Archive | January, 2015

When govt policy blocked Gauhar’s way?

Posted on 29 January 2015 by admin

Actress Gauahar Khan says entertainment event Mast Ka – landar 2015 won’t be held Jan 29 in Dubai as scheduled. The actress, who recently grabbed headlines after being slapped by a man on the sets of a reality show, said the decision to push the event ahead is due to government policies. “Mastkalandar 2015 has got postponed fr now due to govt policies in Dubai…Every1 who has bought tickets will be in – formed. it shall be sorted,” the actress tweeted Sunday. Gauahar has featured in movies like “Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year” and “Ishaqzaade”. She has also been a part of a bevy of reality shows like “Bigg Boss”, “Khatron Ke Khiladi” and “Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa”.

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Dolly Ki Dolie Review: Strange mish mash of a conwoman and Sati Savitri

Posted on 29 January 2015 by admin

DOlly’ is a strange mish mash of a conwoman and Sati Savitri and so is ‘Dolly Ki Doli’, which starts out with a lot of promise, but ultimately isn’t convincing enough. ‘Dolly Ki Doli’, a comedy about a runaway girl who mar – ries men only to loot them soon after, shows a lot of promise at the outset. The street smart Dolly (Sonam Kapoor) has a fake family with father (Manoj Joshi), brother, mother and a grandmother. The team goes about conning gullible men into marrying Dolly and va – moos with the valuables on the first night. A cop (Pulkit Sam – rat) decides to take up the case, chase and capture Dolly. The first half of the film is fun, thanks to a bunch of com – petent actors and some laughout-loud scenes. Rajkummar Rao, who plays a lovestruck Haryanvi, yet again shows his competence as an actor even though in an unfamiliar set up and also surprises with a typi – cal Bollywood style dance number. Varun Sharma as the daft, mamma’s boy and Archana Pooran Singh, who plays his mother, are simply hilarious. Sonam Kapoor looks gorgeous enough to make us believe that any man could want her to be his wife, but her acting skills still need a bit of brushing up. Pulkit needs to get out of his Salman Khan fixation for us to be able to see his real talent. The second half of the film starts dipping drastically and the climax is disappointing. Sadly, in this ‘pure woman’ obsessed industry, even a con – woman is presented in the ‘touch me not’ garb. By the writer’s and director’s logic, Dolly can break hearts, break trust of the men who fell in love with her and chose to marry her, but please ignore all that because she is a good woman. It’s just that she has had a failed relationship in the past and please adore her be – cause she doesn’t allow any – one to touch or kiss her! If a heartbreak in the past (every woman goes through that in one form or the other) justifies the protagonist turning a crim – inal, okay then. This premise could have worked wonders, if the director confidently showed the protagonist as the stone hearted, badass woman who cheated men for the pure thrill of it. That Dolly would have been far more convincing than this strange mish mash of a conwoman and Sati Savitri.

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Katrina Kaif looks beautiful in shots by a visually impaired photographer

Posted on 29 January 2015 by admin

Bollywood beauty Katrina Kaif is no amateur when it comes to mesmerizing the camera lens. How – ever, the actress’ recent shoot for a soap brand was slightly more special. Katrina Kaif posed for visually-impaired photog – rapher Bhavesh Patel who has done an astounding job, shooting several beautiful pictures of the ravish – ing diva. In a touching video of the shoot, Bhavesh who has been blind since his birth explains that for his beauty is not just in the looks, but from the whole being of the woman. He also goes on to say that when a woman feels beautiful, you can see it. The video shows Katrina Kaif looking especially pleased with the pictures that Bhavesh has taken of her. He was given the opportunity to photograph the ‘Bang Bang’ star in 2014.

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Bollywood is how I connect to India: Rohit Rumpal

Posted on 22 January 2015 by admin

Rohit Rumpal has been the darling of the South Asian community of the Greater Toronto Area. He has charmed the audiences of the GTA with his performances.

A graduate ofYorkUniversitywith a degree in Information Technology & Management, Rohit hails from a Hindu Punjabi family. Born and raised inToronto, Rohit is passionate about “ëntertaining.”

