Archive | September, 2011

The Leaders’ Debate

Posted on 30 September 2011 by admin

The leaders of the three major political parties of Ontario debated on Tuesday night ahead of October 6th election.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty who has led Ontario for last eight years was a clear underdog. He had a lot more explaining to do than the other two candidates whose records were not under laser like scrutiny. Liberal leader maintained his usual calm demeanor, addressing voters’ logic more than their emotion.

PC leader Tim Hudak stayed with his mantra of “On October 6th, families have a clear choice…” Rather than stressing more on what the PC government will do for Ontario, he emphasized on attacking Mr. McGuinty.

As opposed to Mr. McGuinty and Mr. Hudak, NDP leader Andrea Horwath made constant references to people – meeting a woman at a bar, the man who could not afford to pay his bills and so on. It was a clear indication of what the NDP has been saying at all levels. “We put people first.”

I have seen Mr. McGuinty speak at a number of different community events – at South Asian young professionals’ event, at gurdwaras, at mandirs and at mosques. In his addresses, Mr. McGuinty responds to the concerns raised in those events by speakers who came before him. I would have imagined he would have quoted many more Ontarians who benefited through his government’s policies for last eight years.

While almost all sectors of Ontario government were touched, the parties responded in a press release sort of a manner, sticking to their message, tailoring their answers to their party tune rather than responding to the questions boldly. One would have expected Mr. McGunity to do it because he said himself, he had a “bold vision.”

Mr. Hudak’s favourite line while addressing Mr. McGuinty was “You know that’s not true.”   As expected, there was overwhelming discussion about jobs, economy and tax breaks for international corporations.

In the global market where one level of government is trying to sign free trade agreements with countries around the world, one would imagine that the policy with all levels of government will be consistent. So, take for example India. The federal government has India file as a priority. If the Government of Ontario does not take the same approach to India and other global markets, can these global markets be comfortable in doing business in Ontario?  I am fully aware that most middle class families don’t much care about what happens with billion dollar companies; they care more about having a job to pay for their responsibilities. So much debate about corporate companies may be moot for many “average, middle class Ontario families.”

What was not so very civil of the leaders was to talk over each other. While one of them scolded and instructed the other for letting him finish, I was left to ask that all these leaders willingly ask Ontarians like me to make some hard choices. However they are not even willing to make a choice of giving other person time to complete their sentences.

Can any of them be trusted?  I also wonder if leaders after getting elected are cocooned by advisors, strategist etc in such a manner that they lose touch with ordinary people.

Or maybe it’s just me being cynical!

By Asma Amanat

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100-year-old Fauja Singh to participate in Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Posted on 30 September 2011 by admin

Fauja Singh

Fauja Singh who is now 100 years old will be in Toronto in support of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfornt Marathon (STWFM). The 5km, half marathon and marathon will take place on October 16, 2011. Details of the event can be obtained from www.torontowaterfrontmarathon.com.

 

Fauja Singh will be accompanied by many runners from “Sikhs in the City” team from England www.sikhsinthecity.org . They have come to support his legacy when in 2003 he set a new world record of 5h 40m 1.2s in Toronto at the young age of 93 years. This year Fauja Singh turned 100 in April. Depending upon his health his plan is to play a meaningful part in the STWFM .

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UN declares Oct 2nd Non-Violence Day in memory of Gandhi

Posted on 30 September 2011 by admin

The real significance of the Indian freedom movement in Gandhi’s eyes was that it was waged nonviolently. He would have had no interest in it if the Indian National Congress had adopted Satyagraha and subscribed to nonviolence. He objected to violence not only because an unarmed people had little chance of success in an armed rebellion, but because he considered violence a clumsy weapon which created more problems than it solved, and left a trail of hatred and bitterness in which genuine reconciliation was almost impossible.

Horace Alexander, who knew Gandhi and saw him in action, graphically describes the attitude of the nonviolent resister to his opponent: “On your side you have all the mighty forces of the modern State, arms, money, a controlled press, and all the rest. On my side, I have nothing but my conviction of right and truth, the unquenchable spirit of man, who is prepared to die for his convictions than submit to your brute force. I have my comrades in armlessness. Here we stand; and here if need be, we fall.” Far from being a craven retreat from difficulty and danger, nonviolent resistance demands courage of a high order, the courage to resist injustice without rancour, to unite the utmost firmness with the utmost gentleness, to invite suffering but not to inflict it, to die but not to kill.

