-Top News Canada

Gang attack Sikh student in Canada

Gagandeep was heading home after grocery shopping when he encountered a group of young boys, between 12 and 15 years-old on the bus….reports Asian Lite News

A Sikh student from India was attacked by a group of unknown men who ripped off his turban and dragged him across the sidewalk by his hair in the Canadian province of British Columbia, according to a media report.

Gagandeep Singh, 21, was swarmed and beaten near Highway 97 and McCurdy Road in Kelowna after he got off a transit bus on March 17, CTV News reported.

Gagandeep was heading home after grocery shopping when he encountered a group of young boys, between 12 and 15 years-old on the bus.

“They were harassing him and they threw a wig at him. He told them not to bother him or he’d call the police, and they continued to harass him,” Kelowna City Councillor Mohini Singh told CTV News.

“They got off after him, waited for the bus to leave and then they swarmed him, they beat him in his face, in his ribs, arms, and legs and then proceeded to grab his turban, pull his hair and drag him,” Singh said.

She further said that the group took the turban with them when they left Gagandeep in a pile of “dirty snow” on the side of the road.

Gagandeep then called a friend who came to the scene and dialled 911. He was treated for a wide range of injuries on his chest, mouth, arms and legs at Kelowna General Hospital, according to the report.

Singh, who visited Gagandeep at his home, said she was “horrified” after she saw him.

“He could only speak in soft tones and he couldn’t open his mouth,” she told CTV News, adding that the young man’s eyes were swollen shut and he was in pain.

Calling the incident “intolerable” and “absolutely disgusting”, Singh said it should be treated as a “racist attack”.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) of Kelowna said in a statement that they are investigating the incident in which someone was “hit from behind and assaulted” by a group of people.

“The Kelowna RCMP take this very seriously and are concerned that this type of crime has happened in our city,” spokesperson Constable Mike Della-Paolera said in a statement.

“This assault is the top priority for our investigators.”

Meanwhile, shaken and scared, international students and members of the Sikh community gathered on Sunday morning near a Kelowna bus stop to seek justice for Gagandeep.

A GoFundMe page has been set up by Gagandeep’s friends to cover his medical expenses, rent, and tuition fees.

“Kelowna is a welcoming and diverse community, filled with residents who are full of love and compassion. Together we can show that there’s no place for hate and violence in our community,” the fundraising page said.

ALSO READ: Canada announces additional military aid to Ukraine

-Top News Canada

Tweet on Canadian Sikh leader’s turban draws sharp reactions

While Lilley deleted the tweet and apologised, his responses to criticism of the tweet still remain….reports Asian Lite News

A tweet by a Toronto Sun journalist on the colour of a prominent Canadian Sikh leader’s turban was deleted after it drew sharp reactions from the community, calling it “insensitive” and “inappropriate”.

While MPs questioned grocery price inflation in the House of Commons last week, political columnist Brian Lilley tweeted a picture of New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jagmeet Singh with the caption, “Jagmeet looks like he wore his No Name turban today just to grill Galen Weston at committee”.

Galen Weston is the CEO of George Weston Limited and executive chairman and president of Loblaws. He had appeared in front of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture.

“I know he changes the colours for special days or occasion (sic) but didn’t expect to see No Name yellow today. Is it on purpose or a coincidence?” Lilley said.

Gurpreet Kaur Rai, a spokesperson for the World Sikh Organization, told Omni news channel that Lilley’s comments were “extremely insensitive, inappropriate, and hurtful”.

“I think there’s no room in Canadian discourse for comments like that to be disseminated,” she said, demanding an immediate action on the tweet and a public apology from Lilley and Toronto Sun.

“Our turbans, irrespective of colour, are not ‘No Name’,” tformer Ontario MPP Gurratan Singh tweeted.

“Dear Toronto Sun, please come get your guy… This is beyond offensive!” Ravi Kahlon, British Columbia’s Minister of Housing, wrote in a tweet.

Responding to Lilley’s tweet, Jagmeet Singh wrote: “I’ve had lots of great conversations about why I wear a turban and what it means. But some people try to make us feel less than… I think of how that hurts kids especially.”

While Lilley deleted the tweet and apologised, his responses to criticism of the tweet still remain.

“I have deleted a previous tweet that has caused controversy and been seen as insensitive. That was not the intent and I apologise to those who I offended. The tweet has therefore been deleted,” he wrote.

