Friday, March 26, 2010

More Intergration and end the senseless slaughtering of Canadian Seal's...

Ethnic patterns are still shifting

Minorities seem set to become our majority

Ken Herar, The Times

Published: Friday, March 26, 2010

My mother said something interesting to me the other day: "When you guys were kids growing up you had all kinds of friends come over for visits and birthday parties." What she was referring to was the majority of our childhood friends were not strictly from our own race. This stemmed from an earlier discussion we had about some of the issues surrounding integration in our communities. Sure, that was 20 years ago and times are definitely different today, with a much more diverse population - but that is no excuse for us to become lazy as Canadians and to not make friends outside of our ethnic boundaries.

I find large ethnic clusters are forming, which can be very intimidating. I understand that people like to bond together with members from their own community and that is totally fine.

The concern I have with this scenario is many of the visible minority communities will be majorities in Metro Vancouver by 2031 - according to Statistics Canada - with the Vancouver region becoming home to two million non-Caucasians in 20 years.

For some this might present for an unpleasant environment. But, as much as I would like to believe that we live in a discrimination-free and color-blind society, important steps need to be in place to ensure that this diverse transition does not spark racial tensions. Can we look beyond these external differences?

Yes we can.

First of all, community leaders from all existing ethnic communities need to rise up to the occasion and to speak to their own members that integration is an important part of celebrating diversity in Canada if we are to survive as a nation in the future. Canada is not the only country that will experience a dramatic shift in its demographics in the decades to come. The bottom line is we all have a responsibility to become better Canadians and to teach newcomers what it means to live in our great nation.I just recently got back from a short trip to Los Angles and Chicago. Speaking with Americans, many expressed an interest in visiting and relocating to Canada. I am not the slightest bit surprised. Canada is the world's greatest secret.

But, on a sad note, I was disturbed to hear Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government are once again endorsing the seal 'slaughter' hunt currently underway.

Ottawa authorizes the killing of 338,000 seals annually. I watched his Q & A on YouTube. He defended the hunt by commenting: "[It is] one of the most humane cases of animal husbandry in the world." C'mon, he calls this hunt humane. Hasn't he watched any video footage? In 2009, the European Union adopted a ban on seal products marketed in their countries. This is clearly an outdated Northern Canadian tradition and needs to be stopped immediately.

- Ken Herar is a columnist for the Abbotsford & Mission Times. Contact him at: kenherar@gmail.com.

© Abbotsford Times 2010
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Friday, March 12, 2010

Abbotsford Deputy Police Chief and 2010 Champion of Diversity Rick Lucy and Principal Fariba Daragahi share their thoughts on Canadian diversity..

Diversity awards remind us to include more

Ken Herar, The Times

Published: Friday, March 12, 2010

Last Friday, the eighth annual Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards handed out their hardware to deserving recipients.

It never fails to attract many of our finest citizens and organizations throughout the Fraser Valley.

Going through this year's booklet there were no shortage of inspiring nominees.

I was the recipient of the champion of diversity award in 2007, and it changed my life in unconditional ways.

It taught me there is a lifetime responsibility and obligation that comes with this recognition that pushes you to succeed boundaries.

I am constantly reminded every day that much work remains and many more people need to be included in our Canadian discussion.

Rick Rake, a community builder and entrepreneur was one of the five esteemed judges. Personally, he has been a longtime mentor for me as a diversity columnist.

Abbotsford Deputy Police Chief Rick Lucy was this year's recipient of the champion of diversity award.

Having worked with Lucy on various projects, I couldn't have imaged a more deserving recognition for one of Abbotsford's finest.

Lucy is someone who listens and truly cares in recognizing our existence of cultural diversity.

He said: "It is a humbling experience to be recognized for something that really represents what so many others are working hard at each and every day.

"To me, it's all about continuing to work in ways that educate others about the true benefits of diversity and the value of having a mind set of inclusiveness.