To mark this day and event Nataraj Youth Cultural Organization is organizing an event at Thistle town Community Centre at 10.00 am on October 2nd.

 

Canadians from diverse, ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds and age groups will be attending, learning and celebrating the living and guiding principles of Mahatma Gandhi. In light of today’s complex problems of the human race there are simple solutions indicated by Mahatma Gandhi and we strive to reemphasize these solutions and principles through this humble effort.

 

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Garba: the Most traditional Gujrati Dancing Festival

Posted on 30 September 2011 by admin

Neha and Jay

Navratri is India’s most traditional Gujarati Dancing Festival. All ages of people celebrate and dance on classical folk bits,” says Jay Bhavasar.

Swar Sadhana is organizing Navratri for the past few years and provides quality family environment that allows all the community to integrate and learn Gujarati culture.

Neha tells Generation Next that “Navratri is one of the festivals where seniors to kids all can enjoy dancing. Also, it is time for many families to motivate their children born in Canada to know the roots and traditional cultural heritage. One way to celebrate is GARBA.”

Navratri, as the name suggests, means nine nights. It is one of the important Hindu festivals. It is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Durga, the deity of Power. Like other festivals of India, Navratri also has a significance and meaning attached to it. Each day of the nine-day festival are dedicated to the worship of different forms of Goddess Durga, which unfolds the religious importance of the occasion.

When asked how can kids integrate if parents put so much focus on cultural values, Jay said “Indian festivals are not so much to put pressure.” Indian festivals like Navratri are enjoyed by non-Gujratis also.

Join the Garba festival with Swar Sadhana Music Lovers Club on October 1st at Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan.

 

 

 

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ICCC and Liberal government worked hard to build stronger Ontario-India ties - Dalton McGuinty

Posted on 30 September 2011 by admin

Premier McGuinty addresses ICCC's guests

Mrs. Preeti Saran, India's Consul General

Satish Takhat, President of ICCC

With all the glitz and glamour, the report of the proceedings of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Canada (PBDCanada2011) was released last week.

Over 100 civil servants from India’s premier civil service were also in attendance. The officers were in Canada to participate in a study tour and training program of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) and School of Public Policy and Governance (SPPG), University of Toronto.

 

These civil servants described their trip to Canada as “very successful.”

Satish Thakkar, President of Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) stated that “the presence of over 100 senior civil servants from the prestigious Indian Administrative Service India made the event a memorable one.  The ICCC is proud of its role as a bridge-builder.”

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty was the Chief Guest at the occasion. Mr. Takhar noted that “Premier McGuinty has participated at previous ICCC engagements, including the inaugural dinner for convention in June. We are honoured that in the midst of the election campaign that he joined us for this landmark occasion, the release of the report.”

Mr. Kasi Rao, the host of the evening credited Mr. McGuinty as the first Premier in Ontario’s history to go to India. He also said that Mr. McGuinty is a well known figure in India’s corporate, business and political circles. Mr. Rao noted that Ontario Premier will be remembered in Ontario’s history as a leader who brought Ontario and India closer together.

In his remarks, Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty reiterated his commitment that if re-elected he will double the trade missions to India from four to eight to create jobs for Ontarians.

Mr. McGuinty also commended ICCC for its hard work. “Despite uncertainty in the global economy, organizations like the Indo Canada Chamber of Commerce has kept the doors open and kept the conversations going and created countless new opportunities. With your help we are able to find new doors..no one here has work harder to build stronger ties between Ontario and India than the  members of Indian Chamber of Commerce and I’d like to add my government,” he said to the applause of the audience.

He also stated that Ontario’s global relationships have generated $1.7 billion and more than 2,000 jobs for Ontario families.

Mrs. Preeti Saran, Indian Consul General to Toronto also appreciated the role played by Indian Diaspora in Canada to enhance closer ties between India and Canada.