Responding to a Twitter user, he wrote: “Wanna explain what is racist about this? I’ll guess you know zero Sikhs. How is noting the colour of his turban, which changes regularly, racist?”

According to data released by Statistics Canada from the census data of 2021, there are over 7.71 lakh Sikhs in Canada.

Of these, over 2.36 lakh (30 per cent) are Canadian citizens by birth, over 4.15 lakh are immigrants (permanent residents) and over 1.19 lakh are non-permanent residents.

Between 2006 and 2016, the number of Punjabi-speaking citizens in Canada grew from 3.68 lakh to 5.02 lakh, a growth of 36.5 per cent.

Punjabi has for years been the third-most spoken language in Canada, after English and French.

Last year, the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba passed the Turban Day Act, stating that April 13 will be celebrated as Turban Day across the province every year to spread awareness against racism that Sikhs face in the country due to their articles of faith.

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-Top News Canada

Canada announces additional military aid to Ukraine

Canada will donate nearly 8,000 rounds of 155mm ammunition, as well as 12 air defence missiles…reports Asian Lite News

Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand has announced additional military assistance to Ukraine.

Canada will donate nearly 8,000 rounds of 155mm ammunition, as well as 12 air defence missiles sourced from Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) inventory, to sustain the air defence systems currently deployed in Ukraine, Anand said in a statement issued by the Defence Ministry on Wednesday.

Canada will also donate more than 1,800 rounds of 105mm tank training ammunition, to support the donation of Leopard 1 tanks announced by Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands, she added.

She also confirmed that the CAF started the shipments of the additional Leopard 2 main battle tanks pledged by Canada at the end of February, Xinhua news agency reported.

Canada has committed eight Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine in total. All eight tanks, and the previously announced armoured recovery vehicle, ancillary equipment, and ammunition donated by Canada, are expected to be in Ukraine in the coming weeks, the statement said.

Since February 2022, Canada has committed other military assistance donations to Ukraine, including more than 200 Senator commercial pattern armoured vehicles, a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System with associated munitions, 39 armoured combat support vehicles, and anti-tank weapons.

CAF personnel are currently deployed to both the UK and Poland to assist with training members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces under Operation UNIFIER, Canada’s military training and capacity building mission in support of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Since the start of Operation UNIFIER in 2015, the CAF has trained more than 35,000 members of the Security Forces of Ukraine, according to the Canadian Defence Ministry.

ALSO READ: Fake documents: 700 Indian students face deportation in Canada


Fake documents: 700 Indian students face deportation in Canada

On becoming eligible for permanent resident status in Canada, the students, as per rule, submitted relevant documents to the immigration department…reports Asian Lite News

The Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA) has issued deportation notices to over 700 Indian students whose admission offer letters to educational institutions were found to be fake.

Talking to on phone from Toronto, Chaman Singh Batth said that after passing +2, about 700 students applied for study visa through Education Migration Services, Jalandhar headed by one Brijesh Mishra. These visa applications were filed in 2018 onwards till 2022.

Mishra charged each student between Rs.16 to Rs. 20 lakhs for all expenses including admission fees to a premier institute Humber college. Air tickets and security deposits were not included in the payment to the agent.

Batth said after he and other students landed in Toronto and were heading to Humber college, a telephone call was received Mishra telling them that all seats in the courses offered to them got filled adding that they would now have to wait till the start of the next semester after 6 months or else they could get admission to some other college and safe time. He, however, returned their Humber college fee which further made students believe his genuineness.

Unsuspecting students as advised by Mishra contacted another college, less known, and took admission to available 2-year diploma courses. The classes commenced and after completion of the courses, students got work permits. On becoming eligible for permanent resident status in Canada, the students, as per rule, submitted relevant documents to the immigration department.

Batth says, “all trouble started when CBSA scrutinised the documents on the basis which visa was granted to the students and found admission offer letters fake. Deportation notices were issued to all the students after granting them an opportunity for a hearing.

To a question, Batth replied that the agent very cleverly did not himself sign our visa application files but made each student sign to show that the student was a self-applicant without hiring the services of any agent. This was deliberately done by Mishra as he had faked the documents.

The CBSA officials were now not accepting the claims of innocence of the “victims” as there was no evidence to prove that agent Mishra prepared and arranged all documents.

The CBSA was also not accepting the failure of the Canadian visa and airport authorities that issued visas and allowed them entry by checking the authenticity of all documents.

The only remedy left for the students is to challenge the deportation notices in court where proceedings may continue for 3 to 4 years. It is common knowledge that hiring the services of Canadian lawyers is a very costly proposition.