"We are so fortunate in Canada, and should not only celebrate living here, but also the richness of all the people, who live here," said Lucy.

As John Davidson, the champion of diversity award recipient for 2005 and a former member of the Abbotsford Police Department, commented after I received my award in 2007, and to continue this tradition, welcome to the club, Rick.

The Reach Gallery and Museum of Abbotsford received the innovative initiative award.

The remaining four recipients included: Abbotsford School of the Integrated Arts, North Poplar (inclusive environment), S.U.C.C.E.S.S Fraser Valley Self-Employment Program (reflective workforce), the Ministry of Children and Family Development, Abbotsford branch (outreach award) and the City of Abbotsford (marketing award).

Last week, I was given an invitation to celebrate National Francophone Week, which extends from March 5 to March 21.

I couldn't refuse because it was at the original Windebank Elementary School in Mission, where I first attended public school and more importantly, I need to improve my French. The school is called École des Deux-Rives, which means School of the Two Banks.

The 85 students from kindergarten to Grade 7 performed many activities celebrating their heritage and language. Earlier in the week, the students participated in a public speaking competition at their school.

Principal Fariba Daragahi said: "Students and staff reflected on Francophone values such as peace, cooperation, democracy and sustainable development.

"We are multicultural and reflect the diversity of cultures existing within the British Columbian community."

- Ken Herar writes about community diversity issues for the Abbotsford-Mission Times. Contact him at KenHerar@gmail.com

© Abbotsford Times 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Celebrating Holi and fitness


National pride on the climb..


Not quite multicultural.


After the flame..


Cheron Calaway Musical Dream..


Kuldip Herar (mom) along with other fine ladies serving the community..


Speaking with Fitness Instructor Sara Elias and Wendy Halliwell.


CFox's Karen KhunKhun on air...


Abbotsford Safeway fundraising crew..


Indo Canadian violence isn't a Vancouver problem..


Editor Paul Dhillon and myself meeting with Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu overlooking the city landscape ..


Victoria 's Neelima Pratap Passion..


A unfortunate encounter with a biopolar person..


Friday, March 5, 2010

Snapshots of Who's Who at the 2007 Cultural Diversity Awards..


Celebrating Sikh scriptures on the streets..


Thank you Mr. President..


Facelift on Abbotsford Sikh Temple..


Tok, Ken and Kuldip Herar at 2007 Diversity Awards..


The challenges of running a tennis tourney..


Speaking to students on diversity issues..


Celebrating Holi & Health..

It's time for Holi & health

A community in colours

Kulwinder Herar, Special to the Times

Published: Friday, March 05, 2010

We couldn't have had a better conclusion to the Winter Olympics, hopefully bringing good fortune to Canadian athletes at the Paralympic Games, which starts March 12 in Vancouver. It's wonderful to see Canadians celebrate their patriotic colours of red and white.

On the topic of colours, Indo-Canadians are celebrating Holi, an occasion when people throw coloured powder on each other eliminating any forms of discrimination. As weird as sounds, it's loads of fun and is becoming a long standing tradition in India.

Holi was celebrated on March 1 at University of the Fraser Valley in partnership with the Centre of Indo-Canadians Studies and Multicultural Department of Mission Community Services.

There was several activities organized for students and spectators.

The most important exercise was the colour throwing, which ran for about an hour.

Kusum Soni, co-ordinator of multicultural services in Mission, shared the values of this festival, saying "this is a festival to eliminate discrimination and to build cross-cultural understanding through the simple game of throwing colours."

Keeping with the Olympic spirit I have dedicated a lot of my time to my personal health. Finding a fitness routine and an instructor is essential if you want to see gains. I have shed close to 30 pounds and many people have given me the ultimate blank stare.

Speaking with Sara Elias and Wendy Halliwell from Great West Fitness they both shared these inspiring words: "It is a place where anyone, of any fitness level, can meet new people and develop friendships.

- Ken Herar is a columnist with the Abbotsford-Mission Times. Contact him at: kenherar@gmail.com.