Archive | July, 2016

Artist explores fashion and identity politics in ‘Upping the Aunty’

Posted on 27 July 2016 by admin

Some wear rhinestones and sequin-adorned jeans, some match baseball caps with saris, others prefer pairing sneakers with floral ensembles: such is the singular style of a South Asian “aunty,” depicted in Canadian artist Meera Sethi’s new series “Upping the Aunty.”

An aunty, Sethi explains, is an “all-encompassing term” in South Asian culture, describing a woman around your mother’s age, a stranger, a friend, or family.

Though there is no one aunty style, a fondness for colour, for bold patterns and prints is a common theme, Sethi explained.

Importantly, aunty style as depicted by Sethi is characterized by duality: a combination of comfort and style (see Sethi’s “Rashida Aunty” in her socks and sandals) and, importantly, a combination of cultures, of east and west.

The exhibit — eight multimedia paintings depicting different aunties — was showed in the First Floor Galleries of Daniels Spectrum, curated by Elle Alconcel. The show follows a street-style photo blog by Sethi, documenting aunties in Canada and India.

Though Sethi graduated from York University with a degree in fine arts in 1998, it took her 10 years to return to art as a professional career.

Finding herself living beside Woolfitt’s, an art supplies store, on Queen St. West, “I was curious about getting my hands dirty with materials again,” Sethi said.

She brought some paint and paper from Woolfitt’s and began to work. The result was her series “Firangi Rang Barangi” — Hindi for “colourful stranger” — paintings that explored the relationship between fashion and identity and the politics of dress.

Sethi’s interest in the subject was sparked at a young age. After immigrating to Canada when she was 2 years old, Sethi would return to New Delhi every year on visits to her grandparents.

The “constant back and forth” and exposure to the distinctive styles, cultures and climate of Canada and India provided Sethi with a wider perspective on culture and fashion, she explained.

 “How do you imagine identity that’s cohesive and whole?” Sethi wondered. “A lot of my work has tried to answer this question.”

For Sethi, aunties have served a conduit between South Asian and Canadian communities.

They are the “entry point into cultural knowledge I wouldn’t otherwise have,” she explained. “My aunties have played a big role in the understanding of myself as a woman.”

Sethi’s project provides an opportunity to celebrate these women, often invisible outside the roles of wife and mother.

With “Upping the Aunty,” Sethi also aimed to challenge popular conceptions of fashion, questioning how age, racism, and diaspora shape our understandings of style, fashion and beauty.

Thanks to Sethi’s project, aunties are finally in the spotlight.

The series — acrylic paint and fabric on canvas, sometimes with crystals, mirrors, or tinsel as well — “challenges a stereotype of who is interesting to look at,” Sethi said. “The aunties I photographed, you’re not going to see them in magazines, or on TV, or on the runway.”

Individual works are for purchase. 

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We Still Need A Full Review Of Bill C-51 To Remove Charter Violations

Posted on 27 July 2016 by admin

On the anniversary of filing a Charter challenge to Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is calling on Canadians to send a message to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government that it’s past time to restore our constitutional freedoms and repeal the unconstitutional aspects of this dangerous and ineffective legislation.

The renewed campaign marks the one-year anniversary of the Charter challenge filed by CJFE and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) on July 21, 2015, on the grounds that five sections of Bill C-51 unjustifiably violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The lawsuit is now on hold in court pending a response from the government.

Since coming into power, the Liberal government has promised to repeal what they deem the “problematic elements” of the legislation, and announced the intention to hold a broad consultation process this year. Over the past year, CJFE has been engaging directly with the government to advocate for a full review of the legislation and a repeal of the unconstitutional aspects; CJFE is now asking Canadians to stand in support of their privacy and free expression rights by renewing their call for this public consultation.

CJFE is encouraging Canadians to make their voices heard on this issue through a Parliamentary e-petition, a new system that allows citizens to digitally participate in the federal policy process. Once a petition reaches 500 signatures, the government is required to provide a written response, posted online, within 45 days. Petition e-308, sponsored by MP Arif Virani, calls upon the government to fully commit to a review of Bill C-51 and remove the aspects that violate Canadian Charter rights.

