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IN PHOTOS: Canada Day celebrations in Southeast Vancouver with Minister Harjit Sajjan

Federal Minister of International Development Harjit Sajjan (Vancouver South MP) joined BC minister of state George Chow, MLA Michael Lee, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart, Vancouver Councillors and others at Canada Day celebrations at Sunset Community Centre in Southeast Vancouver. Photo by SUKHWANT DHILLON / AM 600 Sher-E-Punjab Radio

IN PHOTOS: Canada Day in Burnaby with Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh joined New Westminster-Burnaby MP Peter Julian, Burnaby MLAs Raj Chouhan, Janet Routledge, Katrina Chen and Anne Kang, Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley, Burnaby Councillors and others celebrated Canada Day in Burnaby. Photo by SUKHWANT DHILLON / AM 600 Sher-E-Punjab Radio

Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria headed to New Delhi after completing term in Ottawa

Ajay Bisaria signing off on June 30 as India’s High Commissioner to Canada. Photo: Facebook

INDIAN High Commissioner to Canada Ajay Bisaria is headed to New Delhi after completing his term in Ottawa on June 30.

He is one of the most talented Indian Foreign Service members and his expertise in East Europe as well as the Eurasia region, coupled with his vast experience in Russian diplomacy and fluency in Russian will surely be an asset to India’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Bisaria was private secretary to the then-Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee from 1999 to 2004 and attended more than 50 international meetings with him.

He also served as India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan from December 2017 to February 2020.

In a farewell letter to friends, Bisaria noted: “It has been an eventful tenure over the last two years, with long spells of ‘virtual diplomacy.’ The challenges of this new normal made the assignment more interesting: I had the privilege of greater access and interaction with friends across Canada, even though in-person contact was limited.”

 

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Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria: ‘Canada and India basically have a very positive partnership with creative ways of cooperating’

 

Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria’s visit to Vancouver was productive

UBC medical student Sukhmeet Singh Sachal receives 2022 Sandra Banner Student Award for Leadership

Sukhmeet Singh Sachal

SUKHMEET Singh Sachal, a UBC medical student, was recognized this week for his outstanding leadership skills, as the 2022 recipient of the Sandra Banner Student Award for Leadership (SBSAL).

The Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) Board of Directors launched the SBSAL in 2013 with the aim of encouraging the development of future leaders in medicine.

The annual award recognizes the exceptional leadership of one undergraduate medical student and one postgraduate medical trainee. Each of this year’s winners will receive up to $3,000 in leadership development funding.

Sachal, the 2022 Undergraduate Winner in Canada, is an award-winning social entrepreneur, speaker, author, and humanitarian. As a medical student, he serves as the Health and Wellness Ambassador for the Canadian Medical Association, and a member of the Council of Health Promotion for Doctors of BC.

He is also the co-founder of Break The Divide Foundation, an international organization which connects youth globally with one another to discuss climate change and mental health, and drive local solutions to global problems.

Sachal is the founder of the Sikh Health Foundation, which aims to improve public health interventions in South Asian communities across Canada.

During the pandemic, this charity made waves globally for creating awareness about COVID-19 in a culturally effective manner. Through his advocacy and innovations, he received $175,000 in funding to help bring an end to COVID-19 and inform policy changes at the national level.

Sachal has been named as one of Canada’s Emerging Leaders, been recognized by Dr. Theresa Tam in helping keep Canadians safe, and recently honored as one of ten COVID-19 Commonwealth Youth Heroes worldwide.

His love for research, medicine, innovation, and his effective leadership skills have resulted in Sachal being named this year’s undergraduate recipient of the Sandra Banner Student Award for Leadership.

 

IN his acceptance speech, Sukhmeet Singh Sachal said: “I would like to thank CaRMS for naming me as the recipient of the prestigious Sandra Banner Student Award for Leadership. In Sikhism, there is a concept known as Seva, which means selfless service. Throughout my life, I have been fortunate to have many wonderful mentors who have guided me to this path of selfless service.

“Having gone through medical school through a pandemic was challenging to say the least. However, seeing the heroic actions of physicians, allied health workers, and my fellow medical student colleagues inspired me to take action.

“A lot of what I do stems from seeing the problems or barriers around me and trying to find ways to work with community members to enact change. This is how the Sikh Health Foundation was born.