When the parents of cheated students tried to repeatedly contact the agent in Jalandhar, his office was found locked continuously.

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-Top News Canada China

Trudeau in crisis over alleged Chinese election meddling

Both the Conservatives and NDP have called for a full public inquiry into the full picture of Beijing’s meddling…reports Asian Lite News

Leaked documents from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) have revealed the ways in which the Chinese government has attempted to tamper with Canadian elections, Asia Times reported.

According to the report, the leaked papers give support to a number of allegations regarding the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) behaviour that has been circulating for years. This includes the Conservative Party of Canada’s claim that the interference cost it seats in the 2021 federal election, along with allegations about the operation of illegal “police stations” used by China to gather information on the Chinese diaspora in Canada, Asia Times reported.

The story is a developing one, and many precise details remain unclear, the report stated, adding that it is still to be determined, for instance, where the leaks came from, why the information was leaked and whether it’s representative of the full scope of intelligence.

Because the leaks tend to emphasize how the federal Liberals benefited from Chinese interference, it could be a politically motivated attempt by elements within CSIS to bring down the current government, Asia Times reported.

The leaks obviously have substantial political implications that will likely intensify as the scandal continues to develop. Both the Conservatives and NDP have called for a full public inquiry into the full picture of Beijing’s meddling, the report stated.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, despite previously claiming that no further action was required, has now announced that the government will appoint a “special rapporteur” who will work with two national security committees to probe the details of the controversy.

The exact details of this investigation, including who will be appointed rapporteur, are yet to be determined. But it will certainly be immersed in partisan posturing and strategising, said the report.

Soldiers attend the flag-raising ceremony in rain in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 1, 2013, also the National Day. (Xinhua/Zhang Yu) (mp)

The Opposition will undoubtedly attack the integrity of the process, especially given the fact that its scope is entirely determined by the very government it’s investigating. The rapporteur reportedly will ultimately determine whether a full public inquiry is necessary.

The Liberals have a lot to lose from a continuing public focus on the topic.

The allegations raise not only questions about the integrity of Canadian democracy itself but also the collaboration of the government in not properly addressing it — and the appearance, to put it more precisely, that the Liberals deliberately underplayed, denied or buried allegations of interference because they benefited from it, the report said.

Available information shows that both the prime minister and his staff were briefed, on multiple occasions, about indications of Chinese interference as it was happening in both the 2019 and 2021 elections.

The governing party is in crisis mode, reeling from intelligence leaks that it did not anticipate. This is evident in how Trudeau quickly moved from initial, reactive and ad-hoc response, effectively denying the seriousness of the reports and attacking any opponents as being racially motivated, to now succumbing to pressure for further investigations.

The New Democrats, whom the Liberals rely on to stay in power, have not ruled out the idea that they could bring the public inquiry to a confidence vote. The Conservatives, who continue to poll well with Canadians, no doubt see their electoral fortunes on the horizon, it stated further.

Yet this isn’t just about politics — it’s also a genuine and deeply concerning the crisis of national security. Evidence of Chinese interference raises serious questions about the entire legitimacy of our electoral process, Aisa Times reported.

The available information shows that the actual way votes were counted in 2019 and 2021 remains relatively intact.

Instead, Beijing seemingly employed significant resources in personal financing and social media content to influence — if not downright manipulate — Canadian voters to advance their specific interests.

In 2019 and 2021, this involved working through informal channels to assist the campaigns of several Liberal party candidates.

As demonstrated by the American experience with Russian interference, this is the “new normal.”

The reality is that unlike in the past, there are a number of dominant world powers that are more than willing to do whatever it takes to advance their interests, including interfering with the domestic politics of other states, Asia Times reported.

The recent leaks not only prove this is happening in Canada but, more seriously, demonstrate that Canadian security organizations are struggling to find ways to manage it as Chinese interference strategies continue to develop.

The politicization of the issue, while inevitable, isn’t helpful. But as long as the Liberal government prioritizes its electoral viability, the scandal will only intensify.

The leaks did not help the work of CSIS, but rather damaged the organization’s international credibility and will likely make it more difficult for CSIS to acquire sensitive information.

Still, with an elected democratic government that has so far only sat on its hands, the leaks may have been necessary for the sake of Canadian democracy, the report stated. (ANI)

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-Top News Canada

Canada to help repair power grid in Ukraine

Additionally, Canada is announcing an additional 3 million Canadian dollars ($2.4 million) in funding to support mine action in Ukraine..repors Asian Lite News

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly have announced new support for Ukraine to help address its critical energy and security needs.

