Archive | August, 2012

The family man who loves his job…

Posted on 29 August 2012 by admin

By Asma Aamanat

“..young people that get involved in gangs, some come from families that live in areas that are down-trodden, i.e. socio-economic issues. Others, especially in the Punjabi community, it’s not even that they are coming from a financial problem, they’re coming from an attitude problem.”

“Then why are we as South Asians saying they can’t do it? There’s no reason why they cannot pair up with a school here, set up a certification program in India, Pakistan etc. for people to take those courses, get the certification and have equal access once they come here..”

While Canadians enjoy their summer, cabinet ministers of the Harper government are busy touring country to listen to Canadians. In one such tour, Generation Next got an opportunity to sit down with Minister of State (Democratic Reform), Tim Uppal. Minister Tim Uppal has been representing the riding ofEdmonton—Sherwood Park(Alberta) since 2008.

Minister Uppal has been assigned the important task of ensuring that Canadians are represented fairly in the House of Commons. There will be 30 more seats created acrossCanada, 15 of these ridings will be here inOntario. The proposal of the location of these ridings is already disclosed.

Minister Uppal has been quite visible in the South Asian community of the GTA in his blue pagri. A young professional himself, Minister Uppal goes through the same difficult task of balancing personal and professional life.

When we asked him how he juggles personal and professional life, his chuckling response was “Ask my wife! It is difficult. I have a 4-year-old, a- year-ld and a baby coming in 3 weeks. It’s hard on the family because I have to travel a lot but it is such an honour to serve in this government that I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Minister Uppal has been involved with youth, engaging them in sports like kabaddi before he was elected. He believes that it is parents’ responsibility to involve their kinds in outdoor activities. “We need to get our kids active. At the end of the day I don’t think it’s the government’s responsibility. It is the government’s responsibility to give some education through programs like ParticipAction, it’s more so the parents’ duty to encourage their children to get that exercise,” says the father of three.

Shooting in Eaton Centre and Scarborough earlier this summer has once again highlighted the need for youth to be understood and listened to. What’s the young Minister’s take on it, we asked.

“There’s a couple of things to understand, young people that get involved in gangs, some come from families that live in areas that are down-trodden, i.e. socio-economic issues. Others, especially in the Punjabi community, it’s not even that they are coming from a financial problem, they’re coming from an attitude problem. So what we’re doing as a government is cracking down on those who’ve committed the crime, because if you’ve committed a crime, there needs to be a punishment..The repeat offenders stay in jail and longer, we can help them in jail and we can help other young people to not get involved in gangs etc.”

But sometimes good people get involved in bad things.

 

“Most of the legislation we’ve brought forth is for dangerous criminals and repeat offenders.., I’ve worked with a lot of young people and if they go to jail, they come out and say that they never want to go back,” says Minister Uppal.

However, once a young person has gone to jail, aren’t their chances of getting a job reduced substantially?

“It is difficult,” agrees Minister Uppal. Nonetheless he believes that ..”80% of the crimes are done by 15-20% of the criminals because it’s the same ones that are doing it, so I think that if we crack down on the repeat offenders, then the crime situation will improve a lot.”

GTA is a home of many immigrants. Most of these immigrants don’t know the laws, don’t you think the government should make an extra effort to teach them, we asked.

“When they [new immigrants] become Canadian citizens, they do get an understanding of what the laws are, they go to school etc. You can go to almost any country, I think, and there’s an understanding of what is right and wrong. Stealing is stealing; assault is assault in any country.”

What’s interesting about Canada as a country is that immigrants are needed here to fulfill labour demands, yet most new Canadians believe that immigration to Canada has become a lot harder than it was a few years ago. How do you strike the balance, then?

Minister Uppal argues that the Canadian immigration system is broken. “You’re bringing in federal skilled workers under the point system but they are not finding jobs. So instead we’re having employers taking temporary workers.”

But what about the fact that employers don’t even call you if they see you have a certain name? “Yes and what we’re doing about that in the system is that prospective immigrants can put up their resumes to some kind of an online pool and an employer who needs people can go into that pool and can call or set up an interview. Or go to the other country and interview people, pick the ones they want to hire and tell Immigration. Then Immigration will fast-track those people within months. So that person will come into the country with a job offer and maybe even a contract. That will help. The other thing we’re doing is: there are students inCanadawho’ve finished their degree and are having trouble finding a job, for example teachers. So with that federal program, we’re still bringing in more teachers and it makes no sense at all. So why not bring in people that we need for the economy? If the immigrant is successful, the country will be successful. So we need to look at people in trades as well,” says Minister Uppal.

When we talk about South Asian immigrants, there are many trades’ people who work but they don’t have any qualifications for it. What about that?