“We are actively engaging with the government for real reform, but voices within the security services are working behind the scenes to water down any changes,” says Tom Henheffer, CJFE’s Executive Director. “It is critical that Canadians let Prime Minister Trudeau know that they will not tolerate more delays and half-measures. The government has an incredible opportunity to do the right thing, listen to the voices of Canadians and take concrete steps to protect our rights and freedoms.”

Bill C-51 jeopardizes many of our most basic rights and liberties. It allows for expanded preventative detention, provides for a new court process to secretly pre-authorize rights violations, removes existing privacy protections to encourage unprecedented information sharing between government departments, increases the ability of spy agencies to interfere with our communications and threatens to hamper legitimate political discourse and dissent.

CJFE calls on everyone who cares about privacy and free expression rights, and civil liberties in Canada to sign the official Parliamentary petition and renew their public calls for better legislation.

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Hillary Clinton chooses Tim Kaine as her running mate

Posted on 27 July 2016 by admin

HILLARY CLINTON’S choice of Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia as her vice-presidential running-mate should cheer Americans despairing at an election season steeped in vitriol, division and fear-mongering. It should be balm to centrists’ souls to hear Senate colleagues from both parties agree that Mr Kaine is a thoroughly decent and reasonable man. One of the first reactions came from a Republican senator, Jeff Flake of Arizona, whose own decency has to date left him unable to endorse his party’s demagogic nominee, Donald Trump. “Trying to count the ways I hate Tim Kaine, drawing a blank,” Mr Flake tweeted. “Congrats to a good man and a good friend.”

Mr Kaine is the son of a Kansas City welder whose brains took him to Harvard Law School and whose social conscience led him to become a Catholic missionary in Honduras (picking up fluent Spanish) then a civil rights lawyer, popular mayor of the racially-divided city of Richmond, governor of Virginia and now senator.

But the pick says something encouraging about Mrs Clinton’s plans for defeating Mr Trump this November, too. Political campaigns can be boiled down to two tasks, one nobler than the other. The first involves maximising turnout on voting day. This can be a grim business if a campaign pursues a core-vote strategy of pandering and stoking the partisan passions of their base. The second task is persuasion. At its noblest, this involves finding arguments or candidates so reasonable or appealing that they can lure voters out of partisan trenches to cross party lines.

In choosing Mr Kaine, Hillary Clinton is placing a bet on persuasion over turnout. Mr Trump has gone the other way—his Republican National Convention, just ended in Cleveland, was a four-day bet on turnout, with a succession of bleak, angry speeches describing an America plunged in chaos and violence, its streets stalked by “illegal alien” murderers set free by corrupt and uncaring elites, while overseas American enemies mock and cheat the fallen superpower at every turn.

Divided America still harbours some pockets of swing voters: think of married mothers of school-age children who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 but lost faith in him as he seemed to expand government too far, turning to the Republican Mitt Romney in 2012. They may be found in such places as the suburban “collar counties” that surround Philadelphia and Denver, or in the leafy cul-de-sacs of Fairfax or Loudon counties in Virginia, where weekends unfold to a sound-track of buzzing lawnmowers, children’s soccer games and church bake-sales.

Many such suburban voters dislike and distrust Mrs Clinton, thinking her dishonest. They are anxious about terrorism and long to feel safe. That could be an opening for Mr Trump, but with his splenetic, testosterone-fuelled convention, at which speakers called Mrs Clinton a fan of Lucifer and an accomplice to murder, and the air rang with chants of “lock her up” and cries of “hang the bitch”, the Republican offered them nothing, choosing instead to stoke the passions of his core voter blocks, and notably white men without a college education.

Mrs Clinton has her own angry ideologues to worry about on the left, starting with millions of Democrats and leftists who voted for her rival in the presidential primary contest, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Partisans on the left insist that the path to victory in 2016 lies in picking an economic populist who opposes free trade and wants to slap punitive taxes on Wall Street banks and the rich, using the proceeds to fund free college for young people, increase old-age pensions through Social Security and expand the role of government in healthcare. They wanted Mrs Clinton to pick such populist pin-ups as Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, or the Labour Secretary Thomas Perez, who is much-liked by trade unions.