“I am proud that this organization has helped educate over 250,000 people across Canada since the pandemic started. As well, the organization now serves as a hub for youth to get involved with research, knowledge translation, and enacting policy changes.

“I would like to thank the entire CaRMS committee for this honour. I dedicate this award to every single person across Canada who did their part to help bring an end to this pandemic. As we continue into new health challenges, I urge us all to bring out the leaders within us to continue making a difference.”

‘Happy Canada Day’ from Trudeau and Bergen

Justin Trudeau Photo: Twitter

PRIME Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday issued the following statement on Canada Day:

“Today, we celebrate the country we love, and the people we share it with. Canada is home to over 38 million people: Canadians who live in cities and towns – big and small; people who are indigenous to this land; and those who’ve been here for weeks, months, years, or for generations.

“Canada is strong because of our diversity. No matter what our faith is, where we were born, what colour our skin is, what language we speak, or who we love – we are all equal members of this great country.

“Today, we celebrate the place we all call home. I know for some, our country’s historic wrongs can make that difficult. But while we can’t change history, we can put in the work to build a better future; one that reflects our values of hope, resilience, kindness, respect, and generosity.

“Generation after generation, Canadians have shown that we can deliver on those values. We did it when we adopted our charter in 1982, we did it when we took care of each other during the pandemic, and we do it every day when we welcome refugees with open arms.

“Today is an opportunity for us all to recommit ourselves to those values – values that the Maple Leaf represents. Because our flag is more than a symbol, it’s also a promise. A promise of opportunity. A promise of safety for those fleeing violence and war. And a promise of a better life.

“As we come together today, let’s think about what this country means to us – and tomorrow, let’s challenge ourselves to find new ways to live up to the great promise of Canada. From my family to yours, happy Canada Day!”

 

Candice Bergen
Photo: Twitter

CONSERVATIVE Party Leader Candice Bergen said in a statement:

“Every day, I am inspired by Canada.

“Our country is known worldwide as a land of compassion, tolerance, and opportunity. We are recognized as a hospitable nation that invites people from all walks of life, and that works to uplift those who are suffering.

“For many years, the Maple Leaf has served as a symbol of hope and light to the world. Ours is a country of peace, freedom and democracy. Today, we honour the history of Canada and celebrate these foundational values. We take pride in our heritage, and in the incredible natural wonders that serve as symbols of Canada’s greatness.

“But most of all, I am constantly inspired by Canadians themselves. Canadians are kind, welcoming, compassionate and generous. They are hard-working and resourceful. We meet the challenges facing our country with determination and resilience.

“Even when we disagree, Canadians know when to put aside our differences for the good of our country. We know that when we are united, Canada thrives.

“Today, I encourage all Canadians to take time to reflect on the immense blessing it is to live in Canada. I urge everyone to recommit to the defense of our values and our freedoms and to take joy in all that Canada has to offer.

“Happy Canada Day!”

 

Limited, temporary disruption to Squamish General Hospital maternity services in early July: VCH  

VANCOUVER Coastal Health (VCH) announced on Thursday that the some patients accessing maternity services at Squamish General Hospital (SGH) may be diverted to alternate hospital sites for care in early July 2022.

Patients who are in labour may be diverted to Lions Gate Hospital, Richmond Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital or B.C. Women’s Hospital, where appropriate obstetrics oversight and care is available.

Due to a temporary gap in coverage, VCH said it is implementing this interim measure to ensure those accessing maternity services continue to receive quality care and treatment, wherever they are on their maternity journey. VCH’s priority continues to be the wellbeing, health and safety of our patients, including babies delivered at its hospital sites. 

VCH said it appreciates the importance of patients having a safe and positive birthing experience, and is committed to making this referral process as seamless as possible for any patients who may be impacted.

A regional Emergency Operations Centre will support the diversion of patients to other facilities, as appropriate, to ensure the facility is prepared to provide a high standard of care and their needs are met.

VCH said that it also recognizes this operational adjustment may cause concern for those accessing maternity services and sincerely apologised to its patients and their families for any disruption. 

VCH said it is making every effort to address any gaps in coverage, and continues to explore and implement a wide range of measures to help address current staffing challenges and other demands on acute care delivery. This includes targeted recruitment strategies and the redesign of staffing models, where appropriate. 

