Thomas S. Saras
Hon. Basilio Giordano
LIYANA ARACHCHIGE WASANTHI
Leila Monteiro Lins
Sandie De Freitas
Kathy L. L. Li
Hon. Joe Volpe
Gezahegn Mekonnen Demissie
Muhammad Naeem Ul Islam
Liyana Arachchige Wasanthi
- Welcome Remarks by the chair.
- Minutes of the previous meeting
- President’s Report/Discussions
- Presentation by Hon Mitzie Huner Provincial Liberal Candidate for Scarborough-Guildwood
- New Members/New Business
Welcome Remarks by the Chair:
Mohammed Tajdolati chaired the virtual monthly meeting and declared the meeting open. Roberto Hausman moved a motion to approve the agenda. Hon. Joe Volpe seconded it. The motion was carried unanimously.
Minutes of the previous meeting:
Roberto Hausman moved a motion to approve the minutes of the previous monthly meeting and Shahidul Islam Mintu seconded it. Minutes of the previous monthly meeting were approved unanimously.
- Thomas Saras welcomed everyone to the monthly meeting of May 09, 2022. He highlighted the achievements of the council over the past few years and specially during the pandemic when members faced additional challenges. He praised the arduous work and dedication of all members who contributed towards its success and specially mentioned Maria Saras Voutsinas who has been tirelessly working for the members during the pandemic. Maria Saras-Voutsinas informed the internship programme has started this year.
- President Thomas Saras informed about the budget being tabled in the House of Commons. He discussed the budget for ethnic media tabled in the House of Commons. He hoped that the Ontario government will allocate the necessary funds for the ethnic media industry.
- Thomas Saras thanked all the members who donated to NEPMCC. He appreciated their generous donations to NEPMCC.
- President Thomas Saras reminded members the annual membership fees for 2022. Many members mentioned the significance and benefits of being a NEPMCC member. NEPMCC has tirelessly worked for decades to educate and influence Governments to take Ethnic Media industry very seriously.
- President Thomas Saras mentioned that next year NEMCC will host a 3–4-day educational seminar in Toronto.
- NEPMCC will participate at CNE Ethnic Press Festival and will also observe Freedom of the Press Week.
- Motion: There was motion on the floor to authorize the office of the President to participate in the CNE this year. George Guzmas moved the motion, Athanasios Kourtesis and Roberto Hausman seconded it. The motion was approved unanimously.
- President Thomas Saras suggested in creating a fund to help international journalists who are being persecuted and tortured in various countries worldwide.
- Mr. Saras informed the members that the LJI budget has been increased for the current year and for the next business year. He encouraged members that have not already done so to apply for funding. He also explained that the Internship Program will continue and that NEPMCC is currently waiting for its approval. Once the approval is received for the next cycle, all qualifying members will be encouraged to apply for it. He mentioned that NEPMCC has already received several applications on file and those that are approved will be funded once the program begins.
- President Saras emphasized that funds allocated under various projects would only be distributed to members who qualify for it
- Mr. Saras informed members on the upcoming events and projects for NEPMCC. Mr. Saras will try to organize meeting with Lieutenant Governor of Quebec to discuss on the issues of ethnic media in Quebec.
- President Thomas Saras thanked all the members who generously donated to NEPMCC. Although the industry and our members are struggling financially, he encouraged everyone that can do so to donate.
- Thomas Saras urged the members to participate in different projects that are available. If there is lack of adequate participation, the funds would go back to its source and in future the allocations of such funds could be limited.
- Members who wish to participate in projects undertaken by NEPMCC (other than the LJI) must be in good standing and abide by all the codes governing the council. They should also pay all membership dues.
- The President is in touch with Federal Government and Provincial Government for funding members of NEPMCC during the ongoing Pandemic. President is scheduled to meet with representatives of both Federal and Provincial Government to request more funds for the struggling ethnic media industry.
- President Thomas Saras mentioned that LJI payments will be made in 2 weeks.
- President Thomas Saras continued to educate members on various projects undertaken by NEPMCC and especially on the LJI. President Thomas Saras informed about the local initiative program The Local Journalism Initiative (LJI) supports the creation of original civic journalism that covers the diverse needs of underserved communities across Canada. Funding is available to eligible Canadian media organizations to hire an unemployed journalist or pay freelance journalists to produce civic journalism for underserved communities. The content produced will be made available to media organizations through a Creative Commons license so that Canadians can be better informed. He mentioned under this program a publisher can hire qualified journalist or a journalistic student in the final year and get up to a maximum of $30,000 per year. He mentioned that the program has been phenomenally successful. He hoped that the program will continue to receive funds in future. The program also pays for mailing expenses of the copies of the publication to remote communities and provides special prepaid kits to members participating in the program.
- The president also encouraged all the members to apply for an ID or Media Pass of the organization. There are so many benefits; the president said that it is to one’s advantage to have it.
