Category Archives: South/Southeast Asian community

TORONTO: Refugee from Burma ends up working for the Karen community

From there to here: Burmese refugee loves Canada’s respect for human rights
For Mie Tha Lah, part of the persecuted Karen minority in Burma, Canada’s respect for human rights is one of his adopted home’s best features.

Mie Tha Lah, a 37-year-old refugee from Burma, now known as Myanmar, is a youth worker for the Jane/ Finch Community and Family Centre. When he arrived in Canada and saw the CN Tower he knew his dream for freedom was complete.


By: Debra Black Immigration Reporter, Published on Thu Jan 30 2014

More than 240,000 immigrants are expected to arrive in Canada this year. Many will settle in the GTA. For some, their dreams may take years to build. For others, those dreams may never materialize.
To explore that experience, the Star is publishing an occasional series in the words of newcomers, both recent and more established. If you would like to tell your story, email
Mie Tha Lah, a 37-year-old Burmese refugee, came to Canada in 2007 after the country’s doors were opened to members of the minority Karen community, who had been targeted by the government. Lah now works as a settlement worker with the Jane/Finch Community and Family Centre and is an accredited court interpreter.
Before coming to Canada with his wife, originally from the Philippines, his parents and siblings, he spent about 13 years in a refugee camp on the border between Thailand and Burma. While there, Lah received a scholarship to attend a Catholic university in the Philippines, where he studied education. Continue reading

SURREY: 5th Annual DARPAN Extraordinary Achievement Awards honoured ten members of the South Asian community


published by asingh on Tue, 09/23/2014 – 16:32

The 5th Annual DARPAN Extraordinary Achievement Awards were held at the Aria Banquet & Convention Centre in Surrey on Friday, September 19. The event honoured ten remarkable South Asian individuals who embody the spirit of community and believe in giving back through their own avenues in an effort to build society. The evening featured a keynote speech by Anuradha Koirala, a social activist from Nepal who has rescued and rehabilitated thousands of females from sex trafficking.

These award recipients were:

• Young Wonder – Anoop Virk
• Artistic Visionary – Sirish Rao
• Industry Marvel – Anita Huberman
• Advancing Philanthropy – Gunwant Bains
• Community Crusader – Dr. Raghbir Singh Bains
• Corporate Engagement – Peter Dhillon
• Breaking Barriers – Dr. Gurdev Singh Gill
• Heritage Defender – Naad Foundation, Amarjeet Singh
• Spirit of Sport – Arjun Gill
• International Sensation – Anuradha Koirala

Also spotted at the event were Honourable BC Premier Christy Clark; Dianne Watts, Surrey Mayor; Jinny Sims, Member of Parliament; Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education; Amrik Virk, Minister of Advanced Education; and Members of Legislative Assembly Harry Bains and Raj Chouhan.

Millions of dollars sent by Filipinos from Canada back home


published by asingh on Tue, 09/16/2014 – 16:43

Filipinos abroad sent back home cash worth $2.063 billion in July—the biggest amount on a monthly basis so far in 2014.
Almost four-fifths of July’s cash remittances were from Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates (UAE), United Kingdom and United States.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) data released this week showed that cash remittances coursed through banks last July exceeded by 6.0 percent the $1.946 billion sent home by Filipinos overseas during the same month in 2013. It was the second straight month that cash remittances exceeded the $2-billion mark.
From January to July, cash remittances totaled $13.485 billion, up 5.8 percent from $12.746 billion in the same seven-month period in 2013.
The BSP noted that cash remittances from land-based workers grew 5 percent to $10.3 billion, while those from sea-based employees rose 8.5 percent to $3.2 billion.
The robust cash remittance flows came “on the back of stable demand for skilled Filipinos abroad,” the BSP said, citing Philippine Overseas Employment Administration data showing that job orders during the January to July period hit 540,037. Over two-fifths of the overseas jobs bagged by Filipinos were in the production, professional, service and technical sectors in the countries of Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and UAE.
The BSP added that the continuous expansion of bank as well as non-bank remittance service providers both internationally and domestically sustained cash remittance flows.
Personal remittances from Filipinos abroad, meanwhile, went up 7.1 percent to $2.284 billion in July from $2.132 billion in the same month in 2013.
According to the BSP, personal remittances “measure the total amount of remittance flows into the country, including cash and non-cash items that flow through both formal (via electronic wire) and informal channels (such as money or goods carried across borders).”
As of the end of July, personal remittances reached $14.958 billion, 6.4-percent higher than the $14.063-billion haul during the first seven months of last year.
“The continued expansion in personal remittances during the first seven months of 2014 was mainly due to the steady increase in remittance flows from both land-based workers with long-term contracts (by 5 percent) and sea-based and land-based workers with short-term contracts (by 8.4 percent),” the BSP said.

