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Over 1,000 Stand for International Law, and call the Canadian Government to stand against a Israeli-Only Jerusalem

Posted on 14 December 2017 by admin

Today, over a 1,000 people came together in front of the US Consulate to stand for international law, and against a Israeli-only Jerusalem.  People from all walks of life, Jews, Christians, Muslims and other faiths, joined together to send the message “Hands Off Al Quds/Jerusalem.” Their message is that USA decision to name Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to relocate the US embassy has innumerable serious consequences.

This emergency rally was one among a number happening across Canada including in Montreal, Ottawa, London, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.  All around the world, citizens are coming together in front of US diplomatic office to speak out against Trump’s unilateral and illegal recognition of Jerusalem.

Trump administration’s plans run counter to longstanding international consensus.  It is a major violation of many United Nations Security Council resolutions) and the principles of international law, which consider all Israeli actions and laws aimed at changing the legal and historical status of East Jerusalem null and void. These resolutions ban the establishment of diplomatic missions, the transfer of embassies or the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

These resolutions consider East Jerusalem as an integral part of the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967. Any recognition of the city of Jerusalem as the capital of the occupying power, the establishment of any diplomatic mission in Jerusalem or its transfer to the city is a violation of International law and the Fourth Geneva Convention

On November 30, 2017, the UN General Assembly last week voted overwhelmingly that “any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever.” The rally is important said organizers not only because of the Trump Administration decision, but because, Canada was one of just six countries that voted against this resolution on Jerusalem.

Canadians have clearly spoken that the Canadian government is out of line with public opinion when it comes to Palestine.  In a March 2017 EKOS poll, Canadians indicated they believe overwhelmingly that sanctions are a reasonable way for Canada to censure countries violating international law and human rights, and a strong majority of Canadians believe that government sanctions on Israel would be reasonable.

The message is that the Canadian government’s decision not to follow the US  example is not enough. Canada has an obligation to condemn the actions of the US government based on Article 1 of the Geneva Convention which requires that Canada “ensure compliance” with the Geneva Convention by other High Contracting Parties.”  This makes it essential that the Canadian government issue a clear statement condemning the action of the US government, and to publicly and diplomatically oppose all foreign embassies in Jerusalem.

Speakers were from the Palestinian and Arab communities, the United Church of Canada, the Muslim community, the Jewish community, labour, the Canadian Federation of Students (Ontario), the Christian Peacemaker Teams, Solidarity Against Fascism Everywhere, Canadian Peace Congress, and others who stand for justice and international law.  Over 40 groups endorsed today’s emergency action to speak against the move for a Israeli exclusive Jerusalem, and for a universal city where all are welcome.


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CMHC homes in on shadow lenders as debt levels rise

Posted on 07 December 2017 by admin

The agency is concerned that the debt isn’t being adequately tracked and may increase risk of financial instability.

Canada’s housing agency is seeking more data on home loans from shadow lenders, amid concern rising levels of debt aren’t being adequately tracked and may increase the risk of financial instability.

Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp. (CMHC) will seek data from participants in the securitization program on their uninsured conventional mortgage lending, said Evan Siddall, chief executive officer at the Ottawa-based agency. CMHC needs to “know what risk we are exposed to,” and so will use the reported information to decide if changes are needed to their rules, he said.

“We are concerned about increasing levels of riskier mortgage activity by non-federally-regulated financial institutions,” Siddall said in the text of a speech he gave in Montreal on Tuesday. “We have a responsibility to isolate sound, solvent institutions from the contagion that can erupt when a lender fails.”

Various levels of government recently introduced restrictions on mortgage lending to get a handle on what seemed like out-of-control increases in home prices. That’s pushing buyers who no longer qualify for insured home loans to take out mortgages with institutions that aren’t tracked by federal regulators.

CMHC is raising the alarm after lender Home Capital Group Inc.’s near-collapse this year called into question the stability of the country’s housing market.

Insured mortgages in the two most expensive housing markets are dropping, Siddall said. In Toronto, insured loans comprised 16 per cent of the market last year, compared to 27 per cent in 2010 and in Vancouver, those figures are 12 per cent and 20 per cent.

In addition, indicators of risk are rising for low-ratio mortgages — those where the buyer has staked at least 20 per cent of the purchase price up front, Siddall said. Some 27 per cent of borrowers who took out low-ratio mortgage in 2016 had a loan-to-income ratio higher than 450 per cent, up from 19 per cent in 2014, CMHC said.

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NDP MPP Gilles Bisson announces bill to protect Ontario families from gasoline price gouging

Posted on 01 December 2017 by admin

QUEEN’S PARK –On Friday, Timmins-James Bay NDP MPP Gilles Bisson announced his intention to table a private member’s bill to protect consumers from price gouging by regulating the retail price and wholesale mark-up of petroleum products in Ontario.