Here is Generation Next’s interview with Rohit Rumpal:

Is being an IT professional your backup plan in case acting doesn’t work out?

 Well neither is a backup for me at the moment. In the world we live in we require financial stability but my passion lies in entertaining. If I could be financially stable acting than yes, being an IT Professional would be a fail-safe plan.

How has life been different since being on TV?
I have been on TV before but being recognized as an individual and for my recent accolades has been very positive for me. I received a lot of support from friends, family and individuals who just liked what I did and/or am doing. It also helped motivate me to keep pushing forward and has honestly been the inspiration for my continued creativity and self improvements.

Would you call yourself an escapist in terms of living a life of a character that may or may not be real?
I think we all indulge in escapism from time to time. I think living the life of an escapist is a strong terminology and I feel it implies shrouding yourself from who you really are which I think may not be the best thing to do if one is to become an actor.

Do you think there is a clock working against people performers in showbiz?

Yes and no. I personally feel the entertainment industry is always thriving. The real challenge is showing what sets you apart from every other person. If you are able to prove that you have something new to offer, that no one else has but everyone else wants to see then there is enough room in the industry for you. And everyone is unique so it’s a matter of just finding that “thing”.

You live in Canada. Won’t it make more sense to be more connected to Hollywood than Bollywood?
Hollywood is great in it’s own but as a kid growing up I was rarely allowed to watch Hollywood films. My parents would take my sister and I to the only Indian store across the street from our building in Toronto which just so happened to be a Video store. There we would rent Bollywood films and on occasion my sister and I would get the choice of which movie to rent. We would watch a movie while eating dinner together. Back then you would attach yourself to any bit of media that reminds you of India so my parents would watch the few shows on TV and Radio. This is the reason why my attachment to Bollywood is greater than Hollywood.

Growing up in Canada, is Bollywood a way for you to connect with India?

Although Bollywood may not depict India for how it truly is, the way it links me is by helping to overcome the language barrier. I have learnt most if not all of my Hindi from watching Bollywood films. My family spoke primarily Punjabi and English so growing up I used to mix up Hindi and Punjabi into my own language. But as I got older I was able to distinguish between to the two and again thanks to Bollywood

What does Canadian multiculturalism mean to you?
It means opportunity. Opportunity to learn from different cultures and people. Learn their traditions, values and beliefs. An opportunity to share with everyone my traditions, values and beliefs. It is also an opportunity to grow as a person, knowing how to interact and respect each race, culture and religion. Most importantly it gives the world an opportunity to see that living under one roof in peace is possible.

You are 28 years old. Do you think you are a little late in Bollywood industry in terms of age.
I think it’s not about age, it is more about what the industry wants and what you have. I feel I have a lot to offer and learn for that matter.

What do you do to keep fit?
I currently dance on various teams including Broken Dance and GPD (Gabroo Punjab De). When I am not dancing I try to keep busy with sports playing anything from soccer, basketball, hockey, volleyball and badminton. I also try to keep active by going to the gym or my preferred route of interval training videos or Muay Thai/Kickboxing/Wresting.

Like most people I TRY to watch what I eat but who can control a sweet tooth? But I do try to eat healthy especially during work hours. Being a vegetarian is not very easy.

What’s your go to style when you are in a rush?
My go to would definitely be either a nice pair of tracks if I plan on being active or just a pair of jeans. Grab a shirt from the closet or a hoodie and I am ready for my next challenge.

How much does being active on social media help you in your career?
Being able to communicate any thoughts, or updates really helps as I receive feedback which helps me keep pushing. It also allows me to be accessible so if I need to be contact people know where I am or what I am doing.

 Your dream role?
I think my dream role would have to be something along the lines of Akshay Kumar in Patiala House or Farhan Akhtar in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag or even John Abraham in Dhan Dhana Dhan Goal.

Is marriage a hindrance in your career?
I don’t feel like it is.

Do you think it’s a field where you can make a living?
Definitely

Which charities are you part of and why?

Heart and Stroke Foundation and Sick Kids.

Do you visit India often?
I used to visit India every year.

