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Punjabi Language Education Association:

Indo-Canadian Community Issues


Richmond, BC, Canada, May 29, 2007
Balwant Sanghera

During the past few weeks, a number of high profile issues affecting the Indo-Canadian community have been a major topic of discussion .. The revelations at the on-going Air India Inquiry have been quite an eye opener. Every day, something new and startling comes out of this probe headed by retired Supreme Court of Canada justice John Major.

So far this inquiry appears to underline the incompetence/bungling by various agencies.
Unfortunately, it has been causing a lot of pain, agony and suffering to the relatives and families of the victims of this tragedy. For them, it is like an on-going nightmare that never seems to end. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to these brave souls.

Then there is the on-going saga of the injustice and unfairness that a number of Indo-Canadian veterinarians have been facing for quite sometime. It is very unfortunate the way that these well-qualified professionals have been treated. It is even more tragic that they are in conflict with an organization that is supposed to look after their interest and welfare. All of this makes it an important enough issue for the provincial government to step in. A quick resolution will be in the best interest of all concerned.

Lower Mainland’s taxi industry has been much in the news lately. The provincial government is planning to bring in a bill of rights for the passengers. There is no doubt that a vast majority of taxi drivers are very conscientious, hard working and honest people. As in every industry, profession or business, there are a few individuals who may not be doing as good a job as others. However, to put everyone in the same category is not appropriate.

Dr. Raghbir Singh Bains covered this issue very well in last week’s Link. As he has emphasized, any new regulations/legislation should also take into consideration the safety, welfare, concerns and input by the taxi operators. Let’s keep in mind that the taxi drivers have to put up with a lot of abuse, prejudice, frustration and anxiety almost on a daily basis. Thus, the government needs to adopt a well-balanced approach in this regard.

The tragic episode of Komagatamaru is another extremely important issue for the entire community. It has been going on for a long time now. To its credit, the Conservative government has made an earnest effort in seeking the community’s views in order to resolve this matter. The town hall meetings held here and in Toronto as well as other consultations have provided the government with a fairly good consensus about possible solution(s). Of course, on top of the list is an apology by the federal government. Also, the government should come up with adequate funding for a suitable memorial. There have also been suggestions for the development and implementation of suitable school curriculum relating to this matter. In this context, Penny Priddy’s motion in the House of Commons and Sea Lion’s purchase by the Komagatamaru Heritage Foundation as well as the efforts by Prof. Mohan Singh Foundation are commendable. It is about time for the federal government to deal with this matter promptly.

It is a great credit to our community that since its arrival in Canada more than hundred years ago, Indo-Canadians have been trailblazing in many ways.

Indo-Canadians have achieved and continue to occupy very high positions in nearly every aspect of Canadian society and political structure. Among them, Kash Heed is one such individual we can all be proud of. It has been reported that Kash may be one of the applicants for the police chief’s position in Vancouver. He deserves our best wishes. Kash Heed is a very competent, accomplished and dedicated police officer.

He is also a gifted teacher, an innovator and a great role model. As police chief of the largest city in the province, Heed will be a great credit not only to VPD but also to the entire community and this province.

Balwant Sanghera
(Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist, Community Activist and recipient of the Order Of British Columbia. He can be reached at:





Balwant Sanghera
President, Punjabi Language Education Association . He is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist in British Columbia ,Canada.