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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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Woman refuses to appear in court for third time on terrorism charges

Posted on 24 August 2017 by admin

Rehab Dughmosh will now be brought to a hearing scheduled for Monday by force if necessary, judge rules.

A Scarborough woman facing numerous terrorism-related charges will be forced to appear before an Ontario court Monday if she refuses to appear voluntarily one more time.

Rehab Dughmosh, 32, didn’t appear by video from the Milton detention centre Thursday morning after refusing to leave the centre for two previous court appearances.

At Thursday’s hearing, Justice Kimberly Crosbie ordered Dughmosh brought before the court by force if she refuses to attend again Monday.

Dughmosh, who will be warned of Crosbie’s order, is accused of swinging a golf club and knife at Canadian Tire employees and customers on June 3. In her first court appearance she pledged her allegiance to Daesh, also known as ISIS.

She has refused legal representation and has expressed her intention to plead guilty to the charges.


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Canadians and the Pakistani-Canadian Community joined together to celebrate 70th anniversary

Posted on 24 August 2017 by admin

Canadians and the Pakistani-Canadian Community joined together to celebrate 70th anniversary of Pakistan’s independence and Canada’s 150 anniversary at the Horticulture building Lansdowne Park. Thousands of Canadians visited the venue to join the two days celebrations.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Communities AmarjeetSohi, Mayor of Ottawa Jim Watson, Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General Ontario, Parliamentarians, officials, diplomats and a large number of Canadian-Pakistani Community attended the opening ceremony.

In his opening remarks Minister Sohi said that across Canada, he is witnessing Pakistani community progressing and their participation in all fields of life is a welcome sign for the diverse culture in the Country.  Ottawa City Mayor Jim Watson also appreciated efforts of the Pakistan High Commission to put up an impressive exhibition, first of its kind in Ottawa. The High Commissioner in his address thanked the City Government for making this event a great success and hoped that the exhibition of Pakistani products will help enhance our ever increasing trade ties with Canada.

Minister Sohi and Mayor Watson visited all the stalls setup in the exhibition and appreciated the skills and artisan of the Pakistani manufacturers.

The main feature of the two days celebrations was to showcase Pakistan’s export products including handmade rugs, textiles, leather products, surgical instruments and handicrafts to the Canadians. It provided an opportunity for the Canadians to see the products made in Pakistan and the skills of the Pakistani artisan.

There was huge interest in exhibition of photography titled Pakistan, “A Cradle of Civilization” by photographers; Mr. Imran Choudhry and Mr. Bilal Javaid, depicting Pakistan’s landscape, heritage and culture. Pakistan is gifted with serene natural beauty and it is yet to be explored by the international tourists. Its ancient heritage and architecture was exhibited through the images.

There were queues for getting henna prints on the hands by ladies and to taste Pakistani cuisine including biryani, mutton karahi, seekh kabab and ghulabJamin.

Raffles were drawn on both the days for free gift of rugs, leather products, onyx marble, basmati rice and return air ticket to Pakistan.

The celebrations concluded with performances by the local Pakistani singers: Ms. WaniaJibranfrom Edmonton, “Saroor” musical group from Toronto and Sufi spiritual form of music; the Qawali from Ottawa. They enthralled the audience with Pakistani tunes, both classical and modern. A huge number of Canadians and music lovers enjoyed the musical evening and praised the performances by the local Pakistani singers and musicians.

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Woman at centre of Ontario assisted death case dies

Posted on 17 August 2017 by admin

The death of the woman was confirmed by a news release Thursday from Dying with Dignity Canada.

A 77-year-old woman who went to court to clarify the assisted dying law for people who are in excruciating, incurable pain but who do not face imminent death has died with medical assistance.

The woman, known as AB due to a publication ban, had severe osteoarthritis but her doctor would not perform the end-of-life procedure because he was concerned she did not meet the “reasonable foreseeable death” requirement.

In documents filed with the court, the woman’s lawyer Andrew Faith stressed the chilling effect a lack of clarity in the legislation had on access to medical care.

In a ruling in June, Superior Court Justice Paul Perell said that a person does not need to have a terminal condition or be likely to die within a specific time frame to access medical assistance in dying.

The death of the woman last week was confirmed by a news release Thursday from Dying with Dignity Canada.

“After AB died, her daughter said it was the first time in decades that she had seen her mother in a pain-free state,” the release said.

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Bike Share Toronto expanding by 70 stations

Posted on 12 August 2017 by admin

New bike share stations will be close to subway stations and streetcar stops, with funding from the city and Ottawa.

Toronto’s bike share system is getting a major expansion that will stretch the network from east Etobicoke to Scarborough’s western border.