“Then why are we as South Asians saying they can’t do it? There’s no reason why they cannot pair up with a school here, set up a certification program inIndia, Pakistan etc. for people to take those courses, get the certification and have equal access once they come here. I think people in South Asian communities are educated and capable enough to do this; we shouldn’t sell them short,” he responds.

Are you hearing that people are having a difficult time passing the citizenship test, we asked. Minister Uppal’s answer was that he is hearing about it more from the media than from the actual community.

Harper government has been criticized by the Opposition for appointing booted out politicians in the Senate and to other significant roles. Isn’t this hypocritical, we asked the Minister of Democratic Reform.

“The position in the government and the Senate is based on merit, and just because you did not win an election, doesn’t mean you cannot hold a position. These people are all very qualified for the job and especially in the Senate we appointed people who are committed to senate reform. So we need that support,” he said.

Conservatives are well known for their attack ads against Opposition party leaders. Shouldn’t Conservatives spend their supporters’ money on better things than attack ads?

“I think political parties should do what is in their best interest and if Canadians don’t like it, they can vote that way. I have seen that if ads give a certain kind of information then people appreciate that they wouldn’t have heard that information anywhere else,” said Minister Uppal.

In the South Asian community, there is an interest in Canadian politics but if an Indian politician comes, they seem to be more important. Are we still too attached to things back home?

“They [South Asian politicians] become stars and people want to go hear what they have to say..they [South Asian community] take an interest in politics here as well as back home. I don’t think that’s a bad thing as long as their focus is on Canadian politics because we don’t want to mix the two,” he responded.

How important is the Canada-India free trade agreement?

“I think it’s very important to business in the country and consumers.Indiais on of the largest economies and super powers and we need to have ties with them.”

But isn’t it a protectionist measure to say Canada’s supply-management is off the limits?

“In some ways that is,” Minister Uppal concedes.

Have you been to India while growing up and then afterwards?

I have been to India a few times. I actually went more after being elected because I went with the PM, then with Jason Kenney, and my brother’s wedding. So I’ve been there a few times since then. I really enjoy it and plan on going in December again.

Here in Canada, we talk a lot about multiculturalism, yet we have seen schools like Khalsa Community School being vandalized. What more can be done to prevent such incidents.

“In some ways, we’ll probably never fix everything and everybody; there will always be some vandalism etc. But what we can do is as communities, be more open and even as individuals. Just to get to know people. As a government we need to do and what we are doing is, to put resources towards programs that integrate people and promote shared values.. we can communicate in the common language. That is why English is so important, and French if you’re in the Quebec area. If you learn English, you will have more success and be better integrated into the community,” shares Mr. Uppal.

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Government versus Teachers’ Unions

Posted on 29 August 2012 by admin

While students are getting ready to go back to school in a few days, the Ontario government and the teachers’ union and boards are wrestling with each other over benefits and raise in wages.

The government wants to balance its books by 2015 and wants the public sector to be reasonable, however these unions’, of course, want better deals for their teachers. So far only one union and board combination, the Toronto Catholic School Board, has reached an agreement with the government.

On Tuesday, teachers protested at Queen’s Park against ‘education Premier’s’ legislation that imposes a two-year wage freeze and curbs collective bargaining rights. The legislation will also impose three unpaid days off, halve the number of annual sick days to 10, stop unused sick days from being banked and cashed out at retirement, and ban strikes and lockouts for two years.

To be fair, to average Ontarian introducing a legislation to get teachers’ contract from expiring seems going a little too far. Shouldn’t the government have tried its utmost best to bargain at the negotiating table rather than at the legislature?

It can be argued that the government tried to negotiate with teachers’ unions in the past few weeks, however families that were away during summer and are just about to get ready to send their kids back to school have just tuned into this issue. Additionally, when you throw in the two by-elections that are to take place and see the bigger picture, the government’s intentions seem to be less than angelic.

Opposition leader Tim Hudak has said that the Progressive Conservatives’ will support the government’s legislation which will most likely be passed as early as next week.

Even if the government comes out as a winner in this matter, it will create resentment among teachers and other public sector unions. PCs are likely to benefit from all of this as Mr. Hudak has been calling in for reigning in wages and bonuses for the public sector.

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Kenney’s Busy Year

Posted on 29 August 2012 by admin

“It’s been a busy time, but we are not done yet,” says Minister Jason Kenney

 Government of Canada has introduced a number of significant reforms over the past year to strengthen the integrity and economic responsiveness of the immigration system.

“Our government has a plan for a faster, more flexible, responsive and secure immigration system that will better meet Canada’s economic needs while continuing to uphold our humanitarian commitments,” stated Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.

Here’re those reforms:

  • introducing and passing the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, which reforms the asylum system to make it fast and fair, combats human smuggling and allows for the collection of biometric data from visa applicants;

·    introducing and passing Economic Action Plan 2012, which makes the economic stream faster and more flexible to contribute to jobs, growth and prosperity.

