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Quebec high court rules judge wrong to order woman to remove hijab

Posted on 10 October 2018 by admin

A Montreal woman who was scolded by a judge for wearing a hijab in court had her fundamental rights violated, Quebec’s Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday.

The court decided unanimously that citizens who wear religious attire cannot be denied access to justice.

The ruling stems from a 2015 courtroom incident involving Rania El-Alloul, who was told by a Quebec court judge to remove her Muslim head scarf if she wanted a case involving her impounded car to proceed. El-Alloul refused, and her case was adjourned.

 “No party challenges that the courtrooms of the Court of Quebec — and for that matter all courtrooms in Quebec as throughout Canada — are spaces of religious neutrality,” the three-judge appeal panel found.

“This does not mean, however, that judges may rely on the neutrality of the courts alone as a justification for preventing litigants from accessing a courtroom simply because they are expressing sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The ruling comes as the newly elected Coalition Avenir Quebec government plans to bring in legislation prohibiting public servants in positions of authority such as judges, teachers, prosecutors and police officers from wearing religious symbols.

In the case before the courts, Judge Eliana Marengo told El-Alloul the courtroom was a secular space and she was violating rules requiring suitable dress.

“In my opinion, you are not suitably dressed,” Marengo told El-Alloul. “Decorum is important. Hats and sunglasses, for example, are not allowed. And I don’t see why scarves on the head would be either.

“I will therefore not hear you if you are wearing a scarf on your head, just as I would not allow a person to appear before me wearing a hat or sunglasses on his or her head, or any other garment not suitable for a court proceeding.”

The appellate court called that decision unreasonable, saying Quebec court rules do not forbid head scarves if they constitute a sincere religious belief and don’t harm the public interest.

“In light of the multi-confessional fabric of Quebec society, it is usually quite easy for a judge to recognize the difference between suitable religious attire and those cases where the individual litigant or witness is showing lack of respect for the court by his or her choice of clothing,” the ruling reads.

“The types of religious clothing worn in Quebec are not numerous and are not generally difficult to identify. For quite a long time now, the courts have had little difficulty accommodating these types of attire.”

Freedom of religious expression doesn’t stop at the courtroom door, the appellate court added, noting the Marengo’s decision failed to take into account El-Alloul’s constitutional rights. It also ignored guidance from the Supreme Court of Canada on religious clothing in a courtroom.

Catherine McKenzie, one of the lawyers representing El-Alloul in the matter, said the decision reaffirms important principles about access to justice.

“Our courts are spaces that are supposed to treat people neutrally,” McKenzie said. “The everyday default should be you don’t get questioned about your religion just because you’re wearing a symbol in court.”

In 2016, Quebec Superior Court denied El-Alloul’s request for a ruling declaring that she had been treated unfairly by Marengo. The appeal court has set aside that ruling and quashed Marengo’s initial decision.

Julius Grey, another lawyer representing El-Alloul, called Wednesday’s ruling “gratifying.” It shows “you can’t, as a matter of principle, refuse access to somebody merely because of a religious sign,” he said.

Marengo faces a hearing before Quebec’s judicial council over the matter. No date has been set.


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Canadian couple stuck overseas after budget airline abruptly goes bankrupt

Posted on 10 October 2018 by admin

A Toronto couple’s travel plans have been thrown awry after a budget airline shutdown overnight.

Angela Dorau and her husband Ryan Herrington had been vacationing in Europe for about 10 days and were scheduled to fly home from Paris on Monday with Primera Air.

But the European discount airline announced Monday it is cancelling all flights and filing for bankruptcy protection.

“The trip was supposed to be a budget trip, which it was up until our flight was cancelled,” Dorau told Global News.

She explained that the bankruptcy was announced just as they were about to board their flight — half the passengers were already on the plane.

Airline workers told them they’d have to collect their baggage and find another flight on their own. They were handed a document titled, “Primera Air ceases operations,” which explained the airline’s financial woes.

The airline said on its website Monday, “On this sad day we are saying Goodbye to all of you.” It did not provide information about refunds.