Who do you turn to when you’re depressed?
I turn to my friends, family and on the odd occasion I try to keep busy with my various activities or even TV, movies and of course video games.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years time I see myself having more direction and conviction in any step I choose to take. I want to really grasp a hold on the entertainment industry and delve into different aspects of the industry.

Your favourite food?
Indian and Italian. Can’t go wrong with Rajma Rice or Shahi Paneer and of course PIZZA!

Your favourite restaurant?
Brar’s in Brampton or Boston Pizza.

Your favourite club?
Can range from Sugar Daddies on a Thurs to Cocktail Lounge on a Fri to even &Co

Your favourite song?
Main Tenu Samjhawan Ki – Arijit Singh & Shreya Ghoshal
Differentology – Bunji Garlin
Oh Tina – Premi

Your favourite actor?
Govinda, Shah Rukh Khan

Your favourite actress?
Never had one after my first fav had past away – Divya Bharti

Your favourite male singer?
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

Your favourite female singer?
Will always be Lata Mangeshkar

Your favourite politician?
Never really got involved into politics but I can admire politicians such as Pierre Trudeau and Bill Clinton and Obama for bringing change and showing that they can do work and lead, for a lack of better words, exciting life styles

Your favourite philanthropist?
I respect all that stand up in their own way and make great strides for mankind including but not limited to Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Dalai Lama and Princess Diana.

Your favourite movie?
Namak Halal, Hum,  DDLJ,  HAHK,  LOTR,  Harry Potter,  Star Wars, list can actually go on

Your favourite perfume?
Currently it is Armani Code Black

Your favourite accessory?
I guess for myself it would be ear rings. Pretty much the only accessory I wear on a daily basis

You favourite teacher?
It would be my high school gym teacher Mr. John Abbot who taught me learning can be fun and some material we need to learn is not always in the books. Another great teacher I’ve had was my Social Science teach at York University Mr. Walter Perchal who taught us teaching is done by engaging students and not reading to them. Instead of taking notes the best thing we can do is just understand the material right there right then.

Influences on your life?
Anyone and everyone I meet. I learn and observe from all my encounters.

Rohit can be reached at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RohitRumpal
Instagram: RohitR12
Twitter: RohitR12

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Canada needs to do more to make college education a priority

Posted on 22 January 2015 by admin

Canadais well aware of the important role that colleges play in improving post-secondary attainment rates. Last year, the OECD reported that more adult Canadians have a post-secondary education than in any other country in the developing world.Canada’s robust college system was the reason cited for this success.

But there is much more to be done.

InOntario, the youth unemployment rate remains stubbornly high at 16 per cent. Adding to the challenge is a serious underemployment problem. Young people are working in jobs that don’t fully utilize their skills at the same time that many employers can’t fill well-paying positions because the applicants aren’t qualified.

Our post-secondary system must place a greater emphasis on ensuring that students have access to career-specific programs as part of their learning. There needs to be a stronger focus on what happens to people after they graduate and enter the workforce.

In fact, polling research conducted just over a year ago found about two-thirds of Ontarians feel the main purpose of post-secondary education should be to teach skills and knowledge that can be directly used in the workplace.

Finding solutions takes creativity and a willingness to shake up old models of delivering programs. Helping more students acquire combinations of university and college programs must continue to be a priority. While there has been progress, more must be done to help students pursue combinations of college and university by ensuring that students receive proper recognition for their completed credits when they transfer.

Expanding the range of career-focused degree programs at colleges is another way to meet the demand in the marketplace.

Ontario’s colleges are already offering four-year degree programs that provincial consultants have confirmed are successful. To support students who are able to meet degree-level standards and who are more interested in the programs offered at colleges, the province should expand the range of four-year degree programs at colleges.

Ontariocolleges should also be allowed to offer three-year degrees that are comparable to the career-specific degrees available in most of the OECD.

This would ensure that students’ achievements are being properly recognized. And it would help meet employers’ demands for people with degree credentials who also have the high level of professional and technical skills required in today’s more technologically demanding workplace.

The Canadian post-secondary landscape is comprised of excellent programs at both colleges and universities. Expanding the range of opportunities available at college isn’t about replacing existing options — it is about providing more choices to help more people attain a post-secondary education that allows them to compete effectively in the labour market.

