South Asian media person attacked by young white male armed with a sickle in Surrey plaza on Scott Road in broad daylight


(PHOTO(S): Can you identify this attacker?)


IT seems that criminal elements in Surrey have lost all fear of the RCMP as was evident by Tuesday’s brazen attack against a South Asian media person by a young white male armed with a sickle in broad daylight at a Surrey plaza on the busy Scott Road. According to eyewitnesses, the attacker had been hanging around the Flying Plaza on Scott Road at 93A Avenue and an adjoining building for about an hour before the attack as he was apparently looking for a person.

One eyewitness who gave a full report to the police about the attacker and the attack and who also managed to take some photos of him, told The VOICE: “I totally condemn what happened. It shouldn’t have been like that, especially in broad daylight.” He said he was the one who called the police.

The man, who didn’t want to be identified in the media, said he drove into the plaza’s parking lot around 2 p.m. and saw a young white male in a leather jacket leaning against the wall of the Happy Video Paanshop behind a Chinese restaurant. He said: “He looked suspicious to me.”

The witness said he parked his truck and walked into the paan shop from the front door and found the owner taking a nap on a sofa. So he walked out the side door that opens towards 93A Avenue on which the young man was leaning.

He told The VOICE he asked the man if he could help him and he replied: “No, no, no, I am just waiting for somebody.” Then the man started walking towards the garbage bin [at the northeast corner of the plaza], looking back all the time.

The witness said: “I thought he was a kind of a crackhead waiting for his delivery or whatever the case may be. So I didn’t make anything of it. … I went inside [the paan shop] and was chatting with the owner when suddenly we heard screaming from the victim.”

He added: “So I got out immediately and I shouted at him. He was with a [sickle] attacking him. I didn’t have anything with me. Quickly I got a piece of wood and I just ran right into it. Then he started walking away from the victim towards 93A [Avenue] with a [sickle] in his hand.”

He also told The VOICE: “When I was pulling in he was also using sign language – he was facing the Chinese restaurant and he was in contact with a second person. I knew he was in contact because that’s where he kept looking. … That means he was stalking somebody.”

When police arrived with a K-9 unit, they tried to track the attacker down. But they didn’t get far. Apparently there was a vehicle waiting for him – “that’s where the dog stopped sniffing,” he said.

The incident has terrified people living and working in that area.

If you can identify the attacker, please contact Surrey RCMP or your local police. If you wish to remain anonymous, please contact CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.



Prasad Panda of Wildrose Party wins provincial byelection in Alberta’s Calgary-Foothills




IN what was seen as a blow for the ruling NDP in Alberta, The Wildrose Party’s South Asian candidate, Prasad Panda, won the provincial Calgary-Foothills byelection on Thursday.

Panda has resided in Calgary-Foothills for over a decade working as a senior manager and professional engineer for Suncor Energy. He had lost as a Wildrose candidate in the 2012 and 2015 provincial elections.

But this time he won by 1,607 votes 938 per cent of the total votes cast) over his nearest rival – NDP’s Bob Hawkesworth (26 per cent).  Progressive Conservative Blair Houston came third (22 per cent).

Panda said that the message was that people are concerned about jobs and economy and NDP Premier Rachel Notley has to reflect on this verdict.

The Wildrose Party now has 22 seats in the 87-seat legislature. The NDP has 53 seats.







GURPREET SINGH GILL, a former Yellow Cab taxi driver in Vancouver who was found guilty in November 2014 of sexually assaulting a female passenger after blocking his vehicle’s security camera in September 2012, has been sentenced to three years in prison. He was also ordered to register with the sex offender registry and provide a DNA sample. As Gill was born in India and only has permanent residency status in Canada, he could be deported after serving his sentence.


GURSIMAR SINGH BEDI, a dial-a-dope dealer who has also been charged with manslaughter using a firearm and accessory after the fact in the 2011 murder of SFU student Maple Batalia, 19, has lost his plea of abuse of process in Surrey Provincial Court in connection with his conviction on two counts of trafficking in cocaine. He will be sentenced later this month. In the Batalia case, he and Gurjinder “Gary” Singh Dhaliwal, who is charged with first-degree murder, will go to trial in February 2016.


SHMINDER SINGH JOHAL, a car parts importer who was found guilty of conspiracy to import cocaine and guns, possession of a controlled substance, and giving or offering to give money to an official in July 2012 and sentenced to 18 years in jail, has been released on day parole, according to a local newspaper. The Parole Board of Canada said he could be released to a halfway house because there are no reasonable grounds to find that he might commit a violent offence. Johal got lucky because his case doesn’t fall under the new law that prevents first-time non-violent prisoners from getting day parole after serving only a sixth of their sentence. Johal was involved in the same case as former Canada Border Services Agency officer Baljinder Singh Kandola who was found guilty of charges of conspiracy and importation of cocaine, breach of trust and corruptly accepting money by B.C. Supreme Court in July 2012. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Kandola was released on day parole last December. In September 2012, Shminder’s brother, Jagdip Johal of Delta, was gunned down in his family vehicle in a Surrey parking lot at a Newton strip mall.




Vancouver South Liberal candidate Harjit Sajjan doesn’t know where his riding ends!




(Photos by Chandra Bodalia)


PUTTING up your election signs in someone else’s riding is a big no-no. Just ask Elections Canada.

But Vancouver South Liberal candidate Harjit Sajjan – the guy who was parachuted into the riding by Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau thanks to Prem Vinning and his group – doesn’t seem to know exactly where his riding ends.

Yes, this former Vancouver cop who is a lieutenant-colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces doesn’t seem to know where to draw the line, so to speak, as this sign at the bus shelter on the WESTERN side of 49th and Cambie Street clearly shows.

The western side of the road falls in the adjoining riding of Vancouver-Granville.

Members of the Conservative Party and the NDP note that the Liberal organizers’ left hand doesn’t seem to know what their right hand is doing.

Sajjan and his guys need a quick refresher’s course in geography.

Can Canadians trust the direction they would take Canada in?




Harper delays announcement of money for Surrey’s Light Rail Transit Project because of Syrian refugee crisis issue






TOP Conservative sources had informed The VOICE on Wednesday that Prime Minister Stephen Harper was to announce funds for Surrey’s Light Rail Transit Project during his appearance on Thursday morning at Fruiticana Warehouse in Surrey with Conservative candidates Harpreet Singh (Surrey-Newton) and former Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts (South Surrey-White Rock).

That announcement was expected to provide a big boost for the beleaguered Conservative candidates in Surrey with the massive challenge from the NDP with the Liberals not far behind.

Incidentally, this was the first time since 2004 that Harper was visiting Newton.

The City of Surrey’s website notes: “Surrey’s LRT network will connect our communities and bring 195,000 people within short walking distance to accessible, reliable and frequent rapid transit service. With trains arriving every 5 to 6 minutes, and stations spaced closer than SkyTrain, LRT creates vibrant, pedestrian and transit friendly communities.”

But the Conservative candidates were reportedly told at the last minute that that announcement would have to be postponed thanks to the Syrian refuge crisis issue following news that the family of the Syrian boy who drowned on a Turkish beach had been trying to get to Canada.

Migrant and refugee rights groups across Canada are demanding that Harper and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander answer for the deaths of Galip Kurdi, 5, and his three-year-old brother Aylan, after it was revealed that their application for private refugee sponsorship (which would have cost Canada nothing) was rejected by Immigration Canada despite being hand delivered to Alexander’s office.

Alexander cancelled his campaign activities and was travelled to Ottawa to talk to departmental officials about the Syrian refugee crisis.


LIBERAL Leader Justin Trudeau said on Thursday: “Liberals have been encouraging the Conservative government for the last six months to stop dragging their heels and sponsor 25,000 Syrian refugees immediately. This is something that goes beyond politics. It’s about who we are as Canadians and who we want to be.”


NDP Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar said: “We can begin by getting 10,000 Syrian refugees out of harm’s way and to Canada by the end of the year. The human tragedy unfolding is horrifying and unacceptable. Canada must act, now.”

The NDP said it will work with the government to:

* Get 10,000 government-sponsored refugees out of harm’s way and on the way to Canada by the end of this year through appointing a Syrian Refugee Coordinator, pulling resources from various departments including Foreign Affairs, Citizenship and Immigration and other departments

* Increase presence of Canada’s diplomatic and immigration officials in the region to accelerate processing of refugees.

* Work with Turkey and other affected countries to remove bureaucratic obstacles to resettlement and end Canada’s policy of discrimination, to treat all refugees equally.

* Fast-track private sponsorship, with no cap, to bring as many people as possible to Canada.

Increase Canada’s contributions to humanitarian assistance agencies, including the UNHCR, based on the needs on the ground and help coordinate the response of the international community to the Syrian refugee crisis.




74-year-old innocent man dead after targeted shooting in South Asian neighbour’s driveway in Abbotsford; community safety forum on Sept. 10


(PHOTOS: Police Chief Bob Rich / Constable Ian MacDonald)


A 74-year-old man, later identified as Ping Shun Ao, was killed after what police believe was a targeted shooting in his neighbour’s driveway in the 3500-block of Promontory Court in Abbotsford on Wednesday night.

The Abbotsford Police Department received a 911 call reporting shots fired in that block at 7:17 p.m.  APD Patrol Division officers, BC Ambulance personnel and Abbotsford Fire Rescue staff arrived on scene and located a vehicle in a driveway with damage apparently caused by gunfire and a male victim outside a neighbouring home with a gunshot wound.  The man was pronounced dead at scene.  The initial indications are that he was merely standing outside the neighbouring home when the shooting took place.

The VOICE was the first to report on its website ( that the targeted home belonged to South Asians and that the innocent victim was not South Asian.

Police said the targeted persons are “well known to police.”

APD Major Crime detectives and Forensic Identification unit officers were called to the scene and the investigation is being transitioned to the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT).

