Minutes of the Monthly Meeting held on August 09, 2010 at Queen’s Park



Thomas S. Saras

Asha  Rajak

Neel Nanda

Muse Kulow

Dumitru Popescu

Jonathan Annobil

Hassan Zerehi

Bahram Bahrami

Parry Long

Lankathas Pathmanathan

Teshome Woldeamanuel

Iosif Spataru

Mario Spataru

Suleyman Guven

Ali  (Ameed) Mahboub (ITC)

Mohammad-Bargher  Samimi

Mohammad Tajdloalti

Muluken  Muchie

Juhani  Niistro

J. Saraidaris

Viara Dimitrov

Ned Blair

Srimal Abeyewardene

Logan  Logendralingam

Charlas Devasageyam

Suzana Donan

Jose Ernesto Donan

Ahmad Hotaki


Moorthy Sellathurae

Liz E. Philbert

Prem Aradasratham

Muralee Thagon K.

Saad  Isabar

Ranjir Wicks

Aaron Berhane

Marik J. O. Goldyn

Kevin Wang

Shahidul  Islam Mintu

Riaz  Hussain

Fardad Houdh

Eaffi Der-Boghossian

Pobeda Piskaceva

Hermie Garcia

Rob  Koris

C. Senthi

Usha  Pudukkotai

Venthan  Ramana

George Smitherman

Stefan Baranski

Serge Leblanc

Spiros Papathanasakis

Drew Widdop.



1.      Welcome Remarks by the chair.

2.      Minutes of the previous meeting.

3.      Presentation by Mr. Matias De Dovitis for City Councillor Antony Peruzza

4.      Presentation by Councilor Rob Ford a Mayoral Candidate

5.      Presentation by George Smitherman a Mayoral Candidate

6.      Presidents Report

7.      New Business

8.      Adjournment



Welcome Remarks by the Chair:


Thomas. Saras, chaired the meeting and declared the meeting open.

Bahram Bahrami moved a motion to approve the agenda of the meeting. Hassan Zerehi seconded it.  The motion was carried.


Minutes of the previous meeting:

Mohammed Tajdolati moved a motion to approve the minutes of the previous monthly meeting held on July 12, 2010 Suleiman Guven, seconded it.  The motion was carried.


President’s Report/Discussions:

·         President Thomas Saras sent a letter to Heritage Canada seeking some clarification under Publication Assistance Program.  Thomas Saras met with officials of Heritage Canada in Ottawa. Next year the program application will be in the website.  Effective immediately there is a program on September 2010 –Canada Business Innovation Fund for print periodicals.

·         NEPMCC would meet officials of Revenue Ministry Ontario as well Revenue Canada on August 18 at 2:00 pm to seek clarification regarding HST for ethnic media. Members interested in participating in the discussion were requested to contact the office of the President of NEPMCC.

·         Dr. Lamba expressed his desire to rejoin the organization. Mr. Saras brought the matter in the table for discussion as a motion Srimal Abeyawardene seconded it. The council unanimously opposed the return of Dr.Lamba as Ombudsman and or Chair.

·         Thomas Saras also informed the council of a reference letter which was sought by Dr. Lamba for his nomination of an Honorary Degree conferred by University of Toronto for his contribution to community at large. Mr. Saras also brought the matter to motion. The council unanimously voted against providing a reference letter, as it could be interpreted as a service requested by NEPMCC.

·         12 members are invited to a trip to Turkey; they will recruit a diverse group of journalists. Journalists and members were asked to contact the delegation to know more about the trip.

·         CNE tickets along with parking pass were distributed to members during the meeting. NEPMCC has sponsored two shows at CNE this year celebrating the annual “Ethnic Press Festival”.  The shows would take place the International Building “Hall B” of the Direct Energy Centre on September 5 at 1:30pm 6:30 pm respectively. Members were urged to attend the festival in support of the performers.




·         Thomas Saras proposed to the council that NEPMCC would certify the circulation of newspapers for auditing. He would propose one of the members of NEPMCC to be the officer of oath, who would be authorized to certify the circulation.


·         Thomas Saras suggested to members of doing community survey highlighting issues facing their respective communities. There is government funding available for doing community based research

·         President Thomas Saras informed the council that payment has been made towards Word on the Street Festival. Ahmed Shah Hotaki is in charge for the  the “Word on the Street Festival”



1.      Presentation by Mr. Matias De Dovitis for City Councillor Antony Peruzza

Mr. De Dovitas spoke of a federal program for Children’s Education savings fund. The program called “The Canada Learning Bond. He educated the members of the council as to how to avail the $500 grant from Government of Canada.

He was later helped by a representative of Working Women Community Centre to highlight on some of the specifics of the program.

On behalf of Working Women Community Centre Adriana Beemans educated the members of NEPMCC on some of the program highlights.

They were as follows:

·        If a child was born after December 31, 2003 the child is eligible to get the $500 Canada Learning Bond plus an addition of $100 per year up to age 15 if the child receives National Child Benefit Supplement.