“Gas companies and refineries have been gouging Ontario families for far too long,” said Bisson. “They are currently an unregulated commodity and they can charge us whatever they want. This is just wrong and it needs to end.”

On Thursday according to GasBuddy, gas sold for 101.7 in Hagersville while in Thunder Bay it sold for 139.9—that’s almost $0.40 per litre difference. Even within the same regional markets, we are seeing large price swings. Thursday, the price of gas in Timmins was 128.9 while less than 2 hours away on Highway 11, the price in Kapuskasing was 114.6.

“The average price of oil has been between $50 and $55 per barrel, yet the retail price of gas per litre does not reflect the barrel price,” Bisson stated. “If we can sell a case of beer or a bottle of wine for the same price in Cornwall and Kenora, certainly we should be able to bring fairness in the price of gas.”

Bisson’s bill, Fairness in Petroleum Products Pricing Act, 2017, will allow the Ontario Energy Board to regulate the retail price and wholesale mark-up of petroleum products in Ontario. The Lieutenant Governor in Council will be given power to govern the Board. The Bill will guide the Ontario Energy Board and Lieutenant Governor in Council to: protect the interest of consumers with respect to the predictable and consistent retail pricing of petroleum products; prevent pricing practices that undermine the stability and competitiveness of retail markets for petroleum products, including retail markets in remote, rural and northern areas; and ensure transparency and reasonableness with respect to the prices of petroleum products.

Bisson plans to introduce this legislation early next week.

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MP Sidhu and City of Brampton Proclaim November as Diabetes Awareness Month and November 14 as Diabetes Day

Posted on 24 November 2017 by admin

Proclamation will help combat the onset of Type 2 Diabetes in Bramptonians

BRAMPTON – Sonia Sidhu, Member of Parliament for Brampton South, was with the Mayor of Brampton at City Hall as Mayor Linda Jeffrey proclaimed November as Diabetes Awareness Month and November 14 as World Diabetes Day in the City of Brampton.

“This proclamation put forward by Mayor Jeffrey and the Council will go a long way in helping the people of Brampton by raising awareness” said MP Sidhu. “Brampton has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the Ontario, and the awareness this will bring by familiarizing people with diabetes warning signs and encouraging them to making healthy lifestyle choices will be instrumental in preventing the onset of Type 2 Diabetes”.

“This year on World Diabetes Day we come together to recognize the barriers women face when it comes to diabetes” said further MP Sidhu. “Whether it is access to education or access to treatment and care, women face many barriers unique to them due to their gender”.

In recognition of the challenges faced my women, attendants participated in forming the Blue Circle, a global symbol chosen by the International Diabetes Federation and World Health Organization that signifies the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the diabetes epidemic.

Following the proclamation, MP Sidhu challenged the Mayor of Brampton and City Councilors to a step challenge to raise awareness about the impact that increased physical activity has on reducing the onset of Type 2 diabetes. This challenge followed the challenge MP Sidhu issued to over 50 parliamentarians earlier in the month, including the Minister of Health, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas

World Diabetes Day was created in response to the escalating health threat posed by diabetes by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization and became an official United Nations Day in 2006 to be celebrated annually on November 14.

MP Sidhu has championed diabetes prevention and healthy living, through chairing the All Party Diabetes Caucus, and leading a national summer consultation.

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Ontario Supporting Seniors to Live Their Best Life

Posted on 16 November 2017 by admin

New Action Plan Provides More Fairness for Seniors in Brampton and Enhances Support Across the Province

Every person in Brampton-Springdaleand across the province should benefit from the opportunities that Ontario has to offer, no matter their age. That’s why the province is taking action to make sure that all seniors are able to access the support they need at every stage of their life.

Earlier today, MPP Harinder Malhi was at Flower City Seniors Centre in Brampton West to share the,Aging with Confidence: Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors. The plan empowers people to make the choices that are right for them when it comes to their care, their independence and how they access government services — whether that’s finding ways to keep up an active lifestyle or getting the support needed to live at home longer.

The number of seniors in Ontario is forecast to double to 4.6 million within the next 25 years — and Ontario aims to become the best place in the world to grow older. Aging with Confidence focuses on areas that seniors say they care about most, including living independently for as long as possible and staying connected through social, recreational and volunteer activities. To ensure communities like Brampton-Springdale are ready for the changing realities of an aging population, the plan also substantially expands the number of long-term care (LTC) beds across the province, while increasing staffing levels and support for LTC home residents.

Helping seniors live their best life is part of Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of Medicare in a generation.