There is a robust debate taking place right now south of the border about the value of a community college education.

Actor Tom Hanks wrote a riveting piece in the New York Times about how his two years of free community college shaped the person he is today. But it was his description of the truly eclectic mix of students that was so compelling. College education is accessible to all and helps ensure that people from all walks of life can acquire the qualifications and skills to achieve long-term success.

A college education opens doors for many who may not otherwise have pursued any form of post-secondary education. Free tuition may not be the answer in this country butCanadadefinitely needs to do more to make college education a priority.

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Metrolinx launches joint fare pilot between GO Transit and TTC

Posted on 22 January 2015 by admin

Metrolinx’s GO Transit division is pairing up with the TTC on a one-year pilot project that will give commuters more choices and make it easier and faster to get around downtownToronto.

TTC Metropass holders will be able to purchase a $60 sticker at GO Transit’s Exhibition, Union and Danforth stations that will provide unlimited GO Train travel between those locations, offering an express travel option to and from the downtown core. This represents about a 65 per cent discount over the regular cost of using GO Transit between these stations. Stickers will go on sale starting January 26 in advance of a February service launch.

Customers travelling between Danforth GO Station and Union could save 15 minutes or more per trip during rush hour compared to travel on the subway between TTC’s Main Station andUnion. Customers travelling between Exhibition GO Station andUnioncould save at least 10 minutes per trip during rush hour periods compared to travel on the TTC.

“We are committed to improving public transit so that more commuters choose to take transit to move around the City ofToronto,” saidSteven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation. “This is proof of our government’s commitment to developing customer-focused solutions to making the daily commute and quality of life better forOntariofamilies.”

“The TTC is a valued partner, and we’re very pleased to be working with them to bring more integrated and convenient transit toTorontoriders,” said Bruce McCuaig, President and CEO of Metrolinx. “What we learn from this year-long pilot project will help us better understand why and how customers use different types of transit so we can continue to keep the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area moving.”

“This fare integration pilot is a win for transit users inToronto,” said TTC Chair Josh Colle. “Being able to use GO service at a discounted rate means we are providing a convenient and affordable option to customers who – like all TTC riders – just want to get to home and work quicker. I look forward to continuing to work with our partners at the Province and Metrolinx to provide improved transit service inToronto.”

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Ontario student group wants fair pay mandated for those in Law Practice Program

Posted on 22 January 2015 by admin

The body representing Ontario law students has asked the provincial legal regulator to mandate that all students in the newly created Law Practice Program be fairly paid

The body representingOntariolaw students has asked the provincial legal regulator to mandate that all students in the newly created Law Practice Program be fairly paid.

The English-language version of program, which launched atRyersonUniversitylast fall, was established by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a way to address the shortage of articling positions, which are traditionally paid 10-month positions that students must fulfill to qualify as lawyers.

The LPP offers an expedited route to licensing through a four-month, mostly online training course and a four-month law firm placement.

The Law Students Society of Ontario expresses concern over “the potential for employers to take advantage of free labour and the coercibility of indebted students with no alternatives to secure their licensing.”

“If the LPP is to continue, we request that the Law Society (ofUpper Canada) institute a requirement for all work placements to be reasonably compensated,” it adds.

Douglas Judson, a student atYork’sOsgoodeHallLawSchooland the president of the Law Students Society of Ontario, said the organization wrote the letter after receiving feedback from concerned members enrolled in the LPP who “don’t really feel that they have a sounding board.”

“Admittedly it is a new program and with anything new there is a bit of a learning curve which is totally normal. But I think people feel because of that newness there is some concern for what its going to mean for their prospects down the road,” he told the Star.

“Placing (students) in a program where they not only have to maintain that debt for several months . . . but then to sort of remove the ability to plan by not knowing at the front end what your placement will be, and how it might be remunerated, has also been challenging for a lot of them,” Judson said.

A report published by the LSSO last year found that law students graduate, on average, with over $70,000 of debt.

