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Tuesday, September 21, 2021
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Let’s call it an international irony. The chief minister of the Indian state of Punjab, Amarinder Singh, who had kept aggressively attacking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on some Khalistani issue or the other over the past few years, was replaced by another politician on Monday in a humiliating manner – the same day as Trudeau led his party to a third victory in the polls (although it will be a minority government again).

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and Amarinder Singh in Amritsar in February 2018.
Photo: Amarinder Singh’s Twitter

So Trudeau gets to have the last laugh!







Jagmeet Singh in Surrey on Sunday.
Photo by Sukhwant Dhillon / AM 600 Sher-E-Punjab Radio

The NDP, of course, never had a chance to win more seats than the Liberals or the Conservatives, but their leader, Jagmeet Singh, won the hearts of millions of Canadians – especially the younger generation. His style and the policies he advocated with such fervour resonated with them. He also enhanced the image of Sikhs (and, indeed, all South Asians) tremendously. He will give Trudeau a tough time in the House of Commons for sure – and that will be good for all Canadians.




Erin O’Toole: How secure is his own future?
Photo by Sukhwant Dhillon / AM 600 Sher-E-Punjab Radio

The VOICE fully expected Trudeau to win (though we remained neutral, giving all parties an equal opportunity to present their point of view to Canadians). The main reason? We didn’t think Canadians would like to take the risk of having a new government while the pandemic was still raging with the Delta variant and some idiots still refusing to get vaccinated and spreading conspiracy theories – and we still don’t know how things are going to be six months from now or even a year from now. Trudeau has done a good job no doubt and it was better to let him keep handling the situation. Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole came across as too negative and too desperate to appeal to progressive Canadians – and the future of Canada lies in the hands of the progressives. But Trudeau was humiliated as Canadians decided NOT to give him a majority and thus force him to listen to the NDP – and the other parties – on different issues. Maybe we will see a more mature Trudeau.  Meanwhile, the knives will be out for O’Toole in his party.



Parm Bains: The new face in Ottawa.
Photos: Facebook / Twitter

All five  incumbent South Asian MPs won. Except for NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh (Burnaby South), all the others are from the Liberal Party – Harjit Sajjan (Vancouver South), Sukh Dhaliwal (Surrey Newton), Randeep Sarai (Surrey Central) and Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre). And the Liberals will welcome a new MP – Parm Bains (Steveston-Richmond East). The VOICE is happy for all of them – they are fine people. Bains handled the South Asian media for the BC Liberals for many years and he was well liked and respected. We are sure he will do a great job in Ottawa. Interestingly, Sajjan, Dhaliwal and Sarai won with huge margins in spite of some people waging a vicious campaign against them.


Harjit Sajjan


Hedy Fry




Sukh Dhaliwal


Randeep Sarai

644+613+435 new cases of COVID-19 and 11 more deaths in B.C. since Friday

OVER a three-day period, B.C. is reporting 1,692 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 179,646 cases in the province:

* September 17-18: 644 new cases

* September 18-19: 613 new cases

* September 19-20: 435 new cases

(Note: The numbers of total and new cases are provisional due to a delayed data refresh and will be verified once confirmed.)

In the past 72 hours, 11 new deaths have been reported, and the total number of deaths in B.C. now stands at 1,899.

The new deaths include:

* Fraser Health: six

* Vancouver Coastal Health: two

* Northern Health: three

As of Monday, 86.8% (4,024,302) of eligible people 12 and older in B.C. had received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 79.4% (3,679,181) had received their second dose.

In addition, 87.4% (3,778,735) of all eligible adults in B.C. have now received their first dose and 80.2% (3,470,043) their second dose.

After factoring for age, people not vaccinated are 32.2 times more likely to be hospitalized than those fully vaccinated.

Since December 2020, the Province has administered 7,711,306 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.

There are 5,608 active cases of COVID-19 in the province and 171,769 people who tested positive have recovered. Of the active cases, 307 individuals are in hospital and 156 are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation.

(Note: Intensive care numbers are a subset of the total in hospital. They are not in addition to the number of people in hospital.)

The new/active cases include:

* 533 new cases in Fraser Health
* Total active cases: 1,732

* 239 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health
* Total active cases: 988

* 371 new cases in Interior Health
* Total active cases: 1,183

* 345 new cases in Northern Health
* Total active cases: 1,037

* 204 new cases in Island Health
* Total active cases: 661

* no new cases of people who reside outside of Canada
* Total active cases: seven

There has been one new health-care facility outbreak at Overlander (Interior Health).