Leftists reacted with dismay and anger to the choice of Mr Kaine. They hold against him that he is a white, middle-aged man. They are furious that he is a long-standing supporter of free trade. In 2007 he chided protectionists who want to erect trade barriers for a “loser’s mentality” and in 2015 he voted to give the next president fast-track trade promotion authority to approve new trade deals. They dislike the fact that as a devout Catholic he is personally opposed to abortion, and deplore the fact that as governor he presided over executions in Virginia. Some leftist websites quickly called him a friend to big banks, after he backed bipartisan Senate measures to ease capital requirements on regional banks. A few tried to call him a friend to the National Rifle Association (NRA). To be clear, what such leftists wanted was for Mrs Clinton to pursue her own version of a turnout strategy, choosing a running-mate who would excite and energise unhappy Sandernistas and anti-globalisation blue-collar voters in the Rust Belt—and forget trying to persuade those suburban swing voters in Loudon County.

Left-wingers attacking Mr Kaine should check his record. Though personally opposed to abortion, he says that such decisions fall in the sphere of personal morality, and has voted to uphold the right of women to choose abortions. Though he calls Jesuits his moral heroes, his is a rather Latin American social justice Catholicism, with a whiff of Pope Francis to it. He has been an early supporter of gay rights, and a defender of refugees. As mayor of Richmond Mr Kaine sent his children to tough, mostly-black city schools—an act which was itself an example of history rhyming: he married the daughter of the moderate Republican governor of Virginia from 1969 to 1973, A. Linwood Holton, who ended his state’s ferocious resistance to civil rights and desegregated schools.

Mr Kaine opposes the death penalty in person but bowed to the law as governor of Virginia, a once-rural state with a stern conservative heritage, now trending more towards suburban moderacy. He won bipartsan plaudits for his handling of a gun massacre in 2007 on the campus of Virginia Tech, a college, though Republicans in the state house blocked his attempts to ensure background checks on buyers at gun shows. He has an “F” rating from the NRA. As a senator he has specialised in national security and foreign policy, clashing with Mr Obama—of whom he was an early endorser—by joining Senator John McCain, a Republican, in insisting that Congress should formally authorise the use of military force against Islamic State.

Mr Trump, who specialises in insulting epithets, has quickly labelled Mr Kaine “Corrupt Kaine”, referring to $160,000 worth of gifts that the Virginian accepted as governor. Much of that sum involves flights paid for by donors or by the Obama presidential campaign as Mr Kaine flew around the country as a campaign surrogate for Mr Obama in 2008. But the total includes the loan of a Caribbean holiday home by a Democratic donor, valued at $18,000. Though the gifts were reported and were legal under his home state’s loose ethics laws, Republicans sense an opening, not least because a former Republican governor of Virginia was recently convicted of corruption for accepting gifts from a businessman (though that conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court).

In private, Mr Kaine is notably thoughtful, with nuanced views about America’s place in the world. Amidst noisy debates about whether America should be the “indispensable nation” or should pull back from global responsibilities, Mr Kaine calls himself a believer in President Harry Truman and his doctrine of extending aid and support to democracies threatened by authoritarian regimes. A self-declared “boring” man, Mr Kaine is known to like quiet, unflashy words to describe his vision of America—urging his country to be “magnanimous” and to strive to be “’exemplary” so that it can earn its status as an indispensable nation. He is not the most exciting or aggressive choice that Mrs Clinton could have made. But in this election cycle, many will feel there is more than enough aggression to go around.

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Get Mad About The Ontario Liberals’ Controversial Doctor Deal

Posted on 27 July 2016 by admin

Nadia Alam

Writer. GP Anesthetist in Georgetown, Ontario. Mom of four.

I believe in democracy: elected officials — whether in government or representative organizations — should and must be the voice of their people.

I also believe that elected officials should respect their electorate. Ordinary people who vote them into power can just as quickly strip them of it. A famous quote states: “People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.”

On July 27, doctors across Ontario will vote on the most controversial, contentious Physician Services Agreement (PSA) in recent history.

After a bitter two-year impasse in negotiations, the contract should have been greeted with open arms. Instead, it was met with open alarm.

Reports of unsettling circumstances shadow negotiations. Generally a mild-mannered profession, whistle-blowing doctors now denounce the Ontario Medical Association (OMA).

Observers speculate on potential mutiny.

All that aside, though, physicians find this six-page contract tight on deadlines, severe in consequences and unnervingly light on details. It seems odd that even IKEA instructions are longer and more detailed than a contract for a $12-billion portfolio.

