of the Monthly Meeting held on February 14, 2011 at Queen’s Park
Welcome Remarks by the chair.
Minutes of the previous meeting.
Presentation by Rob Oliphant, M.P. Don Valley West ( Liberal
Party Critic for Multiculturalism)
of the Day:
Hon. Robert Oliphant, M.P., Don Valley West
Liberal Party Critic for Multiculturalism
Remarks by the Chair:
Saras, chaired the meeting and declared the meeting open. Suleiman Guven
moved a motion to approve the agenda. Ahmed Shah Hotaki seconded it. The
motion was carried.
Minutes of the previous meeting:
Dr. Khan Khoda moved a motion to approve the minutes of the previous monthly meeting held on January 2011 Dr. Tajdolati seconded it. The motion was carried.
Thomas Saras thanked
all the members for attending the meeting.
The President read
out the financial statement of the organization. He answered specific
questions regarding the financial statements making it transparent to all
A letter from the
ministry of revenue stating exemption from HST was distributed to all
members present during the meeting. The letter would dispel all doubts
when invoices are raised by respective printing houses.
to organize a two day workshop in City Hall dealing with training of
application for PAP
interviewed Premiere Dalton McGuinty in February 2011, which will be
published in the website. Copies
of the interviews will also be circulated to the members of NEPMCC via
email if they wish to publish the interview in their respective
Asha Rajak, will be
undergoing the Auditor’s training in Ottawa. This will help exclusively
the members of NEPMCC to get their publications audited.
On our March meeting, we are jointly going to hold our
Annual General meeting and bi-annual elections to renew the mandate of the
Board of Directors. The newly elected Board of Directors should reflect
the diversity of the Council. The members running for office should be
committed for the cause by giving his or hers valuable and dedicated time.
All positions are available and open. The only request to the
interested candidate is to make sure that they have time and energy to
work as per their commitment for the position that they are interested to
run for. For the executive positions they must served for at least two
years prior to any other office of the board of directors of the
organization. Eligibility criteria in for running for any position of NEPMCC were
discussed by the President. Members were urged all members to pay
membership fees before the start of the annual general meeting.
There will be
representation from all provinces in the board of directors.
By March 7, 2011 a
list of selected candidates running for office would be circulated to
NEPMCC is organizing the annual ethnic press festival Exhibition from May
9 – May 16 at City Hall. If
funds are available, besides the Toronto City Hall, we will also move this
exhibition to Quebec, B.C. and Manitoba.
President Thomas Saras, mentioned that when we are deciding
on an award we are recognizing a publication due to their attendance and
for their commitment in supporting the organization by working hard for
the cause of the ethnic media and the council.
NEPMCC Awards. In October we will organize our Awards
ceremony. Effectively from January 1st until 31st of
May 2011, members can download nomination form from our website and submit
names of members they propose from their community, media or organization
who they think are eligible for recognition or to receive the NEPMCC
Awards. Forms are available online. For the awards, we are planning to
reach various Ministries to sponsor awards for each award recipient and
category. This process is open for the submission now. Members were asked
to send the completed nomination form to either Dr. Tajdolati or to the
office of the President.
· Effective from the month of September, we are going to start planning second phase of the educational seminar. We are going to hold this seminar in 2012, since there are various processes involved in applying for funds and preparation and we need enough time for the preparation.
· Canada Day celebration will take place on July 2nd.
· Annual get-together is slated to take place on December 16, 2011.
· Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). This year we have requested for space on international pavilion where we can display exhibition of the ethnic press for the eighteen days. Members were urged to ask their local business to sponsor some prizes which is going to be announced through lucky draw for the people who visit our pavilion.
· Word on the Street. Besides Toronto, this year we are going also to organize this exhibition in Vancouver on the same day with Toronto.
· Motion: Irene Keroglidis moved a motion to approve the President’s Report. Suleiman Guven seconded the motion. The motion was carried.
by Rob Oliphant M.P. Don Valley West:
Thomas Saras introduced M.P. Rob Oliphant to
the council and welcomed him to address the floor.
Remarks for the National Ethnic Press and
Media Council of Canada
February 14, 2011
Robert Oliphant, M.P., Don Valley West
Party Critic for Multiculturalism
A 21st Century Multiculturalism
of all backgrounds are increasingly engaged in a conversation about the
challenges and opportunities of multiculturalism in Canada. What has been
taken as a given for over forty years in Canada is now coming under
important and necessary scrutiny.