Dorau and her husband had to “frantically” search for a flight home and find a place to stay in Paris. They ended up spending an unplanned $2,200 on a flight home on Wednesday.

And other costs are adding up, too, Dorau said: “Not to mention the taxis, the hotels, the extra food, etc. We’ve also had to miss work, which is an additional setback.”

She also explained the couple wasn’t expecting to spend the extra thousands of dollars and had to scrape together money from different accounts and borrow from family members.

The couple barely slept in the past day as they tried to get alternate plans together, but Dorau says she’s glad they’re at least in a safe place and together.

“We still had a really great time on our trip, and as stressful as everything has been, everybody in France has been really sensitive and kind to us,” she explained. “At the end of the day, we had each other and we’re both safe.”

Several other passengers, as well as the airline’s former employees, were stranded by Primera’s closure and are also grappling with how to carry on with their travel plans.

Some people are also stranded in Toronto after a scheduled flight to Paris was among the last-minute cancellations.

Business Insider explained that because the flight cancellations were abrupt, many people slept overnight at airports.

One passenger named Eric Jetner, who was scheduled to fly from Paris to New York, posted a video of dozens of passengers waiting for more information at Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Aviation expert Robert Kokonis, who works with Toronto-based organization AirTrav Inc., explained to Global News that Primera Air’s biggest mistakes were expanding too quickly and losing focus on its original business plan.

Primera started as a charter airline in Iceland and became one of several budget airlines to offer transatlantic service in recent years, flying to Newark, New Jersey, Washington, Boston and Toronto.

Just this month, Primera touted new flights next summer between Madrid and North America starting at 149 euros (C$220).

“Flying across the Atlantic Ocean long-haul and low-cost is a tough business — even at the best of times,” Kokonis said.


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CRA suspends, fines major Islamic charity over concerns it may have ‘provided resources’ to armed militants

Posted on 03 October 2018 by admin

A major Canadian Islamic organization has been suspended and fined by federal charities regulators following an audit that raised concerns it had “provided resources” that may have been used to support to armed militancy.

The Canada Revenue Agency said it had suspended the Islamic Society of North America-Canada (ISNA-Canada) for a year effective Sept. 12 and ordered the Mississauga-based charity to pay a $550,000 penalty.

Government auditors alleged ISNA-Canada had “failed to conduct any meaningful due diligence” when it transferred $136,000 to the war-torn Kashmir region, where the militant Hizbul Muhajideen has been fighting Indian troops.

By acting as a “conduit” for other organizations, ISNA-Canada “may have, knowingly or unknowingly, provided the benefits of its status as a registered charity to support the efforts of a political party and its armed wing,” the CRA wrote.

While the Charities Directorate did not revoke ISNA-Canada’s charity status, the group was required to enter into a compliance agreement under which it must “cease its overseas operations.”

“We are saddened by this outcome,” ISNA-Canada said in a written statement.

It denied any links to terrorism and said it had “made progressive and important changes” to its governance and “how we operate as one of the largest Muslim organizations in Canada.”

“We remain politically impartial and are not in any way linked to any political or extremist group,” the organization said. “We will continue our operations and remain committed to always striving to be the best possible organization we can be in service to Canadians.”

ISNA-Canada runs mosques and provides services to Muslims such as weddings, funerals and “accounting services to other Islamic charities in the surrounding community.”

During the suspension, it is prohibited from issuing receipts allowing donors to claim their contributions as income tax deductions.

“A suspended organization will continue to be listed on the CRA’s list of charities, with a notice advising the public that the charity is suspended. Once a suspension has been lifted, a charity can begin to issue official donation receipts,” said Dany Morin, a CRA spokesperson.

The audit was conducted in 2011 and covered the years 2007 to 2009. The results were conveyed to ISNA-Canada in 2014 but the CRA only sanctioned the charity on Sept. 5, 2018.

The CRA audit documents obtained by Global News were heavily redacted but alleged that during the audited period, ISNA-Canada “gifted” $90,000 to the Relief Organization for Kashmiri Muslims.

