Nov 15, 2015: Ontario NRI Minister proposed to get dedicated cremation grounds for Hindus and Sikhs and the spots where they can scatter the ashes.
Andhra-born woman minister Dipika Damerla blazes a trail in Canada
Toronto, Nov 15, 2015: Andhra-born Dipika Damerla, who is the first Indian-origin woman minister in Canada's biggest province of Ontario, is blazing a trail in community service.
If thanks to her efforts Indian-Canadians in the neighbouring Mississauga just enjoyed their first-ever Diwali fireworks, the community may soon have dedicated places for cremation and disposal of the ashes.
"Now I am working with the authorities for getting dedicated cremation grounds for Hindus and Sikhs and the spots where they can scatter the ashes. Though the Indo-Canadian population is increasing rapidly, there is no community-specific cremation place and spots for disposing of the ashes," says Dikipa, who is Ontario's associate minister for long-term care with a budget of almost $4 billion.
Secunderabad-born Dipika is the first Andha woman to hold any ministerial position in North America. "Maybe perhaps I am the first Andhra woman to hold a ministerial position outside India," says the young minister who was appointed to the position last year after her Liberal Party was re-elected to the office.
Daughter of an armyman, Dipika came to Canada in 1991 after finishing her under-graduation. On completing her MBA from the famous Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, she served as a corporate executive with the country's two top banks - the Royal Bank of Canada and the Bank of Nova Scotia - before quitting to raise her daughter.
Dipika is also a former TV journalist who has worked with Toronto-based OMNI TV channel which serves Canada's south Asian communities. In fact, it was her interaction as a journalist with politicians which led her to joining the office of the then Premier Dalton McGuinty in 2007 and then enter politics.
"We Indians have robust interest in politics. Look how many Indo-Canadians have been elected as MPs this time. The reason is that it is very difficult for middle class people to break into politics in India. But when these same people come here as immigrants, they can enter politics easily," says Dipika, sitting in the office of her constituency of Mississauga East-Cooksville on the outskirts of Toronto.
In 2011, Dipika says, she decided to enter electoral politics and seek elections to serve the community. "It was not easy, particularly when you are a first-generation immigrant and a woman. But I grew up confident in my identity and I had that strong robust self-esteem," she says.
She won her first election to the Ontario provincial parliament (equal to state assembly in India) and got re-elected in 2014.
Dipika says she is excited to visit India in February with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. "We will be going to Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Amritsar from February 1. Canada and our Ontario province have so much to offer to India for its smart-city concept, water management, and clean technology needs. When we met Prime Minister Modi here in Toronto in April, he asked our Premier:`When can you come?'.''
Diwali at Canada
NRI Dipika Damerla, Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Canada, serves as a Minister without Portfolio in the Kathleen Wynne government focusing on long-term care in the health care system, got permission from Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, by requesting a change in the current fireworks by-law and allowing use of fireworks on Diwali. She was born in Secunderabad, Telangana, India.
Diwali fireworks allowed in Canadian city
Toronto, Nov 8, 2015:
The Indian-Canadian community in the city of Mississauga on the outskirts of Toronto will be able to celebrate Diwali with fireworks this year.
Mississauga, the sixth largest city in Canada and the second largest in Ontario province, has a huge Indian-origin population.
Till now, city by-laws allowed fireworks only on Canada Day, New Year’s Day and Victoria Day.
But with the efforts of Ontario’s first Indian-origin Minister Dipika Damerla, the Indian-Canadians will have a colourful Diwali this year.
Damerla had written to Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, requesting a change in the current fireworks by-law and allowing use of fireworks on Diwali similar to the permission granted on Victoria Day and Canada Day holidays.
Though Diwali fireworks have been granted on a temporary basis for this year only, Damerla is hopeful that Diwali will be permanently included with Canada Day and Victoria Day for fireworks.
“Since Diwali is such an important festival for the Indo-Canadian community which now is an integral part of the city’s diversity, the mayor and her city council have done the right thing by giving permission for fireworks,” said Damerla, who is Ontario’s associate minister for long-term care.
The Indian-Canadian communities in other big cities such as Brampton in Ontario and Surrey are already allowed Diwali fireworks with permission…….IANS