Judson added that in a field still striving to be more socially and economically diverse, the program could perpetuate historical inequities. Submissions to the Law Society of Ontario when the LPP program was being created suggested that students from “equality-seeking communities” were almost twice as likely to be unable to find articling positions.

Claire Seaborn of the Canadian Intern Association said the Law Society should first prioritize ensuring that all traditional 10-month articling positions are paid, given concerns that an increasing number are not. But, she argued, all practicing lawyers could conceivably contribute to a fund that would subsidize organizations lacking the resources to compensate all law students for their work.

A spokeswoman for the Law Society of Ontario, Susan Tonkin, told the Star that the organization encouraged employers to pay students, but that it was “not within the Law Society’s mandate or power to require firms or organizations to pay licensing candidates.”

“The Law Society understands candidates’ concerns, but our first priority is to provide all qualified candidates with the opportunity to fulfill their licensing requirements to be called to the bar of Ontario,” she said.

 

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CIVILIAN LEADERS, MILIARY AND COUNTER-TERRORISM

Posted on 22 January 2015 by admin

Dr. Hasan Askari

Lahore

   Pakistan’s civilian government and the military establishment have been demonstrating determination for the last month to counter extremism and terrorism.

 The security operation inNorth Waziristancontinues and the military is also focusing on other tribal agencies. The federal and provincial governments are also showing activism in implementing the 20-point National Action Plan approved by the All-Parties Conference earlier this month. However, the civilian governments are seen as being more active in holding meetings and giving statements for controlling all kinds of religious extremist activities in cities. Some action has been taken on the misuse of mosque loudspeakers and hate literature being published by religious organizations. Some people have been arrested in thePunjab, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

   The Army authorities are in the lead in the current actions to control extremism and terrorism. The civilian federal and provincial authorities are following them or working in collaboration with them.

 The Corps Commanders based in the provincial capitals are now working closely with the provincial chief ministers. Either the Army is represented in most law and order meetings or the Corps commanders attend the meeting if the Chief Minister is presiding. The Army’s role has also increased at the federal level in matters dealing with extremism and terrorism.

  The federal ministers are now repeatedly issuing statements about the government’s determination to eliminate religious extremism and terrorism. However, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) faces problems in implementing various points in the National Action Plan in thePunjab.

   ThePunjabgovernment will have to deal with three complex issues for controlling religious extremism and terrorism.

  First, the National Action Plan underlines the need of monitoring the activities of madrassas, including a review of their courses of study and links, if any, with militant groups. The federal and the Punjab governments will have problems in enforcing discipline on madrassas because the religious leaders and madrassa organizations have links with the PMLN that makes it difficult for the federal and thePunjabgovernment to adopt a tough posture towards madrassa. The madrassa organizations are determined to resist government interference in their internal affairs like teaching courses and financial affairs. Therefore, there is bound to be a clash between the PMLN and the madrassa organizations if the government pursues the new madrassa agenda.

  Second, the issue of funding to madrassas from inside and outside the country is another difficult question to tackle for the federal and provincial governments. The madrassa organizations have traditionally resisted government scrutiny of their funding. The Sharif government has approached severalGulf Statesnot to provide funds to religious institutions directly. One of the issues discussed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his latest visit toSaudi Arabiais the Saudi government funding to Pakistani madrassas and Islamic organizations. The problem of foreign funding is that most of it is non-official by individuals and organizations and it comes through informal banking channels. It will be a difficult to control funding coming from abroad. However, the government can restrict such funding by stringent measures. This has a risk for the PMLN government of losing the support of Islamists.

  Third, the latest government information has disclosed that there are 95 religious-extremist organizations in thePunjabwhose activities are dubious. ThePunjabgovernment is expected to monitor them and, if necessary, take action against them. This will not be easy for thePunjabgovernment to do given the electoral support it enjoys from these Islamic circles. The sympathizers of these organizations are asking thePunjabgovernment to go slow on madrassas and these militant Islamic organizations and groups.

  The dilemma for the Nawaz and Shahbaz governments is that the Army wants a tough policy regarding the above mentioned issues and that their activities should be brought under control. The PMLN leadership wants to adopt a moderate approach. If thePunjaband federal governments cannot handle these issues in a satisfactory manner their relations with the Army will be strained.

