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Surrey launches Climate Action Now Survey

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum Photo submitted

THE City of Surrey on Thursday launched a survey to gather input from residents, community members and other stakeholders, to help shape Surrey’s new Climate Change Action Strategy. 

“Council is taking action to address climate change,” said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. “We are now inviting the community to provide feedback on our proposed ways to mitigate climate change risks. Community feedback will help us gauge support for the bold actions we are proposing for a zero-carbon future for Surrey. Input from everyone is important. Hearing from a diversity of voices from across the City will help us implement the best solutions for climate action in Surrey.” 

The strategy will outline the City’s plan to meet bold targets, set by Surrey City Council last year, to reduce carbon pollution – also known as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – to net zero community wide and absolute zero corporate emissions before 2050. The strategy will focus on the areas estimated to make the biggest impact on greenhouse gas emissions, along with other community benefits, including: 

  • zero-carbon, resilient neighbourhoods
  • safe, zero-carbon transportation
  • healthy, zero-carbon buildings
  • climate-positive, resilient ecosystems
  • bold City leadership

“Council has set bold targets to tackle Climate change, and we encourage everyone to help shape our action plan,” said Councillor Allison Patton, Chair of the Agriculture, Environment and Investment Committee.  “By providing your input and ideas, we can reduce carbon pollution together and create a more resilient community for everyone.” 

 The Climate Action Now Survey is open until the end of June, to anyone who lives, works, or attends school in Surrey. The City will also be hosting a virtual open house, meeting with stakeholders, and providing other opportunities for input over the coming weeks. Staff will be incorporating input and additional analysis over the summer, and the full draft plan will be shared with the community in the Fall, prior to Council approval in late 2021. 

To take the survey and to learn more visit surrey.ca/climateaction.

Five South Asians among 2021 BC Achievement Community awardees

John Horgan Photo: BC Government

THERE are five South Asians among this year’s recipients of the BC Achievement Community Award that were announced this week by Premier John Horgan and Anne Giardini, Chair of the BC Achievement Foundation.

“This year’s community awardees are, without exception, remarkable British Columbians who have strengthened their communities during challenging times,” said Horgan. “As a result of their commitments to causes beyond themselves, they have ensured that BC is a better province for all of us.”

“It is a particular honour this year to recognize these twenty-five outstanding British Columbians,” added Giardini. “This year’s recipients exemplify the spirit of the Community Award. Celebrating their achievements honours the very best of our province and inspires us all to public service and excellence.”

The recipients:

Amber Anderson C.C.C., Vancouver
Harbhajan Singh Athwal, New Westminster
Ann Blaauw, Langley
Doug Chinnery, Hornby Island
James Robert (Bob) Coates, Victoria
Kal Dosanjh, Surrey
Norah Flaherty, Vancouver
Dr. Balbir Gurm, Surrey
Yúya’ainux̌v Anita Hall, Bella Bella
John & Joyce Henderson, Salmon Arm
Teresa Kazemir, Port Coquitlam
Zeba Khan, Vancouver
Angelika & Peter Langen, Smithers
Dr. Christine Loock, North Vancouver
Lil Mack, Williams Lake
Pulchérie Nketsap Mboussi, Victoria
Jack McGee, West Vancouver
Elaine Monds, Victoria
Marcia Nozick, Vancouver
Nirmal Parmar, Terrace
Dr. Jane Jae Kyung Shin, Port Coquitlam
Lurana Kikuko Tasaka, Vancouver
Rosemary Thomson, Kelowna
Linda Williams, Sechelt
Cheryl Young, Aldergrove

An independent committee selects the recipients of the Community Award. The 2021 selection committee members are Mayor Lee Brain of Prince Rupert, Mayor Michelle Staples of Duncan, and past recipients, Aisha Amijee, Aart Schuurman Hess and Andy Yu.

The 2021 Mitchell Award of Distinction, selected by the BC Achievement Board in consultation with the community, went to Chef Amber Anderson for her work with H.A.V.E. Culinary Training Society.