The new action plan offers:

          A one-stop website where seniors — about 70 per cent of whom go online every day — can find information about tax credits, drug coverage, powers of attorney, recreation programs and more. Seniors will also be able to get information over the phone in more than 150 languages

          An annual high-dose influenza vaccine, targeted to protect seniors, will be available free of charge as part of the Ontario Universal Influenza Immunization Program

          Support for “naturally occurring” retirement communities by investing more than $15 million over two years for apartment buildings or housing developments where many seniors already live close to one another

          More volunteering opportunities connecting seniors and youth, fostering learning and mentorship while reducing older people’s risk of social isolation

          5,000 new LTC beds over the next four years and 15 million more hours of nursing, personal support and therapeutic care annually for residents in LTC homes, as well as a 10-year plan to create more than 30,000 new beds over the next decade, working with the long-term care sector.


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Councillor Chin Lee nominated as the Ontario Liberal Party candidate in Scarborough North

Posted on 16 November 2017 by admin

SCARBOROUGH—Today, Toronto City Councillor Chin Lee was nominated as the Ontario Liberal Party candidate for Scarborough North in the June 2018 provincial election.

“I am excited to be joining Premier Wynne’s team and am ready to continue to serve my constituents at Queen’s Park,” said Lee, who was first elected to Toronto City Council in 2006.

“This government has invested in Scarborough, with the Malvern Family Resource Centre, TaiBu, Hong Fook Mental Health and many other NGOs. Recently this government announced consolidation of Scarborough hospitals and funding for a Health Innovation Hub on Bridletowne Circle. These investments for our future need to continue, and I’m ready to do my part to ensure that record continues with a re-elected Ontario Liberal government,” Lee added.

“Chin Lee will be a tremendous MPP for Scarborough North. He has been a strong voice on Toronto City Council for many years and a very accomplished community leader. We are privileged to have him as part of our Scarborough Liberal team,” said the Honourable Brad Duguid, MPP for Scarborough Centre.

Shaun Chen, the local MP, also endorsed Chin Lee, saying he “has a proven track record of service to our community. An experienced, responsive and principled representative, Chin will fight for us at Queen’s Park. He has my full confidence and support.”

Chin Lee currently serves on the Toronto Police Services Board and is vice-chair of Scarborough Community Council. He has served on several other boards and committees at City Hall. Before entering politics, he was a consultant and manager in information technology with over thirty years of business experience. Lee is an advocate for building strong communities. He served as the President of the Goldhawk Community Association and co-founded the Scarborough Homeowner Alliance for Fair Taxation, helping to reduce property taxes for over 90% of North Scarborough homeowners. Lee and his family live in the Agincourt Community. He is a graduate of York University and Ryerson University.

Under the leadership of Premier Kathleen Wynne, the Ontario Liberal Party has a plan to deliver opportunity and fairness for everyone. While Ontario has a balanced budget and growing economy, not everyone is feeling that growth yet. That’s why we are working to deliver a fairer, better Ontario through free tuition for 210,000 students, free prescription drug coverage for children and youth, 100,000 affordable child-care spaces, and a $15-an-hour minimum wage. This progressive plan is at risk if Conservatives like Patrick Brown and Raymond Cho were to win the election.

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Rotary Club of Mississauga South Commemorates InternationalPeace Day

Posted on 06 October 2017 by admin

MISSISSAUGA, Canada, Sep 30 – TheRotary Club of Mississauga South commemorated the International Day of Peace last week at Mississauga Valley Community Centre at its bi-weekly club meeting. The event was attended by Rotary members as well as residents of Mississauga and adjoining areas.

Peace Day is observed around the world each year on September 21. Established in 1981 by a unanimous resolution of the United Nations, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to peace above all differences and to contribute to building a culture of peace.The peace theme for 2017 is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.” The theme honours the spirit of respect, safety and dignity for everyone forced to flee their homes in search of a better life.

For more than a decade, Rotary has been developing leaders in peace and conflict prevention and resolution through programs like Rotary Peace Centres and Rotary Peace Fellowships. Every time Rotary members provide clean water and sanitation, support basic education, grow local economies, or stop the spread of infectious diseases, they’re building peace.

The meeting was presided over by the Club President Hashim Taqvi. As the master of ceremony, Majid Kazmi, President-Elect of the Club, commenced the proceedings with a peace prayer. Rotary District Governor, Kathleen Dick was the chief guest at the event. She spoke about the efforts of Rotarians in promoting collective understanding of the universal values of mutual respect and egalitarianism across diverse groups in every country where Rotary exists. At this occasion, Timothy Whitehead from the Rotary District inducted a new member into the Club.

Thekeynote speaker Dr. Shakeel Ahmed, a Rotary Peace Fellow, highlighted the importance of peace in creating communities where true human potential can flourish. He stressed the importance of a proactive approach to building world peace by investing in education, economic empowerment, diversity, social justice and health—what he referred to as positive peace as opposed to negative peace where the focus is only on cessation of violence and addressing the effects of violence. In his insightful speech, Dr. Ahmed listed eight imperatives for building sustainable world peace while underscoring the need for perseverance by governments and civil society in their pursuit of peace.