If requiring urgent care, pregnant individuals should proceed to the Emergency Department nearest to them. If the person believes they are having complications, they should call 9-1-1 without delay.

Police trying to positively identify two male suspects in Saanich shooting incident

The suspect vehicle. Photo: RCMP

THE Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit (VIIMCU) said on Thursday evening that it is working with the BC Coroner’s Service in order to positively identify the two male suspects.

Once that is complete VIIMCU said its first priority will be to speak to their next of kin and then it will be moving forward on determining more about them, which would include their backgrounds or histories and how that may relate to what took place.

Numerous witnesses have been interviewed, however, police still have many more interviews to conduct. They also continue to canvass the neighbourhood and gather both physical and digital evidence from the scene and surrounding area.

Police thanked the numerous individuals and businesses who have already met and worked with investigators with respect to information and videos.

A number of firearms have been recovered at the site.  The fulsome assessment and analysis of the firearms used during the exchange with police is underway and police said they are mindful that while it is important to the VIIMCU investigation – it is also being looked at by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) for their concurrent investigation.

Police added: “Therefore, there is nothing further we can say with respect to the firearms.  However, we can say multiple units or personnel that specialize in dealing with and identifying firearms are involved.’

As the scene was being assessed on Wednesday, a vehicle that police now believe is associated with the suspects was found to have multiple improvised explosive devices in it.  The RCMP Provincial Explosive Disposal Unit was called in to further assess the devices.  The EDU was able to assess them prior to being handled, safely transfer them to a container and then ultimately take them to another site where they were safely destroyed.

“It is fair to describe what EDU dealt with has a highly volatile and dangerous situation.  We are not in a position to provide additional specifics at this time.  There is significant work underway to look further at those devices and providing specifics at this time could impact those efforts,” police added.

With respect to the suspect vehicle, it is described as a white 1992 Toyota Camry – 4 doors with two black racing stripes over the hood and roof. Police are requesting anyone who may have any information about this vehicle or its movements in the week prior to Tuesday to contact VIIMCU at 250-380-6211.

 

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Vancouver Police Constable Riley Emerson Robert Wiens charged with assault

THE BC Prosecution Service (BCPS) announced on Thursday that a charge of assault has been approved against Vancouver Police Constable Riley Emerson Robert Wiens in connection with an on-duty incident involving an individual on March 20, 2021, in Vancouver.

An information charging Wiens with one count of assault was sworn on Thursday. The first appearance on this matter is scheduled for August 15 in Vancouver Provincial Court.

The charges were approved by an experienced Crown Counsel with no prior or current connection with the officer.

Transit Police K9s named after two late police officers from Calgary and Abbotsford

Sgt. Andrew Harnett and PSD Harnett. Photos submitted

THE two newest Metro Vancouver Transit Police explosive detection police dogs will graduate from training and receive their police badges in a ceremony that will also honour the late Canadian police officers after whom they are named.
Transit Police dog Harnett, a two-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer, is named in honour of Sgt. Andrew Harnett of the Calgary Police Service, who was killed in the line of duty on New Year’s Eve in 2020. Harnett was struck by a vehicle that fled a traffic stop and succumbed to his injuries despite the valiant efforts of his police colleagues and paramedics.
“We wish to thank the Metro Vancouver Transit Police for honoring Sgt. Andrew Harnett in the naming of a Police Service Dog in his memory. We will never forget the ultimate sacrifice Andrew made and it brings us comfort knowing he will be remembered in Vancouver as well,” said the Calgary Police Service and Harnett’s family in a statement.

Constable Ryan Masales and PSD Chopper.

Transit Police dog Chopper, an 18-month old Black Labrador Retriever, is named for Constable Ryan “Chopper” Masales of the Abbotsford Police Department. In September 2016, Masales was diagnosed with an aggressive stage four brain tumor after collapsing while on duty. Despite several attempts at treatment over the following years, Masales lost his battle on March 26, 2020.
“Ryan loved his work, but the thing he loved most in life was being a father to his now 10-year-old son Ryder. Family was his passion along with being kind to others. Anyone who knew him would agree that he truly was one of a kind. Ryan bravely fought his disease, never giving up. We will always love him, and something that is loved is never lost,” said his spouse Estelize Masales.
Transit Police dogs Harnett and Chopper will receive their badges on June 30. They will join the rest of the dog team in keeping the transit system safe, while bringing awareness to the legacies of Harnett and Masales and the two officers’ devotion to community service.