Community Award recipients are traditionally recognized in a formal presentation ceremony in Victoria, in the presence of the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2021 awardees will instead be celebrated online and through BC Achievement’s digital #shinethelightbc campaign. Each recipient receives a certificate and a medallion designed by BC artist Robert Davidson honouring their achievements.

South Asian recipients:

Harbhajan Singh Athwal
Photo contributed

Harbhajan Singh Athwal, New Westminster
Harbhajan Singh Athwal has been a pillar in his community since his arrival to Canada in 1968. After retiring from his role as a sawmill laborer, where he worked for over 38 years, Harbhajan Singh took on a volunteer position as President of the non-profit Khalsa Diwan Society Gurdwara Sukh Sagar in 2006. Through this society, Harbhajan Singh contributes to the spiritual, educational, and social services available to the New Westminster community. In 2007, he spearheaded the creation of the Guru Nanak Free Kitchen program, providing meals for the homeless community in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Over the past 14 years, volunteers have been preparing and distributing meals to this community and others every week. Harbhajan Singh has helped to create many youth-oriented programs, services and workshops, including scholarships for high school and university students. A devout Sikh, Harbhajan Singh follows the service to humankind path, this ethos underscoring everything he does. Over the years, Harbhajan Singh has extended his home to many new immigrant families, and he continues to offer community and friendship where it is needed most.


Kal Dosanjh
Photo contributed

Kal Dosanjh, Surrey
As a Detective with the Vancouver Police Department, Kal has spent considerable time serving Vancouver’s DTES area. During patrol duties Kal was exposed to the challenging realities faced by the community. This experience led him to create the Kids Play Youth Foundation, a non-profit that gives kids the opportunity to become involved in sports and other recreational activities. By creating constructive outlets, building a sense of belonging and self worth, Kids Play steers kids away from a lifestyle of drugs, gangs and violence. The Foundation has also developed after school mentorship programs with the Surrey and Langley school districts. Since its launch in 2015, more than 60,000 kids have accessed Kids Play. Without question, Kal’s vision is helping to reshape a community while building and lifting up a generation.


Dr. Balbir Gurm
Photo: southasiancanadianheritage.ca

Dr. Balbir Gurm, Surrey
Balbir’s achievements both professionally and as a dedicated volunteer have inspired her colleagues and community alike. A long time advocate for women, Balbir is the founder and chair of the Network to Eliminate Violence in Relationships. For the past decade, she has been a source of strength and leadership, working to break down gender and cultural barriers, facilitating collaboration between volunteers and external groups, while striving toward the common goal of preventing relationship violence. Last year, Balbir authored, Making Sense of Global Pandemic: Relationship Violence & Working Together towards a Violence Free Society. As a Nursing Professor, Balbir is a role model for students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, inspiring them to become fellow agents for change. For decades, Balbir has used education, research, and community engagement to advocate for violence prevention. She is truly a champion for women, and a trailblazer within her community.


Zeba Khan
Photo: Facebook

Zeba Khan, Vancouver
At just 24-years old, Zeba is an inspiring example of young leadership, vision and generosity. While studying for her Bachelor of Neuroscience at UBC, Zeba dedicated countless hours towards causes that resonated deeply. A staunch believer in equal access to healthcare for all, Zeba advocates for free access to menstruation care supplies. As the founder of Free Periods Canada, Zeba and her team have distributed over 20,000 menstrual supplies across Canada. Zeba is a research assistant at the Contraception & Abortion Research Team (CART) at UBC and a board member of Options for Sexual Health and is working with these two groups to evaluate sexual and reproductive health care access needs of immigrant youth in BC. Through her World Awareness Initiative Foundation, Zeba provides a platform for young leaders and activists to work together. It’s through this initiative that she will inspire the generation to come.