Many are baffled by the OMA’s aggressive and single-minded endorsement of a contract that OMA board members admit has “warts and all.” Many worry about the long-term fallout of the vague terms. Many are angry that the OMA has stonewalled discussions, delving into the downsides of the new deal.

Many believe the contract reflects a sham negotiation: OMA infographics imply: “a No-Vote will mean more unilateral actions.” In most labour talks, rejection of a first offer prompts the bargaining of a second. Instead, physicians face an ultimatum. This is not good-faith negotiation.

With this in mind, physicians are told to trust the government again. A government famous for slipping through loopholes and breaking promises. The Liberals have imposed unilateral actions twice before. They have set a new precedent for dismantling physician services.

I’s no surprise that in the dog days of summer, a public rally of 300 physicians and patients descended on Ministry of Health and OMA offices to express dismay with the new contract.

It’s no surprise that nearly 3,000 physicians — family doctors and specialists alike — signed a petition to stall the vote. They want the OMA to call a General Member’s Meeting to discuss the pros and cons of the tentative contract without rhetoric or propaganda. After some critical thinking and thoughtful debate, they want an informed vote. A vote that is binding on all levels of the OMA hierarchy.

To me, this petition shows the power ordinary people wield over elected officials. Will this herald an evolution in the OMA? I hope so. For now at least it has stopped the vote.

For those watching the conflict unfold: save your sympathy.

Instead, get mad.

Your elected government, the Ontario Liberals, made a mockery of our health-care system. They outsource services to the U.S. — services that now cost more than they would if provided here. They waste much-needed health-care dollars on bureaucracy and failed ventures. They ignore ordinary people as they die on ballooning wait lists. They offer Band-Aid solutions to complex problems, igniting a massive fight among doctors. This is not acceptable.

Get mad. If doctors cannot afford to maintain or upgrade their equipment, you are the one who loses. If doctors cannot afford to keep their clinics open, you are the one who loses. If doctors leave, you are the one who loses.

So I vote No.

Your turn: make this government fear the vote and the voice of the ordinary person.

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Donald Trump’s NATO Comments ‘Not Helpful’: Harjit Sajjan

Posted on 27 July 2016 by admin

Donald Trump’s comments that, if elected president, the U.S. wouldn’t automatically come to the aid of allies are “not helpful,” Canada’s defence minister says.

The Republican nominee caused a stir this week when he said some NATO members aren’t spending enough on defence, and are instead relying on the U.S. to protect them. That would change if he’s elected, Trump told the New York Times.

“We’re talking about countries that are doing very well,” he said. “I would absolutely be prepared to tell those countries, ‘Congratulations, you will be defending yourself.'”

While Trump appeared to be directing his comments at European allies, Canada spends less than one per cent of its gross domestic product on defence. That is half the NATO target and puts Canada near the back of the pack among the alliance’s 28 members.

In an interview with The Canadian Press Thursday, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan defended Canada’s military contributions and NATO. He pointed to Canada’s recent promise to lead a NATO force in Latvia and its role in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as proof the country is pulling its weight.

“We’re stepping up in a much bigger way,” Sajjan said. “When you put everything together, we have nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, we actually can be very proud of the fact of how much we’re doing.”

Article 5 of the NATO treaty enshrines the concept of collective defence, in which an attack on one member is an attack on all. The only time it was invoked was after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, which led to the war in Afghanistan.

Some Eastern European members have worried Article 5 will not be honoured if Russia takes action against them. That is partly why Canada and other allies are sending troops to the Baltics and Poland, to reassure those countries that the alliance stands with them.

Trump’s comments, however, have the potential to stoke fresh concerns about the alliance’s unity, particularly as it faces a new Cold War with Russia.

Sajjan said collective defence is central to the alliance, which itself has been instrumental in helping bring peace and stability to Europe and other parts of the world.

“So those comments that are made are not helpful,” Sajjan said. “But I understand there’s an election campaign and that’ll take its course.”

Sajjan was speaking from Washington, where defence and foreign affairs ministers spent the past two days talking about the campaign against ISIL — and what will come after.

The immediate challenge is the liberation of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, which ISIL, also known as ISIS or Daesh, has occupied since June 2014.

The minister announced in Washington that Canada will send up to 60 military personnel to lead a nearby field hospital in support of the Mosul assault. That is in addition to the 200 special forces troops already in the area, many of whom are training Kurdish peshmerga forces in preparation for the attack on Mosul.