  • introducing the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, which would close avenues used by convicted foreign criminals to delay deportation and stay in Canada.

There have also been a significant number of regulatory changes. As part of the government’s commitment to family reunification, it has:

·    introduced the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa, valid for up to 10 years for visits of up to two years, which has been a great success with nearly 3,700 successful applications in its first six months;

  • reduced the backlog for sponsored parents and grandparents.

Other regulatory and program changes crack down on fraud and abuse in the system by:

·    taking action against marriage fraud by barring sponsored spouses from sponsoring a new spouse for at least five years and proposing a new two-year period of conditional permanent residency for some sponsored spouses;

  • cracking down on crooked immigration representatives, thereby helping people who want to immigrate to Canada by protecting them from exploitation and abuse;
  • combating residence fraud in the citizenship and permanent residence programs by enhancing program integrity measures and working with the Canada Border Services Agency and the RCMP on investigations into cases suspected of false representation and fraud;
  • launching a new tip line through the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Call Centre where tips on suspected citizenship fraud cases may be reported;
  • reforming the Interim Federal Health Program to act as a disincentive for people not in need of Canada’s protection and to ensure that failed claimants do not receive health care more generously than what is available to Canadians, while continuing to protect the health and safety of Canadians;
  • protecting vulnerable workers by prohibiting the issuance of visas and work permits for foreigners coming to work in strip clubs, massage parlours and escort agencies.

Recognizing the important role immigration plays in our economy, and the growing labour shortages in parts of the country, including in key industries, over the past few years the government has also:

 

  • proposed improvements to the FSWP to place greater emphasis on selection criteria that have shown to contribute to better labour market outcomes, so that Canada can select skilled workers who would be able to integrate more rapidly and successfully into the Canadian labour market;
  • reduced by over three-quarters, from 640,000 to close to 150,000, the total number of people in the Federal Skilled Worker backlog of applications prior to February 27, 2008;
  • proposed the creation of a new Federal Skilled Trades Program;
  • proposed changes to the Canadian Experience Class to make permanent residence even more accessible to talented skilled workers proficient in English or French, with Canadian educational credentials and work experience who are already doing well in Canada;
  • improved the Live-in Caregiver Program by speeding up the process of issuing open work permits to caregivers who have completed the requirements of the Program, so they can establish their own homes and seek jobs in other fields;
  • increased the number of provincial nominees and, in doing so, improved the geographic distribution of newcomers across Canada;
  • in collaboration with provincial and territorial partners, introduced new minimum language requirements for immigrants under the Provincial Nominee Program, thereby helping social, economic and cultural integration;
  • expanded a pilot project with the Government of Alberta to help Alberta employers seeking highly skilled foreign workers to fill an acute, regional labour shortage;
  • introduced a new immigration stream to attract and retain international PhD students;
  • proposed changes, as part of the Educational Credential Assessment Initiative, which would introduce a mandatory requirement that immigrants under the FSWP have their education abroad assessed against Canadian education standards by designated organizations;
  • tripled its investment in settlement services outside of Quebec since 2005–2006, while ensuring fair funding across Canada for services like free language classes;

·    launched a new website promoting innovations in the assessment and recognition of international qualifications.

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PAKISTAN’S INTERNAL CHALLENGES AND REMEDIES

Posted on 29 August 2012 by admin

Dr. Hasan Askari

A large number of people of Pakistan are very emotional about Pakistan’s independence, sovereignty and they often declare that they’ll work for its internal harmony and unity. However, Pakistan’s internal divisions get exposed from time to time. At the day-to-day life level, Islam has often become a divisive force because sectarian considerations appear to dominate the disposition of a large number of people rather than the universal principle of Islam. Religion-based violence has increased. The conflict is not merely between the Wahhabi/Deobandi and Ahle-Hadees on the one hand and the Shias on the others, periodic conflict also relates to the differences between the Wahhabi/Deobandi and Bralvi traditions; some of it concerns the control of mosques.

The month of August has exposed Pakistan’s internal weaknesses more than ever, although the people of Pakistan celebrated the Independence Day in the same month when they demonstrated a lot of love for the country.

Three EIds were observed in Pakistan because the religious leaders of different Islamic “Masluk” could not agree on one date. Even in one city like Peshawar two Eids were observed. The provincial Chief Minister and the provincial government observed the Eid on Sunday (August 19) and the provincial governor and others associated with the federal government decided to follow the national Ruet-e-Hilal Committee and celebrated EId on Monday (August 20). Two Eids were observed in many other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. North Waziristan and some tribal agencies had their Eid on Saturday (August 18). The rest of the country had the EID on Monday. If we go into the details of these differences, the driving force appears to be the ego of some religious leaders and denominational differences. They were not willing to work together but function on the basis of the sense of being right in their individual capacity.