Anyone with information about this incident should call the IHIT Tip Line at 1-877-551-4448 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.


ON Thursday, the Abbotsford Police Department, City Council and the Abbotsford Police Board announced that they will hold a public forum on community safety on Thursday, September 10, from 7 to 9 p.m., at the Abbotsford Arts Centre located at 2329 Crescent Way.

Mayor Henry Braun said: “I believe an important next step in creating a solution to the very troubling and highly publicized violent incidents occurring in our community is for us to come together as a community to build those solutions. I am confident that together we will accomplish far more if we focus collective efforts.”

Police Chief Bib Rich said: “The APD will continue to deal with the ongoing conflict and threat to public safety as a top priority.  We are putting in place a gang enforcement team whose sole purpose is to deal with the issues in the Townline Hill area.  We will not stop until public safety is restored.”

The City and APD welcome all concerned residents to this forum.  The maximum capacity of the Abbotsford Arts Centre is 739 and they will strictly adhere to these regulations for safety purposes.  People are encouraged to arrive early.


JUST last month The VOICE had reported that Abbotsford Police installed video surveillance equipment on Sandpiper Drive after shooting incidents on August 6 and 17 in an effort to improve public safety in that area.

Constable Ian MacDonald  told this newspaper at the time that their lead investigative theory was that the August 17 shooting and that of August 6 was all part of the ongoing conflict between two South Asian groups that started back in May of 2014. Both incidents occurred on Sandpiper Drive just two blocks from each other.

MacDonald couldn’t say if the targets in the two incidents had been members of different groups or the same group. He pointed to some difficulties that investigators confront in trying to identify which group some of the young men belong to, noting: “We can say we know the core of each of the two groups. It gets more murky when you start getting into the people on the periphery.”

He added: “Although we are a growing city, in some ways and in some circles we are still a small town.” So you have people who might have been on the same wrestling team and might even be cousins, ending up on opposite sides of the conflict, he explained.


LAST January, The VOICE reported that a civil suit filed by the Director of B.C. Civil Forfeiture in B.C. Supreme Court in December to claim two vehicles – a white Nissan Altima and a blue Nissan Altima – that were allegedly used in a shootout in which Harwindip Singh Baringh, 18, was killed in Abbotsford last October, has revealed that the incident was allegedly a clash between the Chahil and Dhaliwal crime groups.

Police sources have told The VOICE that the conflict is an extension of the one going on in Vancouver’s South Slope that this newspaper has been covering extensively for the past year along with the Abbotsford situation.

Baringh was found shot dead in the driver’s seat of a dark coloured SUV in the 30500 block of Sparrow Drive in West Abbotsford on October 2.

The court document claims that Baringh was driving with a passenger in a Jeep Grand Cherokee that evening while his associates were following in a blue 2007 Altima. Surveillance cameras reportedly showed the Jeep and the blue Altima were following a white Acura and a white Altima.

The court document alleges that the occupants of the Jeep and blue Altima “were ambushed by occupants of the white Acura and the white Altima” at a turn.

Gunshots were exchanged between the occupants of the four vehicles and finally three of the vehicles took off, while the Jeep remained at the scene. Baringh’s body was found in the Jeep by the police.

The court document claims that “the white Altima has been used to engage in a violent ongoing gang conflict between the Dhaliwal and Chahil crime groups.”

Names of those involved in the alleged shootout were mentioned in the claim by the director of civil forfeiture.

But the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has so far not announced any charges in the murder case.




Jaywalker has to pay court costs of South Asian driver


B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jenkins in a recent ruling dismissed a suit against Satvinder Singh Lally who was driving a Porsche and ordered Hanan Alsaeedi to cough up Lally’s court costs after he found that she was jaywalking and that Lally “took abundant measures to avoid the unexpected” at a crossing at Thurlow Street at Alberni Street in October 2008.

The judge noted: “Not being in the crosswalk, the defendant had the right-of-way, but still had a responsibility to keep a proper lookout and take reasonable precautions to avoid the unexpected, such as a pedestrian attempting to cross a street outside of a crosswalk. In a busy downtown street over the luncheon period, the streets and sidewalks are very crowded and it is not uncommon that pedestrians will, unlawfully, attempt to “jaywalk” at their risk.”

He added: “He firstly waited until the crosswalk had cleared of pedestrians and proceeded very slowly through the crosswalk and beyond. As between the parties, the defendant had the right of way as a result of the plaintiff attempting to cross Thurlow St. outside of the crosswalk. Upon realizing the plaintiff was running in a south easterly direction towards the front of the defendant’s vehicle, the defendant stopped.”

The judge said: “I also find on the whole of the evidence that there was no impact between the plaintiff and the defendant’s vehicle and accept the evidence of the defendant that the plaintiff fell in front of the defendant’s vehicle.”

The judge said that the factual descriptions of the incident by each of the parties was completely at odds. Alsaeedi testified that she was struck and knocked down by Lally’s vehicle while she was walking in the crosswalk on the south side of the intersection. Lally denied that his vehicle ever struck her and that he did not encounter her until he was through the intersection, had passed over the crosswalk and had travelled another 20 to 30 feet before the plaintiff tripped and fell in front of her.

The independent evidence was that of Mason Bennett who testified that “the crosswalk was clear when the defendant made his turn and passed through the crosswalk. He also testified that the defendant was travelling slowly as he made his turn and although he did not see any impact, he did see the plaintiff jump up quickly after the incident.”

The judge called Bennett “a very credible witness” He added: “The most significant evidence of Mr. Bennett was that the plaintiff was 10-15 feet from the crosswalk or, as per his statement, “quite a bit in front of the pedestrian lines” after the incident and that the plaintiff had been running when the light was red, which would have been the lights to not proceed on Alberni St.”

The judge said: “If the plaintiff had been struck in the crosswalk, especially if she was “close to the curb” or “a few steps from the curb” as she testified, it would have been very likely that Mr. Bennett would have seen the impact as he would have been standing a matter of a few feet away, waiting at the curb for the light to change.

“Based upon all of the evidence, I find that immediately prior to “the incident”, the plaintiff was at least 10 feet south of the southern-most crosswalk line, most likely further than 10 feet. She was not in the crosswalk at the time of “the incident”.

“ The only way that the plaintiff could have ended up on her knees south of the crosswalk would have been if she had been impacted by the defendant’s vehicle and thrown a distance of several feet by the impact, however, the plaintiff testified “he pushed me”, not that she was impacted, landing on the road. I also find, based upon the statement made by Mr. Bennett that the pedestrian signal for pedestrians crossing Thurlow St. would have been “don’t walk” by the time the plaintiff commenced to jaywalk on Thurlow St.”



Court awards Montreal-based activist Jaggi Singh $11,360 for unlawful arrest




Toronto (IANS): A court has awarded Montreal-based activist Jaggi Singh $15,000 in damages for being unlawfully arrested by two police officers, a media report said.
Singh had filed a lawsuit against officers Frederic Mercier and George Lamirande for arresting and detaining him during an International Women’s Day rally in March 2007, CBS News online reported.
“Singh’s rights were violated when he was arrested and detained for five days in March 2007, and that constable Frederic Mercier and constable George Lamirande must pay Singh the sum of 15,000 Canadian Dollars ($11,360) in exemplary damages’,” Quebec Superior Court Judge Micheline Perrault ruled this week.
The officers said in the court that the crowd in the rally was hostile and yelled out insults to them.
The officers also testified that they arrested Singh for breaching his conditions imposed on him during his previous conviction.
According to the conditions, Singh was barred from being “on the scene of an event that is not peaceful”.
Following Singh’s detainment from the crowd, the charges against him were dropped and Singh filed a lawsuit against the two officers.
Singh sought $25,000 for five days of illegal detention, $12,000 in moral damages and $45,000 in exemplary damages, the report said.




First Sikh soldier to guard Tomb of Unknown Soldier


Ottawa (IANS): In a first, a Sikh soldier has been appointed to watch over the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” at the National War Memorial here in Canada, a media report said.
The tomb refers to a monument in dedication to the services of an unknown soldier and to the common memories of all soldiers killed in any war.
Taj Aujla is one of the four Canadian soldiers of the 39th Brigade Group, Royal Westminster Regiment, who are currently in Ottawa for three weeks to guard the tomb, news portal reported.
“The basis of Sikhism is service to your country and your community. Being here is a big honour because I am representing the way of life of a Sikh. But it goes back to the tomb, that is why we’re here,” Aujla was quoted as saying.
“This gentleman — the unknown soldier — whoever he is, was serving. He made the ultimate sacrifice, for our freedom, for our country for us. To be a part of this is exactly what I practise on a day-to-day basis. What he did was very human,” Aujla said.
Aujla joined the reserves of the Canadian forces four years ago.
When he came to know about the opportunity to join the ceremonial guard, he researched on the tomb and decided to offer his services.
“If people had loved ones who did not make it home from World War I or World War II, this tomb is the place where they can come to pay their respects. To be able to stand guard here is a privilege,” said Aujla.
“When I joined the forces and was sworn in, my unit welcomed me as a Sikh and said welcome to the family. There’s a lot of a brotherhood here,” he added.
Aujla’s great-grandfather served in a Sikh regiment in India as did his great-uncle, the report said.





World Sikh Organization helps nine-year-old Sikh hockey player return to ice



Edmonton: The World Sikh Organization of Canada has helped nine-year-old Shanvir Singh resume playing ice hockey while being able to wear his kirpan.

Shanvir Singh is an initiated or amritdhari Sikh and wears the Sikh articles of faith, including the kirpan.  He was registered to play in a league organized by the Millwoods Hockey Association.

After his first session, Shanvir Singh’s mother, Gurjit Kaur, was told that Shanvir Singh’s kirpan had been removed by the coach and placed in his hockey bag.  She was told that he would not be able to wear the kirpan during games nor would he be permitted to bring the kirpan into the hockey arena.

Gurjit Kaur contacted the WSO for assistance.