There is a total of 21 active outbreaks, including:

* long-term care: Northcrest Care Centre, Westminster House, and Menno Terrace East (Fraser Health), Arbutus Care Centre, and Louis Brier Home and Hospital (Vancouver Coastal Health), Village at Mill Creek – second floor, Cottonwoods Care Centre, Brookhaven Care Centre, Spring Valley Care Centre, Kamloops Seniors Village, Hillside Village, The Hamlets at Westsyde, Joseph Creek Care Village, and Overlander (Interior Health) and Jubilee Lodge (Northern Health)

* acute care: Chilliwack General Hospital (Fraser Health), Fort St. John Hospital (Northern Health) and Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (Interior Health)

* assisted or independent living: David Lloyd Jones, Sun Pointe Village and Hardy View Lodge (Interior Health)




Direct flights between Canada and India resume on Tuesday

Photo: Air Canada website

PAUL Gill of Gill International Travel in Surrey told the VOICE on Monday that Air Canada informed them on Saturday that non-stop flights between Vancouver and Delhi as well as between Toronto and Delhi were to resume on Tuesday.

Gill said tickets were being sold and that the first flight from Vancouver to Delhi will be taking off from Vancouver International Airport at 12:10 a.m. on Tuesday (September 21).

Gill also referred to Air Canada’s website regarding testing requirements for flights from India.

The website states: “Please note that Air Canada’s requirements for boarding the flight from India to Canada have now changed. The only accepted COVID-19 tests are an RT-PCR test or a rapid PCR test that must be taken no more than 18 hours before your departing Air Canada flight to Canada from the COVID-19 Testing Centre & Lounge across from Terminal 3 at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. Air Canada requires either of these specific tests as no other test from any other clinic within India will be accepted, even if you are connecting from a different city.

“You may also be able to travel if you provide proof of a certified positive PCR test result taken between 14 and 180 days before your scheduled departure flight to Canada.”




Special prosecutor appointed for investigation initiated by Surrey Mayor McCallum’s complaint

Doug McCallum Photo submitted

THE BC Prosecution Service (BCPS) announced on Monday that Richard Fowler has been appointed special prosecutor to provide legal assistance and advice to the RCMP in relation to an investigation that was initiated by a complaint from the Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum.

On September 13, Assistant Deputy Attorney General for the BCPS, Peter Juk, received a request from the RCMP for assistance from the BCPS during the early stages of the investigation.

The ADAG concluded that, in light of the nature of the allegations, the Mayor’s position as a public official in a senior position of authority, and the ongoing public discussion about the change from the RCMP to a municipal police force in Surrey, a special prosecutor should be appointed.

The appointment of a special prosecutor is intended to avoid any potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of justice. The ADAG appointed Fowler as special prosecutor under section 7 of the Crown Counsel Act because he considered it in the public interest to do so.

Fowler is a senior Vancouver lawyer in private practice. He was given a mandate to provide legal advice to the investigators as may be necessary, conduct any related charge assessment, and assume conduct of the prosecution if charges are approved.

On September 6, Surrey RCMP announced that anyone who had information or dashcam footage, or witnessed an altercation involving McCallum and a gray Ford Mustang at a “Keep the RCMP in Surrey” gathering at Save on Foods located at 3033 152 Street on Saturday, September 4 at approximately 12:30 p.m. was requested to contact them.

R6 RapidBus on Scott Road and 72 Avenue public engagement period

Virtual public information sessions: Wednesday, September 22 from 6 to 7 p.m. and Saturday, September 25 from 10 to 11 a.m.

BUILDING on the success of current RapidBus routes, TransLink in partnership with the cities of Surrey and Delta, is planning for the R6 Scott Road RapidBus. This service will bring faster, more frequent and reliable service to the Scott Road Corridor.

TransLink says customers on the R6 RapidBus will enjoy service that’s at least 20% faster than local bus service. Time savings will be achieved through bus priority on roadways, such as dedicated bus lanes and signal priority, less frequent stops and all-door boarding.

The R6 RapidBus route will mirror the existing 319 route. Route 319 will remain in place to provide frequent local service and will benefit from reduced travel times and the street changes TransLink is making. The 12 other routes that run on a portion of the corridor will also benefit from the proposed road and transit priority changes.