Since the beginning of the year, violence and killings have become endemic in Karachi where various ethnic groups, criminal gangs and land mafia and extortionists compete for asserting their domains. In Balochistan, three types of violent activities are going on. This includes violence by dissident and separatist groups, sectarian killings of the Hazaras (Shia) and rivalries among the Afghan/Taliban. Kidnapping has become a lucrative business for the above groups. These groups make money to cover their expenses collecting ransom on kidnapped people. Several hundred people from other provinces have been killed in Balochistan and only a few political leaders in Balochistan publicly condemn these killings.

In August this year, the following violent incidents took place: (1) Attack on Kamra Aeronautic Complex, August 16. (2) 19 Shias were pulled out of the buses and shot dead in the Mansehra area, August 16. This was followed by violence in Gilgit-Baltistn area as the buses were travelling from Rawalpindi to Gilgit. (3) Passenger buses going from Gilgit to Astor were attacked by masked men. This was described as a sectarian attack, August 16. (4) Three Hazara Shias were killed in Quetta, August 16. (5) Al-Quds rally by Imamia Student Organization in Karachi was targeted with a roadside bomb. Two people were killed, August 17. On the same day the Al-Quds rally in Skardu was pelted with stones, several people were injured. (6) Several activists of Debandi/Wahhabi groups were killed in Karachi, August 18.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban-e-Pakistan (TTP) took the responsibility of the attack on Kamra as well as the killing of the bus passengers in the Mansehra areas. For the Hazara killings, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the Taliban are blamed. It is interesting to note that the official Pakistani sources claim that most attackers on Kamra have been traced to Punjab, although they were trained in North Waziristan. The trend of the Punjab based militant groups working with the TTP has become quite pronounced for the last couple of years.

These are dangerous trends and threaten the fabric of Pakistani state and society. It is the primary responsibility of the federal and provincial governments to provide security to people and protect its important installations. However, internal violence and terrorism has increased so much that the governments alone cannot cope with it. The societal groups should become active in discouraging religious and social extremism and terrorism.

When we talk to religious groups on these issues, they are prepared to criticize violence as a principle and they say that Islam does not approve of killing of innocent people. But, these religious groups are not willing to criticize any specific group by name engaged in violence. Nor they are prepared to issue appeals for not killing the people of a specific Islamic “Masluk”.

Only three political parties take a firm stand against terrorism of all kind. These are the PPP, the MQM and the ANP. Other political parties have an ambiguous position on these unfortunate developments. Almost all Islamic parties and most Right-wing parties say that the Muslim and Taliban cannot engage in such violence. All this is done by foreign enemies of Pakistan.

The media and the people with influence in the society should emphasize social justice and non-violent attitude and socio-political accommodation so that the on-going fragmentation of Pakistani society is stopped.

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Is it faith, really, Mr Prime Minister?

Posted on 29 August 2012 by admin

‘Mr. Harper’s ideas have little to do with his religious affiliations’

By John McKay MP

Scarborough: There has been much debate in the news as of late over Stephen Harper’s religious affiliations, and whether or not his evangelical roots are to blame for his anti-evidence and anti-science attitudes. I have some sympathy for those who are making this argument, as they are expressing a commonly held misconception about evangelicals that gets endlessly repeated and therefore takes on a force of truth; namely that evangelicals as a group oppose scientific inquiry and rational thought. This is not true, and has never been true but evidence of its untruthfulness seems to never get in the way of those wishing to make an argument.

Mr. Harper’s anti-rational, anti-scientific public policies do not generate themselves from his membership in the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church. Were he a more serious evangelical it might well be that some of his more excessive public policy initiatives in such diverse areas as foreign aid, treatment of accused criminal persons, or refugee claimants would lead him in the opposite direction. He seems to have a limited Biblical understanding of how to treat “the poor and oppressed.”

The debate on faith and politics has also minimized the role that people of faith and faith organizations have played in the development of our own democracy. In Canada, faith leaders who wish to have a voice in the political discussion are often ignored and ostracized. Yet things such as medicare, foreign aid, and a humane criminal justice system all have their roots in people of faith working out the calls to justice and mercy in our society. Many of Canada’s most important institutions could not function without the hard work and significant commitments made by people of faith. So it is more than just a little offensive to be marginalized by a secular ideology that does not welcome people of faith in the public square of ideas.

Frequently the churches, mosques, and temples get stuck with the pointy end of public policy decisions made without their input simply because they are “religious.”

Which brings me back to Stephen Harper. Anyone who is elected to serve in the House of Commons has a set of beliefs. I don’t expect that my Sikh, Jewish, or Hindu colleagues should suspend their beliefs nor should the prime minister or I be expected to suspend ours merely because we attend evangelical churches.

In my view Mr. Harper’s ideology has little to do with his faith and much more to do with his grand narrative which seeks to change the face of our nation. It seeks to play to those who wish to see us as a “warrior nation” rather than a conflict resolver; a nation that seeks vengeance rather than justice; a triumphalist nation rather than one merciful to the poor and disenfranchised. None of the foregoing can be found in the Christian & Missionary Alliance liturgy.