The liberation of Mosul, which U.S. officials say contains about 1 million civilians, is expected to be the most difficult military operation of the fight in Iraq. Sajjan would not comment on the role Canadian troops would play when the assault begins, citing operational security.

What happens after ISIL is defeated?

But Canadian military personnel have taken the lead in helping the Iraqi government in Baghdad prepare for the aftermath of the Mosul offensive, Sajjan said, as well as the post-ISIL era. This includes what to do with the millions of Iraqis displaced by the conflict with ISIL, and organizing reconstruction efforts.

“We are finally starting the discussions about what’s needed after the operation,” he said. “That plan is going to be created, so we can set the conditions so the people of Iraq, once Daesh is actually defeated, can get back to a normal state of life and have stability in their political structure.”

Such work is essential for ensuring the political, religious and ethnic divisions that contributed to the rise of ISIL in the first place are eliminated, he said, so terror can’t take root in the country again.

“If you don’t get the political piece right, and deal with the underlying issues that created Daesh in the first place,” he said, “we’re going to be dealing with the next evolution of Daesh.”

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Posted on 27 July 2016 by admin

 Dr. Hasan Askari

 The politically active circles in Pakistan expressed much satisfaction on the failure of the military coup attempt in Turkey. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Group (PMLN) took the lead in celebrating the failed July 15 coup in Turkey.

 While extending full support to the Turkish government, the PMLN leaders described the collapse of the coup as the triumph of democracy and a clear assertion of the power of the people who came out in the streets on the appeal of the President to challenge the rebellious troops.

 Pakistan’s print and electronic media carried supportive articles and comments for the Turkish government. The Senate, upper house of the parliament, passed a resolution that endorsed Turkish democracy and appreciated the courage of the Turkish people to stand up to the military for protecting the elected civilian government.

 Not many people in Pakistan paid attention to the history and dynamics of civil-military relations in Turkey, making it different from Pakistan in several respects. Similarly, none talked about the challenges to Turkish democracy despite the failure of the coup and how President Erdogan was using the emergency powers in the aftermath of the coup to cleanse the military and civilian institutions and lower judiciary of his political adversaries and pack these institutions with his loyalists. The current tensions in the civil-military relations in Turkey are expected to persist and these might cause new upheaval in politics when some of its top commanders are put on trial.

 The Pakistani enthusiasm for the beleaguered Turkish civilian government can be better understood in the context of the uncertain civil-military relations in Pakistan. The PMLN and its allies have played up the Turkish episode in order to deter Pakistan’s military leadership from expanding its role in the political domain. By emphasizing the popular resistance in the streets to the military, the ruling PMLN is hoping that the threat of popular resistance would ensure civilian continuity in Pakistan.

 The response of the people of Turkey to the appeal for help by the President was an important contributory factor but this was not the key element in the civilian triumph. The initiator of the rebellious coups violated the basic principles of military take-over.

 First, if a coup is not spearheaded by the top command of a professional military, it is likely to collapse. In this case the rebellious elements have to fight on two fronts: their colleagues that refuse to join them and the political leadership that needs to be dislodged. This divides the military and dissipates their energy for swift action.

 Second, it is important for the military staging a coup to establish quick control over the key government offices, disarm its security system and take-over the official communication system. A divided military will always find it difficult to establish a stable control of state institutions and networks.

 Third, the top leadership to be dislodged needs to be quickly isolated from their loyalists and supporters so that they do not mobilize them. The key leaders of the target regime are either arrested or detained in their residences in a manner that they are isolated from the outside world.

 The rebellious Turkish military failed on all three counts. The military as a whole was not united and they were unable to control key government installations in Ankara and Istanbul. They did not know that the President was not in Ankara that night. By the time they came to know of his location, he was able to issue an appeal to the people and moved to Istanbul which was his main support base. He had served as the Mayor of Istanbul.

 As the people realized that the President and the Prime Minister were free to function, the public responded positively to the appeal. It took almost three hours from the first information about the beginning of the coup that public took to streets in a large number. Had the rebellious military succeeded in following the first three standard operating procedures, the appeal to the people could not be made which actually caused the failure of the already faltering coup.