·        Over time, the Canada Learning Bond could add up to $2000 in grant money for child’s education after high school.

·        The process of opening an RESP account to get the $500 grant was explained to the members of NEPMCC

·         Parent or primary caregiver eligible for the National Child Benefit Supplement (ma81% of Canada Learning Bonds have not been accessed. 415,518 eligible children not enrolled across Ontario. Only 18.8% (78,481) children are enrolled.

·         There is a very low awareness of Canada Learning Bond and Canada Education Savings Grant in Ontario.

·         Working Women Community Centre would make an announcement on September 24, 2010 on a new initiative to increase awareness of the program.

·         Members were encouraged to convey this important message to its readers so that many low income families are aware of the program.

Followed by the presentation many members participated in discussion with Mr.Matias de Dovitiis and the representative from Working Women Centre. They satisfactorily answered all questions and encouraged members to contact them if they needed any further information.

Thomas Saras thanked them for their time and assured all possible help in raising awareness of the Canada Learning Bond.



.Presentation, by Toronto City Councilor Rob Ford, a Mayoral candidate.

Rob Ford thanked the council for giving time. Many members including Srimal Abeyawardene Janus Raudkavi, William Doyle Marshall and others participated in the discussion.

The following are the highlights of his presentation and discussion.


·        Rob Ford began by giving a brief of his bio.

·        Rob Ford was first elected as councilor in 2000 representing Ward 2 in North Etobicoke.

·         In politics Rob Ford takes the principle of accountability in business with the theme “Customer is always right” in Public Sector and particularly in City Hall. Customer service lacks in City Hall.

·        Toronto has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

·         The City of Toronto’s budget has ballooned from $5.9 billion in 2000 to $9.2 billion in 2010 – plus a $2.4 billion capital budget.  The City is addicted to spending and the most important job for the incoming Mayor will be to get the City’s finances in order.

·         Downsize Council from 44 to 22 Councillors. Toronto has 22 MPs, 22 MPPs and 22 School Trustees.  It only needs 22 City Councilors. Reducing Toronto City Council would make meetings more productive and save taxpayers about $9 million in direct costs (salary, benefits, expense accounts and staffing budgets.) Additional savings from a reduced burden on City Hall staff would equal at least $6 million each year.  There are too many politicians and not enough accountability.

·         When Rob Ford is Mayor, he will reduce the politicians’ expense accounts to $30,000 (saving over $1 million per year) so that tax dollars are spent only on legitimate purposes

·         Garbage and other solid wastes must be collected on schedule, without fail.  The strike during the summer of 2009 put the health of people and families in Toronto at risk.

·         The City must put in place solutions to make waste collection reliable and affordable.  Etobicoke, for example, uses contracted providers and saves the city $2 million each year.  By adopting the same approach for the whole city, taxpayers will save about $20 million each year and can have the confidence their garbage collectors won’t go on unnecessary strikes.

·         Poor customer service frustrates city residents and businesses.  Too often, emails are ignored, telephone calls are not returned, staff are unable to answer questions or help solve issues When Rob Ford is Mayor, and excellent customer service will be the standard for all City Hall employees.

·         Toronto residents should not have to pay $60 every year to register their vehicle.  It’s an unfair cash grab that hits families hard.  Rob Ford will push to eliminate the Vehicle Registration Tax at the first City Council meeting after becoming Mayor.

·         People who buy and sell homes in Toronto must pay a new Land Transfer Tax to City Hall on top of all the other charges associated with buying or selling a home.  This punishes people and families who live in Toronto and makes the city less affordable for many people.  This tax is driving business, families, and people away from Toronto.  Rob Ford will move to abolish the Land Transfer Tax in his first year as Mayor

·         He distributed a fridge magnet with his contact details to all members present at the meeting and encouraged everyone to call him to discuss any rising issue the city is currently facing.

·         He said he is passionate for the job of Mayor and will work hard in bringing accountability and good customer service in City Hall.


Thomas Saras on behalf of the members thanked Rob Ford, for his time and wished him good with his campaign. There was brief picture taking opportunity with the members following the roundtable discussions.


Presentation, by George Smitherman – Mayoral Candidate:


President Thomas Saras, welcomed George Smitherman and invited him to address the members of council. George Smtitherman thanked for the opportunity and candidly addressed the members in the presentation and discussion. Srimal Abeyawardene, William Doyle Marshall, Janus Raudkavi, Liz Philbert and many other members participated in the discussion.


The following are the highlights of the issue discussed.


·        Born and raised in Etobicoke, George has made downtown Toronto his home for more than twenty years. Prior to holding elected office George owned and operated his own retail business in the City of Toronto for a decade.

·        George knows how to get things done at City Hall having served as the chief of staff to former Toronto mayor, Barbara Hall. During his time in this role, George represented the Mayor in Economic Development, City Budget and the re-zoning for the Air Canada Centre and the adjacent Railway Lands.