The CRA has previously described the ROKM as the “charitable arm” of Jamaat-e-Islami, a Pakistani group whose armed wing, Hizbul Mujahideen, is listed as a terrorist group in Europe and the United States.

The audit documents also showed that ISNA-Canada gave an additional $46,000 to the Kashmiri Relief Fund of Canada, which the CRA has previously alleged had fundraised for the ROKM.

“Providing resources to organizations operating in support of a political purpose, including the achievement of nationhood or political autonomy, are not recognized at law as charitable,” the CRA wrote.

It said a political purpose includes supporting a political party, or programs that promote a cause, doctrine, ideology “or generally seek to advocate, and bring about changes in the overall way that a society governs and manages itself.”

“In addition, Canada’s public policy recognizes that the tax advantages of charitable registration should not be extended to organizations whose resources may have been made available, knowingly or unknowingly, to a terrorist entity.”

The auditors identified a number of other concerns, including “inadequate internal controls,” a “third-party receipting scheme,” close links to for-profit Muslim housing co-ops and a halal certification program that the CRA said was essentially a business.

The CRA also found ISNA-Canada’s mission statement — “To advance the cause of Islam and serve Muslims in North America so as to enable them to adopt Islam as a complete way of life” — was too broad and vague to be considered exclusively charitable.

The suspension and penalty were the latest results of federal audits of four formerly affiliated Mississauga charities. ISNA Islamic Services of Canada was stripped of its charitable status last year after auditors raised concerns about possible funding of Hizbul Mujahideen. ISNA Development Foundation was stripped of its charity status in 2013 over similar concerns. The Canadian Islamic Trust Foundation’s charity status was also revoked.

Of the tens of thousands of registered charities, only three are currently serving CRA suspensions.

ISNA-Canada is by far the largest, with $3.1-million in reported revenues in 2016, according to the CRA. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke at an ISNA-Canada event in 2013 and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale was photographed there in April 2017.

A 2014 written response to the CRA audit by ISNA-Canada’s lawyers acknowledged that “not all of its practices may have been in complete compliance” but said the problems were the result of “unauthorized actions” by a former secretary-general who retired in 2011.

The lawyers said ISNA-Canada was “actively seeking legal information from our firm in order to inform the appropriate authorities at the federal and provincial level so that a criminal investigation may be commenced” against for the former secretary-general.

“The charity has had no other record of any non-compliance whatsoever. In addition, the charity has expressed its willingness to bring itself into compliance with the [Income Tax] Act in instances where there has been non-compliance and has been doing so for the past five years.”

ISNA-Canada was no longer operating overseas, it said. But it insisted it had not acted as a “conduit” but had directed that its money be used for humanitarian work in Kashmir. It also noted that “Hizbul Mujahideen was not a listed entity in Canada.”

“The charity is a prominent Muslim organization that has served Muslims locally in Canada and internationally for over 40 years. As such, it is one of the oldest and longest serving national organizations in Canada advancing the Islamic faith. At any given time the charity provides over 30 different charitable programs.”

But the CRA wrote that its concerns about ISNA-Canada “have not been fully alleviated. Specifically, our position that the society failed to devote its resources to its own charitable activities in that it gifted resources to non-qualified donees still remains.”

In a letter addressed to community members, ISNA-Canada chair Katherine Bullocksaid: “We have spent the last decade rectifying these mistakes and reforming our organization to ensure that we have a robust governance structure in place so that the mistakes made are not repeated.”

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Justin Trudeau visits Brampton for 3rd Annual Community Appreciation BBQ jointly hosted by The Brampton Federal Liberal Associations

Posted on 19 September 2018 by admin

Brampton, ON – With the summer nearly over, and school back in full-swing, thousands of Bramptonians and their families took to Chinguacousy Park to hear from Justin Trudeau and enjoy an afternoon of food, fun, and entertainment.Along with having the opportunity to connect with friends and neighbours, attendees were able to meet with their local Members of Parliament (Sonia Sidhu, Kamal Khera, Ruby Sahota, Raj Grewal, and Ramesh Sangha) and share their views as constituents.

With the festivities underway, the five Members of Parliament joined Justin Trudeau as he delivered his remarks on the hard work ahead toward building a better future for families in Brampton and across Canada.

