Archive | January, 2013

‘Let’s stand together to challenge inequities…’

Posted on 31 January 2013 by admin

“Every immigrant woman’s struggle is different, but the issues are the same, so we can help by encouraging each other on this journey. So much depends on financial and family situations, on survival, on fulfilling family needs and there is a sense of shame attached to talking about these issues because they are so personal. It is important for all of us to stand together in this struggle and challenge the inequities that create these challenges.”

DIVYA KAELEY

Kripa Sekhar is executive director of the South Asian Women’s Centre (SAWC) and co-chair for the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC). Kripa has been a long-time activist in the women’s movement and an advocate against sexist racist oppression. She has made a significant contribution to address issues related to women particularly marginalized women, and has worked closely with the Aboriginal community in Saskatchewan. In a conversation with Generation Next, Kripa relates her struggle and her journey to success in Canada.

  1. 1.      Tell us something about your journey to Canada. How did you land in community services for women?

I came to Canada along with my husband and two daughters in 1990. We came to join my husband’s family and were very positive that we would have no major hurdles in finding suitable employment.

I was an English lecturer for almost 17 years at a women’s college, before coming to Canada. I also volunteered actively to help women and children with literacy skills from a very young age. I grew up in a working class family that was very strict and my parents always taught me and my siblings that we must care and share with others. So I was always involved with the community and women’s issues even before my journey began in Canada.

2. Being a woman and a highly accomplished individual, how do you relate yourself to the needs of women who visit your centre? 

My own lived struggles and challenges have informed me, so I can relate to the needs of others. The work of the centre is to ensure that anyone who comes to the centre and needs help can get it. If individual women are empowered then the community is strong. Client needs are a priority and SAWC has a very small but very committed staff team, and they stay informed through regular client feedback about client needs. SAWC does not compromise on meeting our client’s needs and many clients return with others.

3. Tell us something about your initial days in Canada? Was it a smooth/bumpy ride? What effort went into the position you are in today?

Of course it was not a smooth ride; it was tough, full of challenges. Like many immigrants I faced many difficult situations like exclusion, finding a job, trying to manage work and home stresses, to name a few. I lived and worked in Saskatchewan for around 14 years, some of that time I spent in the North working with Aboriginal women, and learned so much from this work. My work in Saskatchewan as the Provincial Coordinator of the Saskatchewan Action Committee on the Status of Women provided me a great opportunity to interact with women from all backgrounds. It immersed me in women’s equality work and in 2004 I left Saskatchewan to join SAWC, because I wanted to give back to my community, a community of newcomers and immigrant women, more directly.

4. What kind of issues do you face when you meet your clients?

SAWC has a very dedicated staff team and the centre uses a client-focused model. It is very important that I learn about client needs and am able to identify the gaps in services based on their feedback. SAWC uses a team approach to problem solving, and has been one of the primary agencies to identify the unique needs of South Asian women to the different stakeholders. There are many issues facing south Asian women and their families that are intersected in gender, race and class. Some issues are unemployment, underemployment, credential recognition, violence and abuse, housing, legal support, immigration status, childcare support, care for senior south Asians, financial support for seniors, suitable health care support are some of the few.

5. What advice would you give to new immigrant women who come to Canada with dreams in their eyes but feel let down with the initial struggle?

Every immigrant woman’s struggle is different, but the issues are the same, so we can help by encouraging each other on this journey. So much depends on financial and family situations, on survival, on fulfilling family needs and there is a sense of shame attached to talking about these issues because they are so personal. It is important for all of us to stand together in this struggle and challenge the inequities that create these challenges. Many immigrant women come into this country with skills and qualifications and are not able to participate fully because they have not been provided suitable opportunities.