After initiating a dialogue with the Millwoods Hockey Association, it was agreed that Shanvir Singh would be permitted to wear his kirpan underneath his hockey gear, as long as it is wrapped in cloth and secured close to his body.

Shanvir has now returned to the ice and resumed his hockey season.

WSO Alberta Vice President Tejinder Singh Sidhu said: “Given that a hockey arena is filled with dangerous items such as hockey blades and sticks, the issue really wasn’t about the safety of the kirpan but more about helping to understand the significance of the kirpan and how it is accommodated in other settings.  We’re glad that the family contacted us for advice and assistance and in doing so, were able to resolve this not just for themselves, but also for other Sikh players who might find themselves in similar situations in the future.”

He added: “ We would also like to thank the Millwoods Hockey Association for engaging in an open dialogue and helping to resolve the matter quickly so that Shanvir Singh did not have to lose any playing time.”

WSO says it offers free advice and advocacy for individuals requiring assistance at their schools, workplaces or elsewhere with respect to religious accommodation issues.




New multimedia report exposes discriminatory immigration policy




A new multimedia project claims to shed light on the drastically changed landscape for immigrants under the Harper government.

Never Home: Legislating Discrimination in Canadian Immigration launched on  Tuesday at pieces together nine years of Conservative immigration and refugee policy changes to paint a dramatic picture of unfair exclusions.

Harsha Walia, co-author of the report, says: “Permanent residency for refugees, skilled workers and family members is being curtailed, citizenship is becoming harder to get and easier to lose, but the migrant worker program is exploding. The Conservative government boasts about ‘fixing’ the immigration system but they have actually eliminated immigration. Making immigration more temporary, exclusionary and exploitative is, in fact, discriminatory.”

Hessed Torres, a certified nurse who came to Canada as a Live-in Caregiver featured in one of the videos, asks: “Am I not deserving to be paid correctly? Is it that I am not Canadian?”

Never Home features a 10,000-word report, seven video interviews with refugees, migrant workers, and citizens on the impacts of recent policy changes; and high-impact infographics.

“Immigration and refugee policy is a confusing jigsaw and understanding the overall impact of the many changes has been difficult. The picture that emerges from our research and the stories that are shared is devastating. Never Home is a thorough challenge to the federal government’s claims to a fair and efficient immigration and refugee policy,” says report co-author Omar Chu.

Key findings from Never Home include:

1) Between 2006 and 2011, the number of family-class immigrants dropped 20 percent, while the number of accepted refugees dropped 30 percent.

2) Number of non-permanent residents who entered Canada in 2013 (460,663 persons) exceeded the number of those who landed as or became permanent immigrants (258,953 persons).

3) Between 2006 and 2014, 87,317 migrants were jailed without charge. In one year alone, between 2009 and 2010, 807 migrant and Canadian children were behind bars.

Multilingual summaries of the report are being distributed in immigrant communities in British Columbia and Ontario. “All the political parties are trying to grab the immigrant vote, but none are ensuring permanent residency rights,” notes Sozan Savehilaghi of No One Is Illegal. “This project provides immigrants with the information they need to demand the changes we deserve.”




Surrey is the powerhouse for South Asian candidates from Alberta!






ALL roads lead to Surrey it seems.

At least for South Asian politicians from India to all parts of Canada.

Now two South Asian candidates from Alberta’s Calgary-Skyview federal riding – Conservative Devinder Shory and Liberal Darshan Kang – are expected to hit the airwaves in Surrey this weekend to garner support and, of course, the Almighty Dollar!

The community is abuzz with what some call a strange phenomenon, but one which makes Surrey-ites rather proud about their influence.


So, let me introduce you to the two outstanding South Asian politicians:


DEVINDER Shory, who was born in Barnala (Punjab) and who earned his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelors of Law degrees from Punjabi University, Patiala (Punjab), did whatever it took, including unloading linen trucks, driving a taxi and working in a video store, to make a good life here. Finally in 1997, Devinder was able to return to his passion of law and set up his own general law practice in Calgary Northeast after being called to the bar in 1998.

He made it a habit in his law practice to point students and foreign-qualified individuals in the right direction. He was recognized for the contribution of his free legal guidance through the Law Society of Alberta.

In October 2008, Northeast Calgarians elected Devinder to the House of Commons as their representative. In 2011, they re-elected Devinder with an even greater percentage of the popular vote.

He has served as a Member of the International Trade Committee, the Immigration Committee, as well as the Natural Resources Committee and the Human Resources and Skills Development Committee. He has also served as a very active co-chair of the Canada India Parliamentary Friendship Association, along with being the vice-chair of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Canada-UK Parliamentary Association and the Canada-Philippines Parliamentary Committee, where he promoted Canadian values across the globe.

Devinder is married to Neetu, and they have three children: Jatin, Chetan and Arisha.



DARSHAN Kang, a former MLA for Calgary-McCall, immigrated to Canada from India in 1970, after obtaining a pre-medical degree at the University of Indore. He first worked as a journeyman welder before becoming a commercial realtor; he went on to be named the top realtor in his company and the fifth highest performer in Alberta.

Darshan ran in 2004 but was unsuccessful; in 2008 and 2012, however, Darshan was elected to represent Calgary-McCall in Alberta’s Legislative Assembly. He served on a number of standing committees as an MLA, including Public Accounts, and Families and Communities. Along with serving as the whip, Darshan is also the Critic for Transportation, Service Alberta, Infrastructure, Tourism, and Parks and Recreation.

Darshan has a long history of community engagement, and has been a member of the Saddle Ridge, Martindale, Castleridge—Falconridge, and Skyview Community Associations. He has also been an active supporter of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and played a key role in raising over $1 million dollars for the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

After his election in 2008 he worked hard to secure a provincial government grant for the Genesis Centre. He was also the lone voice who spoke in support of the Airport Trail Tunnel within the Alberta Legislature.


SAHAJVIR Singh is the NDP candidate – but I just haven’t found anything about him from his own Facebook account or from the website!


IN any case, here is yet another riding in Canada where a Sikh / South Asian candidate is assured a seat in the House of Commons.






B.C. Securities Commission panel issues lifetime ban against Hussain Dhala of North Vancouver for fraud


A British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) panel has fined and permanently banned Hussain Dhala from the province’s capital markets for fraud and lying to a commission investigator.

Dhala, a self-employed day trader, told four investors that he had an investment opportunity and could purchase shares for them in a private placement offered by an exchange issuer. At Dhala’s instruction, the investors gave him $38,250 to purchase the shares. The panel found that the shares were never purchased, and that Dhala perpetrated a fraud on the four investors and spent $26,900 of investor funds on personal expenses.

The panel also found that Dhala lied to BCSC staff during an interview while under oath. During the interview, Dhala stated that he dealt with only one investor, which was not true. Dhala had received the $38,250 from the four investors prior to the date of the interview.

Discussing the harm to investors, the panel wrote:

“Clearly Dhala’s misconduct has resulted in financial harm to investors. We have found that the four investors gave Dhala a total of $38,250 and $26,900 has been lost by the investors. We heard testimony from three of the investors that their financial losses were significant given their financial circumstances at the time. In addition, the victims were unsophisticated investors who all stated that this experience has negatively affected their perspective on future investing.”

The panel ordered that Dhala pay to the BCSC the $26,900 obtained as a result of his misconduct, as well as an administrative penalty of $125,000. The panel also ordered that Dhala resign any position he holds as a director or officer of any issuer or registrant, and he is permanently prohibited from becoming or acting as a director or officer of any issuer or registrant, trading or purchasing securities or exchange contracts (with limited exceptions), acting as a registrant or promoter, engaging in investor relations activities, and acting in a management or consultative capacity in connection with the securities market.

You may view the sanctions decision on the BCSC website ( by typing Hussain Dhala, or 2015 BCSECCOM 336 in the search box. Information regarding disciplinary proceedings can be found in the ‘Enforcement’ section of the BCSC website.



Asdhir Bhim scripts super success story in Canada




Toronto (IANS): Toronto-based Bhim D. Asdhir has been super successful in the Canadian financial sector.
Asdhir, whose family comes from Ludhiana in Punjab, is the founder of Excel Funds which was Canada’s best performing mutual fund last year.
“We are also doing well in India as we are the biggest India-dedicated Canadian mutual fund investing in the Bombay Stock Exchange,” Bhim Asdhir told IANS.
Gung-ho on India, he says, “After the turbulence, India has taken off again. I met Prime Minister Modi when he was here in Toronto and I am very positive on India.”
Bhim expects the Indian economy to hit the 10-trillion mark in the next 10 years.
“Remember, China was a two-trillion-dollar economy a decade ago and today it is $10 trillion. I am very sure that in the next 10 years, India too will be a $10-trillion economy,” says Bhim from his swanky office in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga.
This bold Punjabi corporate man was one of the first NRIs to take plunge in India in the late 1990s as he foresaw its potential.
“I went to India in 1996 and I saw what was coming. When I came back to Toronto, I said to myself that now is the time to invest in India. But since there was no vehicle to invest there, I started Excel Funds,” says Bhim.
“Today, we are one of the best performing of all mutual funds in Canada. Last year, we were the best performer among mutual fund. We are also the biggest mutual fund from Canada dedicated to India where we operate through Birla Sun Life. But we are also geared towards other emerging markets – China, Russia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, etc. We also have a BRIC fund.”
Bhim’s a first-generation Indian immigrant super success story in Canada. “I [was] in the 11th class when we came to Toronto from India in 1981. I used to be the only India guy in our class in Toronto.”
As his immigrant family set about rebuilding their life in Canada, he says, “I chose to pursue two degrees – Actuarial Science and Computer Science – at the University of Waterloo from where I graduated with these two degrees in 1987. Actually, I was the first Indo-Canadian to get a degree in Actuarial Science.”
The two degrees got young Bhim a very prestigious corporate job in one of the best financial addresses in the world – Bay Street Toronto.
“For about 10 years, I worked on Bay Street where we were consultants to lots of big insurance companies and helping establish small insurance companies.”
But that trip to India in 1996, he says, changed the course of his destiny.
“Early this year, I took a delegation of 20 people to India … The energy is palpable everywhere and the country is becoming a dream destination for investors,” says Bhim who was honoured with Male Entrepreneur of the Year in 2007 by the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce.
His mission, he says, is to sell India as a dream destination for investors.