The meeting was concluded by lighting the peace candle to express solidarity with victims of violence around the world and to show support to all those who work to uphold the ideals of universal peace.


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MP Ruby Sahota Marks Diwali with Canada Post and India Post

Posted on 30 September 2017 by admin

Joint stamp issue is a historic first for these two postal services

Toronto, Ontario – Ms. Ruby Sahota, Member of Parliament for Brampton North, on was hand as the federal representative as Canada Post and India Post join together to issue stamps that celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights, an important annual observance for many Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains in Canada and around the world. The joint stamp issue is a historic first between these postal services and reflects our country’s diversity in the year of Canada 150

The stamps were unveiled today at Toronto City Hall by Canadian Member of Parliament for Brampton North, Ruby Sahota, Canada Post President and CEO Deepak Chopra; His Excellency, Mr. Vikas Swarup, the High Commissioner of India to Canada; and His Worship John Tory, Mayor of Toronto.

“In Canada, we are afforded the right to take pride in our faiths, customs, and celebrations; as a Canadian of Indian origin, I am proud to be present as Canada Post and India Post unveil their joint Diwali stamps,” says MP Ruby Sahota. “Canada and India share a very strong relationship and it is only fitting to celebrate that relationship with a historic first like this.”

 About a month ahead of Diwali celebrations, which will be held from October 19 to 23, two domestic-rate stamps are available in Canada. A stamp with a red background is the Canadian design, while one with a gold background was designed by India Post. The souvenir sheet has a Canadian international rate stamp and an Indian stamp.

 Diwali, a five-day celebration, begins on the 15th day of Kartika in the Hindu calendar. Its main theme is the triumph of light over darkness. The celebration traditionally includes fireworks. In Canada, people often light candles in their homes, while in India, they light small clay lamps filled with oil; illumination is believed to ward off evil and attract happiness and good fortune. Believers also display colourful geometric rangoli patterns to decorate entrances. Families and friends also share sweets and gifts with one another and with those in need.

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Food, auto industries drag down Canada’s wholesale sales

Posted on 09 September 2017 by admin

Statistics Canada reported declines in five of the seven subsectors it follows and in six provinces, with the biggest decrease in Alberta and the biggest gain in Ontario.

OTTAWA—Canada’s wholesale sales declined slightly in June, with the food and auto industries showing the biggest impact.

Wholesale sales fell by 0.5 per cent to $61.4 billion, following a series of monthly increases.

The food industry’s wholesale sales were down 1.1 per cent from May, falling to $10.78 billion.

Motor vehicle wholesale sales were down 1.7 per cent at $9.13 billion in June.

Statistics Canada says the value of wholesale sales fell in five of the seven subsectors it follows and in six provinces, with the biggest decline in Alberta and the biggest gain in Ontario.

CIBC economist Andrew Grantham writes in a note to clients that June’s decline from May was modest and still up by 8.8 per cent compared with June of last year.

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Toronto doctor accused of killing wife awaits bail decision next week

Posted on 01 September 2017 by admin

Trial for Mohammed Shamji, charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Elana Fric-Shamji, is poised to begin in the fall of 2018.

A bail decision is expected next week following a two-day hearing for Mohmmed Shamji, a Toronto neurosurgeon charged with first-degree murder.

Shamji is accused of killing his wife and mother of their three children, Elana Fric-Shamji, after her body was found inside a suitcase next to the West Humber River in Vaughan.

Her body was discovered on Dec. 1, and police said around that time they believed Fric-Shamji had been strangled and had suffered from blunt force trauma.

A Superior Court judge will decide Wednesday whether the accused awaits his trial, expected to begin in the fall of 2018, out on bail or behind bars.

As the handcuffed Shamji was ushered into a 361 University Ave. courthouse prisoner’s box Friday morning, the former Toronto Western Hospital neurosurgeon wore a fitted charcoal-coloured suit and white dress shirt. He had a shadow of barely-there facial hair, and several people, who appeared to be family members, were in the courtroom.

Shamji smiled and mouthed a few words to them at the end of the day, but kept his gaze forward while Justice Michael Brown heard submissions from the Crown and his lawyers, Lisa Pomerant and Liam O’Connor.

The couple was married for 12 years, and Fric-Shamji, 40, had filed for divorce just days before she was reported missing, according to her friends.

As reported by the Star in December, Shamji was charged with uttering threats and assaulting Fric-Shamji in 2005, when the couple was newly married.

The charges were withdrawn after Shamji signed a peace bond.

Shamji is currently being held at Maplehurst Correctional Complex in Milton.

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