6. Any issues – legal/non-legal- that new immigrants should keep in mind?

The recent changes, both proposed and enacted, to immigration are a real concern at this time. It is not fair that employers may pay temporary foreign workers fifteen percent less than the average wage for a job. The proposed change to create a “conditional” permanent residence period of two years or more for certain sponsored spouses and partners is very troubling. The proposed change, published in the Canada Gazette, 26 March 2011, states that if the sponsored spouse/partner does not remain in a bona fide relationship with their sponsor during the conditional period, their permanent residence could be revoked. Both these changes increase the vulnerability of newcomer women tremendously.

7. Do you call yourself a feminist? What’s your definition of feminism?

I am a strong advocate for women’s rights as human rights and therefore have always identified as a feminist. To me feminism means many things, particularly when it is contextualized in a global framework. As a racialised Canadian woman whose struggles have been intersected between race, gender and class facing identity challenges in different spaces. Feminism has also been given a negative profile by those who oppose women’s rights as equal rights.

8. How have you seen SAWC growing in your tenure?

SAWC has been through a long history of achievements and challenges. Although the federal cuts in 2010 were a setback to SAWC, looking back it actually served as an opportunity for growth. It is amazing to see how many individuals and networks support SAWC. SAWC has introduced new projects to assist women move forward in their lives, an example of this is the computer literacy training for isolated women 55+. The Canadian Women’s Foundation has provided support for a Violence Prevention Counsellor so SAWC can provide enhanced services. SAWC is one of the few agencies providing a year round tax clinic. One of the highlights of the year was the launch of the Training Module which focuses on the issue of Forced Marriage as a form of Human Trafficking.

The work and reputation of the agency to serve clients have increased and SAWC has served a little over 10,000 clients mostly women and children in the past year.

9. Your vision for future…

SAWC has embarked on an ambitious forward looking strategy and is encouraging the south Asian community to come on board to support women and community agencies . SAWC has a satellite office in Malvern and our hope is to serve women in their own neighbourhoods by creating safe spaces for service through strong networking connections.

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Is congratulations in order

Posted on 31 January 2013 by admin

With Ontario’s Opposition already putting their demands on the table, Ontario’s new Premier may not get an opportunity to get to the social issues that are of significance. Our new Premier has tough tasks ahead of her in a minority Parliament. She had been education minister, transportation minister and municipal affairs minister. She has a fair population of new arrivals to Ontario in her riding of Don Valley West. In an interview with South Asian Generation Next, Kathleen Wynne stated “Our economic future depends on helping our newcomers integrate successfully into their communities and the workplace. One of my first commitments in the campaign is that we need Ontario’s fair share from the federal government including immigration and settlement support, and regarding federal transfers expiring in March 2014. Ontario is being short-changed by out-dated federal programs.”

 So she understands and is well versed in crucial issues. However, the gas power plant cancellation in Mississauga is a black cloud hanging over her head. Will she be compelled to call an election ahead of time? Will the Opposition be cooperative with her and give her breathing room to at least settle into the Premier’s office?It doesn’t look that way. The challenge becomes all the more difficult when experienced hands on the Liberal side are announcing to end their career as elected representatives. These include Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, Energy Minister Chris Bentley, Northern Developments and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci and ex-Premier Dalton McGuinty. This could be a blessing in disguise too. Premier-designate Wynne may attract the new Liberal blood to rejuvenate the party that had lost its majority in the most recent Ontario elections. Or, Liberals may lose their minority government in the next elections.

PC leader’s visits to Brampton are clear indications that Progressive Conservatives are gaining ground in the South Asian community of the GTA. With NDP’s Jagmeet Singh’s victory in Brampton, New Democrats are also looking to expand their influence in the Region of Peel.

MPP Wynne has had close ties to the South Asian community living in her riding of Don Valley West. Now she will have to work the same charm on the broader South Asian community of the GTA and Ontario.