·        As Deputy Premier George Smitherman was a strong voice for the City of Toronto at the Cabinet table helping Toronto secure a share of the province's gasoline tax for transit, greater flexibility and independence in managing its affairs through changes to the City of Toronto Act, an historic investment in new buses, streetcars and subway cars for the City of Toronto as well as billions in funding for public transit expansion including the subway line to York University and beyond to York Region.

·        He emphasized on four critical issues during his address a) Transit, b) Jobs, c) Fiscal Responsibility and Stability and d) Community Safety and Services.

·        Fiscal Stability-The truth is that in order to fix the budget, we need to change the way things are done at City Hall. We need to quit the short-sighted 'one step ahead' approach when times call for a longer-term plan. We need to change a culture that thinks it is acceptable to keep spending and expanding no matter what the cost to people. Put simply, we have got to focus ourselves and fit our budgets to our means. Not the other way around. As Mayor, George will establish multi-year budgets to create administrative savings and allow City agencies to plan. In addition to leading a line-by-line review of the budget George Smitherman will work together with council to wring out further savings. George will join the budget committee and lead a transparent examination of Toronto’s priorities. He said by simply reducing taxes and reducing mayoral budget is not enough for fiscal stability but a sound policy is needed to improve the financial condition with added services and economic growth.

·        While George would welcome innovative models and new approaches including the greater use of public / private partnerships, he believes the blind selling-off of assets like Toronto Hydro that have been paid for by the city is a weak substitute for leadership.

·        Transit- When it comes to transit, we need to have more than just catchy slogans.  Torontonians need a practical program that delivers.

 A Riders’ Charter that will set out clear standards and benchmarks for service, treatment of the public and notification of changes or interruptions to service in a way that keeps the TTC accountable.

·        Smart cards: one card for all your fares, loaded up at your convenience and payable by internet or ATM without having to wait in line for a token machine that won’t take your coins and bills.  Virtually every major transit system in the world has moved to electronic fare collection, and it works. Why is Toronto still using an outdated token system?  The TTC has been testing fare cards. It’s time to require them to introduce them for all, with a deadline of 2014.

·        Everyone agrees the TTC needs to expand. And everyone knows we can only afford so much at a time. We do need more subways, and we need LRTs. It is time for politicians to stop bickering and set priorities. George Smitherman proposes a responsible, two-phase transit expansion plan that does just that

·        Toronto’s transit riders should expect service first. When George Smitherman is Mayor, they will get a TTC that is smarter, more comfortable, more courteous, integrated with the Greater Toronto Area—in short, a system that actually gets people around town.

·        Community Safety, Services and Job Creation-George is determined to lead a healthier community. Building on the recreational renaissance, George Smitherman will consider the integration of public health services with other City departments, such as recreation, social development, social services and children’s services. This could help bring more action to address many of the underlying causes for illness and poor health.

·        As part of this integration of recreation and health, George Smitherman will draw on some of the lessons he learned as Ontario Minister of Health and reducing wait times. He will place greater emphasis on getting public health staff out of the office and into the community, including reintroducing school nurses, integrating public health nurses with Community Health Centres and operating more storefront public health facilities.

·        As Toronto Mayor, George Smitherman will use the preparation for the Pan Am Games in 2015 as a galvanizing force to get Torontonians to live healthier, more active lives.

·        George Smitherman will continue to work to reduce gun-related crimes. As Mayor, George Smitherman will establish an annual Accountability Review and an annual summit for all key agencies involved in reducing gun crime. These will maintain political focus on priority actions, partnership, and initiatives. Participants will include The Toronto Police Service, City agencies dealing with housing, youth and social welfare groups, the Federal and Provincial governments, school boards, Business Improvement Associations, neighbourhood groups and associations, and community organizations with expertise in gang behaviour and best practices in diversion strategies.

·        George Smitherman is proud of The Toronto Police Service and the work they do. Community policing initiatives and programs such as Toronto’s Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy, (TAVIS), have also been highly successful, and George will support their continuation to reduce violent crime in our city.

Thomas Saras on behalf of all the members thanked George Smitherman for his time and wished him success in his campaign. Later all the members gathered for pictures with the Mayoral Candidate.



New Business:

Hermie Garcia reported to the council on the matter (crackdown on a Bangladeshi media outlet in Bangladesh) brought to his notice in the previous meeting. He gave a fair review of his understanding of the matter.


New Members: The council welcomed the following member

                              Charles  Devasageyam – Tamil Mirror monthly newspaper



Adjournment: Srimal Abeyawardene, moved a motion to adjourn the meeting, Ahmed Shah Hotaki seconded it. The motion was carried. The chair adjourned the meeting at 10:30 pm. The next meeting would take place on September 13, 2010 at 6:00 pm committee room N# 2, Queen Park.


Prepared By Neel Nanda, Secretary General of the NEPMCC.