Happy Canada Day

Go Canada! We are awesome! Anyhow, July 1st is surprisingly not that relevant to Canadian History. The Upper Canada rebellion of 1837 was more important as it led to Durham reports of 1838. Basically out of these reports came the notion of responsible government. That allowed Canadian government to handle its own local affairs. The British still controlled the foreign policy. Another important milestone was 1931 Statute of Westminster as it allowed Canada to have full legal freedoms. Canada could now choose its own foreign policy without the interference of The British. These events were more relevant to Canadian History than July 1st. But, we get fireworks today so it is all right. Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians. Let’s cherish our freedoms and work hard to create an even better nation-state.

Advertisements

Stay Safe Dear Albertans

Alberta is going through massive floods and other extreme weather. Already three people lost their lives. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families. Please stay safe. We have family friends who live in Calgary and we are getting in touch with them to make sure they are safe.

Here are some links that might be helpful:

Alberta Emergency Alert

Alberta Health Services

Information for Displaced Residents

 

BTW, I have been meaning to blog but had no time to even go on the internet for pleasure as it is extremely busy at the Law Firm. Sorry.

 

Homophobia and South Asian community in Canada

Homosexuality is not discussed much in South Asian cultures. Well, heterosexual sexuality is not discussed either so homosexuality which is considered abnormal is far from everyone’s mind. If you’ve read my previous posts, you would know I was 12 when I moved to Canada. It is here that I actually first learned about homosexuality. I know this makes me sound very ignorant but I did grow up in a small town. These topics were not discussed in good middle class homes. India does have Hijras (the transgendered/eunachs) but no explanation was given to me.  For the first time here, I realized that there were people who fell in love with another person of same sex.  It was weird to me and it took about a year for me to wrap my head around it. But, eventually, I came to accept it as normal and part of life. There were people who were different from me but they had the right to live a happy life. Sadly, not everyone from South Asian community comes to that understanding. I do think younger South Asian Canadians are more accepting. There are also older and wiser people who are  fine with it. Nevertheless, a silent majority still exists that is homophobic. Now, you won’t hear much about South Asians beating up any gay men or punishing a lesbian woman. Most of the older generation wouldn’t even recognize if you are gay unless you explicitly state it to them. Even then, they might just act awkwardly around you or avoid you.  But, they are quite intolerant when it comes to South Asian LGBT community. I feel it is much harder for a South Asian man/woman to come out of closet. Even if parents are accepting, the larger South Asian community isn’t. Again, the concept of izzat comes to play. You might lose izzat if your son marries another man. People might blame you for raising your son wrong. It is quite an awful thing. Now, I understand that these problems exist in the larger Canadian society as well. Sure, Canada is quite progressive when it comes to laws. But behind the thin veneer of politeness, there exists deep intolerance. The hope again lies with the young people. They are more accepting of people that are different from them. Although, even among young people, there is homophobia.  Hopefully, educating people helps with understanding. The western media is slowly doing a better job of portraying LGBT characters. My mom’s favorite talk show is Ellen and she doesn’t care about her sexuality. Progress!

I would love to hear from from people who experienced intolerance due to their sexuality. How did you overcome it? Please share your experiences as there are many young people who are being bullied and suffering  due to intolerance in their communities. Your views might help them and the broader community in accepting and dealing with homosexuality.

Do you guys like the new header?

The image in the header is of Toronto by my brother. He is an avid photographer and uses analog cameras rather then digital. He also did the font and is a design student. Last year, he was picked for Lomo matrix event in Toronto. Me and my brother are planning to do a collaboration design/lifestyle blog in the future. But, don’t worry this blog will always get the priority. Any suggestions on improving the blog will be very helpful.

Thanks and lots of love from moi

Why doesn’t Canada use R2P to intervene in Syria?

Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is a doctrine that came out of Canada after the Rwandan Genocide. It has been accepted internationally and states that if a State is unable to protect its own citizenry, the international community can intervene in order to protect those citizens. R2P is not an international law but is mandated by the UN. Military action is seen as the last resort and other measures such as economic sanctions are encouraged. Canada has used R2P  to successfully  protect civilians during the war in Kosovo. We all know Syria is fighting a massive, bloody Civil War. Then, why is there a reluctance to intervene? Why hasn’t the diplomatic community not been successful in getting Russia acquiesce to our demands. Russia is a permanent member of the UN security Counsel and has the power to veto any actions. They support the Syrian regime as does Iran. So, far any attempt by the UN to have a ceasefire has failed. More and more people are dying. Is the reluctance because we are currently fighting another war in Afghanistan? Or simply, we only intervene in countries that are much weaker then us. Are we afraid of what will emerge in post-Bashar Syria? Western countries have a history of supporting dictators because they listen to us. Will Syria turn into another Rwanda? Regardless of the outcome of who will prevail in the Syrian war, the minorities are in a perilous situation. We need clear answers from our government. Do you want to help or not?

I need answers.

Brown Parent Quirks: Ethnocentrism

Brown parents can be very ethnocentric. My parents are from India and according to them, everything of value came out of India.

I am watching TV. Suddenly, they are talking about yoga.

Dad: Our ancestors created yoga. We also created the number zero. Our shastras (vedic textbooks) talked about earth being round and revolving around the sun. We were far ahead of Medieval Europe.

Me: Yes, I know that

Dad: Look, the whole world does yoga and meditation but we Hindus created it. We also have the best food, clothing. The way we celebrate our festivals, our culture is amazing.

Me: Yes?????(Not seeing his point)

Dad: India is not all just negative. There is good stuff too.  We actually have family values.

Me: Okay.

Dad: You should talk about good things from India in front of others.