“Every Canadian having a real and fair chance at success and having the opportunities, tools, support, and resources they need to prosper is our priority” said the Members of Parliament from Brampton jointly. “We are committed to working together as a team and will continue investing into Canada’s greatest resource – its people”.

The Annual Community Appreciation BBQ was the third barbeque held jointly by the Brampton Federal Liberal Associations and provided a chance for the five Members of Parliament to recognize those that had given them the opportunity to serve their communities.


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Racism, insults among complaints made about Canadian border guards: report

Posted on 07 September 2018 by admin

The Canada Border Services Agency faced more than 100 founded complaints from travellers last year, including allegations of racism and rudeness – and one instance of a woman alleging a border officer yelled at her while she was in medical distress.

Data provided to The Canadian Press through access to information legislation says that in 2017-18 these were among the 105 “founded” cases of complaints of officer misconduct – about 12 per cent of 875 misconduct complaints filed in that time.

The total number of complaints through the CBSA’s online “Compliments, Comments and Complaints” website remains at less than a tenth of one per cent of the 95 million travellers seen by officers in the past year.

Nonetheless, civil liberties groups say the latest collection of incidents shows that Canada needs an independent complaints agency similar to those used to oversee police forces that can produce public reports and make binding recommendations to the agency.

As it stands, the definition of “founded” provided by the agency says that “aspects in the allegations made in the complaint were valid.”

Tim McSorley, the national co-ordinator of the Toronto-based International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, says the definition is far too vague to help lead to changes within the agency’s culture or for the public to be properly informed.

Nonetheless, he says the limited information shows cause for concern, particularly the allegations of racism, questioning of travellers’ nationality, and name-calling.

“It shows that the majority of complaints are around respect or disrespect for travellers. …For us, in particular, the incidents of racism (from border officers) are something in our work we’ve heard more about whether from Canadian citizens, or travellers from abroad,” he said during an interview.

The descriptions of the allegations in the access documents are brief.

On Nov. 6 last year, one of the reports says, a “client states the border service officer was rude and yelled at her until she passed out.”

A CBSA spokesperson said in an email the medical distress wasn’t directly caused by the officer.

 “During secondary examination, the traveller was found to be in medical distress. The border services officer followed proper first aid protocols in line with the training provided to all frontline staff. The investigation concluded that the (officer) did not play a role in the travellers medical distress,” wrote spokesperson Nicholas Dorion.

Many of the misconduct incidents are similar to a case described on May 22 last year, when a traveller said a border officer “was yelling and berated travellers, swore at the clients, lacked respect.”

In another report, an officer allegedly “was yelling and berating travellers, swore at the clients, lacked respect.”

In one April 17 allegation, an officer “was racist, called the client ugly, abused his authority.”

The CBSA didn’t provide further details in these cases.

 “In these three cases, the CBSA reviewed the details of the incidents and took appropriate measures to address the conduct of the employees involved to ensure that they uphold the integrity of CBSA programs and demonstrate professionalism in their day to day activities,” wrote Dorion.

There were also founded incidents where translation was unavailable, with a case on Nov. 11 last year stating when “clients were targeted … mistreated, denied a translator.”

The CBSA didn’t comment on the specifics of the case, but said that in some instances translation isn’t available on short notice. If the officer is detaining a traveller, then translation services are sought, said Jayden Robertson, a communications officer, in an email.

A spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says the CBSA will be included in a wider review of oversight systems the Liberal government is working on.

Scott Bardsley said the Public Safety Department “is advancing legislation to create a new expert review body, the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency,” adding its creation would be “a historic change that will greatly enhance how Canada’s national security agencies, including CBSA, are held to account.”

McSorley said his group remains uncertain about whether the proposed legislation will go far enough or is going to apply to the kind of situations described in the CBSA complaints process.

“Given the seriousness of some of these complaints, all Canadians and travellers to Canada deserve to know that they can register their concerns, and that it will receive an appropriate review and resolution,” he said.