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Idle No More

Posted on 31 January 2013 by admin

By MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan

The Government has repeatedly used the phrase “hitting the reset button” in reference to the F-35s and now in reference to the relationship between the federal government and First Nations. However, you cannot simply “hit the reset button” on decades of broken promises and mistreatment, nor can history be ignored. If the Government is serious about “resetting” the relationship between themselves and First Nations, they can start treating them as serious partners in governance that are involved from the beginning in the legislative process, right through each stage to the end of the process.

Over the last two months, a growing number of people have been participating in grassroots action that is sweeping through the country and compelling all Canadians to sit up and listen to the demands of First Nation, Inuit, and Métis peoples. These demands cover a wide variety of areas including treaty implementation, missing and murdered Aboriginal women, resource sharing, protecting the environment, and poverty eradication. How do you go about solving such varying, complex, and urgent issues? It starts with a proper nation-to-nation relationship.

This relationship requires that we respect the duty to consult First Nations on legislation that will have an effect on them. We need to commit to real consultation and collaboration in order to develop a plan to address the problems First Nation, Inuit, and Métis peoples face. We cannot begin to propose solutions to specific problems if the government and First Nations aren’t working as equal partners in a respectful relationship. We are stronger when we work together, and that is no less true when it comes to the relationship between First Nations and the federal government.

A step towards new relationship has been taken with the meeting between AFN chiefs and the government on January 11th 2013. Further promises have been made by the government to improve relationships and sit down again with the AFN over the coming months. However, the Idle No More movement is not one that will stop because of promises from this government. First Nation, Inuit, and Métis peoples have heard these promises many times before and rarely have they seen the action required to address their concerns.

This deep distrust of the federal government is at the crux of the Idle No More movement. It is a distrust that has been built up over decades of broken promises and poor treatment at the hands of the federal government. This has led to frustration among First Nations and that frustration is being expressed by the grassroots through protests. Rebuilding that trust requires nation-to-nation consultation and will provide real meaning to the Residential School apology.

In October 2011, AFN Chief Shawn Atleo said that “it’s time to smash the status quo”. It’s been more than a year since then and more than ever these words ring true because the status quo for many First Nation, Inuit, and Métis peoples remains high rates of substance abuse, teen suicide, disease, and poverty. Idle No More is here to show all Canadians that First Nation, Inuit, and Métis peoples will not accept the empty platitudes of a government that has ignored them for too long. Idle No More is here to smash the status quo.

MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan is Member of Parliament for Scarborough-Rouge River. 

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AisleTracker Mobile APP free on all platforms, first of its kind in Canada

Posted on 31 January 2013 by admin

IFI World Inc is pleased to announce the launch of AisleTracker Technology for public release, at 7 pm on Jan 23, 2013.

Remember how lost you felt when you didn’t find the product that you were searching for among the numerous aisles in a Supermarket? With the help of AisleTracker, you can Select a store, Locate Products and Prepare lists from right where you are as an “In-Store Search Engine”.

AisleTracker is a new free mobile application that will enable smartphone users to glide through the aisles of their local supermarket with organization, enjoyment and ease and is available for free at all smartphone platforms, iOS, Android and Blackberry.

As part of the initial launch, AisleTracker covers almost all major stores in Toronto and aims at enhancing the shopper’s experience, empowering the merchants and bringing an altogether a unique geo-specific advertising opportunity to local businesses, thereby strengthening the entire community.

A first-in-class technology supported by Canada’s National Research Council, AisleTracker simplifies users lives, empowers merchants by redefining the shopping experience – all at absolutely NO cost to user or merchant. For more information, please visit www.aisletracker.com.

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Minister Kenney Announce New Start-Up Visa

Posted on 31 January 2013 by admin

Toronto: Canada will launch a brand new program on April 1 to recruit innovative immigrant entrepreneurswho will create new jobs and spur economic growth, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today.

“Our new Start-Up Visa will help make Canada the destination of choice for the world’s best and brightest to launch their companies,” said Minister Kenney. “Recruiting dynamic entrepreneurs from around the world will help Canada remain competitive in the global economy.”