Presentation by Hon. Mitzie Hunter Liberal Candidate for Scarborough Guildwood
Presentation by Paul Jonathan Saguil
Mitzie has served as the Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Scarborough-Guildwood since 2013, having been elected three times. She is a former three-time Cabinet minister who held positions of associate Finance Minister, Minister of Education and Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development. A lifelong community builder, Mitzie is the former CEO of the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance. She also held senior positions at Toronto Community Housing Corporation and Goodwill Industries. Mitzie started her career as an entrepreneur and worked in information and communications technology sectors.
Mitzie Hunter along with Paul Saguil highlighted the Liberal Poll Platform for a stronger Ontario
• Eliminate HST on more meals, funded by fair taxes
• Raise the minimum wage
• Build 1.5 million new homes and deliver rent control
• Transform senior care in Ontario by guaranteeing home care
•End for-profit long-term care
• Boost pensions by $1,000 for seniors who need it.
Give every worker access to benefits and 10 paid sick days
• Build to a four-day work week
• Eliminate corporate taxes for two years for small businesses hit hard by the pandemic
• Cut transit fares to $1 a ride everywhere in Ontario
• Cut Ontario’s carbon pollution in half by 2030
• Expand the Greenbelt and provincial parks.
Mitzie Hunter recognized the importance of ethnic media and strongly supported the idea of increasing funds allocated to the ethnic media in Ontario. She then opened the floor
Margaret Bonikowska, Maria Swietorzecki, Mila Garcia, Manan Gupta and others participated in the discussions and asked pertinent questions which was candidly answered by Hon. Mitzie Hunter and Paul Saguil
Presentation by Doly Begum NDP candidate for Scarborough Southwest
Doly was the chief coordinator of the province wide “Keep Hydro Public” campaign that successfully stopped the privatization of Toronto Hydro and Wasaga Distribution. She is the former Co-Chair of the Scarborough Health Coalition and Vice-Chair of Warden Woods Community Centre, where she worked hard to make lives better for the people of Scarborough.
Doly is a graduate of the University of Toronto and has a Masters in Development, Administration & Planning from University College London. She was elected to the Ontario Legislature in June 2018 and is the first Canadian of Bangladeshi origin to hold elected office at any level in Canada.
Doly Begum emphasized the importance ethnic media and ethnic publications as her family always gets their news from their own community newspapers on which they rely very much. She strongly supports that ethnic journalists and ethnic media publications along with ethnic online media deserve a better financial support from the Ontario government to maintain their status quo as they deliver a very important service to their respective communities.
She highlighted some of the key NDP promises
- Begin working immediately on universal pharmacare for Ontario, instead of waiting for the federal plan, and strengthen and accelerate the expansion of dental care.
- End health-care user fees, such as doctors' notes.
- Expanding clean renewable energy and increase affordable options
- Introducing municipal funding for fare integration between municipalities
- Make Metrolinx transparent and accountable, while making their lands available for social and affordable housing.
- The New Democratic Party promises to make diversity and equity a cornerstone to all policy decisions to equitably serve all Ontarians. This includes bringing the $10-a-day childcare deal quicker than planned, prioritizing accessibility to quality daycare and spotlighting the need for adequate maternal healthcare.
Doly Begum then opened the floor for questions
Manan Gupta, Neel Nanda, Mohammad Tajdolati and others asked questions on various issues which was candidly answered by Doly Begum
Roberto Hausman introduced the idea of a group picnic for the members of NEPMCC. Many members expressed their opinions on this made some suggestions on the venue and probable dates.
President Saras hoped that the restrictions will be lifted soon so that members can begin meeting in person at City Hall again. Till Public Health restrictions are in place NEPMCC will continue to stream the meetings live over zoom for the members across Canada.
Maria Saras Voutsinas informed that the office of NEPMCC has K95 masks and rapid test kits. Members interested in getting the masks can contact the office of NEPMCC. She informed on the Bill C-11 which amends the broadcasting act. She will be meeting with the industry partners and other stakeholders to make some suggestions and recommendations to the Federal Government.
Maria Saras -Voutsinas updated on the various steps taken by NEPMCC to further the cause of the members. She mentioned that NEPMCC is working with industry partners to bring free newspapers under the ambit of Aid to Publishers this year.
Mr. Saras also expressed his hope that we will be able to host an Educational Seminar in 2022.
Rue Hayer- Bains moved a motion to adjourn the meeting and Yuri Natchetoi seconded it. The motion was carried. The Chair Dr. Tajdolati adjourned the meeting at 8:15 PM. The next monthly meeting will take place on Monday, June 13, 2022, via Zoom.
The above notes from the meeting of May 09, 2022, were prepared by Secretary General and Senior VP of the NEPMCC, Neel Nanda.