However, Jean-Pierre Fortin, the president of the Customs and Immigration Union, said the results of the complaints system show that only a tiny minority of cases are showing problems of officer misconduct.

Some of the cases are later taken to a grievance proceeding and thrown out, he said, though he could not provide precise figures.

“Overall, the percentage of founded cases is very low that are coming to our attention,” he said.

Nonetheless, he said that an independent oversight agency would be acceptable to the union, provided the union has some chance to defend its officers and have a voice in the review of conduct.

The union leader, who spent 18 years as a border officer, said that since 2012 there has been a decrease of more than 1,000 officers due to attrition and that officers are being required to work longer hours on the front line, often in difficult conditions with passengers already tired due to long lineups.

He said that officers who should be on the front line questioning travellers for an hour before relief are instead there for three hours, heightening fatigue.

 “We’re dealing with a different work environment that’s very difficult at times, and you can be doing 16 hours in a row. It’s the lack of staffing right now that we’re seeing,” he said in an interview.

During the 2017-18 fiscal year, the CBSA received 302 compliments in its feedback system.

The CBSA has approximately 14,000 employees, including over 6,500 uniformed CBSA officers who provide services at approximately 1,200 entry points across Canada and at 39 international locations.

From April 2017 to March 2018, border service officers processed over 96 million travellers and over 5 million commercial vehicles.


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Politicians from India’s Punjab state reportedly detained at Ottawa airport, deported

Posted on 25 July 2018 by admin

Two politicians from the Indian state of Punjab were reportedly denied entry into Canada on Sunday and put on a flight back to India.

Kultar Singh Sandhwan and Amarjit Singh Sandoa, both MLAs with the Aam Admi Party (AAP) in Punjab, were detained and questioned by immigration officials upon arrival at Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, according to Kamal Garg, a B.C.-based spokesperson for the AAP.

The MLAs were in Ottawa for a family event, but were unable to satisfy Canadian authorities as to the purpose of their visit, Garg told Global News.

They were released after questioning, and put on an Air Canada flight back to India.

One of the MLAs may have mentioned to Canadian immigration officials that he was in the country for political meetings, the Indian Express reported, citing a senior AAP leader.

AAP leaders in Punjab have previously been accused of sympathizing with the Khalistan (Sikh separatist) movement. The party’s top MLA in Punjab caused a stir last month when he expressed support for a referendum on the creation of Khalistan, the Hindustan Times reported last month.

The Khalistan issue was a major flashpoint of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s troubled trip to India in February, with some Indian leaders alleging that members of the Liberal Party were cozying up to Sikh separatist elements.

The AAP’s Vancouver-based spokesperson denied that the deportation was politically motivated, saying neither MLA has spoken out on Khalistan.

Sandoa has been in the news in India lately for other controversies and alleged crimes, however.

On Friday, a court charged him with molesting his former landlady; last month, he was hospitalized after being assaulted by a man who accused him of extortion.


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Welcome to Canada!

Posted on 05 July 2018 by admin

Inaugural Brampton Newcomer Day offered programming and fun for the whole family

BRAMPTON, June 27, 2018 – As we approach Canada Day and on Canadian Multiculturalism Day, the Brampton Multicultural Centre in partnership with RBC, celebrated Newcomers to Canada with a festive afternoon of programming for all ages. Brampton Newcomer Day, a first for the city, brought together more than 20 local exhibitors who offered their services in order to help Newcomers feel more settled in their new community.

Those in attendance were offered workshops on everything from building a LinkedIn profile to learning about how to buy a house in Canada.  Employment events, speed mentoring and resume critiquing rounded out the practical workshops, while families with children were treated to face-painting and visits with RBC Olympian Brittany McLean and Leo the Lion.

“On top of the challenges of leaving family behind, there are many barriers that newcomers face around  gaining employment, finding housing, accessing services and getting financial assistance, as they build new lives in a new country,” said Zanita DiSalle, Brampton Regional Vice President, RBC. “At the new RBC Newcomer Meeting Place, we’re helping newcomers overcome some of those common issues along with our partners at the Brampton Multicultural Centre.  The inaugural Brampton Newcomer Day is one way to let people know that this community is here to help and support them.”