 The widespread popular response to the President’s appeal in Turkey can be attributed to the government’s successful economic and societal development policies since the A.K. Party came to power in 2002. The Turkish government was able to improve the delivery of basic services to the common people which created a widely shared perception at the common person level that their quality of life had improved under this government.

 The Turkish public reciprocated the good work done by Erdogan as Prime Minister (2003-2014) by responding positively to his appeal. In the case of Pakistan, it is difficult to suggest if the civilian federal and provincial governments have adequately addressed the socio-economic problems of the common people and improved the quality of life of the ordinary people.

 The current political order has entrenched itself in Pakistan by tolerating corruption and has relied on partisan use of state patronage to build support. Therefore, the direct beneficiaries of the state patronage and those who have made money for one reason or another under the current civilian order are expected to support such a corrupt and lopsided system in the Punjab. However, the probability is extremely low that there would be a spontaneous display of popular support in the major cities if the current civilian order is threatened by non-democratic pressures.

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Condemning Islamophobia Promotes Human Values

Posted on 27 July 2016 by admin

Samer Majzoub

The initiation of the online petition e-411, sponsored by Frank Baylis, the Federal Liberal MP of Peirrefonds-Dollard, comes at a time when extremists from every side are attempting to hijack civic peaceful societies and cause friction amongst groups of people through destructions and devastation.

The world has witnessed many dangerous events: violent “lone wolf” individuals, who are ready to commit bloody criminal attacks on civilians in the name of a religion, extremist groups, politicians; and persons who engage in hate and discriminatory smear campaigns, and people who attack citizens on the streets based on their faith and visible dress codes.

As if this miserable view is not enough, North America is observing a surge in racial tensions, with law enforcement forces being accused of discriminatory use of deadly force against men based on their skin colour. On the other hand, police officers are being ambushed and shot dead by angry individuals.

Canada is witnessing a sharp increase in Islamophobia, which has even been described as an “epidemic” in certain large areas of the country. Citizens are aggressively and physically attacked on the streets, shopping malls, and community centres. Moreover, places of worship are being firebombed and vandalized. Islamophobic political campaigns have become very troubling, mainly during the election periods. Furthermore, some media outlets add salt to the wound by becoming venues for anti-Muslim rhetoric under the justification of “freedom of speech,” which seems to be without boundaries and irresponsible when it comes to bashing Islam and Muslim citizens.

Under this gloomy climate, citizens from all aspects of society, responsible media, and honest, elected decision makers have the civil duty and moral obligation to stand up united to denounce all sorts of discrimination and prejudice. To come together with initiatives that clearly condemn and refuse any act, talk and policies that lead to hatred, hostility and lack of harmony within society.

On June 2nd 2010, The Canadian Muslim Forum (FMC-CMF) led delegations consisting of representatives, young professionals, activists, women advocates and others on Parliamentary Day at the Hill. The main objective of meeting the Federal parties’ caucuses on that day was to introduce and express concerns about Islamophobia, and its impact on Arab and Muslim citizens. From that day, the most noticeable remark was that most of the policy makers were not fully aware of the dangers of Islamophobia, and its implications on Canadian society.

After a long and, at times, very hard journey, Islamophobia is currently recognized as a harsh reality that needs a strong political will and social awareness to undertake, engage in, deal with and find concrete solutions and remedies to cure such an “epidemic” phenomenon and terminate its harmful symptoms from the society at large.

All human beings deserve to live in peace and safety. Attacking women because of their visible faith as they stroll around a shopping mall or take the metro to school or work, denying jobs because of a candidate’s name and background, and vandalizing community and religious properties should stop once and for all. Such aggressions are against woman’s rights, human dignity and the integrity of Canadian society.

Mr. Frank Baylis, federal MP, Pierrefonds-Dollard, recently said on Le Huffingtonpost, “I am against all forms of discrimination. That’s why I am supporting this petition (e-411). It’s not a petition for Muslims; it’s a petition against discrimination.”

Violent extremism represents itself. The perpetrators of acts of devastation have not been voted for to speak on behalf of any religion, cultural or human groups.

Civilized people stand up against all kinds of prejudice, hate-speech, unfairness and intolerance that are expressed in various forms of bigotry, such as anti-Semitism, racial profiling, bias based on personal orientation and Islamophobia. Such a noble stance promotes human values, civil rights and enhances equality amongst all.

Samer Majzoub is recipient of Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal ; President of Human right’s advocacy group ; Recipient of many recognition awards.