Users of Bike Share Toronto and its distinctive black bicycles will get 70 new pick-up/drop-off stations this month, officials announced Wednesday.

The locations, chosen for their proximity to subway stations and streetcar stops, will bring the total number of stations to 270. They will stretch from Marine Parade Dr. on the waterfront, just west of the Humber River, across the city to Victoria Park Ave. north of Danforth Ave.

The City of Toronto and the federal government are each contributing $1.25 million toward 50 of the new stations, with the city kicking in an extra $1.5 million for the remainder.

It’s a remarkable comeback for a system that launched as Montreal export BIXI in 2011 but struggled financially with a small downtown network until it was rebranded as Bike Share Toronto under control of city-owned Toronto Parking Authority.

Last year the Ontario government contributed $4.9 million to double the network with 80 new stations and 800 new bikes.

Expansion seems to have paid off. The system recorded its highest-ever daily ridership — 6,490 — on June 21 and has grown to 9,500 active members. They took more than 1.1 million trips in the past year and have pedaled more than 16.8 million kilometres since the service first launched.

The system is meant to be an alternative to private bike use for short-haul trips and extensions to transit excursions. Riders use a credit card to unlock the bike and can return it to any station. People who buy $90 annual memberships can use a bike for up to 30 minutes without additional charges.

The system also eliminates cyclists’ worries about bike theft, a common problem in Toronto.

At the announcement, at a new station near Lansdowne subway station, Mayor John Tory said the new stations will help expand Torontonians’ transit options and, if fewer people drive, reduce “nightmarish” traffic congestion.

Expanding to suburban parts of Toronto offers a new option to homeowners, some of whom have multiple cars in the driveway, Tory said.

“I believe that the bike share program represents part of the answer to the transit unfriendly development of yesteryear… Riding a shared bike to the transit stop may well represent the answer to getting some of those residents in some of those areas out of their cars and onto the transit system,” he said.

Davenport MP Julie Dzerowicz, representing federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, echoed that message, saying: “We really do need to shift people out of their cars and onto transit and onto bikes.”

Bike share popularity seems to be part of an increased enthusiasm for cycling, driven at least in part by an increase in dedicated bike lanes.

Daniela Patino of Cycle Toronto welcomed the new stations and said her group would like to see even more in Toronto’s east end.

“People are starting to see that cycling is the best way to get from A to B for shorter trips,” Patino said.

City cyclists might soon have another bike-share option. Dropbike, an app-based “dockless” service with self-locking bikes that can be unlocked via smartphone, launched recently at the University of Toronto’s St. George campus. The company hopes to expand to other parts of Toronto.

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Posted on 12 August 2017 by admin

With a passion for improving human rights in their province, Toronto Youth for Human Rights (YHR) volunteers raised awareness of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at Toronto’s 11th Annual Youth Day Festival.

After Youth for Human Rights volunteers joined in the opening parade, members took to the stage at Yonge-Dundas Square in the heart of Toronto to perform a skit that brought the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) to life. The presentation stressed four of the 30 rights enshrined in the UDHR: the right to education, the right to food and shelter, the right to public assembly and the right to expression. The skit was a living example of Human Rights #29 –the responsibility to let others know their human rights.

Throughout the day, young volunteers encouraged people to “pick a human right” by spinning the “Human Rights Wheel of Fortune” at their booth. And they helped them learn the importance of the rights they selected by giving them copies of What Are Human Rights? The booklet is a youth-friendly presentation of each of the 30 articles of the UDHR.

YHR volunteers also moved through the crowd, collecting signatures on a petition to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to mandate human rights education throughout the province. “Human rights are based on the principle of respect for the individual,” said Nicole Crellin, YHR Toronto Director. She added, “By mandating human rights education, we can bridge the gap between the current state of human rights in the world and the ideals expressed in the UDHR.”

The Church of Scientology and Scientologists support United for Human Rights and its program for young people, Youth for Human Rights. They engage in collaborative efforts with government agencies and nongovernmental organizations to bring about broad-scale awareness and implementation of the UDHR written in 1948. This initiative has become one of the world’s largest nongovernmental human rights education program.

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Ottawa’s secret plan for what to do when the Queen dies

Posted on 03 August 2017 by admin

Ottawa stays mum on its planning for the death of Queen Elizabeth, though plans have been in the works for years.

OTTAWA—It’s the plan the federal government doesn’t want you to see and doesn’t want to talk about.

Details of Canada’s special forces operations in Iraq? Nope. The inside scoop on Canada’s negotiating strategy for upcoming trade talks with the United States? Not that, either.