Brampton Newcomer Day offered a variety of programming, from accessing Canadian health care to getting advice on resume-building and job-hunting, to speaking to someone about banking in Canada to fun activities for kids. Some of the participating Community Partners include:

•          Peel Police

•          Brampton Fire and Emergency Services

•          Brampton Community Health Centre

•          The Centre for Education & Training

•          William Osler Hospital

•          Early Years Ontario

•          RBC Royal Bank

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Celebrating 10 years of inspirational newcomer achievements

Posted on 27 June 2018 by admin

The 2018 RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award winners include NHL hockey dad, comedic actor, doctor, senator, and an app entrepreneur

TORONTO, June 19, 2018 – What does a hockey dad of three NHL stars, a mental health advocate, and auto-dealer/Raptors “Superfan” have in common? They all were once newcomers to Canada and have contributed to their communities through leadership and philanthropy, and now have been selected as winners in this year’s 10th annual RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards. The winners are being presented by Canadian Immigrant magazine and proudly sponsored by RBC Royal Bank.

From coast to coast, the 2018 RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrants are a reflection of Canadian culture, diversity, and nation-building spirit. From Karl Subban, an educator who has guided his three sons to NHL stardom, to Senator Ratna Omidvar, who has been a lifelong diversity advocate, to Dr. Saroj Niraula, an oncologist, and researcher to just name a few.

For the last 10 years, the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards have highlighted stories of Canadian immigrants who have demonstrated incredible contributions and achievements in Canada. In addition to this year’s top 25 winners, 250 winners have been honoured over the last decade with this incredible achievement.

“Celebrating 10 years is a true milestone for our awards, and we couldn’t be prouder of the amazing immigrants who form this year’s RBC Top 25,” says Margaret Jetelina, editor, Canadian Immigrant magazine.

The RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award winners will be honoured at ceremonies in Toronto on June 19th2018 and in Vancouver on June 27th 2018. In addition to the top 25 winners, two winners will also be selected for special recognition, the RBC Entrepreneur Award, and the Youth Award.

Philippines-born Loizza Aquino, 18, is the second annual Youth Award winner. From Winnipeg, she is the founder of the youth-led non-profit organization called Peace of Mind, which focuses on mental health advocacy.

“The RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards celebrate the outstanding accomplishments and leadership of newcomers across Canada.  Now in its tenth year and with over 250 newcomers recognized, the Awards highlight our country’s diversity, and the contributions and positive impact newcomers have been making in our communities. Congratulations to all winners and nominees,” says Ivy Chiu, Senior Director, Newcomer Strategy at RBC.

Hundreds of nominations were received, from which 75 finalists were shortlisted by a diverse judging panel of past winners. Nearly 60,000 online votes were cast. The 25 winners were chosen based on a combination of votes and the second round of judging.

The RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award winners will receive a commemorative plaque and a $500 donation will be made toward a registered Canadian charity of their choice. Winners will also be featured online at and in the July print edition of Canadian Immigrant Magazine.


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Annual Walk for Al- Quds Held on Saturday 09th June 2018 At Queens Park

Posted on 13 June 2018 by admin

Over 2,500 Jews, Christians, Muslims and people from all walks of lives in Toronto joined millions of protestors in over 800 cities to condemn the israeli war crimes against the indigenous Palestinian population. The protestors expressed their solidarity with the 7.2 million refugees who have been forced out of their homes by the Zionist extremist settlers, who believe that they have a religious right to the land. The attendees also expressed their dismay at the incarceration of over 800,000 and the massacre of over 9,000 Palestinians including over 2,000 children.

Speakers at the rally, which included Jewish human rights activists, strongly condemned the war crimes committed by the israeli army especially in the past two months in Gaza. Many of the attendees wore lab coats to express solidarity with Razan Al-Najjar, a 21 year old Palestinian nurse, murdered by the israeli army snipers for the crime of trying to help an injured protestor. A number of women also carried coffins of children to give a voice to the anguish of the mothers of the Palestinian children including an 8 month old baby killed by tear gas poisoning last month and a 15 year old boy shot dead by Israeli snipers on Friday.