The Start-Up Visa Program will link immigrant entrepreneurs with private sector organizations in Canada that have experience working with start-ups and who can provide essential resources. The Program is part of a series of transformational changes to Canada’s immigration system that will make it faster, more flexible and focused on Canada’s economic needs.

As a way to help these in-demand entrepreneurs fulfil their potential and maximize their impact on the Canadian labour market, they will require the support of a Canadian angel investor group or venture capital fund before they can apply to the Start-Up Visa Program. Initially, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will collaborate with two umbrella groups: Canada’s Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA) and the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO). These groups will identify which members of their associations will be eligible to participate in the Program. CIC is also working with the Canadian Association of Business Incubation to include business incubators in the list of eligible organizations as soon as feasible.

“CVCA is honoured to partner with the Government of Canada in the launch of the Start-Up Visa Program,” said Peter van der Velden, President of the CVCA and Managing General Partner of Lumira Capital. “Through this Program, we want to attract high-quality entrepreneurs from around the globe and help build best-in-class companies in Canada.”

 “We’re excited to be a part of the Start-Up Visa Program,” said Michelle Scarborough, Board Chair of NACO. “Working with CIC and angel groups across the country, this initiative will create Canadian jobs and position Canada as a leader in innovation.”

The Start-Up Visa is the first of its kind and will be a powerful incentive to attract individuals with great potential who will have a real impact on the Canadian economy. By providing sought-after immigrant entrepreneurs with permanent residency and immediate access to a wide range of business partners, Canada will position itself as a destination of choice for start-ups. Linking forward-thinking immigrant entrepreneurs with established private sector organizations is essential to the success of both investors and entrepreneurs in building companies that will compete globally and create Canadian jobs.

 “Jobs, growth and long-term prosperity remain priorities for the Government of Canada, and this new Start-Up Visa Program underscores our commitment to supporting innovation and entrepreneurship in the Canadian labour market,” Minister Kenney concluded.

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Baird Attends Pre-Inauguration Dinner

Posted on 31 January 2013 by admin

January 21, 2013 – Washington, D.C. - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird welcomes invited guests, mainly political and business leaders with an interest in the Canada-U.S. relationship, to a pre-Inauguration dinner January 20, 2013, at the official residence of Canada’s ambassador to the United States.

Since the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement came into force in 1989, Canada’s annual GDP has risen by $1.1 trillion, nearly 4.6 million jobs have been created in Canada, and two-way trade in goods and services with the United States has more than tripled.

However, Canada is not immune to global challenges from beyond our borders. Canada’s economy will be affected by the health of our most important trading partner. That’s why our government has:

  • developed the Beyond the Border Action Plan, the most significant bilateral agreement between our two countries since the North American Free Trade Agreement;
  • partnered to build a new bridge between Windsor and Detroit that will significantly increase the trade and economic growth between our two countries;
  • worked with the United States to gain a seat at the negotiating table for the Trans-Pacific Partnership; and
  • signed an extension to the Softwood Lumber Agreement, which secured Canadian softwood lumber access to the U.S. market until 2015.

The Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and the Beyond the Border Action Plan, which is the largest bilateral agreement since NAFTA, have benefited Canadian families enormously.

Our government will continue to engage constructively with the Obama administration as we look to create more jobs, hope and opportunity in our two great nations.

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Seven tips to find your dream job this year

Posted on 31 January 2013 by admin

 

1. Accept Responsibility

Your next great job begins with you. No economy, political party, or corporate entity can be responsible for your success.

2. Know Yourself

Knowing yourself is the first step to creating a career that will meet your goals in life.

3. Find a Mentor

If branching out into something new, find a mentor. Get some experience working or volunteering with them and get acquainted with an industry you’ve always been intrigued by through getting to know influential people in that field. However, be careful to make the relationship mutual. Respect their time and try to take their advice more often than not. A great mentor will be a person with a long track record of proven success in their industry.