  The Army leadership is fully determined to take a firm punitive action against all kinds of Taliban and other groups. Its operation inNorth Waziristanwill be completed soon and the return of the displaced person will start in February. Their return will be done in a phased manner so that when these people return, basic civic facilities are available to them. It is also taking action against Taliban affiliate groups in other tribal agencies.

  The Army demonstrated its determination to eliminate the Taliban and their affiliate groups by initiating the military operation inNorth Waziristan. This determination was reinforced by the human losses in thePeshawarSchoolincident on December 16, 2014. Now, all three branches of military are more determined than ever to eliminate all groups that threaten Pakistani state and society.

  However, the Army authorities need civilian government support for dealing with religious extremism and its sources as well as terrorism activity in urban areas. A joint civil-military management has been established at the provincial level for dealing with these issues. The main focus of the Army is on the federal and thePunjabgovernments. If the federal and the Punjab governments are not able to address the extremism and terrorism issues in a consistent and swift manner, the Army will begin to suspect the intention of the civilian leaders.

  The Army is expected to show patience towards the civilian government because they need a civilian cover for pursuing their counter-terrorism strategies. As the Army does not have direct connections with the madrassas and the hard line Islamic groups based in the cities, it would like fast moving approach by the civilian administration to monitor madrassas, scrutinize their funding and control of religious and sectarian groups.

   There are no signs that the Sharif government will move on these issues swiftly because of the fear of losing electoral support of Islamists. This is likely to build strains in civil-military relations which have already shifted in favor of the military. The civil government has already given space to the Army in civilian affairs. This space is expected to increase because the civilian government is already on decline because of bad governance and neglect of the problems of the common people. As it loses popular support, its capacity to deal with counter extremism and terrorism issues will further decline.

 If this trend continues the present civilian leadership will lose credibility. This will increase the military’s option to replace the current civilian leadership, if needed, with another set of civilian leaders from within or outside of the PMLN.

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Kiran Bedi: India’s BJP names Delhi chief minister candidate

Posted on 22 January 2015 by admin

India‘s governing BJP party has named former senior policewoman Kiran Bedi as its candidate for chief minister in upcoming Delhi elections.

The city will vote on 7 February and counting is due on 10 February.

Ms Bedi will challenge the former chief minister and anti-corruption campaigner Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Delhihas been without a government for a year after Mr Kejriwal resigned when his anti-corruption bill was blocked.

Since then, the state has been governed directly by the federal authorities.

“Today the Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP] parliamentary board met… and decided that Kiran Bedi will fight for the BJP in the comingDelhielection,” party president Amit Shah told reporters at a late-night press conference on Monday.

“She will be the chief ministerial candidate,” he added.

In her first comments since joining the BJP, Ms Bedi has promised good governance and to makeDelhisafer for women.

Ms Bedi, 65, was the first woman to join the Indian police service in 1972 and held several senior positions, working in traffic, prison management and drug control, and later serving as a UN peacekeeping adviser.

She attracted global attention when she headedDelhi’s notorious Tihar Jail, where she introduced yoga and literacy classes for inmates.

Ms Bedi and Mr Kejriwal worked together during the anti-corruption campaign, led by social activist Anna Hazare, but the two have had a falling out in recent months.

Mr Kejriwal congratulated her on her nomination and challenged her to a public debate.

Ms Bedi said she accepted the challenge, but said she would debate him “on the floor of the house”.

The AAP did not do well in last summer’s general election, but in recent weeks Mr Kejriwal has once again emerged as the major challenge to the BJP’s electoral hopes inDelhi.

The BJP was the single largest party in the 70-member state assembly in the December 2013 election when the party won 31 seats and one seat was won by its ally the Shiromani Akali Dal.

But because the BJP fell short of a majority in the assembly, Mr Kejriwal formed a government with support from the Congress party. The AAP had 28 seats while the Congress had just eight.

Mr Kejriwal resigned on 14 February after 49 days in office after opposition politicians blocked his bill, which would have created an independent body with the power to investigate politicians and civil servants suspected of corruption.