Regrettably some evangelicals have so bought into the faux debates about same-sex marriage and abortion that they are prepared to overlook actions, policies, and rhetoric which are neither merciful nor just. Simply put, many evangelicals have been played for suckers. If you like your religion served up with an unhealthy dose of vengeance Mr. Harper is your guy.

So rather than asking if Mr. Harper’s religion influences his decisions we should be asking why Mr. Harper’s faith doesn’t influence them more. Faith needs reason as much as reason needs faith. Faith should call us to “seek justice, be merciful, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8).”

John McKay is Member of Parliament, Scarborough—Guildwood

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‘Coalgate’: Govt rules out trust vote

Posted on 29 August 2012 by admin

Divya Kaeley

The Congress on Monday rejected suggestions that it could seek a trust vote or call off the monsoon session ahead of schedule, saying it was for the BJP to move a no-confidence motion if it wanted to test the government’s strength. Finance minister P Chidambaram said the government enjoyed a majority in Lok Sabha and felt no need to prove it. I&B minister Ambika Soni clarified that Parliament would run till September 7 as scheduled and said the opposition has a lot to answer for with the PM clarifying his position on Coalgate.

Meanwhile, Arvind Kejriwal-led India Against Corruption on Monday asked 10 questions each to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and BJP President Nitin Gadkari on the alleged scam in the allocation of coal mines between 2004 and 2009. A day after the IAC activists tried to march to the residences of Singh, Gadkari and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, the organisation posted these queries on its website, saying the people of the country should not be kept in the dark.

The Income-Tax department, meanwhile, is set to cancel the registration of yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s trust as a charitable organisation and withdraw all exemptions provided to it. This follows a final order passed on August 24 by the Income-Tax (exemption) unit in the case of his principal charitable organisation, the Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust, for the year 2009-10, after a scrutiny revealed that it was involved in a host of commercial and trading activities. While the trust has so far enjoyed exemption under Section 12 (a) of the Income-Tax Act having declared its income as “nil”, sources said a scrutiny of its accounts and activities pegged its taxable income at Rs 72.37 crore.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Monday advised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to follow the state government’s development model to improve the management of the country. Referring to Gujarat Congress’ aggressive ‘disha badlo, dasha badlo’ (change direction to change condition) campaign, Modi said, “Lots of advertisements are coming up, spreading a miscampaign by a few, who want to change the disha and dasha of Gujarat”.

Seven persons were injured, four of them critically, when unidentified miscreants fired indiscriminately, exploded grenades and burnt some houses in two villages of Assam’s strife-torn Kokrajhar district on Monday night, police said. More than 20 houses were set ablaze and seven injured in the firing at Pakritala area. The injured were taken to a local hospital where the condition of four of them was stated to be serious. Security personnel from a CRPF camp located close to the attack site retaliated with bullets and the encounter was on till late in the night. In another incident of firing at Chouta Haki village, two persons were injured.

India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s will be leaving for Iran on Tuesday to attend the non-aligned movement summit (NAM) as well as the bilateral visit to Iran. Ahead of his much-awaited Tehran visit, Iran is pushing India to go full-throttle on a gas block, which may irk the Americans as it goes against the US-sanction on that country. Considering the complexities involved in the move, Singh is likely to seek more time for the project in question while underlining the robust energy sector cooperation between the two countries.

As the trial in the Aarushi Talwar-Hemraj double murder case plays out in a Ghaziabad court, friends and family of prime accused Rajesh and Nupur Talwar have launched a campaign detailing “the deficiences and the goof-ups of the CBI investigation”.

Run by “family and friends”, the campaign relies on an official website, a Facebook page, a Twitter page as well as mails sent to those who have signed up on these pages, from Aarushi’s old email address.

The home page of the website, www.justiceforaarushitalwar.com, states: “Aarushi Talwar, a yet-to-be 14 year old whose birthday plans, and many of her life’s wishes went down the drain on the night of 15th May, 2008. A week before that night she wrote to her mom on Mother’s Day ‘I promise I will be famous one day and will make you proud’. Our little angel became world famous, as she became the victim of a gruesome murder. The case has now become so complicated, thanks to the goof-up of the investigating agencies, the endless media trials and speculations and insistence of the various organizations involved to make the parents scapegoats despite having evidence to the contrary!”

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How to Deal with a Dominating Partner

Posted on 29 August 2012 by admin

Living with a controlling or dominating partner can be extremely frustrating. Especially when you are in love with that person and chances of moving out on him or her is out of the question. A spouse who loves to control your life is either insecure about losing you or simply love bossing you around. This behaviour can often turn abusive and troublesome as time flows.