According to a new release from the Foreign Ministry, Canada will be donating seven electrical transformers to help repair Ukraine’s power grid. These transformers, delivered via the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism, will enable Ukrainians to power their homes and use the most basic appliances, Xinhua news agency reported.

Additionally, Canada is announcing an additional 3 million Canadian dollars ($2.4 million) in funding to support mine action in Ukraine, the release said.

This funding will bolster important recovery and reconstruction efforts in Ukraine, and it complements the more than 32 million Canadian dollars ($25.6 million) in funding that Canada is already providing to support mine action in the country, the release added.

In 2022, Canada committed over 5 billion Canadian dollars ($4 billion) in funding for direct financial, military, humanitarian and immigration assistance to Ukraine.

ALSO READ: Trudeau orders probe into Chinese interference in recent polls

-Top News Canada China

Trudeau orders probe into Chinese interference in recent polls

The appointed investigator will review classified reports about the 2019 and 2021 federal elections and will make recommendations for future contests…reports Asian Lite News

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that an independent special rapporteur will probe alleged Chinese interference in their recent elections.

The appointed investigator will review classified reports about the 2019 and 2021 federal elections and will make recommendations for future contests, the BBC reported.

Rival political party leaders have called for a public inquiry.

China has denied any election interference, calling the claims “purely baseless and defamatory”.

Speaking to reporters on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Trudeau said the reports challenging Canada’s “sovereignty” are alarming, and “strike us to our very core as Canadians”, the BBC reported.

“I will be appointing an independent special rapporteur, who will have a wide mandate and make expert recommendations on combating interference and strengthening our democracy,” he said.

The rapporteur has not yet been chosen, he said, adding that the appointment will be made in the coming days.

Trudeau also said he would ask members of parliament and senators in the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (Nsicop) to begin a review of foreign interference and to report its findings to parliament.

He added that Canada has long been aware of meddling attempts by China, as well as Iran and Russia, the BBC reported.

The countries, as well as several other non-state actors, “have attempted to interfere not only in our democracy, but our country in general”.

A series of reports in the Globe and Mail newspaper and broadcaster Global News in recent weeks, based on leaks from Canadian intelligence sources, detailed alleged attempts by China’s Communist Party to interfere in the last two federal elections, BBC reported.

Chinese officials have dismissed the reports as “purely baseless and defamatory” and as “hype”.

Conservative politicians have said publicly they were aware of interference in 2021 race, and believe it had cost them several seats — though not enough to change the election result, which Mr Trudeau’s Liberals won with a 41-seat lead, the BBC reported.

ALSO READ: Canada won’t tolerate interference, says Foreign Minister

-Top News Canada China

Canada won’t tolerate interference, says Foreign Minister

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly told Qin Gang that Canada will never accept any breach by Chinese diplomats of the Vienna Convention on Canada’s territory…reports Asian Lite News

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly met with her Chinese counterpart Qin Gang on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in New Delhi. During the meeting, Joly told her Chinese counterpart that Canada will never tolerate any form of foreign interference in its internal affairs and democracy, according to the statement.

During the meeting, Melanie Joly was “direct, firm and unequivocal.” She told Qin Gang that Canada will never accept any breach by Chinese diplomats of the Vienna Convention on Canada’s territory, according to the statement released by Melanie Joly on Twitter. “Canada will never tolerate any form of foreign interference in our democracy and internal affairs by China,” Melanie Joly said in the meeting, according to the statement.

“We will never accept any breach of our territorial integrity and sovereignty,” Joly said. According to the statement, Melanie Joly said, “We will never accept any breach by Chinese diplomats of the Vienna Convention on Canada’s soil.”

During the meeting, Joly reiterated Canada’s “firm” position on China as highlighted in the Indo-Pacific strategy. Both leaders agreed to keep lines of communication open.

In the statement, Joly noted that it was her first meeting with Qin Gang as he was recently appointed as China’s Foreign Minister. Earlier in November, Melanie Joly had met China’s former Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the margins of the G20 summit in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, Qin Gang has refuted allegations that Chinese embassies and consulates in Canada were trying to interfere in Canadian elections, CBC News reported. He has termed the allegations “completely false and nonsensical.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been facing pressure from his political opponents to launch an inquiry after media reports citing unnamed sources said the Chinese communist government has co-opted some Canadian politicians, CBC News reported.