 

 

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Balance is addressing physical, mental, emotional and spiritual elements of my individual fitness Gary Sethi, Fitness Model

Posted on 30 September 2011 by admin

Gary Sethi has been one of those teenagers who was obese and made fun of. As a 250 lbs. obese teenager, he didn’t know how to cope with problems like obesity. His self esteem plummeted and he looked outward for help from so-called friends. Wearing a turban and striking a balance between the Eastern and the Western values was even more challenging for him as a sardar.

But through these challenges, he etched his identity as a South Asian Sardar1 Fitness trailblazer. His ambition is inspire every South Asian to be healthy and fit, while showcasing South Asian sardars in a positive light. Within that goal, Gary works to address physical, mental, emotional and spiritual elements of individual fitness programs.

Generation Next got to speak 27-year-old Gary Sethi who has gained maturity and experience as he grew up in life:

Body building…can it really be a serious profession?

..Bodybuilding and fitness modelling are two very different entities. Body building is a much more intense sport, similar to the career Arnold Schwarzenegger participated in prior to his acting career. I am not a body builder, but a fitness model, which is really muscle modeling..As a South Asian, who wears a turban, I want to represent our community – this is the way I know how.

These days women go after men with muscles etc. What has it been like with you?

I have no idea. Truthfully, I haven’t really noticed.

Do you believe there is acceptance for unique South Asians such as yourself in the mainstream?

Definitely..there is definite place for unique and interesting looks, and in the Western world, the turbaned look falls in that category.

 

What made you change and how did you find your path?

The inspiration was from my older sister, Sonia and her own healthy weight transformation. With her guidance, I found a passion for weight training and fitness..As I watched this transformation, I had an almost light-bulb moment and decided to follow her example. I began my own personal journey to transform my body; I ate the rights foods, and regained my connection to my cultural roots and family. It is almost as though, weight training enabled me to propel my South Asian Sardar identity, roots, and incorporate them into a total body functional training regimen.

 

Another important moment in my life was when I learned that my father had three blocked arteries. It was a true wakeup call and why I believe, “charity starts at home.” I did research and the statistics were alarming and it left me with questions that needed to be answered. I began studying how South Asians in Canada are living – I included my own parents’ habits and began pinpointing the exact moments of that hinder the health of South Asians. I began training South Asians and teaching them the fundamentals of meal planning and fitness regimes. I also began attending health expos to ensure I had the latest information.

HEALS is a not for profit organization that aims to spread awareness of healthy eating and exercise to the South Asian community. We aim to help inspire and change the lives of the South Asian community.

What’s the best diet for South Asians who don’t want to give up meat and mithai?

Everything is about moderation..my goal is to put the pieces of the puzzle together with cardiovascular training, weight training, nutrition, and mental health.

Give our readers a few simple tricks to remain fit….nothing that has been already said…something unique and different.

  • Aim for eating 4-5 small portions  every 3 hours. Make sure to include protein in every meal. Getting enough protein in your diet is a key ingredient for both weight loss success and muscle-building success. Protein boosts your metabolism while stabilizing blood sugar and insulin levels.
  • Love butter on your roti? Try the butter spray from Becel and get all the flavor and zero calories.
  • Don’t cook with butter or oil. Use PAM spray instead.

Definition of balanced life can be different for different people. What is it for you? Some may say that you have gone a little too far with body building yourself and are not fit to give advice. How do you counter that?

For me balance is addressing physical, mental, emotional and spiritual elements of my individual fitness programs and helping my family and close friends achieve those same goals.

How much do you believe in hard work and how much do you believe in fate?

I believe like many South Asians, my parents have instilled in me that anything in life results from hard work. As I get older, I believe this more and more.

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Choose Your Leader Wisely on October 6th

Posted on 30 September 2011 by admin

October 6th election is only a week away. It’s the day for Ontarians to decide which party and which leader they most trust to represent them.

Another recession seems to be looming just around the corner as we see that the US job market and housing market is no better than it was during recession. Undoubtedly it will affect Ontario’s manufacturing market yet again. With businesses uncertain about tomorrow, jobs will be scarce.

And Ontarians have an added pressure of making the right decision at the right time to choose their leadership.