Sikhs blame conversions, drugs for declining population


Toronto (IANS): Sikh leaders in North America blame conversions, drugs and migration for the decline in the growth rate of Sikh population in India from 1.9 percent to 1.7 percent as per the 2011 census.

“While Punjab leaders are promoting their family businesses, the youth has sunk in drugs. So what do you expect from drug addicts?” asked Toronto-based Sikh leader Nachhattar Singh Chohan.

Chohan, who heads the Indian Trucking Association in Canada, said: “Yes, migration from Punjab to the West is one reason. But the bigger factor is that people are abandoning Sikhism and joining various ‘deras’ in Punjab. The SGPC has failed the Sikhs.”

Vancouver-based community activist Balwant Sanghera said: “First and foremost reason for declinign Sikh population is the migration from Punjab to the West. Second, there is growing awareness to have smaller families.”

Shrinking land holdings in Punjab are also forcing people to have fewer children to avoid further division of land among siblings.

“Finally, drugs are taking their toll on the Punjab youth. The drugs are reported to be causing impotence amongst boys, resulting in fewer births,” Sanghera told IANS.

Los Angeles-based Bhai Satpal Singh Kohli, the Ambassador of Sikh Dharma in Western Hemisphere, said the Sikh population is declining because people are “not adhering to the Sikh code of conduct and leaving Sikhism to join various ‘deras’ due to poor leadership and discrimination against Dalits and poor Sikhs in Punjab.”

He too said Sikhs were migrating for better opportunities. “Moreover, the trend is that Sikhs are increasingly marrying out of their religion. So the majority of their children now end up not being Sikhs.”

Kohli welcomes the directive of the Akal Takht jathedar to each Sikh family to have four children. “But more importantly, Sikhs need not select family planning for a male child and stop female foeticide.”

Yuba City-based Jasbir Kang blames the destruction of the economy of rural Punjab for the migration of Sikhs to foreign lands.

“Events and after-affects of 1984 had serious impact on the Sikh psyche… Sikhs never committed suicides until the last two decades. People have lost their pride and self-respect,” Kang told IANS.

Kang said Sikhs are converting to other religions as the clergy has failed to address the “issues of caste divisions, drug abuse and failure the issues of gender gap.

“If moms lose respect for faith, then children will not follow it either. We are at a crossroads.”

Washington-based Sikh leader Rajwant Singh, who heads the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, said: “The turbulence of the 80s impacted average Sikh family dependent on agrarian economy.

“Political mishandling of economic and social issues, and militancy in the 80s and its suppression by security forces added to the woes of Punjab. These have had a direct impact on the average Sikh family.”

Singh says the lack of opportunities have also pushed young Sikhs to try their luck elsewhere in the world, even if it means selling off valuable assets and facing migratory restrictions in many Western countries.




Five South Asians among 50 Canadian high school graduates who bagged prestigious Schulich Leader Scholarships




THERE are five South Asian students among the 50 Canadian high school graduates who were awarded prestigious Schulich Leader Scholarships given to those pursuing an undergraduate degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM courses).

Created by Canadian business leader and philanthropist Seymour Schulich in 2011, this scholarship program encourages high school graduates to embrace STEM disciplines in their future careers.

In total, 50 scholarships were awarded across Canada this year with 25 scholarships, valued at $80,000, awarded to students pursuing engineering degrees. The other 25 scholarships, valued at $60,000, were reserved for students pursuing degrees in science, technology or mathematics.

Two of the five South Asian students who were awarded these scholarships are from B.C.:


* AISHWARYA ROSHAN (science program) of Moscrop Secondary School, Burnaby, who is now at University of British Columbia.

She said: “I greatly appreciate youth involvement, and leadership! In my grade 11 and 12 years, I led six clubs within my school district, while pursuing a semi-professional dance career. I am also a firm believer that youth hold the key to positive change in the world! This belief became most prominent for me after connecting with like-minded youth from around the world at the United Nations Student Conference on Human Rights. Ultimately, from my high school experience, I have developed an ever-growing passion for environmentalism, international relations, and journalism, alongside my interest in the sciences.”


* MANPREET DEOL (engineering program) of York House School, Vancouver, who is at University of Calgary.

An interesting fact about her? “I have won my school’s cupcake eating competition 5 years in a row!”


THE other South Asian scholarship winners:


* NIMRA DAR (engineering program) of Jasper Place High School, Edmonton, Alberta

University of Saskatchewan


* ADITYA MOHAN (science program) of Colonel By Secondary School, Ottawa, Ontario

McGill University


* SIMRANJEET SINGH (science program) of Bedford Road Collegiate, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

University of Saskatchewan



Balwant Sanghera, David Sidoo and Harpreet Dhillon among UBC’s Education’s 100 list in the Year of Alumni




EDUCATOR and community activist Balwant Sanghera, businessman and philanthropist David Sidoo and educator Harpreet Dhillon figure in the UBC’s Education’s 100 list in the Year of Alumni.

As part of the Faculty’s The Year of Alumni initiative, and in conjunction with the University of British Columbia’s Centennial, the Faculty of Education is recognizing the achievements of 100 outstanding and diverse alumni from September 2015 to August 2016.

Education’s 100 were selected for their dedication, impact and expertise as community leaders in their professional area. These 100 alumni are profiled on UBC’s Faculty of Education website and will be featured in the Vancouver Sun on September 19.

The Year of Alumni will focus on five main goals:

* Recognize the outstanding contributions of the UBC Education alumni community locally, nationally and internationally.

* Build on current professional development resources to increase accessibility and applicability to today’s career climate.

* Expand networking opportunities through online forums and alumni social events.

* Develop greater links between current education research and practice through communication, programs and events.

* Enhance awareness of innovative developments in the Faculty to enhance the experience of students and future educators.


  1. Balwant Sanghera, O.B.C., MEd ’83

Educator, activist, and community organizer, Balwant Sanghera was identified by The Vancouver Sun as one of the 100 most influential Indo-Canadians in British Columbia.

Sanghera came to Canada in 1966. He quickly became an important community figure in Lillooet, BC, serving on the municipal council for thirteen years. In 1983, Sanghera obtained his Master of Education at the University of British Columbia, and accepted a position as a school psychologist with the Burnaby School District. There, he worked at the Maple Adolescent Centre where he helped youth with behavioral difficulties.

Sanghera retired in 2004 and continues to be a major pillar in the community, particularly in the counselling of new immigrants and adolescents. He is a former member of the board of directors of the Sikh Alliance Against Youth Violence and a former member of City of Richmond Intercultural Advisory Committee. He served as vice-chairman of the board of Langara College and as chairperson of the BC Teachers’ Federation Committee of Ombudspersons for ten years. He is currently president of the Punjabi Language Association of BC, the East Richmond Community Association, and chairs the South Asian Community Coalition Against Youth Violence.

In recognition of his efforts, Sanghera was honoured as one of the top twenty-five Canadian Immigrants for 2010 by Canadian Immigrant Magazine. He was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2002, and was appointed to the Order of British Columbia in 2004.


  1. David Sidoo, BPE ’83

Highly decorated athlete, David Sidoo graduated from the University of British Columbia in 1983 with a Bachelor of Physical Education.

As MVP defensive back, Sidoo led the UBC Thunderbirds to an undefeated season and the University’s first-ever Vanier Cup National Championship in 1982. He played five years of professional football in the Canadian Football League with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and was inducted into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame and the BC Football Hall of Fame, receiving the prestigious Bob Ackles award. The Sidoo Field at Thunderbird Stadium is named in his honour.

An active community member and philanthropist, Sidoo and his wife Manjy created Sidoo Family Giving in 2006, an organization focused on enriching the lives of children and families, in particular at-risk youth and single mothers. The organization supported breakfast programs in New Westminister and Downtown Eastside schools, provided assistance for after-school care at Strathcona Community Centre, and made significant contributions to the Vancouver Sun’s Adopt-a-School program.

In 2012, Sidoo received Darpan Magazine’s Advancing Philanthropy Award and was named one of Vancouver Magazine’s Power 50. The following year, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his philanthropy. Most recently, in 2014, Sidoo was appointed to the UBC Board of Governors and, with five other successful UBC football alumni, began a fundraising project to redevelop Thunderbird Stadium and revitalize the football program.

Currently, David is the President and CEO of East West Petroleum Corporation, a global Oil & Gas company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.


  1. Harpreet Dhillon, BEd ’00

A leader by example, Harpreet Dhillon inspired students to create positive social change in both their local communities and around the world.

Earning her Bachelor of Education from University of British Columbia in 2000, Dhillon taught sixth grade at Cindrich Elementary School in Surrey, BC. While coaching volleyball, basketball or track and field, she also undertook several initiatives to enrich her students’ lives, and to show them the joy of enriching the lives of others.

In 2009, Dhillon started Cindrich Elementary’s WE team, part of the comprehensive service learning program We Act. The program empowers students to participate in local and global issues. Each year, Dhillon and twenty students in the sixth and seventh grades adopt a village in a developing country. They have raised thousands of dollars to improve the lives of those in their adopted communities, through education, health, sanitation, and alternative income projects.

Dhillon was also a driving figure behind Cindrich’s Kindness Project. She designed “kindness cards” and, along with her students, began surprising staff and community members with random acts of kindness. In total, over 500 kindness cards spread throughout the school, the community, and internationally. The cards were individually numbered, and the journey of each card continues to be tracked on Dhillon’s blog.