RapidBus has the capacity to move 12,000 people per hour during rush hour. With full buses, that’s the equivalent of taking 34 ferries worth of single-occupancy cars off the region’s roads during rush hour.

RapidBus features better customer amenities such as more sheltered stops, real time information and even cushier seats. Customers will also have accessibility features at stops, such as text-to-audio functionality of the digital bus-arrival information and tactile pads.

TransLink will host two virtual public information sessions during the engagement period – Wednesday, September 22 from 6 to 7 .m. and Saturday, September 25 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The public are invited to complete a short survey.

Throughout the engagement, customers will be able to find information at translink.ca/R6 and to share feedback via:

Ridings to watch in B.C.: Angus Reid Institute

Vancouver Granville

The incumbent Jody Wilson-Raybould, the once-Liberal candidate who successfully ran as an independent in 2019, is not running for another turn. A microcosm of Vancouver’s concerns over housing unaffordability, the Liberal candidate may be hamstrung by a history of flipping houses around the city leaving this riding a tight three-way race with the CPC and the NDP.

Burnaby NorthSeymour

As support for the Liberals has retreated across B.C., the relatively new riding of Burnaby North—Seymour looks like the most likely for an NDP breakthrough — a goal Jagmeet Singh has personally invested a lot in, having spent much time campaigning in the riding.


While Nanaimo-Ladysmith flipped Green in 2019 with 34.6% of the vote, it remains to be seen if they can hold on to this seat after a turbulent campaign plagued by internal political strife and increasing dissent among the party’s rank and file. Current polling suggests this is a tight three-way race between the Greens, the NDP, and the CPC.

Cloverdale—Langley City

One of the closer races in Metro Vancouver, the riding went Liberal in 2015 and CPC in 2019. During the recent provincial election, however, voters flipped from the Liberals to the NDP. Another factor to consider is that this time there is no Green candidate, meaning that 6.4% of voters are up for grabs.

Port Moody—Coquitlam

One of the closest races in 2019, Port Moody-Coquitlam is again shaping up to be a tight three-way race between the CPC—who won in 2019—the NDP, and the Liberals. Of note, if the Liberals want to win a majority government, taking Port Moody-Coquitlam will be an important step.

South Surrey—White Rock

Traditionally viewed as a Conservative stronghold, the long-time provincial MLA Gordie Hogg flipped the constituency to the Liberals in the 2017 by-election before losing to the CPC in 2019.

New Westminster man charged with assault with weapon

ON September 15 at approximately 7:45 a.m., New Westminster Police Department officers were called to the 700-block of McBride Boulevard to speak with a victim who told them that moments earlier a male she knew had pointed a firearm at her and threatened to kill her.

Numerous New Westminster Police Department Units responded to provide assistance. Due to the high-risk nature of the situation, the Lower Mainland Emergency Response Team and a New Westminster Police Department negotiator were called to the scene.

New Westminster Police patrol members were able to locate the residence in the 700-block of Cumberland Street, make contact with the suspect and arrest him without incident.

The New Westminster Police Department Forensic Identification Service was later called in to search and process the scene. Two replica firearms were recovered from the scene

New Westminster resident Kevin Gerald Hunter, 43, has been charged with assault with weapon, pointing a firearm, assault by choking, uttering threats, and use of an imitation firearm.

“Due to an increased risk to public safety, a section of Cumberland Street was closed and a number of residents in nearby homes were advised to leave,” said Sgt. Sanjay Kumar. “We appreciate how evacuations affect residents, but bear in mind, we do it when we feel it is necessary for the safety of residents. We want to thank neighbours for their patience and cooperation.”

Woman arrested after illicit magic mushroom grow-op discovered in Surrey

Photos: Surrey RCMP

SURREY RCMP seized a large quantity of magic mushrooms after a clandestine psilocybin grow-op was located at Clayton Heights.

This investigation began on September 6 after Surrey Fire Services attended a residence in the 7000-block of 196 Street in response to a carbon monoxide alarm. Fire crews found signs of illicit drug activity and called Surrey RCMP to assist. Frontline police officers discovered what they believed to be a psilocybin mushroom drug laboratory. A woman was arrested at the scene, and later released pending further investigation.

(According to Medical News Today, individuals use psilocybin as a recreational drug which provides feelings of euphoria and sensory distortion that are common to hallucinogenic drugs, such as LSD.)