How to cope with this kind of behaviour

Do not ignore this behaviour: Once you start ignoring this behaviour of your partner, they feel that you are okay with them controlling your life and will start tormenting you all the more.

Be clear and assertive 
Make sure you let your partner know that you do not appreciate his/her behaviour. Most controlling partners respond to those who stand up to them and fight back. You should deal with them head on and never leave things unresolved. Says Minnu Bhonsle, relationship expert, “Be clear and assertive while you are communicating to your partner. Let him/her know that it is okay for them to express concern but not go overboard with it.”

Stop giving in to everything 
To stop your partner from controlling you, you have to stop giving in to everything he/she wants you to do. Make sure that you tell them that you can take some decisions in your life on your own. Once you let your partner enter every aspect of your life, he/she will automatically start controlling you.

Work on your relationship mutually
If you feel that your partner is understanding, it is better to work on this relationship before it starts falling apart. You both can discuss the issue and come up with ways to better your bond.

Seek help from family, friends or an expert 
If you are wary of how your partner might react if you tell him or her directly that you do not like their dominating and over-possessive ways, ask your family or friends to talk to them about the same. If you feel that you should not disclose your partner’s behaviour in front of your family and friends, seek professional help.

6 signs your partner is a control freak
He/she makes the rules and controls everything what you do, where you go, who spends the money and what it should be spent on.

You are emotionally blackmailed and made to feel intimidated. This drains you emotionally and mentally.
Your partner tells you that you are incompetent, helpless and alone without him/her.
Your partner argues endlessly and makes you do exactly what he/she wants.
More often than not, your opinion is of no importance to him/her.
You sense a stark possessiveness.

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Mosaic 2012 has set new standards for South Asian festivals and events in North America

Posted on 29 August 2012 by admin

“This was the largest crowd we have ever sung to”, said a member of Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan’s band, who performed in front of over 30,000 fans this last Saturday at 7th annual Mosaic – South Asian Heritage Festival of Mississauga held at Celebration square.

The night before, Hazel McCallion, Mississauga’s very own mayor for over 30 years had acknowledged the positive change that Mosaic has brought to this sixth largest city in Canada. She couldn’t stop counting the contributions of South Asian community and what it has accomplished in the fields of arts and culture and how it shares its heritage and welcomes all to enjoy it.

Flanked by the members of parliament, provincial parliament, her City Council, major sponsors and media, this was her 7th year cutting the Mosaic cake and ribbon as officially announced the festival opening on Friday evening. She had just emerged from the Mosaic Gala at the prestigious Art Gallery of Mississauga and was anxiously awaiting the appearance of Red Baraat, the brass band from Brooklyn, NY. And appear they did, as a marching band with a wedding procession in India or Pakistan, people dancing and singing in front just as they did back home. They were happy to see MPP Dipeka Damerla amongst the dancers who later informed everyone that she volunteered for Mosaic only three years ago. Other guests included HarinderTakhar MPP minister for government services, Senator Salma Ataullah Jan, Brad Butt MP, Bonnie Crombie, Jim Tovey, Ron Starr, Chris Fonseca, Harpreet Sethi of Radisson Plaza Mississauga and Rob Freeman the ED of Art Gallery of Mississauga.

Over the years Mosaic has worked hard to build strong relationships with industry leaders in media and with major Canadian corporations. This year`s festival was presented by nofrills with General Motors of Canada being the Gold Sponsors and RBC the Silver Sponsor. Engro Foods and Svitair were two Community Partners for the 2012 edition. Mosaic is the only South Asian festival that has been able to attract and retain these big corporations and add to the list year after year. This also provides Mosaic with cash resources needed to put up such highest quality shows as Shafqat Amanat Ali this year.

“We have worked hard to create this most amazing experience for our visitors who not only came from across Ontario and Canada but also from down South from Connecticut, Detroit, Chicago and New York”, said Asma A Mahmood, a visual artist and owner of Promenade Gallery at Lakeshore Road and the Chair of non profit organization that presents the festival. “This was the greatest line up that South Asians have ever seen in North American continent”, said a gleaming AnuVittalthe top 25 Canadian Immigrants Award winner Festival Director for Mosaic. Mosaic 2012 presented a film festival that screened Oscar winning ”Saving Face” and selections from Cannes and tiff, an indie music festival featuring 18 bands, Desi’s Rock featuring 5 South Asian rock bands, food festival, vendors bazaar and “NachhangeSaariRaat” amateur dance competition. It is estimated that close to 70,000 people attended the festival this year.

Mosaic is done for another year, but the impression it has left is a lasting one. Audiences this year got to witness the biggest and best lineup the seven-year old community festival has ever offered. For four days in Celebration Square tens of thousands of people from all over the world shared in the festivities at the South Asian Heritage Festival hosted by Canadian Community Arts Initiative. Thursday night opened with an amazing exclusive fashion show featuring local women of substance. Red Baraat took to the stage on Friday with an energetic and unique performance that had the whole square dancing. The highlight of the festival was headliner ShafqatAmanat Ali, who packed the Square to capacity with an extended set that still managed to leave the crowd wanting more. Fans of the annual festival are sure to return to Mosaic next year to see what organizer will plan to top the explosively successful 2012 weekend.