Additionally, Dhillon organizes the annual “Kids Change” program at Cindrich through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Students work year-round earning money to help grant a special wish for a sick child. Despite being classified as an inner city school, Cindrich students raise thousands of dollars for the foundation each year.

In recognition of her efforts, Dhillon was awarded the UBC Alumni Teacher Award in 2013. Dhillon was also recognized by the Surrey Food Bank for leading Cindrich Elementary to Top Fundraising School in 2012, and in the same year, the Surrey-North Delta Leader awarded her the Community Leader Award of Top Honour Teacher.

Dhillon now works at Goldstone Park Elementary where she is part of the team creating the school culture for the brand new school. She has implemented a WE team and has found opportunities for her students to connect with local organizations such as the Surrey Food Bank and Oak Avenue Neighbourhood Hub. She continues fundraising for her Team goal to build a school in Ecuador.


Nominate an immigrant youth to win one of four $1,000 awards


THE Fresh Voices Initiative at Vancouver Foundation engages immigrant and refugee youth from across BC to help identify and remove systemic barriers to their ability to thrive.

Now Vancouver Foundation, together with MOSAIC and VanCity, has announced a series of awards, in the form of $1000 bursaries, to be given to selected youth between the ages of 14-24 years.

The 2015 Fresh Voices B.C. Awards will recognize the inspiration and leadership of immigrant and refugee youth in BC to advance social and systemic change in one of four themes prioritized by the Fresh Voices 2013 Report: Education and Learning; Family; Building bridges across diverse communities; and Immigration.

The criteria by which the nominees will be assessed range from:  leadership, and raising awareness of concerns affecting newcomer youth and family issues; recommendation and advocacy for more inclusive policies; working to build bridges and create safe spaces for diverse communities.  A complete list of criteria with examples, as well as eligibility rules and nomination forms, is available on line at

The selection committee is made up of immigrant and refugee youth from the Fresh Voices Youth Advisory Team at Vancouver Foundation, and members from VanCity and MOSAIC.  The committee is looking to grant awards to inspiring young people who are making B.C. more welcoming for newcomers.  The process is via nomination only – self nominations are not permitted.

There is also a $1000 “Ally Award” for an individual aged 25 or older, who has demonstrated a significant contribution to promoting and advancing the voices of migrant youth communities.

The deadline for all nominations is 4:30 p.m., September 16.


Race narrows as NDP support dips



Abacus Data Inc.


OUR latest national voting intention numbers [survey conducted online with 1,500 Canadians aged 18 and over from August 26 to 28]reveal a tightening race as the NDP has lost a little ground.  If the election were tomorrow, 31% say they would vote NDP (down from 35% two weeks ago), 30% would vote CPC [Conservatives], and 28% would vote Liberal.

The Liberals picked up 2 points since our last poll and the Conservatives are up 1 point, both within the margin of error. The three-point gap is the closest we have seen since May, when the NDP began to climb in support following the election of NDP Premier Rachel Notley in Alberta.

Some softening of NDP support appears in several regions: Atlantic Canada (-5) Quebec (-3), Ontario (-6) and BC (-3).

The NDP leads in Quebec, with a 21-point advantage over the Liberals; the margin was 27 points in our last survey.

In Ontario, we see the Liberals at 34%, the Conservatives 33% and the NDP 26%.

In BC, the NDP (31%) and CPC (32%) are locked in a tie, followed by the LPC [Liberals] (20%) and a strengthening Green Party (15%).


71% Not Fully Decided


In this wave, 29% say they have made up their mind who they will vote for and their decision won’t change. Two weeks ago, 31% were firm.


58% Really Want Change, 15% Really Don’t


A clear majority (58%) of those surveyed really want a change in government, while 15% are adamantly opposed to change.  The number of people adamantly in favour of change is higher in recent waves than it was earlier in the year.

Another 18% say “it would be good to have change but it’s not really all that important” meaning a total of 76% would prefer a different government.  Another 9% say “it would be better to continue with the Conservatives, but it’s not really all that important”, meaning that the total number who prefer the Conservatives to continue in office is 24% in this wave.


No Clear Consensus on Which Party Will Win


Asked which party will win this election, 26% say the NDP, 23% say the Conservatives and 21% say the Liberals.  In the last 12 months, all three parties have been on top on this question, this week marking the first time a plurality picked the NDP as the most likely victor.

These national numbers mask some differences among those living in different regions.  In Ontario, 20% think the NDP will win, compared to 25% for the Conservatives and the Liberals, while in Quebec, 42% think the NDP will win, compared to 17% for the Liberals. Only 14% of Quebecers think [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper will win a fourth term at this point in time.


Pools of Accessible Voters


The NDP enjoys access to the largest potential pool of voters, as 62% say they would consider voting NDP, followed by the Liberals at 55% and the Conservatives at 42%.  Put another way, the NDP have the potential to add 31 points more support, the Liberals 27 more points and the Conservatives only 12.  The room for growth for the Conservatives is smaller than for the other parties, thus it is more imperative that their voters are highly motivated to turn out to vote.

Today, 28% say their choice will be between the NDP and the Liberals, a number which has risen.


Duffy Trial


A total of 25% say they were following the [Senator Mike] Duffy trial closely, up from 22% in the last wave. Worth noting, in Ontario 30% are following the trial closely, compared to 20% in Quebec.  Attentiveness is highest at 37% in Atlantic Canada.

In this wave, 7% believe Duffy acted appropriately, and 61% improperly, unchanged from our last wave.  8% think [Harper’s former chief of staff] Nigel Wright acted properly, 53% improperly.  14% think the PM acted properly, 49% improperly.

These results represent a net 2-point improvement for Duffy and a 3-point deterioration for Harper and Wright compared to our last wave.

Three in ten voters say the Duffy trial will affect their vote – up 5 points since our last wave.  Of those, 15% say it makes them more inclined to vote CPC, while 85% say it has the opposite effect.

Perhaps most important is the effect of the trial on those who are leaning for or against wanting change in this election.  Among those who are inclined but not passionately for change, 20% say the Duffy trial makes them less likely to vote CPC.  Among those who are softly inclined to want the Conservatives back in office, 15% say the Duffy trial makes them less inclined to vote CPC.


The Upshot


If more evidence was needed that it is premature to draw conclusions about how this election will turn out, this wave of results reinforces that point.  The NDP enjoys the largest potential support, but also has been attracting the challenging scrutiny that comes with front-running status.

The numbers show that any party can win this election, and that Canadians themselves are quite uncertain which party will come out on top, something that could make for a more engaging election and possibly even a higher turnout on Election Day.

The Duffy trial has been a cloud hanging over the Conservatives, making those inclined to want change to feel even more inclined that way, and some of those who had been inclined to want a fourth Conservative mandate to feel less motivated to support Mr. Harper.

A sizeable proportion of Conservative leaning voters believe that the Prime Minister acted inappropriately.  This means that every time he maintains that he did nothing untoward, he is saying something only a quarter of his supporters believe. An equal number don’t believe him, and half put themselves on the fence.

Whether the Duffy trial remains a factor in this campaign is uncertain, now that the trial has is recessed until after the election.  For the Conservatives, who have the smallest potential pool of voters, they must now redouble their efforts to motivate and energize supporters, while trying to weaken the broad instinct towards change.

For the Liberals and the NDP, the situation is clear: neither can win without winning votes that the other is counting on or hoping for.




Unemployment jumps under Harper’s economic mismanagement, note Liberals



JUST days after Statistics Canada confirmed Canada is in recession, Friday’s monthly job numbers show unemployment jumped to seven percent in August and that youth unemployment remains stubbornly high. There are now 193,500 fewer jobs for young Canadians than before the 2008 downturn, noted the Liberals on Friday.

“Stephen Harper won’t admit the truth, but StatsCan confirmed this week that Canada is in recession and unemployment is rising. The youth unemployment rate remains stubbornly high at almost twice the national average,” said Liberal candidate Scott Brison. “But this isn’t just about one month or even one year; the economy has suffered and the middle class has fallen behind under Stephen Harper’s decade of economic mismanagement. Harper has the worst economic record of any Prime Minister since the Great Depression.”

He added: “Justin Trudeau and the Liberals are the only party offering real change from Harper’s failed approach. It’s clear this election is a choice between smart investments that create jobs and growth, or cuts that will slow our economy further.

“Both Stephen Harper and Thomas Mulcair do not think we need to invest to generate the kind of economic growth the middle class needs. By joining Harper in rushing to eliminate the deficit in just six months, the NDP will need to make cuts and break its promises. Mulcair opposes raising taxes on the wealthiest one per cent, he opposes lowering taxes for the middle class, and the NDP will keep sending Harper’s child benefit cheques to millionaires.”

He said a Liberal government will invest in families, so Canadians can make ends meet; in roads and bridges, so our commutes are faster and safer; and in clean energy, so we can ensure a sustainable environment for our children and grandchildren. Liberals have the strong plan and team to build an economy that works for everyone. That’s what made Canada successful before Harper’s failed economic policies, and it is what will make Canada successful again.




Mulcair to invest in sports for disadvantaged youth


NDP Leader Tom Mulcair announced Wednesday that an NDP government will help Canadian kids participate in team sports and physical activity, with a significant investment in Sport Canada. Mulcair made the announcement while visiting the City of Kamloops, the Tournament Capital of Canada.

“There is strong evidence that lower household incomes have a significant impact on kids’ enrollment in sports,” said Mulcair. “Team sports are a great way for kids to stay fit, but also to develop team and leadership skills that will serve them later in life. It’s so important that poorer kids have the opportunity to participate in team sports.”

During its first mandate, an NDP government will invest $28 million in Sport Canada to support youth sports and greater participation of low income and disadvantaged youth in physical activity. The investment increases available funding to provinces and territories for community sports programs through Sport Canada Bilateral Agreements. It will also help underrepresented groups, like girls and young women; as well as low-income, new Canadians, Indigenous, LGBT and disabled youth, to participate in sports activities.