 

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Locating our own citizenship in the lives of Macdonald and other great Canadian leaders

Posted on 22 January 2015 by admin

By Samuel Getachew

Toronto

In the many letters and articles I read about Sir John A. Macdonald from Canadians in the last week, on the occasion of what would have been the former prime minister’s 200th birthday, the one that stood out most for me was the letter written by a person named Mohamed el Haram.

This was in response to an article written by Macdonald’s biographer, Richard Gwyn, in The Toronto Star. The letter stated:

“Although it’s difficult, we must keep history in perspective and judge good and bad by their contemporary, contextual standards. Of course, we must strive to improve our society, keep the good, drop the bad and not make the same mistakes of history. To judge every historical figure, policy or event by modern mores would leave us with no one to respect and admire — only condemnation for all.”

In all of the 22 Canadian prime ministers we have had in our confederation, there is no one prime minster that has best defined us, united us, and envisioned the Canada that we know today as much as our very first PM. That is a fact. The double standard placed on him is both unfair and disingenuous.

If we were to place the same standard on other leaders of the past, the reality is that we might not have anyone to celebrate and emulate. Take Canada’s most admired former NDP leader, Tommy Douglas.

Before he became one of the most influential politicians in Canada, he held some of the most horrible views on human reproduction. His graduate thesis at McMaster University linked poverty to “subnormal families, ones that are mentally inadequate — “anywhere from high-grade moron to mentally defective — of low moral character and/or a burden on the public purse.”

As a solution, he advocated for “sterilization of those deemed mentally defective or incurably diseased, arguing it is ‘consummate folly’ to let subnormal families “bring in to the world large numbers of individuals to fill our jails and mental institutions and to live upon charity.” If that fails, he offered a solution of “segregation of sub-normal families, and medical certification to ensure someone is mentally and physically fit before getting married.”

His words were not written as a high school student, to be excused as adolescent intellectual folly, but as a 28 year old soon-to-be politician on the verge of launching a political career with the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), what would later on become the NDP.

However, again and again, Canadians have looked beyond those words and judged him based on his era, with his contemporaries, and gave much weight to his signature public service contribution as the father of Medicare. If we were to look at him by the standard we hold today, his reputation would not survive the scrutiny.

Sure, many of his defenders might argue the fact that his were mere words and Macdonald’s actions toward indigenous Canadians were actions, and that is true. However, it’s almost like defending the current actions of some male Dalhousie University dentistry school students, whose only alleged crimes, until now, have been writing sexually violent words on a Facebook group about their female classmates. By today’s standard, even inappropriate words that are hostile to others are grossly wrong. That is why those students are rightfully facing the consequences.

By today’s standard, both Macdonald and Douglas, would be considered wrong. So would many of Canada’s famous important icons of the past, such as the Famous Five who contributed to women’s rights in Canada but held controversial views on race and religion. Even the most successful Liberal Prime Minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who once remarked “the people of Canada want to have a white country,” and strongly discouraged American blacks from immigrating to Canada would have been considered a fringe voice.

Yet, we celebrate their pre-eminent leadership roles in Canada’s past, try to understand their shortcomings, and judge them accordingly. In their lived lives, we attempt to find our own citizenship and find a role to have our country reflect the better part of our collective public ideals.

As the 200th birthday of Macdonald fell this week, I cannot help but reflect how much he meant for Canada and Canadians. He was the key architect of this nation, growing it from Upper and Lower Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and then expanding it to British Columbia, the great Northwest Territories and PEI. His vision for a uniting railway that brought the new nation together was inspiring, as were his views on the rightful status of our French-Canadian population. He defended the role of women in the new country and he now stands tall as our first prime minister, among the 21 others that would follow.

When it seemed Quebec was about to separate from Canada in 1995, former U.S. President Bill Clinton said “In a world darkened by ethnic conflicts that tear nations apart, Canada stands as a model of how people of different cultures can live and work together in peace, prosperity, and mutual respect.”

That model is still the envy of a brutal and even dangerous world. It is indeed thanks to the vision and foundation laid by Canada’s remarkable first prime minister.

 

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