Yezdi Pavri is new Chair of Canada-India Business Council

Yezdi Pavri Is New  Chair Of The Canada-India Business Council 

Yezdi Pavri Is New  Chair Of The Canada-India Business Council 

Yezdi Pavri Is New  Chair Of The Canada-India Business Council

Toronto: Yezdi Pavri, retired Vice Chairman of Deloitte Canada has assumed office as the Chairman of The Canada India Business Council (C-IBC) effective September 15.

Pavri succeeds Don Stewart, the former CEO of Sun Life Financial, who has served in this role with distinction for the past two years.

Pavri is recognized for his strategic business acumen and vision. He was a member of Deloitte’s national Management Committee and Client Council, and was the Managing Partner of the Toronto practice. He both founded and led Deloitte’s national Enterprise Risk Services practice and was a founding member of the global firm’s India Steering Committee.

“The Council has benefited immensely from Don Stewart’s business experience and guidance during the past two years and we look forward to increasing our reach and impact under Yezdi Pavri’s leadership,” says Peter Sutherland, President & CEO of C-IBC.

“It is truly a most exciting and opportune time for the business relationship between Canada and India to flourish and reach its true potential,” says Yezdi Pavri.

Gary Comerford, Vice Chairman of the Council adds, “I am delighted that Yezdi has agreed to be the new Chair of the C-IBC. He brings a passion and knowledge that will enable C-IBC to continue to aggressively promote trade between Canada and India.”

Pavri also served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of United Way Toronto and as the Treasurer on the Board of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). He now serves on the boards of ICICI Bank Canada, Hydro One and Enterra Holdings Ltd. (the parent of Golder Associates). Mr. Pavri also acts as a Strategic Advisor in Canada to HCL Technologies Ltd.

Pavri holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai and a Master’s degree in Thermal Power Engineering from Imperial College in London.

BRAMPTON: Liberal nomination meeting for Raj Grewal sparks confrontations, Peel police called

 | September 23, 2014 | Last Updated: Sep 23 1:35 PM ET

More from Hayden Kenez

TORONTO — The federal Liberal party is defending a contentious nomination meeting in Brampton, Ont., where a brawl allegedly occurred after hundreds of party members were denied the opportunity to vote.

Police were called to the Mississauga International Centre on Sunday evening after nearly 250 disgruntled Liberals were turned away.


Handout Online poster for the Liberal nomination meeting for Raj Grewal. A brawl allegedly broke outside the nomination meeting.

They say party officials told them that their names hadn’t been included on official lists, causing confusing and frustration that ultimately sparked the confrontation outside.

But Liberal spokesman Olivier Duchesneau denied accusations that the party’s lists of eligible voters were erroneous.

“Nobody who had the right to vote was turned away,” said Mr. Duchesneau. “The Liberal party is confident in the accuracy of our lists.”

Brett Thalmann, another party spokesman, said 245 people were not eligible to vote because they failed to sign up in advance of the nomination meeting, which attracted 3,000 Liberals.

Mr. Thalmann stressed that while members of the riding association were present, the meeting was run by the party. He also denied that a brawl had transpired, a claim that runs contrary to reports from riding association members who told the Toronto Star that a tussle had erupted.

“There was not anything like that,” Mr. Thalmann said. “We had a huge turnout, large crowds and we did call the police to deal with the crowds.”

Peel Regional Police said they were called to “keep the peace.”

The nomination meeting was a first for Liberals in Brampton East, one of 15 ridings created by the Harper government last fall.

Raj Grewal, a business lawyer and recent graduate of Osgoode law school, won the right to represent the Liberals in the 2015 federal election. Many of those turned away supported a candidate who ultimately lost, said Kevin Singh, one of the members barred from voting, the Toronto Star reported.


Gurpreet Singh: Sham secularism of Indo Canadian politicians exposed, NDP MP Jinny Sims among them

by GURPREET SINGH on AUG 24, 2014 at 4:36 PM
  • NDP MP Jimmy Sims (second from left) and former B.C. Liberal MLA Dave Hayer (far right) pose with Aditya Tawatia (second from right), Vancouver convenor of the OFBJP in Canada, and Vijay Jolly (far left), a BJP leader in Delhi.

Indo Canadian politicians who’ve been known for their strong secularist views will find it hard to explain their presence at a dinner in Surrey hosted by supporters of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party of India.

On the occasion of India’s Independence Day on August 15, the Overseas Friends of the BJP (OFBJP) held an event at the Bombay Banquet Hall in Surrey where various elected and nonelected officials belonging to different political parties were present.