Instead, the document kept under wraps outlines some of the planning for how the Canadian government will respond to the death of Queen Elizabeth.

Yet the Privy Council Office — the bureaucrats who support the Prime Minister’s Office and cabinet — has refused to reveal the internal plan meant to guide the government’s actions in the hours and days after the Queen dies.

That plan is a cabinet confidence, reserved for the eyes of cabinet ministers and senior advisers, the office said in response to an access to information request by the Star.

The office even refused to discuss whether bureaucrats have been meeting to discuss the topic. Asked for details about any committee established to oversee the planning, the Privy Council Office delayed its response, saying it needed four months to consult “other government institutions.”

The Star appealed the office’s decision to withhold all records to the information commissioner of Canada. But after a review, commission investigators deemed that the documents are indeed cabinet confidences that will be kept under wraps.

It’s no secret that the health of the Queen, age 91, has been on the minds of Canadian bureaucrats and politicians.

In announcing in April that Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, would be visiting Canada for July 1 celebrations, Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly said the Queen’s health did not allow her to make the trip.

“I understand that, of course, the Queen is ill,” Joly told CTV’s Power Play. She then clarified to say, “Well, not necessarily ill, but doesn’t have the capacity, the health, to come to Canada.”

Documents obtained from the Canadian Heritage Department reveal that backroom planning for the Queen’s death has been underway for several years, with broad consultations that have included the Canadian Armed Forces, Rideau Hall, the Privy Council Office, Buckingham Palace and Canada’s High Commission in London.

In 2012, Kevin MacLeod, at the time the Canadian secretary to the Queen, reviewed the “Succession of the Crown Plans.” In an email to Stephen Wallace, the secretary to the Governor General, MacLeod said he was “most impressed with its thoroughness.”

MacLeod passed along several suggestions to Wallace — all of them censored from the material released to the Star — but said, “all in all, this is a very strong document and, again, congratulations on a great effort.”

That planning has continued, with meetings and email exchanges, including several in 2016 with the subject line “Succession to the Throne” that included officials in the Heritage Department responsible for major events and commemorations.

Emails were also exchanged with the office of the Earl Marshal, who has a role in planning state ceremonies in the United Kingdom, including organizing the funeral of a monarch and the coronation of the new one.

Exact details of all those discussions and decisions were kept from the Star’s view. Dozens of pages provided under access to information were censored in their entirety on the grounds that their contents constituted advice to a cabinet minister.

The Privy Council Office declined to comment Friday on any of the planning, saying only that arrangements “concerning succession to the throne will be announced at an appropriate time” and conveying a wish for the Queen’s continued good health.

“PCO will work closely with Rideau Hall and all implicated government departments to ensure that appropriate measures are in place. The Government of Canada wishes Her Majesty the Queen a long and prosperous reign,” a council office spokesperson, Stéphane Shank, told the Star.

Rideau Hall, the home of the Governor General, was equally tight-lipped. “It will not be possible to share with you, at the present moment, details and the sequence of events pertaining to the death of Her Majesty the Queen,” said a spokesperson, Marie-Ève Létourneau.

The reluctance to comment is understandable, said one person familiar with some of the government’s work on the file.

“People don’t want to cast a lot of light on the subject because no one wants anyone to believe that the Queen is about to die,” the source said.

But the source, who spoke on background because of the sensitivity of the topic, said that developing contingency plans was simply good practice.

The source noted, for example, that when members of the Royal Family travel abroad, they pack mourning clothes with them, just in case. “If a death occurs in London, they have to be prepared,” he said.

Just as Ottawa has planned for the deaths of past prime ministers and governors general — often in consultation with those personalities themselves — it has laid plans for the death of the Queen.

“When the news comes that so-and-so has passed, there is an awful lot that has to be done in a very short prescribed period of time. The more planning you can do in advance to know who has to be called when and what happens in what order, so much the better,” the source said.

“The key players who will be involved know that they will have roles to play and I presume they are talking to each other on a fairly regular basis.”

That planning is almost certain to include the offices of the lieutenant-governors, who serve as the Queen’s representatives in each of the provinces.

The death of the Queen — who has reigned for 65 years — will have a profound effect on Canadians, predicted Garry Toffoli, vice-chairman and executive director of the Canadian Royal Heritage Trust.

“Most of us have never known any other monarch. It has defined our lives,” he said.

“Traumatic might not be the right word, but it will be emotional when it happens,” Toffoli said in an interview.

Given that her mother lived to 101, the Queen could have another decade ahead of her, he said. But he said it’s understandable that plans have been laid.

As for guidance on what to expect when she dies, Toffoli suggested looking to the death of the Queen’s father, King George VI, on Feb. 6, 1952 — the last time a reigning British monarch died.