Chancellor Angela Merkel brought this discussion to the fore last fall
with her comments that multiculturalism (“multikulti”) in Germany had
failed. Pointing to the failure of a number of ethnic groups to integrate
into German society, to speak fluent German in their daily and work lives,
and to share in the huge success of the German economy, Merkel called for
a national discussion on the topic.
followed on February 6, with a speech by the British Prime Minister, David
Cameron, delivered at in Germany, in which he said that Multiculturalism
has failed in the U.K. and will be abandoned. French President Sarkozy has
followed the European pack with similar statements very recently.
commentators and interest groups are taking these as an opportunity to
talk about the state of multiculturalism in Canada – some with genuine
concern about improving the quality of life for all Canadians and others
seizing the chance to criticize long-held Canadian values in favour of
other, sometimes right-wing or xenophobic agendas.
before Merkel’s comments, Michael Ignatieff asked me to take on the role
of Multiculturalism Critic for the Official Opposition. This has given me
a great opportunity to engage in the discussion that includes one of the
core values of Canada and of the Liberal Party: that the First Nations and
the founding peoples of Canada are constantly being enriched and inspired
by those who have come to this country as immigrants seeking a better
economic future, by refugees seeking safety and opportunity, and by
families seeking to be reunited to share in a better home and community
this core value is still widely held, questions are being asked:
communities integrating appropriately?
Canadian citizenship valued for its intrinsic worth or has it become an
Canadian values of human rights, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and
justice and equality for all being fully embraced by newcomers?
evolving naturally and appropriately as newcomers arrive or is it being
language skills in English or French being appropriated by newcomers
quickly enough and at a high enough level to work as professionals, trades
people and entrepreneurs?
Canadians able to have their foreign education or professional credentials
recognized and are they able to get “Canadian experience” to enable
them to succeed financially and to contribute to the economy as they want?
finally, does the Government of Canada recognize that we have a new
comparative advantage in international trade by virtue of the fact that we
have the languages, cultural knowledge and business contacts in every
country that we want to do business with?
fair questions and are far too complex for me to address this evening, but
they give an entrée into the discussion that is going on in Canada
today. Despite these questions which remain, however, suffice it to say
that Multiculturalism in Canada in no way resembles “multikulti” in
Germany, or the failed so-called “passive tolerance” of divided
communities that Prime Minister Cameron speaks of in his recent speech.
Canada is a far more mature and well-developed multicultural society.
two stories from some recent travels as a Canadian Member of Parliament.
While visiting Copenhagen, I was sitting in a coffee shop, taking a break
watching people. A group of Moroccans walked by, obviously comfortable in
the city in which they lived. A short time later a group of Turks walked
by. Again, they were completely comfortable and obviously not tourists. I
thought, “No matter how long they live in Denmark, they will never be
truly Danish.” The same
could not be said if they had chosen to move to Canada. In Canada,
newcomers have every opportunity to become fully Canadian.
that came a few months later. I was in Paris with a Canadian delegation of
Liberal Members of Parliament. Each delegation was called on stage. The
Dutch, frankly, looked Dutch. The British, looked British, and so on. When
the Canadian delegation was called up, we too looked decidedly Canadian,
but not at all the same. One of us was born in Portugal, one in Argentina,
one in France, one in Tanzania and one in Canada; one was Muslim, one a
Jew, two were Roman Catholics and one was a Protestant; there was one
married woman, one never-married woman, one widow, one married man, and
one gay man who is married to a man. Again, I thought, “This is Canada.
This is the Liberal Party.” I was proud to be from both. The Charter of
Rights and Freedoms lives and breathes meaning into being Canadian.
are some worrisome trends even in this great multicultural land.
Conservative government sees immigration solely through am economic lens.
This leads them to favouring temporary foreign workers rather than
immigrants who work, contribute and are then eligible for citizenship. The
German model of migrant workers hasn’t worked. Why would we start to
German, English and French governments have put few financial resources
into settlement services, including language training.