Nirmal Parmar
Photo: Facebook

Nirmal Parmar, Terrace
Nirmal moved to Terrace from India in 1969 with his young family and quickly became one of the city’s most prolific volunteers. He volunteered with the Thornhill Fire Department early on and in 1984 Nirmal, along with a number of like-minded individuals, started a new multicultural group, which eventually became The Terrace and District Multicultural Association. In the last 50 years Nirmal has organized, facilitated and delivered innumerable multicultural-focused workshops for community groups and schools in the Terrace area. In 2000, Nirmal teamed up with other community groups to address the issue of institutional racism in the workplace and schools which resulted in the creation of the Skeena Diversity Society. Nirmal has also served as a board member and/or trustee for the Kermode Friendship Society, Terrace Public Library, Northern Saving Credit Union, Terrace Co-operative Association, Terrace and Area Health Council, Scouts Canada and Vanderhoof & Districts Co-operative Association.



Premier John Horgan wishes “Eid Mubarak”

John Horgan

PREMIER John Horgan said in a statement on Thursday to mark Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan:

“Beginning today, Muslims in British Columbia and around the world will observe Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan. To celebrate, Muslims traditionally attend morning prayers, indulge in sweets and share meals with loved ones.

“This year, Eid will once again look different as we continue to fight COVID-19. During these difficult days, the values of compassion, sacrifice and generosity, which are central to the Muslim community, shine all the brighter.

“While the end of this pandemic is in sight, I can only imagine how difficult it was for friends and families to spend Ramadan apart. I want to thank the Muslim community for following the advice of public health experts. I am hopeful next year will look different, with people once again standing shoulder to shoulder at mosques, sharing stories and breaking bread at iftar.

“The quickest way to get back to celebrating together again is to get vaccinated. I encourage everyone in B.C. to register at: gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated

“On behalf of all British Columbians, I wish those who observed the holy month a joyous end to Ramadan.

“Eid Mubarak!”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole calls on Trudeau to withdraw Bill C-10

Erin O'Toole Photo: Facebook

CONSERVATIVE Party Leader Erin O’Toole on Thursday called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to withdraw Bill C-10.

O’Toole said in a statement: “In a democratic society, abuses of power and authority can and should be called out without fear of retribution. Social media has rapidly become the platform for this purpose, from cellphone videos of interactions with police to social media posts by survivors of sexual assault and harassment leading to the #MeToo movement.

“But in the midst of a pandemic, while Canadians are stuck at home and relying on social media for information, connectivity, and entertainment more than ever before, the Liberal government is quietly moving to radically change how Canadians use the internet.

“In a society that values freedom of speech and expression, Bill C-10 leaves the door open for a massive abuse of power on the rights of Canadians.”

O’Toole said that Canada’s Conservatives support creating a level playing field between large foreign streaming services and Canadian broadcasters, and championing Canadian arts and culture, and a Conservative government would do so without compromising Canadians’ fundamental rights and freedoms.

He said: “We are calling on Justin Trudeau to withdraw Bill C-10 today. If this is not done, a Conservative government will stand up for Canadians and repeal this deeply flawed legislation. While the NDP and the Bloc may look the other way on the freedom of expression, Canada’s Conservatives will not.”

CBSA officers seize over 17,000 litres of substance used to produce date rape drug

ON February 8, the Pacific Region Intelligence Section of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), with assistance from the National Targeting Centre, identified a container of interest, and referred it for examination.

CBSA officers from Metro Vancouver Marine Operations examined the container using a wide range of detection tools and technology, and collected samples from multiple drums. These samples were sent to the CBSA’s Contraband Drug Analysis Section in Ottawa.

The analysis confirmed that the substance was gamma-butyrolactone, a controlled substance also known as ‘GBL’. GBL is a Class A Precursor in Part 1 of Schedule VI of the Controlled Drug and Substances Actthat is essential to the production of other controlled substances, such as “date rape” drugs. In total, the CBSA seized 17,852.5 litres of GBL with an estimated street value of over $1.8 million.

The investigation into the importers is ongoing.

J.J. Chayeski, Director, Metro Vancouver Operations Division, Pacific Region, CBSA, said: “Through an effective and successful investigation, border services officers and intelligence personnel prevented the potential manufacture of thousands of kilograms of illegal drugs. This significant seizure illustrates the CBSA’s commitment and vigilance to protecting our communities from harmful drugs and substances by impeding the ability of criminals to operate across our borders.”