Police obtained a search warrant and over the following two days, Surrey RCMP Drug Section along with the Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) Team conducted an investigation inside the residence. The grow operation was safely dismantled and items consistent with the production of psilocybin mushrooms were seized.

During the investigation, officers located and seized 11 kilograms of dried psilocybin mushrooms, and 18 kilograms of wet psilocybin mushrooms. The dry mushrooms alone are the equivalent of more than 6,200 doses.

“The possession, sale and production of magic mushrooms remains illegal in Canada,” said Sgt. John Murray of the Surrey RCMP Drug Unit. “There are risks when consuming illegal substances such as psilocybin mushrooms as they are not regulated, so the potency and effects can vary significantly.”

The investigation is ongoing and no charges have been laid.

Surrey RCMP are reminding property owners to conduct regular checks on their rental properties as illegal drug labs can cause damage to property, such as mold, mildew and other structural damage. Property owners could potentially face financial hardships as not all home insurance covers damages incurred by illegal activity.

Information on property owner’s rights to access residential rental units can be found on the Residential Tenancy Branch website.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart and wife harassed in Yaletown

Kennedy Stewart Official photo

VANCOUVER Mayor Kennedy Stewart and his wife were reportedly aggressively harassed by a man while shopping at Yaletown on Saturday.

Stewart said in a statement on Monday: “This past Saturday afternoon, my wife Jeanette and I were shopping at a local Yaletown shop with our puppy Fergus. A white male in his late 40s or early 50s who was shopping in the store approached us and began to verbally harass me. He then moved to target Jeanette with his verbal abuse and to disparage people living without homes. His attitude became increasingly aggressive and he initiated physical contact with me.

“I repeatedly asked him to leave us alone and he did not. I told him three times that if he did not leave us alone and respect our personal space, I would call the police. When he continued and challenged me to step outside, I called the police and described the incident.

“Jeanette and I remained in the store while the man waited outside. Vancouver Police Department (VPD) officers arrived shortly thereafter and took statements. I was told the man would be given a verbal or written warning and that possible charges would be considered. My wife and I are grateful to the VPD officers who responded for their attention and professionalism.

“Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in this kind of aggressive behaviour directed at public figures. Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum, Victoria Police Chief Del Manak, and Prime Minister Trudeau have all been recent targets of harassment and violence.

“Where I fully respect people’s right to express different viewpoints, resorting to harassment or violence is unacceptable. Again, I am grateful to the VPD officers who assisted with the incident and I look forward to the conclusion of their investigation.”


Photo: Elections Canada

ELECTIONS Canada says that the only remaining way to vote in this election is at your assigned polling station on Monday, September 20.

Polls will be open for 12 hours (hours vary by time zone). (Pacific Time: 7 a.m.-7 p.m.)

To find your polling station, check your voter information card or use Elections Canada’s Voter Information Service.

To find out where your assigned polling station is located:

* check your voter information card;

* enter your postal code into the Voter Information Service box;

* call Elections Canada at 1-800-463-6868 or 1-800-361-8935 (TTY).

Who is eligible to vote?

To vote in the federal election, you must:

* be a Canadian citizen

* be at least 18 years old on election day

* prove your identity and address

This first-time 19-year-old voter, who didn’t want to give out her name, told photojournalist Sukhwant Dhillon (AM 600 Sher-E-Punjab Radio) on Monday: “As a citizen of Canada you have the right to vote, so go out and vote.” 

What ID do I need to vote?

You have many options to prove your identity and address. See your options and the full list of ID accepted at the polls.

If you don’t have ID, you can still vote if you declare your identity and address in writing and have someone who knows you and who is assigned to your polling station vouch for you.

The voucher must prove their identity and address using option 1 or option 2. A person can vouch for only one person (except in long-term care facilities).

Is my polling station accessible?

All electors are assigned polling stations for election day. Make sure your assigned polling station meets your accessibility needs. To find out how accessible it is:

* check your voter information card;

* enter your postal code into the Voter Information Service box; or

* call Elections Canada at 1-800-463-6868 or 1-800-361-8935 (TTY).

Advance polls were open from September 10 to September 13, and according to the preliminary figures, some 5,780,000 electors voted at the advance polls in this general election. This is a 18.46% increase from the 4,879,312 electors who voted in advance in the 2019 general election.

Elections Canada: https://elections.ca/

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