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TD Mosaic Festival celebrates musical extravaganza on Aug 12 & 13

Posted on 27 July 2016 by admin

Mississauga’s longest running most successful South Asian festival TD Mosaic 2016 Presented by Turkish Airlines, brings yet again an impressive line up of artists including Karsh Kale featuring Benny Dayal and ApekshaDandekar, Jasmine Sandlas and SW Strom. Mosaic Festival is the premier arts and culture festival of Mississauga presenting the best in local and international South Asian and Fusion art, dance, music and cuisine.

“2016 edition will feature a fine selection of visual arts projects, dance performances, and three full-length concerts with international, national, and local singing sensations and talents,” said a gleaming ShaifaliRanjan, the current chair of CCAI, a non for profit organization that presents Mosaic since 2006.

Asma Mahmood, the founder festival director and past chair of the organization is the current Artistic Director.

“Our primary focus is to create opportunities for local artists by providing them chance to perform with and next to the internationally popular peers. We have presented SayeinZahoor, ShafqatAmanat Ali Khan, Mekaal Hassan Band, Red Baraat, Harshdeep Kaur, Rekha Bhardwaj, Alaap, Swami and Josh to name a few of our past headliners.”

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B.C. to target foreign real estate buyers with new tax

Posted on 27 July 2016 by admin

The B.C. government plans to tax foreigners who buy residential property in the Vancouver area – an announcement that follows months of pressure to address foreign speculation that many have blamed for the region’s superheated housing market.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the 15 per cent tax, which takes effect Aug. 2, will apply to the sale of all residential properties within Metro Vancouver, excluding treaty lands in the Tsawwassen First Nation. The tax will apply to buyers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents, as well as corporations that are either not registered in Canada or controlled by foreigners.

Mr. De Jong says the additional tax on a $2-million home would amount to $300,000. He said the law gives the province the ability to adjust the tax rate to between 10 and 20 per cent.

The announcement is the latest in a series of measures aimed at addressing skyrocketing housing prices in the Vancouver region – an issue that is expected to become central to next spring’s provincial election. The debate has been overshadowed by concerns about foreign buyers and empty homes, as prices increased by more than 30 per cent in the past year alone.

For the first time since taking office, Premier Christy Clark said limiting the demand – not just increasing the supply of housing – could help make Metro Vancouver’s frothy housing market more affordable.

“I want to keep home ownership within the grasp of the middle class in British Columbia,” Ms. Clark said at a Monday morning news conference in Victoria.

Ms. Clark said growing the supply is the ultimate solution, but her government has always “kept an open mind” about strategies on cooling demand put forward by the Opposition New Democrats and academics.

Her government is taking action now, she said, because of the results of statistics on foreign purchases collected last month, which showed about five per cent of purchasers in and around Vancouver were foreign buyers.

Earlier this month, the province released the first batch of statistics on foreign purchases, which showed about five per cent of homes sold in the Vancouver region over several weeks in June went to foreign buyers.

Updated figures released Monday indicated foreign nationals spent more than $1-billion on property in B.C. between June 10 and July 14, with 86 per cent being made on purchases in the Vancouver region.

Last May, Mr. de Jong said he wasn’t in favour of a tax on foreign investment, saying he worried it would send the wrong message to Asia-Pacific investors.

The B.C. Liberal government will also introduce legislation this week that will allow the City of Vancouver to impose a tax on vacant homes; and follow through on an earlier promise to end self-regulation of the real estate industry.

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My Post-Baby Body Doesn’t Feel Like It Belongs To Me

Posted on 27 July 2016 by admin

I don’t hate my body. It doesn’t disgust me.

It just feels not mine.


When I look in the mirror, I see lopsided breasts, folds of skin laying on each other like tired seals lounging at the beach.

Thighs with stretch marks. Hips that somehow tripled during my pregnancy and have just felt comfortable staying that size. A double chin. Age spots and alligator feet that look like my grandmother’s. Skin that’s always parched and a scalp that’s perpetually flaky.

When and how did this happen?

Ever since I got pregnant, I stopped seeing my body as a compilation of perky breasts, taut midriff, toned arms and luscious eyelashes. My body became a vessel of nourishment for the life growing inside me.