Quick Facts

  • The CBSA’s Intelligence Section plays a key role in the identification of border-related threats and in protecting the safety and security of Canadians. Intelligence activities are conducted to identify individuals and entities that are of interest to the CBSA in connection to organized crime, drug smuggling, and other violations of the Customs Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
  • The CBSA works with police partners to prevent illegal drug smuggling that endangers the safety of Canadian communities and generates profits for organized crime, and to ensure that perpetrators are investigated and prosecuted.
  • Border services officers are highly trained in examination and investigative techniques to intercept prohibited goods and illicit drugs from entering Canada.
  • If you have information about suspicious cross-border activity, contact the CBSA Border Watch Toll-Free Line at 1-888-502-9060.

Harmandeep Tiwana, 28, of Calgary among 3 charged in $3-million seizure of drugs and cash

THREE million dollars’ worth of drugs and cash was seized from two Calgary homes, including what is believed to be the province’s largest seizure of gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB).

On April 27, ALERT Calgary’s organized crime and gang team concluded a short-term investigation with a record drug haul. ALERT seized enough methamphetamine, fentanyl, cocaine, and GHB to equal an estimated 100,000 doses.

The GHB seizure of 113.5 litres is believed to be the largest seizure of its kind in Alberta.

Meanwhile, the amount of methamphetamine and fentanyl pills seized ranks amongst ALERT Calgary’s biggest busts.

“The totality of what was seized is staggering, and represents a high degree of community harm. Behind so many doses are crimes committed to feed that addiction; be it property crimes, thefts, frauds, and robberies, and all feeding into social disorder,” said Superintendent Dwayne Lakusta, ALERT CEO.

In total, ALERT seized roughly $3 million worth of drugs and cash:

  • 113.5 litres of GHB;
  • 22.3 kilograms of methamphetamine;
  • 18,000 fentanyl pills;
  • 1.5 kilograms of fentanyl;
  • 4.1 kilograms of cocaine; and
  • $386,220 cash.

GHB is colourless and odourless, and is commonly referred to as the “date-rape drug” but is usually abused as a club drug. In July 2013 Edmonton Police Service seized 106 litres of GHB, which at the time, was believed to be Alberta’s largest seizure.

ALERT’s investigation is ongoing and additional charges are being contemplated. To date, 14 drug-related charges have been laid against three suspects:

  • Ashley Stanway, 30-year old from Calgary;
  • Rayann Blackmore, 22-year old from Calgary; and
  • Harmandeep Tiwana, 28-year old from Calgary.

ALERT began its investigation just a month prior after receiving information about suspected drug trafficking activity in the Calgary region.

Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.

No kidding! Mounties always get their … er … goat!

Photos: Surrey RCMP

YOU can always trust the Mounties to get their … er … well, in this case, goats!

Last Tuesday, Surrey RCMP responded to a report of four goats on the loose in the 15600-block of Highway 10.

Members quickly worked together to secure the goats, who were taken into police custody unharmed. There was no report of .. er .. resisting arrest.

All goats have been reunited with their owner.

Missing Surrey female located

SURREY RCMP say the South Asian female who was reported missing has been located.


‘Caps suffer first road defeat of season against Loons

SAINT PAUL, MN – Vancouver Whitecaps FC suffered their first road defeat of the season, falling 1-0 to Minnesota United FC at Allianz Field on Wednesday evening.

The winner came in the form of a Ramón Ábila header in the second half, the only goal in a match that saw a total of 28 shots, including nine on target.

After some early pressure from the Loons in midfield, Deiber Caicedo took advantage of a turnover from MNUFC fullback Chase Gasper, rounded goalkeeper Tyler Miller, and brilliantly picked out ‘Caps leading goal scorer Cristian Dájome in the box but the Colombian couldn’t keep his effort below the bar.

The ‘Caps would get the next two big chances of the game in the 23rd minute as Russell Teibert whipped in two pinpoint crosses two minutes apart into Lucas Cavallini, who put his first effort narrowly wide and forced a big save out of Miller with the second.