3. Own a Niche

In an increasingly specialized society, consider your greatest strengths in your field and become the expert. Instead of trying to be a generalist, develop skills in your niche and actively market your expertise. Consider starting a blog where you routinely give advice and engage with other thought leaders in your field. Develop a class or skills training session that you can teach, and market that to industries and groups that could benefit from your talents and become clients. Many full time jobs come from consultant relationships that lead to long-term work.

4. Brand Yourself

You are your number one product! You must brand yourself digitally so people can find you and know who you are. Capitalize on networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Aboutme.com.

Consider investing in a website and blog for yourself – in your name – so that prospective clients can easily find you.

Also, do some online house cleaning. Prospective employers today will look at Facebook and other on-line locations to better know the people they may hire. View these online social media accounts and your blog as an extension of your resume. In fact, most potential employers will see this before they ever see a resume since you are most likely to be hired by friends and your network contacts. Does your online profile make you look like an executive or a college party animal?

5. Network Daily

Join local business networks. Get involved in your community by volunteering with non-profits. Network with your temporary employment agency that can actively work with you to find job openings.

View networking as a full time job and do something everyday that helps you build and maintain your network. In fact, never eat alone; make every lunch and dinner count. An unlisted job market exists as business leaders stay on the look out for available and talented people.

6. Join the Free Agent Economy

Part-time employment and flexible arrangements are, in fact, becoming the norm as the American job market is transitioning to a Free Agent Economy, in which part-time, flexible and often short-term opportunities provide long-term income.

7. Be Persistent

Finding a great career may take some time. On average, for every $10,000 you’re trying to make in salary, it takes a month of searching. So consider the job you want and do the math. But don’t stop your job hunt with a mailed cover letter and resume. Take your prospective boss to lunch. Attend company events. Creatively pursue opportunities to meet the decision makers. Consider asking for an interview even if the company isn’t hiring just yet, anything to start a conversation about how you can help them meet their company goals in the New Year.

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DNA Testing for Potential Future Health Disorders Will you take the test?

Posted on 31 January 2013 by admin

A growing understanding of human genetics holds the promise to dramatically change health care through customized preventative care and treatments. In his upcoming Stanford Continuing Studies course, “Your Genes and Your Health,” Douglas Brutlag, PhD, will discuss how the billions of bits in our biological code shape who we are and how tapping into this information can reveal a lot about your potential health and future well-being.

As Brutlag explains in the following Q&A, understanding the way specific genetic variants influence disease risk can lead to reduced health care costs and a new approach to a healthy lifestyle.

What percentage of our health is dictated by our genetics, and what portion can be attributed to a person’s behavior or environment?

The percentage of our health dictated by our genetics and the faction by behavior and environment depends on individual diseases. Some diseases are entirely genetic and they are called 100 percent penetrant. Diseases such as Huntington’s disease, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, Tay-Sachs disease and Downs syndrome are purely genetic. Other, more complex diseases such as Type 2 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis have a significant behavioral component. That means that even if a person has a genetic predisposition towards the disease there is a lot one can do behaviorally to prevent it.

Complex or multifactorial diseases often have several genetic components as well as several behavioral components. For example, there are now at least a dozen known genes that can contribute to Type 2 diabetes. This is because there are many pathways that lead to the disease. Decreased production of insulin, decreased secretion of insulin and decreased response to insulin are the most common. On the other hand, many behavioral aspects can contribute to causing or exacerbating the disease. Obesity and sedentary life style are but two of them. Many other diseases, such as lung cancer, are nearly entirely behavioral. Others, such as most infectious diseases, are entirely environmental.

How can understanding the way specific genetic variants influence individuals’ disease risk enable awareness and possible prevention or treatment?