TransLink to double bus service through new 10-year plan

BRT in Taiwan.

“TRANSPORT 2050: 10-Year Priorities” has been approved by the Mayors’ Council and TransLink’s Board of Directors as the region’s new decade-long list of transportation priorities for Metro Vancouver. This plan prioritizes the first ten years of actions originally outlined in Transport 2050.

TransLink will implement an unprecedented increase in local bus service and continue expanding the SkyTrain network, while also introducing Bus Rapid Transit technology to the region. Bus Rapid Transit will bring specialized zero-emission buses to fully traffic-separated corridors with dedicated stations for passengers to board.

Major priorities include:

  • Up to nine new traffic-separated Bus Rapid Transit lines
  • More than doubling bus service over 2022 levels
  • Building the Burnaby Mountain Gondola to Simon Fraser University
  • Extending the Millennium Line from Arbutus to the University of British Columbia
  • Increasing HandyDART service by 60 per cent and providing 24-hour service
  • Immediately advancing a business case to determine the best rapid transit technology on the Metrotown to Park Royal corridor, while delivering better bus service in the short term
  • Exploring other potential SkyTrain extensions, including to Newton in Surrey and to Port Coquitlam
  • Building 450 kilometres of new traffic-separated cycling paths including bike networks in every Metro Vancouver Urban Centre
  • Introducing 200 new bike lockers and six new bike parkades
  • Increasing SeaBus service start and end times to match SkyTrain’s service hours

Transport 2050: 10-Year Priorities received overwhelming public support, with 85 per cent of respondents providing positive feedback about the proposal’s transit improvements during the public engagement period.

Transport 2050: 10-Year Priorities is estimated to cost $21 billion over 10 years and will need significant new revenue sources and investments from all levels of government to deliver. It will be delivered in phases and funded through a series of future investment plans.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) facts:

  • BRT is a traffic-separated rapid transit service with signal priority at intersections
  • Stations will allow for fast and convenient boardings like SkyTrain
  • BRT will have specialized zero-emission vehicles with spacious interiors
  • BRT costs a fraction of the cost of SkyTrain per kilometre
  • Once work commences, BRT lines can be implemented in under five years
  • The corridors planned to receive BRT include:
    • Hastings St (upgrade from R5)
    • King George Blvd (Surrey to White Rock)
    • Langley – Haney Place (200 St – Golden Ears – Lougheed Hwy)
    • Lougheed Hwy (upgrade from R3)
    • Lynn Valley – Downtown/Lonsdale (Lions Gate Bridge)
    • Marine Dr Station – 22nd St Station (Marine Way)
    • Metrotown – Park Royal (Second Narrows)
    • Richmond Centre – Metrotown (Knight St Bridge)
    • Scott Road (upgrade from R6)
  • The next step is for TransLink to develop a detailed municipal partnership framework, to engage local communities on future BRT planning decisions

Jonathan Coté, Chair, Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, said: “This plan outlines the biggest transportation improvements in Metro Vancouver’s history. It will require a new approach to how we fund, build and operate our regional transportation system, requiring all governments – local, regional, provincial and federal – to work together in innovative ways to achieve this vision. Through collaboration, this much-needed plan will increase access to green transportation options that reduce costs and GHG emissions, help address our region’s housing affordability crisis and better connect our communities.”

Kevin Quinn, CEO, TransLink, said: “We are at a critical time to invest in our future. We have heard through the most robust community engagement in TransLink’s history that we need to act with both ambition and urgency. Transport 2050: 10-Year Priorities will bring historic actions to combat climate change, reduce congestion, and improve livability in this region.”

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, said: “By significantly expanding and improving public transit and active transportation, TransLink’s Transport 2050: 10-Year Priorities will help people in Metro Vancouver get to where they need to go conveniently and affordably while protecting the environment and improving communities. Transitioning away from fossil fuels and getting cars off the road will benefit all of us and help us achieve our climate action goals through CleanBC.”

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