Those two chances put the Blue and White into a really good offensive rhythm, forcing two more saves from Miller off a stinging Bruno Gaspar shot and a low Cavallini free kick. Gaspar made his first MLS start on the evening.

Despite the strong play from the ‘Caps, both sides went into the break deadlocked at 0-0.

At halftime, the ‘Caps were forced to make a change as Andy Rose came out of the match with a groin injury, with Derek Cornelius replacing him at centre back.

Right out of the gate in the 47th minute, Maxime Crepeau came up with a huge save off Minnesota playmaker Emanuel Reynoso from close range to keep the match scoreless.

In the 56th minute, it was the ‘Caps turn to try to break the deadlock as Dájome drove towards goal after being sent through by Caio Alexandre and curling a shot to the far post but Miller once again denied the ‘Caps from taking the lead.

Dájome had another great chance in the 63rd minute after some neat combination play from Alexandre, Caicedo, and Gaspar, but Miller parried the Colombian’s shot out for a corner.

The deadlock would finally be broken in the 72nd minute as Ábila headed home a Robin Lod cross for his first MLS goal to give the Loons the 1-0 lead.

‘Caps sub Jake Nerwinski had a great chance to tie the game late off another set piece but he put his volley wide of the target, as the Blue and White dropped to an even record with a 2W-2L-1D record.

Next on the ‘Caps road trip is a visit to Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, May 16 for a daytime clash at Children’s Mercy Park. Catch the game live on TSN1/4, and AM730. Kickoff is at 11 a.m. PT.


GE Appliances VWFC Player of Quality: Déiber Caicedo
Referee: Jon Freemon

Scoring Summary
72’ – MIN – Ramón Ábila (Robin Lod, Osvaldo Alonso)

Possession: MIN 54.4% – VAN 45.6%
Shots: MIN 16 – VAN 12
Shots on Goal: MIN 4 – VAN 5
Saves: MIN 5 – VAN 3
Fouls: MIN 19 – VAN 18
Offsides: MIN 1 – VAN 0
Corners: MIN 4 – VAN 7

29’ – MIN – Michael Boxall
31’ – VAN – Bruno Gaspar
58’ – VAN – Caio Alexandre
74’ – MIN – Ramón Ábila
76’ – VAN – Derek Cornelius
90’+4’ – MIN – Osvaldo Alonso

Minnesota United FC
1.Tyler Miller; 19.Romain Métanire, 15.Michael Boxall ©, 22.Jukka Raitala, 77.Chase Gasper; 20.Wil Trapp, 6.Osvaldo Alonso; 31.Hassani Dotson, 8.Jan Gregus (9.Ramón Ábila 65’), 10.Emanuel Reynoso (5.Jacori Hayes 86’); 17.Robin Lod

Substitutes not used
97.Dayne St. Clair, 13.Ethan Finlay, 14.Brent Kallman, 24.Justin McMaster, 26.D.J. Taylor, 27.Foster Langsdorf, 29.Patrick Weah

Vancouver Whitecaps FC
16.Maxime Crépeau; 6.Bruno Gaspar (28.Jake Nerwinski 73’), 4.Ranko Veselinović, 15.Andy Rose (13.Derek Cornelius HT), 3.Cristián Gutiérrez; 7.Déiber Caicedo, 19.Janio Bikel (27.Ryan Raposo 86’), 8.Caio Alexandre, 31.Russell Teibert © (17.Leonard Owusu 77’); 11.Cristian Dájome, 9.Lucas Cavallini

Substitutes not used
1.Thomas Hasal, 12.Evan Newton, 14.Theo Bair, 30.Kamron Habibullah, 55.Michael Baldisimo

Man arrested in March 26 fatal hit-and-run in Burnaby

ON March 26, Burnaby RCMP frontline officers responded to a report of a hit-and-run collision involving a pedestrian. The 19-year old victim died in the hospital several days later.

On Wednesday, Burnaby RCMP officers arrested a 19-year-old man at his residence in Vancouver. Police have also seized the vehicle believed to be involved in the collision from the same residence.

Charges will be forwarded to BC Prosecution Service and the investigation is ongoing.