“Less than ten percent of youth aged 5 to 17 are getting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day,” said Mulcair. “Under Stephen Harper, Canada received a grade of ‘D’ for the physical activity of our youth. The Conservative plan isn’t working for our kids and grandkids, and it’s time to do better.”

He added: “Whether it’s taking part in recreational sports activities for healthy living or representing our country on the world stage as part of Team Canada, I believe our youth should have equal opportunity to play sports. More can be done and needs to be done to ensure our children are active and healthy. Every child deserves an active and happy childhood.”




Mulcair to launch national action plan on violence against women


NDP Leader Tom Mulcair announced on Monday that an NDP government will ensure that no woman or child in need will be turned away from a women’s shelter. An NDP government will also create an action plan to end violence against women in Canada.

“On a single night in April last year, more than 500 women and children who were fleeing violence were turned away from shelters across this country. Despite these alarming numbers, [Prime Minister] Stephen Harper has consistently shown that ending violence against women and girls is not a priority for his government,” said Mulcair. “My priority is to end violence against women. We must take meaningful and significant action to address the violence being faced by our sisters, mothers and daughters across Canada.”

An NDP government will work with women’s groups and indigenous communities and organizations to create a comprehensive and coordinated national action plan to end violence against women. The National Action Plan will have dedicated funding and clear benchmarks. The plan will focus on women who are most vulnerable to violence, including Indigenous women.

Mulcair reiterated his commitment to hold an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women within the first 100 days of taking office.

“We will restore the Shelter Enhancement Program ended by the Conservatives in order to expand access to shelter and transition resources for women and girls needing support so that no woman in need is ever turned away,” said Mulcair.

Reversing Conservative indifference and neglect will be a top priority for an NDP government, he said.





Reports confirm Harper’s second recession, Liberals say Trudeau only leader with plan to invest in middle class



CANADIANS received a new round of economic numbers on Tuesday that show the country’s economy – and growth for the middle class – remains bleak, said Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau.

“This morning’s StatsCan numbers confirm what we have known for some time: Canada is in recession,” said Trudeau. “In this election, Canadians have a clear choice between smart investments that create jobs and growth, or cuts that will slow our economy further. Only Liberals have a real plan to build a strong economy and middle class.”

He added that both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair do not think we need to invest to get us out of this economic downturn. Despite Harper’s promise of balanced budgets, he has run eight straight deficits with no plan for growth. Harper has the worst growth record of any Prime Minister since the Great Depression.

Trudeau said that Mulcair has no answers, and is holding the Conservative line that he will balance the budget at any cost – but he will not say how. Mulcair has already broken his promises on health care and public transit, and he will back away from more of his empty promises, like on child care.

“A Liberal government will invest in families, so Canadians can make ends meet; in roads and bridges, so our commutes are faster and safer; and in clean energy, so we can ensure a sustainable environment for our children and grandchildren,” said Trudeau. “Liberals have the strong plan and team to build an economy that works for everyone. That’s what made Canada successful before Harper’s failed economic policies, and it is what will make Canada successful again.”



Prime Minister Harper announces support for manufacturing jobs in Canada


PRIME Minister Stephen Harper on Tuesday announced two measures to help Canadian manufacturers expand their businesses and create new jobs.

“Canada’s manufacturing industry is a key pillar of the Canadian economy that provides good, well-paying jobs for hardworking Canadian families all across our country,” Harper said. “We have been focused on building the future of this sector over the past decade and we have a plan to do more.”

Harper said that under his leadership Canadian manufacturers came through the global recession and now benefit from unprecedented global trade opportunities, incentives for new investment in facilities, modern infrastructure, a skilled workforce and one of the most advantageous business tax environments in the world.

He added that a re-elected Conservative government will build on this proven record by working with employers and key stakeholders to establish a new Advanced Manufacturing Hub to encourage the development of cutting-edge products and technologies.  The new centre, planned for Burlington, will become a catalyst for high-quality, value-added investment and jobs in the manufacturing sector.

“Canadian manufacturers of all sizes face common challenges as new technology and processes emerge,” Harper said. “Working with the private sector and using Canada’s research expertise, we will help our manufacturing sector grow and succeed around the world.”

Building on the Conservative Government’s record of expanding trade and opening new markets for Canadian-made products, Harper also committed to establish an Investment and Trade Promotion Office with a mandate to coordinate federal programs and policies to attract new manufacturing product mandates and investments to Canada, and help Canadian firms increase market share globally.

“The Investment and Trade Promotion Office will be a one-stop shop to attract investment and product mandates to Canada,” Harper said.  “This will translate into new, high-quality jobs across the country and keep our economy moving forward.”

He contrasted these practical, serious solutions advocated by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters to support Canada’s manufacturing sector and help grow the economy with the untested, dangerous approaches proposed by his opponents.

“[Liberal Leader] Justin [Trudau] hasn’t thought through this issue and has shown time and again that he is not capable of managing Canada’s $1.7 trillion economy,” said Harper. “Justin believes that Canada should simply give up on manufacturing-based employment!”

He added: “[NDP Leader Tom] Mulcair and the NDP pretend to care about manufacturing, but their dangerous high-tax ideology will wreck the economy and drive away manufacturing jobs. Canadians can’t afford Mulcair and the NDP.”


Province says it is trying to keep ICBC insurance rates as low as possible


(PHOTO: Todd Stone)


TRANSPORTATION and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone on Monday said: “British Columbians have told our government that ICBC insurance rates need to be as low as possible. The government will work with ICBC during the ensuing period to ensure the basic insurance rate application meets those expectations.”

Stone said in a statement: “Government has been informed that ICBC has provided the British Columbia Utilities Commission with its initial documentation and a schedule outlining the information that it will provide in the weeks ahead with respect to their 2015 rate application.

“ICBC has advised government that a number of concerning trends and cost pressures are weighing heavily on its projections, and it needs additional time to conclude mitigation efforts to limit the next basic insurance increase for rate payers. For example, ICBC has informed us that it is facing an increase in the complexity, frequency and severity of bodily injury claims. Last year, bodily injury costs totalled over $2.17 billion, up nearly 10% in one year. This trend continues to grow.

“While the number of crashes is relatively unchanged, ICBC is also reporting more crashes with multiple injuries than ever before, with more cases being potentially fraudulent. Just last month, ICBC released a media bulletin about a ‘jump-in’ scheme, where it was able to determine only one individual was in an accident, but two other relatives fraudulently filed bodily injury claims.

“These increasing costs must be covered by the basic insurance rates we all pay. If left unmitigated, rates could increase by as much as 6.7%.

“I have made staff from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the Ministry of Finance available to work with through ICBC’s numbers and help identify some additional strategies that ICBC could embrace, all in an effort to apply as much downward pressure on insurance rates as possible. I’ve also asked Gordon Macatee – an expert in Crown corporations – to support this work.”




ICBC warns unexpected, rapid escalation in number of injury claims putting pressure on it




ICBC started the process of filing its basic insurance rate application with the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) on Monday but it will take a further two months to analyze emerging external pressures on basic insurance rates before it will submit the remainder of its application – including a proposal for a specific basic rate change – by October 30.

The pressure from rising number and cost of injury claims is commonly the biggest single factor driving rates for auto insurers across North America and beyond. Basic insurance rates in B.C. have experienced ongoing and increasing pressure in recent years from the number and cost of injury claims but this pressure has increased in 2015 at an even higher rate than anticipated.

“If we were to file our full application today, we would need to ask for a 6.7 per cent increase in basic insurance rates, in large part due to the unexpected and rapid escalation in the number of injury claims being reported to us in recent months,” said Mark Blucher, President and CEO of ICBC. “In the best interests of our customers, we are going to work alongside government over the next few weeks to help identify and examine steps we can take to lower the required rate increase.”

ICBC’s bodily injury claims costs, which cover payouts for pain and suffering, future care and loss of wages, topped $2 billion for the first time in 2014 and are anticipated to escalate to $2.3 billion in 2015 – an increase of 64 per cent, or almost $900 million, since just 2008. During the same period of time (2008-2015), overall insurance rates have increased by less than 10 per cent for the average personal insurance customer.

There are various factors contributing to the increasing cost of injury claims, including higher legal and medical costs, more represented claims and an increase in the number of more complex, catastrophic claims which typically result in larger settlements – sometimes running into hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars.

The number of injury claims being reported to ICBC has escalated in recent months – almost 68,000 new injury claims reported over the last 12 months, approximately 7,000 more than the preceding 12 months.

Among the reasons being explored for the increasing number of injury claims being reported are more relatively minor soft tissue injury claims and potentially more exaggerated and fraudulent claims.

While the overwhelming majority of customers make honest claims, ICBC is treating all allegations of potential fraud seriously, including an expansion of its Special Investigation Unit. In 2014, ICBC opened approximately 3,200 injury claim fraud investigations – more than in any prior year.

Lower interest rates in Canada are also putting additional pressure on insurance rates across the country. Going forward, ICBC’s investment income – which helps reduce the amount customers have to pay for their auto insurance – will be negatively impacted by the Bank of Canada’s interest rate cuts as the premiums paid by customers are invested at a lower market interest rate.

In 2013, a new framework was introduced which ensures any change to basic insurance rates must be limited to within plus-or-minus 1.5 percentage points of the prior year’s rate change. The BCUC approved a 5.2 per cent increase to basic insurance rates for 2014.




SkyTrain delays expected Labour Day weekend


TRANSLINK announced on Thursday that it is replacing major sections of its 30-year-old SkyTrain track while keeping the service open for customers.

The rail replacement work will keep the system safe and reliable for many years to come. In the short term, it will cause delays for customers taking the Millennium and Expo lines this weekend.

“Passengers board our trains about 120 million times a year, and we’re committed to a safe and smooth journey for each and every one,” said Colleen Brennan, TransLink Vice-President Communications and Customer Experience.