The attempts by JDL and B’nai Brith to stop the Al Quds rally failed miserably again this year. The Jews attending the rally also strongly condemned the unsuccessful efforts by these organizations to label condemnation of israeli war crimes as anti-Semitism and vowed to never let the racist ideology of Zionism represent the beautiful faith of Judaism. The speakers at the rally also issued a strong condemnation of the derogatory sermon by the Chief Rabbi of Israel in March 2018 in which he referred to black people as ‘monkeys’ and reinforced Zionist racial supremacist ideology of defining the purpose of existence of non-Jews as servants of Jews.

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Ontario Liberal candidate for Scarborough Centre Mazhar Shafiq says it is important for the community to become part of the mainstream politics.

Posted on 06 June 2018 by admin

SCARBOROUGH-Ontario Liberal candidate for Scarborough Centre Mazhar Shafiq says it is important for the community to become part of the mainstream politics.

“My message to the community is crystal clear-come forward and be part of the political process,” Mazhar Shafiq said. “We live in Ontario and it is important to be part of the policy making at the provincial level.”

Mazhar Shafiq, is not banking on one community. His team represents all the communities in the riding. Volunteers continue to drum up support, and are getting tremendous feedback. “We are going strong and moving door-to-door to share our message,” he said.

The Ontario Liberal candidate for Scarborough Centre says he is honoured to be part of the Ontario Liberal Team. “I consider it a great privilege to contest the elections in the riding of Scarborough Centre. This is a tremendously diverse and vibrant community, and my hope is to be a strong and articulate advocate for the interests of Scarborough Centre at Queen’s Park,” said Shafiq.

Following a competitive nomination race with over 9,000 local members, Mazhar Shafiq was elected as the Ontario Liberal Party Candidate for Scarborough Centre earlier this year.

A community leader and political advisor, Mazhar arrived at Pearson Airport twenty years ago with little more than a desire to see a better life for his young family.

Upon arriving in Canada, he earned a post-graduate certificate from Sheridan College and worked in various roles in the automotive sector, before becoming a special assistant to Dr Rob Oliphant MP. Since 2013, he has served as a senior advisor to Premier Kathleen Wynne. He is also an active supporter of several charities, community groups and local hospitals, including the Scarborough Hospital.

In 2006, Mazhar Shafiq came up with a proposal of connecting with the ethnic communities via the ethnic media. “The then MPP Kathleen Wynne liked the idea, and asked me to take the lead. We did our first round-table with three media professionals. We now connect with over 800 ethnic media groups,” he said.

“My story is a story made possible by a supportive government that values immigration, skills development and ensures a minimum-wage job pays a fair living. That is why I am so passionate to be running on Premier Kathleen Wynne’s team, to ensure every family can access affordable post-secondary education, find an affordable home and work to get ahead,” said Shafiq. “I am honoured to be standing as a candidate to fight for those Canadian values and to serve all communities in our diverse riding.”

Mazhar Shafiq describes Kathleen Wynne’s win in the leadership race as his best political moment. He, however, mentions one specific situation which left an everlasting impact on him. “One day, a woman walked into my office and asked for help to bring her husband to Canada. She was under enormous stress, and was also on a suicide watch. We as a team helped her in the documentation, and I also remained in contact with Islamabad. In six months, her husband was here. Today, I am really happy to see them happy together,” he said.

Mazhar Shafiq is all praise for his wife, Summra, and rightly so. “She has played a contributory role in my journey to success. She has sacrificed some of our evenings and weekends for the community. Being the only child, she even made a big sacrifice when she agreed to come to Canada.”

He and his wife have two sons. He served as their school council chair and ran a variety of programs for youth. His fans also include senior politicians.

“I’m thrilled the people of Scarborough Centre will have a Liberal candidate who will make them proud. Maz has the skills and talent to be a strong local representative and make a significant contribution to the future of Scarborough,” said Brad Duguid, the long-time local MPP. “I’m also pleased Maz will further advance the efforts of our Premier to build a team that represents the diversity of Ontario.”

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