If someone knows that they have genes predisposing them to a particular disease, then they can be more vigilant to other symptoms of that disease and also discuss further clinical tests for the disease with their doctor. For example, if someone has certain alleles of the gene for clotting factor F5, it could be an indication that the person might be at a high risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and one should perform a test of their thrombin levels. This is very important as DVT can lead to strokes and pulmonary embolisms resulting in death.

Other examples are familial breast cancer. If a person has a family history of breast cancer and genetic tests indicate that they have one of the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 mutations, then they should make sure that they have regular mammography exams. Familial breast cancer is one of the complex diseases that is not 100 percent penetrant. Twenty percent of individuals carrying these mutations will not get breast cancer or ovarian cancer during their entire life. Nevertheless, all such individuals should be much more vigilant than those without these genes.

Finally, if one has two or three of the genes that predispose them to Type 2 diabetes, they should watch their weight, exercise regularly and have their blood glucose measured routinely. Also knowing the type of genetic defects associated with a person’s Type 2 diabetes can help in planning their treatment. There are genetic loci that reduce the number of insulin producing cells in the pancreas that are best treated with drugs that stimulate insulin production from the remaining cells. Obese people often become insulin resistant and they would need a different or additional treatment.

How can knowing one’s own genetic profile help reduce health care costs and motivate patients to make healthier decisions?

Preventive medicine is always the best and least expensive medicine. We currently use vaccines to prevent many infectious diseases. This is far less expensive and much better for the patient than using antibiotic or anti-viral treatments to try to cure an infection. The risks are also substantially lower with vaccines. Much of the cost of the current health care is due to expensive diagnostic methods and interventions for patients who already have a disease. So preventing the disease in the first place is by far, the best way to reduce health care costs.

Hopefully, genomics and genetic testing will do for inherited disease what vaccines have done for infectious disease. I see genomics as being the way toward preventing the manifestations of inherited disease. More importantly, the cost of sequencing is coming down so fast that in the next three to five years we will be able to determine the complete genome sequence of every individual at birth for less than $1,000. This genomic information, coupled with our knowledge of the genes causing disease mentioned above will give people a genetic roadmap of their potential inherited diseases. This will empower doctors to design specific tests for each person to track his progress along their genetic roadmap as well as recommendations for behaviors likely to improve one’s health by dimishing the chance of a given disease.

Preventing disease will also become the responsibility of the patient. He will know what the risks he takes if he smokes, over-eats or leads a sedentary life style. The risks will be personalized based on his own genetics.

A 2009 survey showed that a significant number of doctors don’t have the knowledge necessary to interpret genetic test results and use the information to guide medical decisions. Beyond primary care doctors, what other resources, tools or members of the health-care community can patients use to understand genetic disease?

We are in state of transition where we need more physicians in the medical genetic specialty and more trained genetic counselors. Interpreting the current genetic tests requires knowledge of statistics, probability and utility functions. However, I see a time in the near future where we know the causal mutations in the human genome and we understand the molecular basis for most diseases. Then the genetic diagnosis will move from a probabilistic analysis to a more deterministic or rule based approach that could provide the doctor directly with the correct advice. Even then, I think that we will want to have medical genetic specialists and genetic counselors in every hospital and clinic.

Many medical schools, including Stanford, are now training their students in the interpretation of genetic and genomic data. Yet it will take several years to provide the level of expertise that will be needed to use this kind of data. Hopefully there will be a time soon when the genetic tests will appear as just another clinical test that doctors order for their patients.

You use data from your own genome analysis to demonstrate to students how to look at their own ancestry, family relationships and inherited diseases. How has the experience of analyzing your own DNA affected your health-care decisions?

Greatly. I am a type 2 diabetic and by knowing the alleles of my specific genes that are associated with my disease, I have been able to tailor my drug regime to best fit my genetic situation. It has also permitted me to eliminate some of the more expensive diabetic drugs I really did not need and now I use only less expensive generic drugs, lowering my pharmacy bill tremendously. Similarly these tests have helped the rest of my family and their physicians become aware of potential inherited disease, long before debilitating symptoms have appeared.

