not solely dedicated to Sikhs, says the Co-Chair of the Gala. “It’s dedicated to Sikh values and individuals who exemplify the Sikh values,” says Ranjeet. Every year distinguished Sikhs and non-Sikhs are honoured by Sikh Centennial Foundation.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty was a special guest at the event that was emcce’d by Zoravar Dhaliwal, Chief Executive Officer at Community Lab.

On the occasion Premier McGuinty recalled his visit to the Golden Temple in 2007 where he was accompanied by Ontario Minister of Government Services Harinder Takhar and MPP Dr. Kuldip Kular (MPP Bramalea-Gore-Malton).

Acknowledging the growth of the community, Premier McGuinty said “as you have prospered, we’ve all prospered, as you have grown, we have all grown.”

Sikh Centennial Foundation Gala is an exclusive event where young professionals seem to be at forefront to highlight not only the accomplishment of the Sikhs but also Sikh values. Ranjeet believes that an effort is made by the Sikh Centennial Foundation board “to pull youth in the direction where they can meet with the positive influences.”

In its 14th annual gala, Sikh Centennial Foundation honoured Mr. Vim Kochhar, the first Indo Canadian Senator appointed by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Dr. Naranjan Dhalla, a cardiovascular researcher who has been awarded with insignia with words like Satnam, Shivam, Sundaram written on it, Sheen Iyengar, professor at Columbia Business School and Susan Stronge, a senior curator at Victoria & Albert Museum.

Ontario Premier McGuinty was joined by Minister Harinder Takhar (MPP Mississauga Erindale), Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins (MPP St. Paul’s), MPP Kuldip Kular and Doug Ford, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s brother.

L-R: Ontario Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins, Premier McGuinty, Gala Co Chairs Puneet Mann and Ranjeet Bhangu with Minister Harinder Takhar

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South Asian community is giving back

Posted on 23 April 2011 by admin

Guru Nanak Community Foundation (GNCF) presented the $204,000 check to Brampton Civic Hospital.

GNCF has been raising funds since 1999 by organizing a car rally. The first year they raised funds for Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga. They have set the target to raise funds by $250,000 to donate to Brampton Civic Hospital.

Why choose healthcare to raise funds for. Mr. Gurdip Thethi,  President of GNCF says “everybody needs’s something you can’t get away from it.”

Speaking to Generation Next, Ms. Randell said “there was a $250,000 contribution committed to help us build this hospital.” Guru Nanak Community Foundation organizes car rally every year to help raise funds for Brampton Civic Hospital.

Some people believe that the South Asian community is not engaged enough in institutions like hospitals and colleges and universities, however Mr. Thethi believes “We’re getting better day by day. There’re a lot of organizations that are making people aware of giving back to the community.”

Over the years, Ms. Randell says that the South Asian community has been engaged in giving back to institutions like hospitals. Going forward, she looks forward to building strong partnership that is mutually beneficial. An area to work on is “to engage and mobilize youth,” she says.

Car rally is like a treasure hunt whereby members of GNCF get engaged in the hunt to raise funds for hospitals.

GNCF also does international children’s competition to raise religious awareness among kids.

Gurdip Thethi, President of Guru Nanak Community Services Foundation present a $204,000 check to Anne Randell, President & CEO of William Osler Health System Foundation for Brampton Civic Hospital

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