When the OB told me not to worry about my weight gain and eat whatever I wanted, I did just that… gave in to all my cravings, didn’t deny myself that fourth scoop of ice cream or third helping of butter chicken. I ate heartily.

I also exercised an adequate amount, but mostly I relished in the freedom that came with eating without judgment.

I’ve always been a “healthy” weight for my height.

Even now, with all this excess skin and stored fat, I am by no stretch of the imagination overweight.

My doc says my BMI is “perfect” (for what little that’s worth).

But my mind says I’m anything but.

I’ve always struggled with the amount of body hair I have… It pokes through socks if allowed to grow wantonly, attracting sneers from classmates in tweenhood and comparisons with my dad.

I was convinced at one point that I suffered from hirsutism, until a doctor showed me photos of what that really looks like.

But even my excess hairiness was a fixable problem. Body waxing took care of the body shaming.

But this… this collection of love handles and torso bulges seems obtusely resistant to any kind of easy fixes.

I’ve never believed in fad diets, and I dare not put my body through a “detox” regimen when I’m still nursing my toddler. I bike everywhere instead of taking the car. I hike three times a week with my daughter hitching a free ride on my back. I walk whenever the opportunity presents itself. I try to eat intuitively — not just for myself but also because my daughter is increasingly becoming aware of how our society links portion sizes to dress sizes.

And it worries me to think I might be sending her the wrong message.

I don’t want her to grow up concerned about her looks, her weight, or which Spanx underwear to buy. I don’t want her to think that beach bodies need to be different than street bodies or home bodies. I don’t want her taking stock of her appearance in every show window down the sidewalk.

I don’t want her looking at mannequins and wishing she were one.

But I can’t stop myself from sighing inwardly every time I disrobe.

I can’t stop my eyes from welling up when I spot a dress in my closet that used to fit like a glove. I can’t stop catching glimpses of myself and loathing what looks like a six-month pregnant belly.

I don’t want my daughter to get the silent message that looks matter more than brains or humour or compassion.

I can’t pretend to love the body this has become.

I love the child it bore. I am fascinated by everything it did for my baby when she was within and when she came out. I am still amazed by how much weight my knees bore in the last trimester and how heavy a load my arms can bear now.

I am in awe of this body. But I don’t love being in it.

And it kills me that my husband still finds me desirable despite the cracked heels, the all-too-visible stretch marks, the loosely draped skin folds where my abs used to be. He doesn’t miss the thongs or sheer, lacy XS lingerie that got traded for my current comfortable, pale-coloured, medium-sized granny pants.

He doesn’t care that my body hair could give him a run for his money. He is comfortable with who I am. He loves the mommy me just as much — perhaps more — than the me I used to be.

But the myth of perfection, the idea that sexiness begins and ends with a curvy top and bottom flanked by a flat middle, the notion of beauty as defined by media… these are too deeply entrenched in my psyche.

As much as I want to fight them, these ideals overwhelm my reality.

More often than not, I find myself contemplating girdles and back-fat-minimizing bras and butt lifters that could do wonders for my body image.

But the thought also gives me pause.

I realize hormonal changes affect metabolism as one ages. I know that my being a size six instead of a size two doesn’t really matter to anyone. I understand that feeling good is far more important than looking good.

But it’s hard to not get caught up in the frenzy to lose all the baby weight when that’s the only thing everyone seems to comment on post-delivery. It’s not easy to waddle around two years later with a paunch and a maternity skirt when everyone expects me to be in skinny jeans. It takes a tremendous amount of self confidence to parade a post-baby body on the beach in a bikini, stretch marks and all.

The worst part is that I let it matter when none of it should.

I don’t want these strangers, these acquaintances, these well-meaning friends or my hypercritical judgmental self get in the way of my enjoying this perfectly good body.

I don’t want my daughter to get the silent message that looks matter more than brains or humour or compassion. I don’t want to be another peg in this bashful mommy-shaming competition.

If I give in, I lose. If I don’t start embracing the body I am in, my daughter loses, too.

Perhaps I can’t love this body, but I can try to like it.

For it is but a transient mould, this shape. A decade from now, I’ll probably be wistful about the body I am in today.

There will be other battles, other challenges, other physical metamorphoses to contend with.

And I can tell myself this too shall pass (if I can only let it go).

Vedavati M is a stay-at-home-mom blogging about the rhapsodical misadventures of the parenting kind

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