“We want to keep our valued customers moving while the rail replacement work is underway, and we’re doing everything we can to keep people moving while the repair work is done.”

Customers should plan for at least 20 minutes of extra travel time this weekend.

There will be signs at all stations, and announcements will be made on trains and at stations. SkyTrain attendants will be on hand to answer questions throughout the system.

Crews are replacing a total of 4,550 linear metres of rail, work needed to keep the Expo Line safe and reliable. The rail being replaced is original track and is nearly 30 years old.

Last weekend, crews replaced approximately 950 linear metres of rail by Edmonds Station. The work was completed on schedule, despite high winds and a downed tree in the area where rail was replaced.

September 5 to 7, all day (Labour Day weekend)

* Expo and Millennium Line service will be reduced, while crews replace rail west of Commercial-Broadway Station. Trains will single track at Commercial-Broadway and Main Street-Science World stations.

* Millennium Line will operate between VCC-Clark and Columbia stations only.

* A frequent bus shuttle will operate between VCC-Clark, Main Street-Science World and Stadium-Chinatown stations from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Millennium Line customers travelling into or out of downtown Vancouver in the afternoon should consider using this bus service.

For information on the service impacts, customers can:

* Visit and check Transit Alerts

* Follow TransLink on Twitter <>

* Or call Customer Service at 604-953-3333



Buckle Up reminder for back to school


(PHOTO: Cpl. Scotty Schumann inspecting a child in a car wearing a seatbelt.)


SURREY RCMP is asking drivers to ensure their child passengers are buckled in properly and safely this back to school season and throughout the year.

“We all want to arrive safely. Adults can simply click their seatbelt in and go, but the rules for young passengers can be a little more confusing,” says Cpl. Scotty Schumann. “We want to make sure parents have the right information as seatbelts, when used correctly, will dramatically reduce the risk of serious injury.” 

Research shows that a correctly used child safety seat reduces the risk of fatality by 71 per cent and the risk of serious injury by 67 per cent. Parents and those driving young children are asked to review the rules for how to buckle youngsters up safely:

0 to 1 year old and up to 9 kg (20 lbs)

* A rear-facing child car seat is required until your child is at least one year of age and 9 kg (20 lbs).

* Rear-facing is a safe way for infants to be seated.

* As long as they are within the seat recommendations (please see manufacturer’s recommendations) they can continue to use the rear-facing.

* The best placement is in the back seat in the centre spot.

* Never install a rear-facing seat on a front seat equipped with an air bag—your child could be injured if the air bag is deployed.

Older than 1 year and between 9-18 kg (20-40 lbs)

* A rear or forward-facing car seat, depending on your child’s weight.

* As long as they are within the seat recommendations (please see manufacturer’s recommendations) they can continue to use the rear-facing.

* The best placement is in the back seat in the centre spot.

* Forward facing seats must always be used with a tether.

More than 18 kg (40 lbs) and under 9 years old or 145 cm (4’9″) tall

* A booster seat is required until your child is at least nine years old or 145 cm (4’9″) tall.

* The best placement is in the back seat.

* Booster seats are designed to be used with a lap/shoulder belt. Do not use a booster seat with only a lap belt.

* Position lap belt low over hip bones and shoulder belt over shoulder and in front of chest.

 Kids 12 and under who are too old or large for a booster seat should sit in the back seat. Always make sure they use a seatbelt and that it’s properly adjusted.

“Proper installation of child seats is paramount to protecting your child passengers. Read your vehicle manual and child restraint instructions for additional seatbelt and child restraint information. Lead by example by always wearing your seatbelt and reminding older children to buckle up every time they get into a vehicle,” says Cpl. Schumann.

A driver can be fined $109 under the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations for a child not properly restrained or a seat not properly installed. A driver can also be fined $167 for having a child (9 to 15 years old) in the car who is not wearing a seatbelt.





BC Hydro says Saturday’s windstorm was ‘most damaging’ in their history, crews continue to restore power across B.C.


(PHOTOS: Trees knocked down by Saturday’s windstorm at East Georgia Street and Windermere Street in East Vancouver. Photos by Chandra Bodalia)



BC Hydro says that they estimate that 710,000 – nearly 50% of their 1.4 million customers on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland – lost power due to Saturday’s windstorm. The storm is believed to be the single largest outage event in BC Hydro’s history.

By Tuesday, crews had managed to restore power to more than 705,000 customers over a span of 72 hours.

Since Saturday, crews worked through 1,800 trouble calls (individual work orders) related to the storm. Typically BC Hydro crews respond to an average of 2,000 trouble calls a month across the province.

BC Hydro called in workers from Kamloops, Vernon, Prince George, Smithers, Terrace, Williams Lake, Fort St. John, 100 Mile House, Campbell River, Courtenay, Nanaimo, Victoria, Port Alberni, Duncan and Qualicum.

Restoration efforts were hampered by adverse weather. For example, saturated soil in certain areas has made it unsafe for crews to bring in heavy equipment for repairs.






Windstorm reminds British Columbians to prepare for emergency





LAST weekend’s windstorm that ripped through the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island knocking over trees, power lines and leaving people in the dark for a number of days is a reminder for all British Columbians to make sure they and their families are prepared for any emergency.

“The recent wind storm serves as a reminder to British Columbians that emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility that starts in each of our homes,” said Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, Naomi Yamamoto, on Tuesday. “We all need to have supplies on hand, like food and water, first aid kits and flashlights, so that our homes are ready for any potential emergency, large or small.”

Yamamoto joined BC Hydro officials on Monday in a tour of impacted areas and the utility company’s Emergency Operations Centre, commending work crews on their tireless, around-the clock effort to restore power to affected communities. The minister committed to exploring with partners, including local authorities and BC Hydro, lessons learned to help better prepare and respond to emergencies.

Emergency officials are using the recent windstorm to remind residents to prepare for more severe weather incidents, as well as make it a catalyst for preparing for catastrophic impacts should a large earthquake strike the coast. All British Columbians should have an emergency plan that outlines evacuation and family reunification measures, and an emergency kit to help sustain family and pets for a minimum of 72 hours.


Learn More:

* For details on how British Columbians can prepare for emergencies, including planning resources and guides, visit PreparedBC:

* To access the Earthquake and Tsunami Smart Manual:






TransLink says it helped customers weather the storm


(PHOTOS: A SkyTrain car received significant damage from a tree on the guideway between Edmonds and Royal Oak stations Saturday. /

A tree from a neighbouring yard fell and damaged buses at the Burnaby Transit Centre on Saturday.)


As Metro Vancouver grappled with one of the worst storms in years, TransLink said Monday that their coordinated response kept customers on the transit system safe, and provided transit services that kept them moving as the region weathered the storm.

The high winds that downed trees and knocked out power across the region also threw branches and debris into SkyTrain guideways, damaged SkyTrain cars and buses, and downed trolley wires, affecting service for our customers.

TransLink said they appreciated their customers’ patience, as their crews worked hard to restore full service quickly and safely. They said they also know their customers understand that last weekend was an extraordinary event.

Here are just a few of the things TransLink said they did this weekend to keep people safe, make sure they had the information they needed and keep them moving:

* When a tree branch shattered the front of a SkyTrain car, and flying debris filled the guideway forcing the closure of a section of the Expo / Millennium line on Saturday, 16 bus shuttles were put in place to provide a “bus bridge” to keep people safely moving.

* Customer Information assisted nearly 8,000 callers, despite a five-hour phone line outage, and handled a huge volume of questions via Twitter and Facebook throughout the weekend.

* Extra Transit Security, Transit Police and Transit Supervisors provided customer support and security at busy stations, including ensuring customers at stations without power were safe.

* Extra crews were deployed to manage more than 50 reports of downed trolley wires. Through a coordinated effort by TransLink line crews, BC Hydro, Shaw / Telus and the Vancouver Parks Board (responsible for trees) each incident was handled in a systematic way to ensure public safety.

Generators were installed at Lougheed, Edmonds, Braid and Gateway SkyTrain stations to keep them open for customers.

Generators were also used at Richmond and Surrey transit centres, as well as the T-Comm (bus operations control) centre, to coordinate bus service throughout the region.

“Safety of our customers is the first priority during an extraordinary event such as this weekend’s storm. Thanks to effective planning and response, and the commitment of staff across the TransLink enterprise, we kept our customers safe – and we kept them moving, too,” said TransLink.



Recycling spoiled food after recent storm


METRO Vancouver reminds residents and businesses to use their green bins and home composters to recycle as much of the excess food waste as possible due to power outages during last weekend’s storm.

Just as Metro Vancouver residents recycle food every day, using green bins and home composters to recycle spoiled food is the best way to handle this unexpected waste.

“We understand that many Metro Vancouver residents had the unpleasant experience of having large quantities of food in their fridges and freezers spoil because of last weekend’s storm,” said Director Malcolm Brodie, Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste Committee.

“Rather than throwing spoiled food in the garbage, we remind residents to recycle it as most do on a daily basis. Freezing this excess amount until your regular collection day will be especially helpful for multi-family housing complexes,” he added.

All unpackaged food can go into green bins, and residential food waste under 10 litres can also be taken to any of Metro Vancouver’s seven transfer stations except in Matsqui. Spoiled food can be re-frozen, which makes it easier to remove the packaging in order to recycle it.

Freezing spoiled food until the regular collection day will prevent green bins from overflowing or overloading at transfer stations. Placing layers of yard waste between food waste in green bins is another way to minimize odours until collection day. Residents may also use home composters.

Late summer and fall are great times to start composting at home as many municipalities sell discounted composters to recycle yard trimmings, fruits, and vegetables.

Businesses dealing with spoiled food because of power outages should speak with their haulers to determine how best to deal with excess amounts.

Metro Vancouver’s Love Food, Hate Waste program provides tips and information on a wide range of issues including how not to waste food by buying too much, how best to store and freeze food, portion planning, menu ideas, and recipes.

