Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Parm Sidhu: Abbotsford Airport (YXX) expects growth to come in the near future



The Abbotsford Ariport (YXX) is the gateway to the Fraser Valley where diversity takes off and lands connecting Canadians from around our country. Half a million passengers use YXX and 2016 is proving to be the strongest year yet. It seems like whenever I look into the horizon there is a Westjet flight in the area.  Having traveled through the airport on many occasions my preference for most of my Canadian travel destination is YXX if the connections can be made.  Leading the way is Parm Sidhu, Airport General Manager, who has worked for the city for the past 21 years forecasts a bright future for our growing airport.
Sidhu, who is an Abbotsford Senior grad has worked in several jobs within the city since in 1995 like: Skate sharpener, Ice Man, Airport Duty Officer and Terminal Manager, just to name a few.  He explains, having a competitive business model is the key to the airport world, which is changing fast due to technology.  He said, “keeping up on general technology trends impacting airlines/passengers, airports and aerospace companies is a challenge, as what works in our industry today, may not work tomorrow.”

There is a growing diverse culture at YXX, which is a reflection of the 1,500 people that work on the airfield, 16 work directly for the airport and the balance for the partners on the field. Partnerships are the key as growth in the surrounding communities continues, especially in the Southern region of the Fraser, as Sidhu mentions.  Currently, they are three major carriers that workout of YXX to service travellers. 

Close to 75 million has been invested since 1997, and one of the short-term goals are to secure more daily domestic service to Ontario and then to attract more international service from YXX.
As the population continues to grow south of the Fraser, YXX is positioned well for growth, with goals to attract new flights including daily year-round service to Ontario as well as trans-border and international flights.   Also, if you ever get to visit or drop off travelers at YXX you’ll find the experience to be first class right from the ticket personal, security and the janitors.  Walking through the terminal you will also find a hidden gem located near the Westjet ticket office, the Water Clock that once was home at Sevenoaks from 1991 to 2000. Speaking about diversity, an interesting program is held every March out of YXX for young girls and women to meet outstanding females in the aviation and aerospace industry and free flights are offered for eligible candidates called: “The Skies No Limit- Girls Fly Too”.  The Abbotsford Airshow, will be held from August 11-13 next year  and is always a wonderful opportunity to meet experts in the field from across the globe.    

Sidhu said, “It’s been an amazing journey, it’s truly been a great partnership with the employer that has invested in me and allowed me to grow my career in the town I grew up in. It’s truly been a partnership.”

Monday, November 7, 2016

Is racism on the rise in Mission/Abbotsford?



Is racism on the rise in our community?



With all the recent events that have happened – with the KKK flyer distribution and the shocking racial altercation video from a parking incident in Abbotsford – people are talking on social media and around town. So I asked the question to my Facebook friends: Do you feel racism is on the rise in our communities or are these just isolated incidents?
Well, the vast majority of respondents felt these are isolated incidents and these kinds of behaviours are not welcomed. Yes, respondents were extremely disturbed and had lots to say – and so they should. 
These kinds of actions are not warranted in our communities and when we take a closer look around we’ll find diversity is what makes our community unique. It is  proven time and time again and we are better because of it.
My family, unfortunately, received a KKK flyer on our driveway a few short weeks ago. We are a pioneer South Asian family from Mission and are very proud of our hometown. This form of recruitment by this group is not what we need to further our discussion on diversity for future generations.  
Many have commented that the KKK flyer was unorganized, being tossed in the middle of the night at people’s driveways or possibly by teens. I say think again. 
Watching a few YouTube videos, it’s an old Klan tradition to throw flyers out at night at people’s driveways for recruitment purposes, calling it a “Night Ride.” I was correct when I first saw the flyer initially looking like some kind of recruitment drive.  The Klan has had activity in the past in Mission and this action should not be taken lightly. Whether they exist or not, we just don’t know for sure, but the divisive message can have long-term effects with people who may be vulnerable and who may gain an interest in other white supremacy groups that are active in the Lower Mainland.
In regards to the racial video that surfaced from Abbotsford, which went viral, it is something as a collective community that we are not proud of. Abbotsford/Mission being one of the most diverse regions in the country is something we can truly brag about. Diversity is a fragile concept and things can change quickly. Remaining calm and not encouraging further violence is essential in this matter. 

Good for the person doing the videoing to have the higher ground in this horrifying ordeal. I just can’t imagine what he went through and no one deserves this kind of treatment. Gugan Kaur Sidhu from the Fraser Valley Human Dignity Coalition said: “I want to emphasize the importance of reporting these incidences to the police and or the FV Human Dignity Coalition. Having a record of the discriminatory incidences taking place in the Fraser Valley helps secure funding for anti-oppression work and advocate appropriately.”  The Coalition encourages those that were negatively affected by this incident or any other discriminatory incident to contact the Fraser Valley Human Dignity Coalition. 604.859.7681 ext. 270 diversityeducation@abbotsfordcommunityservices.com