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The Seven P potty training plan

Posted on 31 January 2013 by admin

  1. Parent modeling. Frequently allow your child to go with either you or your spouse to the bathroom. It’s like anything else; a smart kid can learn a lot by watching an expert. If you have some modesty about this, please park it for a while. After all, its just you and your child, and both of you have seen all there is to see, so to speak.
  2. Potty chair. Give your child a chance to get used to and comfortable with the potty chair. Set it out and let your child sit on it, name it, put stickers on it, and pound his or her brother or sister for trying to sit on it.
  3. Practice. Let your child practice using the potty chair. This practice should be “play” practice, with clothes on. Just remember to be prepared for what you might call “method acting.” In theatre, method acting involves actors actually experiencing the emotion they are trying to portray in the performance. In potty training, method acting involves actually eliminating during practice. True, there will be a mess, but hey, you’ve seen hundreds just like it and this one is a sign of good things to come. The next part may be difficult for some dads, but it’s only temporary, trust me.
  4. Pampers and Pull-ups. Unfortunately for your child (but fortunately for your budget), to make the program work, your child must go “cold turkey” on Pampers and Pull-ups, except at bedtime. (Daytime and nighttime training programs should be separate, and while you are working on daytime training, it is fine to keep kids in Pampers or Pull-ups at night.)
  5. Prompting (Tell, don’t ask). As discussed in P #3, practice is important. Unfortunately, its importance will be much more apparent to you than to your child. In fact, let’s tell it like it is – he or she could probably care less. So you will need to prompt your child to go to the bathroom and sit for a few minutes multiple times a day. Tell, don’t ask. Asking very young children if they have to go to the bathroom is sort of like enrolling them in lying school. They will routinely say no, even if they are about to burst. But look at it from their point of view.
  6. Praise. MCs at concerts often say something like, “Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for (name of the star, band, or act)” when urging a crowd to show its approval and excitement. Well, in a sense, I am the MC for toilet training, and I want to urge you to give it up for your little trainee. In the early stages of a training program, toileting behaviors are like little sprouts in a spring garden: Both need something to help them grow. For little sprouts, its water and fertilizer (so to speak). For toileting behaviors, praise and approval are the water and fertilizer that help them grow and blossom. So come on and give it up for the little poopers and pee-ers. Said differently, every time your child does any toileting behavior correctly – pulls down his or her pants, sits on the potty, whatever – be sure to praise him or her. Do this even when your child is having more accidents than successes. Remember, as children enter into the training phase, the training is likely to be way more important to you than it is to them. But if they get the idea that pooping and peeing into the potty is a way for them to get their names in lights, the importance of training will quickly increase for them, along with their cooperation. You can take this a step further and use rewards. One method I often use is to wrap little items – stickers, tiny toys, beads, gum, etc. – in tin foil and put them in jar near the bathroom. When the child achieves a success at any level, he or she gets to grab one prize (not one handful) from the jar. Praise and rewards make the training experience fulfilling, and make it more likely that children will repeat the positive toilet behaviors.

Postpone. Here in P #7 we have some really good news. You can always postpone. You can always put them back in Pampers or Pull-ups, declare a moratorium on any discussion about toileting for a few weeks or even months, and then start again. They will ultimately be motivated to be trained, possibly by something other than your prompting. For example, the rules of social life in childhood weigh heavily against toileting accidents in school-aged kids. In fact, research shows that having an accident in school is the third greatest child fear, behind the death of a parent and going blind. (And I know that high school kids frown on their peers who wear Pampers or Pull-ups.) So the point of P #7 is that if training is going badly, for whatever reason, you can use the time-honored method for winning a war that is being lost – declare victory and retreat.