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‘Every child is an artist…’

Posted on 29 August 2012 by admin

“…The challenge is to remain an artist after you grow up,” said Pablo Picasso. The quote holds true for Shahid Mawji, a grade 12 student from Brampton, who’s plunged into the world of adults by starting his own science club, the Brampton Edisons. Mawji took the help of Brampton Small Business Enterprise Centre that contributes to the growth of local economy by fostering long-term sustainability of micro and small businesses across all sectors.

Shivani Sharma caught up with the young entrepreneur and talked about his dreams and aspirations. Here are excerpts of his interview with Generation Next:
 

How did you learn about The City of Brampton’s Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC)? Who introduced to the program?

My elder brother’s friend did the program. I took inspiration and entered the summer company program.

What ignited the spark in you to start a business venture?

I started teaching grade eight. I got confidence and thought of starting my business. None of us had any engineering experience in high school, and so I thought of starting our science club. WE help each other out in experiments with engineering, outsourcing and networking engineering process. We gradually gained success and realized the market potential it has.
What program did you choose and why?

I chose the Summer Engineering Program for students from grade eight to grade 12. Reason being when I was in middle school, I had a bend towards research. I spent time in research (in addition to the school syllabus) and realized that I wanted other people to experience it too.
How do you go about marketing your business?

Marketing is the most difficult part in a business. Proper social networking, a proper website, and making sure you update pages so that people continue to be hooked to them is very important. People don’t tend to take students of my age seriously. Make sure you do not do anything that looks unprofessional.

Is your family in business too?

No. I have two elder brothers. One of my brothers has been quite supportive. He inspired me to become an inventor. There is a lot of independence at home and with that I’ve always learnt to be responsible.
What were the difficulties you faced in making your business
profitable?

The biggest challenge was the high overhead cost, because you don’t know if the business is going to be successful. That’s where the help from Summer Company came in. They gave me $1500 which was good enough to cover up all my start-up materials cost. I was able to reinvest all my profit in my business as my expenses were taken care of.

What did you learn from your mentors in business?
Communicating with people professionally was a big thing that I learnt from them. They also have demonstrations, workshops, presentations and group interactive sessions. They talk about things like how to answer phone calls and even how a voice mail should be. The connections department also provides contacts in order to get rentals and advertisements through libraries.
Do you want to be an entrepreneur in future and in what field?

For sure, after doing this program we are planning to develop a four-week program. I am planning to get my first employee now.
How does your family view your desire to be an entrepreneur?

They are very supportive. It’s something my parents wanted to do, start a business but they didn’t have the skill set. They help me out in every way to get me the resources.
Do you have fears that it may not turn out to be profitable?
The first session went fantastic. During the second session, however, I started marketing late. So a lot of our returning students are on vacation already. I realized that I might not have enough participants and I still have to pay for the rent. It was scary. It was a good push to make me realize what I need to do. So this time, I started my marketing weeks before so I am all prepared.
Do you follow up on news about global economic conditions like in Europe or
India?

I always believed that when it comes to harsh economic plans, people always want to know more. They want to make sure they have better jobs.

Would you like to do business outside Canada too?

I would like to teach engineering concepts. Kids today are quite creative. They may have resources but not right knowledge. I actually want to set up this kind of a program in northern India).
How did you overcome your shortcomings?
When it gets hard to run a business you get frustrated. My brothers always told me that this is your business; you can deal with this if you want to. I realize that I have to do this else I won’t have a business.


What are you doing this summer?

Along with the Summer Company I am going do Summer Engineering Program which is a four- week program. Here they get a chance to learn creative thinking as well as do projects. If you have creative thinking we are going to open your prospective or teach theory where we learn about how bridges work, rockets fly. I tell them this is what you need to build, find a way to do it. I can help you if you do not know how to use a particular tool. The whole point is that they come with an idea that even I do not know.


Did you get any reward?

I was accepted at the program and given a grant which helped with all the new expenses that you don’t expect for registering the company.

How do you see the future of young entrepreneurs?

I think it’s fantastic; I see a lot of passion, interest. With programs like these, we get active resources in Brampton and Mississauga.

What three pieces of advice would you give to high school or college students who want to become entrepreneurs?

I would say start now, plan and have confidence.