The venue was completely packed and organizers claim that close to 800 people showed up. Continue reading

COQUITLAM: Couple pays $35,000 to the Dhadwals over “racist” remarks

Racist signs directed at neighbours who cut down trees cost Coquitlam couple $35,000

Published: November 22, 2013


Offensive protest signs and racist comments made during a battle between neighbours over three trees that were pruned and then had to be cut down has resulted in a Coquitlam couple being ordered to pay $35,000 in damages.

The dispute between the Demenuks and Dhadwals began when the Dhadwals, while building a new home, pruned and cut the roots of three large trees on the property boundary.

The Dhadwals had complied with municipal bylaws but the cutting of the roots endangered the trees and the two Douglas firs and the cedar tree were eventually ordered to be cut down.

The Demenuks sued the Dhadwals to recover for the loss of the trees and the Dhadwals filed a counter claim, alleging they had been defamed by the protest signs and had suffered aggravated damages arising in part from the racist comments. Continue reading

Surrey’s Punjabi radio stations facing CRTC ban

Surrey’s Punjabi radio stations facing CRTC ban

Published: September 19, 2014


The three Punjabi radio stations that will be the focus of the CRTC’s hearing in October. Facebook photo


SURREY — Two radio stations operating out of Surrey could be slapped with mandatory cease-and-desist orders come October.

According to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Radio India and Radio Punjab have offices in the city, but do not hold licenses to operate in Canada. Signals have been transmitting from Washington state, but their frequencies can be heard across the Lower Mainland.

In a notice of hearing, the CRTC states Radio India has an agreement with the licensee of KVRI 1600 AM in Blaine, Wash. Meanwhile, Radio Punjab is linked to New Age Media Ltd., the licensee of KRPA 1110 AM in Oak Harbour, Wash. A third radio station, Sher-E-Punjab, has studios in Richmond, but has an arrangement with BBC Broadcasting Inc., the licensee of KRPI 1550 AM in Ferndale, Wash.

The CRTC argues the broadcasting companies are skirting format and content regulations under the Broadcasting Act.

The CRTC will host a hearing on Oct. 15 in Gatineau, Que., allowing the stations to show cause as to why the commission should not issue the ban.

“Once we receive whatever documents, we’ll analyze them and come up with a decision. I don’t know how long it will take,” said Patricia Valladao, manager of media relations for the CRTC. Continue reading

VANCOUVER: Family of murderer Ninderjit Singh payS $150,000 so he could obtain illegal documents in the United States

Family of Vancouver teen’s killer paid $150,000 to help him flee country, says crown counsel

Published: March 27, 2013

Ninderjit SIngh

A photo illustration show how one-time fugitive Ninderjit SIngh changed his appearance over the 12 years he was hiding out in the U.S. after shooting and killing ex-girlfriend Poonam Randhawa. PNG files


The family of murderer Ninderjit Singh colluded with him in his efforts to evade police, paying $150,000 so he could obtain illegal documents in the United States.

After Singh fatally shot Vancouver teen Poonam Randhawa, he fled to California, where he eluded police for the next 12 years.

At his sentencing hearing Wednesday, Crown counsel Sandy Cunningham said that while in New York state, Singh obtained the necessary documents to become a different person.

“His family paid $150,000 to obtain the illegally forged identification,” Cunningham told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Butler. Continue reading

Surrey mayoral candidate Barinder Rasode proud to be “South Asian” first, then “Canadian”

Q & A: Surrey mayoral candidate Barinder Rasode discusses upcoming campaign trail

Published: September 20, 2014

Barinder Rasode announces her official bid for Surrey Mayor Saturday at SFU’s Grand Hall in Surrey, B.C. Kim Stallknecht/PNG


After months of speculation, Surrey city councillor Barinder Rasode finally confirmed her bid for mayor in the upcoming election at a crowded celebration at SFU Surrey’s Grand Hall Saturday afternoon. While she is yet to release her official platform, Vancouver Desi caught up with the now official mayoral candidate to find out about the upcoming campaign trail.

1. Why should people vote for you?

I love Surrey, and I am passionate about making our city a better place to live and work. I’m prepared to make the tough decisions and take action to fix some of the long-standing issues in Surrey. We have made a lot of progress, but we have also learned some valuable lessons.

We need to make public safety our number one priority –- if we don’t fix Surrey’s crime problem, then all of the progress that we have made is in jeopardy.

We need to get people and goods moving across our city, because right now our economy is literally stuck in traffic. One hundred thousand people will move to Surrey over the next ten years, so we have to take action now to fix our transit and transportation issues, and start managing our growth in a responsible way. Continue reading