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The Struggle For Leadership In Pakistan

Posted on 31 January 2013 by admin

  Dr. Hasan Askari

  There are many examples of quick rise of leaders in Pakistan. Some appear on the political scene and demonstrate their capacity to mobilize people who seem to look towards them as saviors. They follow such leaders for some time but these leaders do not sustain their commanding position for a long time.

 Dr. Tahirul Qadri is the latest example of such leadership. He dominated Pakistan’s media as well as the political scene for a week and seemed to be the most powerful person who could order his followers to attack the federal government offices in Islamabad. Now, two weeks later, the consensus among the political commentators is that his political standing has slipped downwards.

 In October 2011, Imran Khan’s public meeting in Lahore took the country by surprise. His public meetings elsewhere, especially in Karachi (December 2011) and Quetta (March 2012), were equally impressive. A number of leaders from different parties rushed to join him and he was viewed as the liberator of Pakistan’s poor from domination of rich, selfish and powerful rulers and other influential people. Now, over one year later, Imran Khan’s political graph has gone down and his party faces internal problems as he holds internal party elections. Imran Khan continues to believe that he would sweep the coming elections but the serious analysts of Pakistani politics do not take his claim seriously.

 The quick rise of such leaders can be attributed to a host of factors that have caused acute political and social crises in Pakistan. There is a widespread alienation at the common person level from the political institutions and leaders caused partly because of the poor performance of the federal and provincial governments. The other reason is that a persistent propaganda is being launched against the political leaders and democracy from two sources. There are those who want some supernatural person to emerge and solve their problems because they want the replication of the ideal Islamic notion of leadership as practiced in the earliest days of Islam. Such propaganda is also being done by the people close to the bureaucratic and military establishment who describe the political leaders as being corrupt, incompetent and selfish.

 The periodic remarks of some judges of the Supreme Court and their judgments in a number of cases create the crisis of legitimacy for elected civilian leaders and institutions. The Supreme Court invariably projects the political leaders, especially the PPP-led federal government, in negative terms. It is unprecedented that the Supreme Court removed one prime minister and ordered the arrest and filing of reference against another. Leaving aside the debate on who is to be blamed, these developments have contributed to undermining the reputation of civilian leaders and democratic processes and strengthened the position of non-elected institutions of the state and those opposed to parliamentary democracy.

 The political leaders in power have not done anything significant through performance to nullify the propaganda against them. Their performance has been poor and the people are faced with a difficult socio-economic situation.

 Such a state of affairs creates acute social, political and economic crises in the society and the people lose confidence in their capacity to change their conditions. They feel dis-empowered, unable to control their future. With decline of Marxism and Socialism, religious ideologies give hope to the people and society in search of self-confidence and socio-political identity. In Islamic countries, literalists and fundamentalist Islamic appeals have attracted a large number of people.

 The people’s quest for a leader that will solve their problems creates ample opportunity to those performing in non-political domains to cash their non-political success in the political domain. Imran Khan entered the political domain after performing in sports (Cricket) and societal welfare domain. Tahirul Qadri attempted to turn his religious appeal into political clout.

 With growing religiosity in Pakistan a large number of people view leadership purely in religious terms and want to replicate the principles and structures of the earliest idealized period of Islamic history. Therefore, when any leader like Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan talk of cleansing the society of corrupt people or that only pious people should contest elections or hold power, the ordinary people support it.

 However such appeals do not last long unless one gives a detailed and practical plan of action to create an ideal society inspired by the earliest period of Islam. Both Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri have condemned the present political order but have been unable to give a practical plan of action to solve the problems. Therefore, such leaders will lose support if they cannot go beyond criticism of their political adversaries.

 Further, Pakistani politics has changed a lot. A single super leader cannot dominate politics. The success in politics depends on working with other leaders and parties. They have to build partnership and coalitions.

 Several political parties have built a core support for them in the society which does not shift because these parties have worked over time. The PPP, various groups of the Pakistan Muslim League, MQM, ANP and some regional and Islamic parties have an established support base that keep them alive.

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