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‘Immigrants should market themselves’

Posted on 29 August 2012 by admin

Intro: Sohail Saeed talks about the potential city of Brampton has for infrastructural growth; he’s all set to give South Asians a boost in their businesses too…

“People say South Asians are behind everybody, but I say we are ahead because of our cultural values,” said director of Economic Development Sohail Saeed in an interview to Generation Next. Saeed was awarded The Professional for the year 2012 by PCBC (Pakistan Canada Business Council) at a ceremony held at the Bay View Golf Club, and has about 28 years of global experience in trade and marketing. He discussed with Shivani Sharma aboutBrampton’s infrastructure, plans and its vision for growth.

Were you an immigrant in Canada? What’s your academic background?

I migrated fromPakistanback in the 70s. I landed inMontrealand studied engineering and got into the hotel industry. I worked there for 15 years and then I left for theCaribbeanisland where I worked in hotels. I came back toOntarioand worked in hotels for 12 years and got involved with government and marketing relations. Last year I saw this opportunity and after eight to nine months of a rigorous interview processes I got through. So, it has been eight months now. The team is great here.

What are your key responsibilities for this job?

In our company we have five departments. One department focuses on the key area that is downtown in development, business attraction and retention. Another oversees tourism. We have arenas and indoor soccer centers. We do a lot of sports tourism here. We did about 35 tournaments that brought us 10 million dollars economic development with 25,000 visitors last year. Other one is VFR (Visiting Friends & relatives). We create a tourism guide, which is a very important document that helps people in Bramptonto know about the culture and lifestyle of the city. Then we have a small business enterprise department in Brampton. If you have a business idea especially from your generation, if someone has a thought even, we have an advisory team free of charge, they can come in and we can take that idea and turn it into a business plan. We have all the templates, business plans, budgeting models, organizational chart model, and demo like what neighborhood etc.

 

What would you like to say to the new immigrants?

Be sure and confident of what you know. Employers don’t want to know everything about you. They only want to know where they can capitalize you. That’s where we become our own worst enemies; we don’t sell ourselves. It’s no one’s fault but there is disconnect between the two. The immigrant coming inCanadais optimistic while the employer is skeptical.

What more are you looking from in the South Asian community?

They need to get involved, come forward and have a voice. I love to see them nourish and grow from a one man operation to giant businesses. South Asians are talented but they need to come back and sit with our business communities to make a voice. If they are successful then it opens the door to the younger generation who is willing to work as free interns. I don’t see any harm in that as you get free labor. This goes such a long way for students, who get to learn and put that experience on their resume. This is where the businesses grow and is where the value of the money comes in.

What are the challenges that you face right now?

The basic challenge is to bring in the customers. We are focusing on the downtown HACE (Heritage Arts Culture & Entertainment). Our South Asian kids are very talented so they should come up for these activities, creating activities for artists of any shape and form.

Why was there a need for new office?

We were on33 Queen Streetbefore. Our rest of the team was here. So here we have finance department, planning, loaning, HR etc. It’s a one stop shop for the businessman

Do you conduct workshops and other programs?

Yes, some are offered free and some at a minimal charge. If we have a third party or a businessman running the workshop then there is a $20 charge at times. We have the workshops posted on our website along with networking events. Our community service department has a lot of programs to offer. We have five libraries, recreation centers, over 150,000 active library card holders. It is amazing as it tells us how educated our city is and how curious the people are. We have a 200-km lush green walking trail.

Brampton is about 31% of South Asian. How do you communicate initiatives of economic development to this community?

Our information policy carries statistics related to location or demography. InBramptonwe have about 178 ethnic groups and 75 different languages. Our objective is to create economy or a knowledge-based society that creates jobs. We are looking for those kinds of direct investments in the city.Rogersis our biggest employer. We have a workforce of 150,000 inBramptonand they are all skilled. I attend lot of business networking events like those of the Canadian Indian Business Council, ICCC and Pakistan Canada Business Council.

What is your ultimate goal?

My goal right now is to create a youth forum. Asian people are coming in the front and our role is to help them out and connect them with the right people for starting businesses.

Does the South Asian community know what the organization is doing to improve the economy or job situation?

They need to step and learn what’s being done in the city. When we presented our annual report in March for the year 2011, we had about 120 people from business community who came for the event. You have to feel proud of where you live. We update our website regularly, and we keep adding new facts in it. We disseminate knowledge through the newspapers as well. I hope people are reading to know what the city is doing for them.

How many jobs have you created so far?

There are 8,000 plus businesses here. Some companies have plans and it takes about four to five years to materialize jobs times. We signed off with air Canada as they moved from Montreal. Their operation centre is being built inBramptonright now. It should be operational in 2013 giving 500 new educational, knowledge-based skilled jobs. Canadian Blood Services is also providing more opportunities.

Do you have any upcoming negotiations with India, Pakistan or Bangladesh?

That is a part of our international market. For 2013, the plan was approved for international markets. I just got back from Brazil. I will be going to Indiain September and it will be a fact- finding mission where we can look to work together and see how we can create some educational opportunities between the two countries. We will be going to Chinain November.

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