Additionally, information on preparing for emergencies that could involve prolonged power outages is available on the Metro Vancouver website.



Government, ICBC and police team up to get tough on distracted driving




WHILE government reviews B.C.’s distracted driving penalties, ICBC, police and the B.C. government are teaming up to launch a month-long distracted driving campaign across the province.

One in four deaths on B.C. roads involves distracted driving. It’s time everybody commits to leaving their phones alone and avoiding other forms of distraction when they’re behind the wheel.

This month, police are ramping up their enforcement of distracted driving across the province. Distracted driving is the second leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C. and a leading cause of crashes with pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

Cell Watch volunteers will be roadside across the province reminding drivers to leave their phones alone. ICBC road safety coordinators will also be visiting community events with a driving simulator the public can try. You can take a stand against distracted driving and encourage others to do the same by picking up a free decal to display on your vehicle at ICBC driver licensing offices and participating Autoplan broker offices.

Telsu is also a supporter of this month’s campaign and has been working with ICBC to help educate drivers about the risks of using a cell phone while driving through its smartphone and Internet safety program, Telus Wise.

The campaign features new radio advertising, digital advertising which will appear online and in restaurants and bars, and television ads. You can view an infographic on this month’s distracted driving campaign at

Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, said on Thursday: “The cost of a distracted driving ticket in B.C. is only $167 – the second lowest in Canada – yet the cost of a distracted driving crash can be a person’s life. During our month-long consultation, it was clear the public firmly agrees that our fines are too low. We are going to fix this. Over the coming months, we will make our roads safer with tough, fair, and effective sanctions to curtail this alarming but preventable problem.”

Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, said: “We’re asking drivers to leave their phones alone and stay focused on the road. When you’re distracted behind the wheel, your ability to react quickly is significantly compromised. In fact, you’re four times more likely to crash if you’re using your phone while driving.”



Employment supports for single parents on assistance


THE Single Parent Employment Initiative that started Tuesday will remove barriers to employment for single parents on income and disability assistance by providing them with the supports they need to secure long-term and sustainable employment.

Under the program, more than 16,000 single parents on income and disability assistance will have access to a range of supports through WorkBC Employment Services Centres that will help break down the barriers they often face when trying to find a full-time job.

Single parents may also be eligible for:

* Up to 12 months of funded training for an in-demand job, or a paid work experience placement. Single parents will also be able to remain on income assistance if they attend a training program.

* Child care costs during training or work placement and for the first year of employment.

* Public transit costs to and from school.

* Exemptions for bursaries, scholarships and grants that are required for the program of study have also been extended to single parents in approved training programs.

* A full-suite of WorkBC Employment Services Centre services such as workshops on resume writing and interview preparation.

The Single Parent Employment Initiative supports B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, which is re-engineering the Province’s education and training systems to ensure students have a full range of training options.

As well, through recent changes to the province’s income assistance program, all families on income assistance and disability are eligible for:

* Increased earnings exemption; from $200 to $400 per month, or $300 to $500 per month for individuals with a child with disabilities; and

* Supplemental health coverage for a full year after they leave income assistance for employment (dental, optical and premium-free Ministry of Health MSP and PharmaCare).


Quick Facts:

* Currently, there are 16,000 single parent families with approximately 26,000 children that are on income and disability assistance in B.C.

* Single parents on income assistance and their families represent 44% of all recipients, not including those on disability insurance.

* On average, 90% of single parents on income and disability assistance are female.

* Children who grow up in a family on income assistance are at greater risk of living in low income themselves. Research suggests they may be three or more times more likely to become dependent on income assistance as an adult compared to children with no or limited exposure to income assistance.

* B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint was launched in April 2014 and outlines how the Province is re-engineering the education system – from kindergarten through to post-secondary training and beyond – to make sure education and training aligns with B.C. jobs.

* By 2022, there will be one million job openings in B.C. – more than 78% of jobs will require some form of post-secondary education, and 44% of jobs will be in skilled trades and technical occupations.





Curriculum revisions prep students to succeed in changing world




THE world is changing. Technology and innovation are reshaping society. Today’s students need the right skills to succeed in tomorrow’s world.

That is why this fall the B.C. government says it is kicking off a three-year transition to a new curriculum in B.C. schools that will ensure students learn the basics like reading, writing and arithmetic in a way that connects them to the collaboration, critical thinking and communications skills they need to thrive in college, university and the work force.

Curriculum is the game plan for teaching – it maps out what teachers teach, and what students are expected to learn. In the first phase of the transition, Kindergarten to Grade 9 teachers will have the chance to use the new curriculum in their classrooms.

Flexible learning is at the heart of the refined approach and it will help teachers tap into the passions and interests of individual students. Students can learn about core subjects while doing projects related to their interests, such as music, hockey, or dinosaurs. There are also more hands-on learning opportunities so students can see how classroom knowledge applies in real life situations.

The curriculum also includes:

* renewed emphasis on environmental sciences;

* Aboriginal perspectives integrated throughout all grade levels;

* the history and ongoing legacy of the residential school system; and

* new content regarding historical experiences of East and South Asian immigrants.

The plan was developed in collaboration with more than 100 B.C. teachers over the past three years, and for the first time, all subject areas have been developed at one time – by teachers.

Starting this fall, the government begins the three-year process of transitioning to the new curriculum, starting with Kindergarten to Grade 9. Teachers in those grades will have the option to use the new curriculum this school year, before it is fully implemented in all schools in fall 2016. The entire K-12 curriculum will be phased in by the 2017-18 school year and will continue to be presented by subject areas and grade levels, ensuring consistent province-wide learning standards for all B.C. students.

The new curriculum fits in with the key goals of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint to re-engineer education to ensure young people have the skills they need to qualify for in demand careers and is part of the larger transformation efforts outlined in B.C.’s Education Plan.

Education Minister Mike Bernier said on Tuesday: “Parents, teachers, educators all share the same goal – student success. With five years of labour peace, we can focus together on connecting students with the skills they will need tomorrow. The new curriculum will help ensure students have the skills they need to turn their dreams into reality in our constantly changing world.”


Quick Facts:

* More than 500,000 B.C. students head back to school September 8.

* The teams of teachers that developed curriculum were formed in collaboration with the BC Teachers Federation, the Federation of Independent School Associations and the First Nations Schools Association.

* Draft K-9 curriculum was posted online for review in October 2013 and garnered more than eight million views and more than 1,200 pieces of feedback from teachers, experts, parents and the general public.

* Draft curriculum for Grades 10-12 has been developed and will be finalized this school year.

* The provincial six-year completion rate has increased by more than 10% since 2001 and was at 84.2% in 2013-14 (public and independent schools).



Post-secondary education and training will be more accessible and affordable thanks to $1,200 grant from Province




PARENTS and families can now go into almost any credit union in British Columbia to kick-start their education savings through the $1,200 B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant. All they need to do for any eligible child is sign up for a Registered Education Savings Plan at a participating branch.

There is no barrier to low-income families since no matching or additional contributions are required to access the $1,200. The Province is also working to ensure that low-income families and children in care are able to tap into the grant.

Education Minister Mike Bernier joined Central 1 Credit Union president and CEO Don Wright to announce that families can go to one of more than 350 credit union branches to apply for an RESP and access the grant.

To be eligible for the $1,200, children must have been born in 2007 or later. Families have three years, or until the day before the child’s ninth birthday, to submit an application for the grant.

The Province is working with other financial institutions so over the coming months they will be able to offer the grant.

Education Minister Mike Bernier on Monday said: “Families with eligible children will be able to apply for the $1,200 B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant and help their children get a head start in pursuing their dreams. The vast majority of tomorrow’s jobs require some form of post-secondary education and training. I’m encouraging families to start planning and savings for their children’s post-secondary education.”

Don Wright, President and CEO, Central 1 Credit Union, said: “Saving for a child’s education is one of the most important investments a parent will make. This grant provides a great head start, and we’re pleased that credit unions across B.C. are the first financial institutions in the province able to make the application widely available to families.”

Don Coulter, CEO, Coast Capital Savings, said: “The B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant is a long-term investment in youth and their future post-secondary plans. We are thrilled to be one of the credit unions accepting applications for the grant as it supports Coast Capital’s goal to build a richer future for youth. These grants, along with the work we are doing with our community partners, will equip our province’s youth at an early age with the knowledge and tools they need for a lifetime of financial well-being.”


No such thing as a routine stop!


AT around 2:30 p.m. on August 26, one of Langley’s Traffic officers responded to a complaint of males smoking marijuana in the 5700-block of 203rd Street.

The officer was able to quickly locate the trio of males and their vehicle.  They were immediately arrested for possession of a controlled substance.  A search of their vehicle resulted in a significant number of items being seized:

* A loaded .45 calibre semi-automatic pistol (later determined to have been stolen from Calgary in May of 2014).

* A switchblade knife.

* A set of brass knuckles with a built-in Tazer.

* Seven cell phones.

* A marijuana grinder.

* Over $4,000 in Canadian currency.

* Over 100 individual packages of suspected heroin.

* Over 100 individual packages of suspected crack cocaine.

* Dozens of individual packages of suspected crystal meth.

* Dozens of individual packages of suspected powder cocaine

The three suspects, 23, 20, and 17 years old, all from Surrey have been released from custody and the investigation is ongoing.  Charges will be recommended.

Superintendent Murray Power, Officer-in-Charge, Langley RCMP, said: “This is a great example that highlights two key areas for police.  First, we continue to encourage citizens to call police for any suspicious or illegal activities as you never know what it may lead to.  Secondly, the officer safety issues police face daily, especially those engaging in vehicle stops or searches.  In this case, risk was present due to the potential loss of currency and drugs causing desperation on the part of the suspect.  The loaded firearm and other weapons raise the risk even higher as it could put the crazy thought into the suspect’s mind that the weapon(s) may present a way out.  This always ends badly.”