What has been evident from this election campaign is that many South Asian families are not supporting any given party blindly. They are evaluating each party’s platform, perhaps not as thoroughly; nonetheless they are aware of the issues and what each party is offering.

During this election campaign families in the Region of Peel have asked whether their kids will be picked up by a school bus from their homes. Which party will provide funds to do so? Some of these parents have to literally give up work to ensure that one parent can pick up and drop off their kids to school.

In an economic climate where both partners have to work to provide a better living, families cannot afford to stay home just because their government is not willing to facilitate a school bus to pick up and drop off their kids to and from school.

South Asian families have also started noticing that many candidates who come to them as a South Asian and ask for their votes do not deliver once they are in the public office. Quietly they are skeptical of these South Asian elected officials who are not being vocal in addressing the issues of their constituents, yet when the time for elections come, they are all over them.

Many of the South Asian families also refuse to have a sign board of a South Asian candidate for fear of being taken negatively once the South Asian candidate from the other party gets elected.

Under these circumstances, the South Asian elected officials have added responsibility of reassuring their South Asian constituents that they will represent all of their constituents whether they voted for him/her or not.

 

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Much Ado About Nothing – The Liberal Plan on New Canadian Professionals

Posted on 30 September 2011 by admin

This fall’s provincial election has been consumed by an unlikely topic: immigration.

For the last two weeks, the Liberals and Conservatives have been sparring – not over health care, or education, or green energy – but over how best to integrate new Canadians into Ontario’s workforce.

 

The Liberal’s “No Skills Left Behind” training credit offersa tax subsidy for employers who hire new Canadian professionals.It has quickly become the biggest issue of the campaign for the October 6 election.

 

The Tories have accused the Liberals of offering an “affirmative action” program for
“foreigner workers.”Policies that encourage one group of individuals over another, they say, are unfair and un-Canadian.

 

“Unemployed Ontarians know where they stand with Dalton McGuinty” said Conservative Leader Tim Hudak “he’s going to give companies $10, 000 to hire anyone but you.”

 

Liberals, on the other hand, have accused Mr. Hudak of dividing voters by setting immigrants against unemployed workers. “I think he’s crossed a line” said Mr. McGuinty “I believe in Ontario there is no us and them. There’s just us”

 

Behind the rhetoric and name calling, however, the two men’s policies on the subject are not that far apart. As part of the Conservative platform, Mr. Hudak has promised a tax credit for employers who sponsor language training for new immigrants. In a private member’s bill last year, the Conservative leader proposed a 10% wage subsidy for employers who hired a skilled newcomer.

 

Mr. McGuinty’s scheme takes his opponent’s ideas a step further. According to the Ontario Liberal Plan initiative, the provincial government will offer a $10, 000 tax credit to employers who hire new Canadians who have been here for five years or less. The new hires must be professionals such as architects, accounts, and engineers, and the jobs must be there first in Canada.

 

Despite all the hoopla, the plan actually affects a surprisingly negligible group of immigrants. Since becoming a citizen often takes up to four and a half years, most individuals will only be eligible for a six month period in any event. Also, because only skilled professionals qualify for the program, the initiative will not help unskilled and semi-skilled immigrants. According to Liberal estimates the program will benefit only about 1,200 people and will cost around $12 million.  There seems an inordinate amount of noise over a program that affects such a small number of people.

 

While the proposed program may be small, the issue of integrating new Canadians into the economy is large. It will onlycontinue to grow with each election cycle asour population ages, young Canadians choose to have fewer children and Ontario faces an ever shrinking pool of home-grown skilled workers. New Canadians professionals will be neededto pick up the slack.

 

Yet the barriers for internationally trained workers and professionals in Canada are daunting. Trouble with the language often makes job interviews a challenge. The Canadian work experience requirement makes it difficultfor immigrants to get their foot in the door. And the non-recognition of foreign credentials often means professionals who have undertaken extensive training in their home counties must start from the beginning once they arrive in their new home.

 

Given the scope of the problem, the proposed assistance to a pool of only about 1200 people seems a little ridiculous.  It is a drop in the bucket.  On the other hand, helping 1200 people is better than helping none.