The Heritage Department documents provided to the Star included an annex detailing some of the activities that unfolded on the Canadian end that year.

Within an hour of the official announcement of the king’s death in London, notifications went out to the prime minister and cabinet officials in Ottawa. The CBC was quickly instructed to ensure that radio programs would “immediately be altered in a manner suitable for the occasion.” That meant no ads, only “appropriate” music, news and announcements.

Public Works was contacted to ensure flags were lowered to half-mast on federal buildings. Work was started on proclamations: one to announce the death of the king and another to mark the accession of the Queen. The senior judge of the Supreme Court and the prime minister took oaths of allegiance to the new monarch.

The Canadian representatives at the king’s funeral included the Canadian high commissioner, Vincent Massey, who was the incoming governor general, as well as the minister of national defence and the secretary of state for external affairs. Prime minister Louis St.-Laurent did not attend the funeral.

A national day of mourning was declared and a ceremony held in Ottawa at the National War Memorial on the day of the funeral.

Toffoli expects some of those activities will occur in the wake of the Queen’s death, too. “There are things that will happen automatically and then there will be things that will be up to the government of the time to decide what to do,” he said.

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Sukhwant Thethi Nominated as Ontario Liberal Candidate in Brampton South

Posted on 26 July 2017 by admin

 Hundreds Of Supporters Joined By Premier Wynne And Provincial And Federal Ministers To Rally Around Newest Ontario Liberal Candidate

BRAMPTON — Community leader Sukhwant Thethi was nominated today to stand as the Ontario Liberal candidate for Brampton South in the next provincial election.

Thethi accepted the nomination surrounded by his family, hundreds of local supporters, Premier Kathleen Wynne, Ontario Minister of Finance Charles Sousa, Ontario Minister of Seniors Dipika Damerla and federal Minister Navdeep Bains. In his speech to supporters, Thethi spoke passionately about his experiences as a new Canadian, the Ontario Liberal plan that is building a better, fairer province and the shameful things that Patrick Brown’s PCs are saying about Sikh candidates behind closed doors.

“I moved here in 1995 from India and waited tables. From an immigrant waiting tables to a successful banker standing here to run to be a Member of Provincial Parliament — this is what Canada is all about!” Thethi said. He added, “I look at Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal plan and I see the policies that will help even more people realize their dreams and seize opportunity, just like I did. As the father of two daughters in university, I know that by making college and university tuition free, the Ontario Liberal plan is going to help hundreds of thousands of young people secure their future.” Referring to the recent actions Ontario’s Liberal government has taken to deliver faster, better health care, new transit, a higher minimum wage and better protections for all workers, Thethi said “This Premier and her team are implementing a plan that supports our families and creates more fairness for people in Brampton and across Ontario.”

In enthusiastically welcoming Thethi to the team, Premier Wynne touched on aspects of Thethi’s life story, saying “Sukhwant knows what it is like to work your way to a better life in a new country. And I know how valuable it is to bring his perspective and ideas to Queen’s Park. One third of our team of Liberal MPPs were born outside of Canada. Every day I see how their different experiences help us in our quest to make life better for Ontario families. Sukhwant will be a strong voice for Brampton and a great help as we continue to fight for fairness and build Brampton up with the new transit, hospitals, schools and university campus that this exciting, growing community needs.”

Thethi also took aim at the recent Conservative nomination controversy in Hamilton, telling supporters it is now clear that Patrick Brown and his PCs will say anything to win votes from South Asians. Thethi was referring to an admission by the Conservative Party president that the PC Party blocked a turbaned Sikh candidate from winning the nomination in Hamilton because he was seen as “not reliable” and the “wrong demographic.” Thethi strongly condemned this as yet another incident that shows the PCs are not the inclusive party they claim to be, saying “Patrick Brown and his Conservatives pretend to reach out to the South Asian community when they want our votes, but this reveals their true colours. This is the kind of Conservative prejudice we must oppose. Whether you are a Sikh Canadian or a Muslim Canadian or someone whose family has been here for generations, there is no right or wrong demographic. We are all Canadians.”

Sukhwant Thethi immigrated to Canada from India in 1995. He has worked in food service, manufacturing, and owned a small business. He is now a mortgage specialist with the Royal Bank of Canada. Thethi believes strongly in giving back to the community that has given him so much opportunity. He volunteers and fundraises for causes that include the Peel Multicultural Council, the United Way, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and other organisations working to improve local health care. He also serves on the advisory board to select Ontario Justices of the Peace. Sukhwant Thethi and his wife, Rajinder, are the proud parents of two university-age daughters, Gurleen and Amarjot.

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