A Commons committee on Thursday passed a motion in a bid to pressurise the government to take action, as per the news report. On March 3, Trudeau said his government has been seized with the issue of foreign interference for years and put in place a system to monitor meddling by China and other bad actors. He made the remarks at a childcare announcement in Winnipeg.

Trudeau further said senior officials working on the Critical Election Incident Public Protocol (CEIPP) have already reviewed the 2019 and 2021 campaigns. According to him, they have concluded that while there was some Chinese interference, however, those actions did not compromise the final outcomes. (ANI)

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-Top News Canada India News

Jaishankar, Jolie discuss trade, connectivity

The Canadian foreign minister also warned China against supporting Russia

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday called on the Foreign minister of Canada, Melanie Joly, and held discussions on the G20 agenda and global developments.

“Wide-ranging conversation with FM @melaniejoly of Canada. Discussed the G20 agenda and global developments. Bilateral issues including trade, connectivity and people-to-people ties,” tweeted Jaishankar. Earlier, at an event in Delhi, Joly took up the issue of the Russia-Ukraine war and called for the isolation of Moscow.

“The paralysis that is affecting particularly the UN Security Council is linked to the war in Ukraine. The more countries send a clear message to Russia, the more we will be able to isolate Russia politically and diplomatically,” said Joly.

She also warned China against supporting Russia, saying, “We should create a movement to get Russia out of Ukraine ultimately and to send a message to China that it is important that ultimately it does not support Russia.”

Meanwhile, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) on Friday reiterated its support for the UN Charter, including the expansion of permanent and non-permanent seats of the 15-member world body.

The Quad Foreign Ministers carried out a comprehensive review of various issues, ranging from Indo-Pacific to ASEAN in a meeting presided by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Japanese Yoshimasa Hayashi and US State Department Secretary Antony Blinken attended the meeting held on the sidelines of the Raisina Dialogue 2023.

Talking about the reforms in United Nations Security Council, the Quad foreign ministers said in a joint statement, “We concur that the rules-based international order is anchored in international law, including the UN Charter, and the principles of sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity of all states. We are committed to cooperating to address attempts to unilaterally subvert the UN and international system, in consultation with our partners and through multilateral and international platforms.”

“We reiterate our unwavering support for the UN Charter, including its three pillars, and our steadfast commitment to strengthening the UN and international system through a comprehensive reform agenda, including through expansion in permanent and non-permanent seats of the UN Security Council. In this regard, we commit to active and constructive engagement in the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) process on Security Council Reforms with an overall objective of making the UN Security Council more effective, representative, and credible,” it added.

In September last year, a joint statement was issued following a meeting of Quad foreign ministers in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly committed to expanding the UNSC. (ANI)

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-Top News Canada World News

Visitors in Canada can apply for work permits

Visitors applying under this public policy who held a work permit within the last 12 months will also continue to be able to request interim work authorization…reports Asian Lite News

Foreign nationals who are in Canada as visitors and who receive a valid job offer will be able to apply for and receive a work permit without having to leave the country, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced.

The move, an extension of a Covid-era temporary public policy that was set to expire today, has now been extended by two years, until February 28, 2025.

Visitors applying under this public policy who held a work permit within the last 12 months will also continue to be able to request interim work authorization to begin working for their new employer more quickly.

Prior to this temporary policy change, those applying to work in Canada would typically need to apply for their initial work permit before they came to Canada.

If they were already in Canada with visitor status when they were approved for a work permit, they would need to leave the country to be issued their work permit.

With this policy in place, leaving Canada isn’t necessary.

Those looking to benefit from this temporary public policy must have valid status in Canada as a visitor on the day they apply, and have a job offer that is supported by a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) or an LMIA-exempt offer of employment.

An LMIA is an application that an employer makes to Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) to evaluate if hiring foreign workers will have a positive, neutral or negative impact on the Canadian economy.

If ESDC deems the impact is negative, the employer will not be eligible to hire foreign nationals, according to CIC News.

Under the policy, applicants must also submit an application for an employer-specific work permit no later than February 28, 2025.

IRCC said that continuing this policy makes visitors an option for employers in Canada, many of whom are facing significant labour shortages during a period of economic expansion.

There was an overall decrease in the number of vacancies to 848,000 from over one million, according to Statistics Canada data from December 2022.

However, key sectors like healthcare, food and social assistance still need more employees to fill in-demand positions.

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