 

Currently, the Ontario government assists newcomers through Bridge Training programs setup across the province. The programs, run by employers, colleges and community organizations, assist internationally trained workers to gain Canadian work experience, assess their skills and develop language training for their professions or trades.  In July, Mr. McGuinty announced an $8.8 million commitment to renew 12 programs in the province.

 

Still, more must be done. Ontario can no longer afford to waste the human capital of its immigrant population. Come October 6th, whichever party comes to power, the province must develop amore inclusive and innovative strategy to harness the skills and strengths of its immigrant workforce. The successful integration ofnew Canadians is no longer an ideal; it is a social and economic imperative.

If you have any immigration related questions, contact Chantal at chantal@chantaldesloges.ca.

By Chantal Desloges

Toronto

 

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Voting on Oct 6th, know how

Posted on 30 September 2011 by admin

If you cast your vote in every election, then you perhaps remember what is required of you to do on the Election Day at polling stations.

If not, then here’s what you need to know.

You need to bring in an identification document to the polling station on the Election Day. This document does not need to be photo identification. It can be a driver’s license, your health card, your hydro bill, your lease agreement, or any document provided to you by the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario or any municipal government.

So if you wear hijab or niqaab, you can still vote. If you carry kirpan, you are allowed to enter the polling stations to cast your ballot.

To encourage more Ontarians to vote, Elections Ontario has taken a number of measures.

You can vote on the Election Day. You can vote in advanced polls from September 21st from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. to September 30th. You can mail your vote to Elections Ontario till September 30th. If you cannot travel, a returning officer can visit your home for you to cast your vote.

Elections Ontario has already mailed the voting information to almost 5 million households in Ontario. If you had voted in the federal or municipal election, you are also mailed a notice of registration. However if you have not received the notice of registration, it does not mean that you cannot vote.

In 2007’s elections in Ontario, the voter turnout was 52.1 per cent and 10.1 per cent people voted in advanced polls, says Alicia Fowlie, spokesperson for Elections Ontario.

In a conversation with Generation Next, she said that on October 6th, Elections Ontario will be the biggest employer for the province of Ontario, hiring 70,000 people on a single day. Ms. Fowlie also said that Elections Ontario has put in place contingency plans in case people don’t show up for work on October 6th.

In order to prevent fraudulent ballots, Elections Ontario has put a number of checks and balances in place, ensuring that the democratic process is transparent.

Elections Ontario provides information in 33 different languages. In addition to this, youtube links are available that demonstrate how to vote and provide other relevant information to Ontario voters.

More information can be found on http://wemakevotingeasy.ca/en/home.aspx and http://www.elections.on.ca/en-ca.

 

 

 

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Test Drive Chevrolet on Oct 4th at Dundas Square

Posted on 30 September 2011 by admin

On October 4th, Chevrolet transforms Yonge-Dundas Square with exciting events and entertainment all day long.

 

Experience the electrifying Voltage lightning display and the 2012 Chevrolet Volt, the electric car that goes farther.  Check out the Volt MY DRIVE app, and then get in and take a Volt for a test drive.

 

Need some help balancing work and life?  Take a lunch-time break at the Chevrolet Orlando Stage with our three life experts.  CityLine’s Nanny Robina whips up dinner for four in seven minutes.  Erica Ehm from YummyMummyClub.ca talks about her family trip to Orlando in an Orlando, with tips to help you cope on those long drives, and Wendy Woods helps you relax and have fun with Laughter Yoga.

Plus, you might win entering the Orlando Parking and the Orlando Packing challenges.

 

Get into the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic.  It’s fun, turbocharged.  Get inside a Sonic and mash up your favorite tune with a mix from world-renown DJ Dopey.  Watch as Toronto Graffiti artist SKAM creates a 40’ work of art, live throughout the day.

 

And then at 7:30, join us for a free concert with FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS, live on stage.  Come to Yonge-Dundas Square on October 4th, and text for a chance to win a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic to be given away during the FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS concert.

 

Test drive Sonic, Orlando and Volt, at Yonge-Dundas Square on October 4th, have fun, and see how Chevrolet is Driving Our World Forward.

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