I don’t get the let’s praise India in front of others mentality. I like to talk about the negative aspects of society because I want to bring attention to them. India is very dear to me. I was born there and most of my family still lives there. I want India to be a better place for them. I love Canada as well which is why I blogged about Rahtaeh Parsons case. Both countries have many good things that are admirable but they can both improve in other aspects. India just has more harrowing challenges then Canada. Anyway, all cultures have given us something beautiful and I get to enjoy that. YAY for Toronto being a diverse city.

Canada and Immigration Reforms

So, I had a good break yesterday. But, I am back to blogging. Yay!

Immigration is highly vital to Canadian economy.  Canada has a falling birth rate and an aging population. To offset that, Canada brings immigrants to increase the growth rate. Therefore, immigration is an important topic for all Canadians

In this post, I will go through some of the immigration reforms that have been taken by the current Federal government.

The Good:

1. Under the Federal Government, Expression of Interest System has been created. This system will allow the employees and the provinces to pick people from a pre-screened pool of applicants.

Why is this good? Each province has shortages in certain workforce. For example, Alberta might need more Construction workers. The provincial government can pick immigrants who have these qualifications and fill the market need. It helps the immigrants because they actually have the chance to work in their field. How many times have we heard of doctors or engineers working as taxi drivers. Hopefully, this system will help minimize that.

2.  The government is focusing on younger immigrants from 18 to 35. It will fast track their applications if they are fluent in one of our official language and have a job lined up in Canada.

Why is it good? It will help a lot of students from foreign countries who are studying in Canada. Also, we need a young, dynamic workforce in order to have a healthy economy.

3.  The federal government has emphasized language proficiency (English or French) in order to obtain citizenship. If prospective applicants are not fluent in either language, they will not be granted citizenship.

Why is this good? This is a no brainer. They are working and living in Canada. We need people who can understand our languages.

4.  The federal government has tightened rules for spousal immigration in order to prevent marriage fraud. The new rules stipulate that they must live with their partner for 2 years before getting a permanent resident status.

Why is this good? It is good in the sense that it will prevent people from defrauding Canadian nationals. The rule is flexible if there is an indication that there is domestic violence or abuse between the couple.

The Grey area:

Under Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, applicants from 29 countries will have to provide fingerprints and photo identity while entering Canada. These countries are third world countries like Afghanistan, Somalia, and Vietnam etc. They introduced it to prevent fraudulent applicants from entering or re-entering Canada. On one hand, it protects Canada from people who might abuse the system. On the other hand, it is racial profiling of sorts. I think this policy has both pros and cons.

The whole Refugee system has been changed. Again, I think the government’s intentions are good and I understand the need to tighten the rules. But, the rules can be abused and individuals put into detentions.

The Bad: Temporary Foreign Workers

Under the new system, temporary foreign workers will increase. These workers tend to work in unsafe environment with  lower wages, low or no benefits and are exploited. I don’t think this is good for Canadian job force as a whole.

 

Overall, I think the Federal government has made some important improvements. I know that the Conservative party has a reputation of being anti-immigration. So, some people will see the rules as such. However, being an immigrant myself, I am pro-immigration. 

Let’s be honest, most immigrants are good and hardworking. However, there are a few that exploit the system . Tightening the rules to prevent such individuals from entering Canada is a good thing. However, there are some potential areas mostly pertaining to refugees that the State might abuse.

What do you think? Do you think the current government is on the right track with immigration? Things that you think the government can improve upon?

 

Important Sources: Source1, source 2, source 3, source 4. source 5.

 

P.S: I am not a Conservative party supporter but I cannot fault them for their immigration policy. Their environment record on the other hand is dismal. I try to judge each party and government on policy by policy basis.

Brown Parent Quirks: Overfeeding kids

During Dinner

Mom: You are only eating this much?

Me: I am not that hungry.

Mom(putting more food on my plate): You are too skinny. Look at your bony wrist. Eat more.

15 minutes later

Me: I cannot finish this. Ah, my stomach hurts.

Mom: See, I told you don’t eat much. How can your stomach hurt by only eating this little?

Dad: Finish your dinner. Don’t waste it.

Me: Putting my leftovers in the fridge. I”l eat it later.

 

Next Day…

Me: Mom, where are my leftovers?

Mom: Your Dad ate it.

Dad: You didn’t want it in first place.

Sorry kiddo

I think most South Asian parents overstuff their kids because they did not have enough food  as children. Moreover with so much poverty and malnutrition in South Asia, being well-fed is a sign of prosperity.

 

Update on Rehtaeh Parsons case

So, the hacker group Anonymous has threatened to out the boys, police officers and administrators  involved in this case. Read more about it here. I don’t agree with such actions but I understand the sentiment behind it. A lot of people seem to be blaming the teachers but they don’t understand how powerless teachers are. When I was bullied, my grade 7 homeroom teacher confronted the bully in front of me. The bully cussed out my teacher and slammed the door on her face. The teacher wept in the classroom and I just ended up feeling worse. Suspensions do not work on some kids. We need to overhaul the education system so it works for all types of children. The laws were made before the internet and social media sites became popular. The laws need to be updated. Parents need to pay attention to their children and ask them tough questions. If your child is being bullied, listen to them. If your child is a bully, make them understand their actions were wrong. In order, to prevent such a tragedy, everyone needs to take responsibility.

Some links that are useful:

Bullying Prevention– a WordPress site dedicated to tackling Bullying.

Kids Help Phone line-It is anonymous and a good resource for children going through hardships at school or home.

Prevenet-a good resource for parents, teachers or children suffering from bullying. The site is bilingual.

Bullying.org-a site that bring awareness to this problem. Another good resource for parents.