Just before the end of last year, Jason Kenney announced $53
million in cuts to settlement programs across Canada. He attempted to
justify this saying it was a re-allocation of funds to newer areas now
receiving immigrants, but that was simply not true. Yes, money is moving
out of Ontario, but the overall level of funding is down across Canada by
$53 million. This is following the federal government holding back some
$207 million in settlement funding over the last five years, failing to
honour the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement.
Minister delights in saying that funding is now at a record $600 million
for settlement services, but he fails to add that under the Liberal plan,
if it had been fully implemented by 2009-2010, funding would have reached
$920 million. Mr. Kenney is a massive underachiever when it comes to
giving newcomers to Canada a chance to succeed.
resources in this endeavour, not fewer, are needed and must be viewed as
an investment in Canada’s future, not an expense to be endured (or,
worse, mismanaged). Multiculturalism is at stake if we don’t put the
resources towards ensuring that we can communicate with each other and
that we can depend on each other economically, socially and culturally.
greater concern, however, are attitudes of the current government that
betray its real understanding of both immigration and multiculturalism.
Whether it is capitalizing on fears and misunderstandings about refugee
claimants arriving on the shores of British Columbia, responding slowly
regarding the protection of human rights for Sikhs in Quebec, or the
recent blatant attack on the Muslim community regarding voting procedures,
the Harper Conservatives are endangering the social cohesion we have built
over the past number of decades under both previous Liberal and
Conservative government favours words like “diverse” or
“pluralistic” as opposed to “multicultural” knowing that diverse
and pluralistic describe a reality that we can all easily see in Canada.
We are diverse, obviously. Multiculturalism, however, is more than
descriptive. It is a value describing the respect and generosity demanded
by our constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
It doesn’t allow the Conservative government or any government to
pick and choose from among communities, attempting to divide and conquer.
It demands equal respect for all.
Harper Conservatives are playing with fire when they engage in community
wedge politics. A government is supposed to build bridges between and
among communities, not blow them up.
does have limits. These limits have developed over two generations of
learning to live with each other, respect each other, learn from each
other and, most importantly, care for each other. We understand the give
and take of individual rights as we share public space and live public
lives. We understand that accommodation rests primarily in conversation
not in the setting of laws aimed at one community over another. We know
that our national institutions will evolve as the population changes, but
at their core they will remain distinctly Canadian. And critically, we
hold that multiculturalism must always incorporate core Canadian values
like equality rights and the rule of law and we, as a society, must build
a consensus around what it means to be a Canadian.
the Conservatives have chosen to keep communities apart for partisan
advantage - choosing to divide Canadians on lines of race, religion,
language or national origin.
concept of multiculturalism is being questioned around the world, as seen
in recent statements by the German Chancellor and the British Prime
Minister. But in Canada, unlike many other countries, our success
has been built upon ensuring that Canadians see diversity as a strength
and by making sure new Canadians have a path to full citizenship and feel
that they can fully participate in Canadian society.
indulging in a multiculturalism of political wedges, a multiculturalism of
pandering, voter targeting and electoral math, we can only shred the soul
of true Canadian multiculturalism – the equal respect and equal
citizenship that’s written into our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Canada is multicultural at its core and that is a value that the Liberal
Party of Canada will not only defend, but will constantly promote.
the Honorable Member of Parliament’s remarks there was question and
Kulew, Bahram Bahrami, Suleiman Guven, Ahmad Shah Hotaki, Srimal
Blagoja Bob Ristic, Marek
J.D. Goldyn and other members participated in the roundtable discussions.
A wide variety of topics such
Star news article on
Canadian policy of multiculturalism has failed.
Century Multiculturalism. It has to go beyond food, festival and fashion.
Multiculturalism and proportionate representation of diverse communities
in caucus and in Government.
and other questions on other issues were candidly answered by the Liberal
Multicultural critic. Thomas Saras thanked the Honourable Member of
Parliament for his time and gave his take on multiculturalism.
following new members were introduced to the council
Prabhakar – Asian Connections (South Asian Weekly)
Prabhakar - Asian
Connections ( South Asian
President hoped that they would be active participants in the council.
Adjournment: Suleiman Guven moved a motion to adjourn the meeting, Srimal Abeyawardene seconded it. The motion was carried. The chair adjourned the meeting at 10:30 pm. The next meeting would take place on March 14, 2011.
The minutes prepared by Neel Nanda, Secretary General of the organization and approved for distribution to the members.