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Calgary’s Anti-Racism Action Committee set to work for unity, says member

“When I moved to (northeast) Calgary in February 2013, I met many people from diverse cultural backgrounds who felt alienated by the discrimination they faced,” said Nagar.

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Calgary’s Anti-Racism Action Committee has its work cut out for them as they strive to combat racism and bring communities together during the COVID-19 pandemic – especially after the recent anti-Muslim incident at Prince’s Island Park, and a plethora of similar ordeals in Edmonton.

The 11-member committee seeks to identify systemic barriers to city programs and services, including language barriers, ways to address structural racism and develop a community-based strategy while the City of Calgary develops its anti-racism strategy.

The Calgary Police Service followed suit with a 15-member committee of its own last month.

Red FM host and community organizer Rishi Nagar is on both boards and hopes to bring change with his understanding of human and civil rights.

In an email with the Western Standard, Nagar spoke to his passion for social justice and his belief in a better city and province.

“When I moved to (northeast) Calgary in February 2013, I met many people from diverse cultural backgrounds who felt alienated by the discrimination they faced. After years of mounting concerns, I thought to myself: Enough is Enough,” said Nagar. 

He brought up the recent anti-Muslim attack at Prince’s Island Park as an example where anti-racism education and advocacy are needed.

“It was heart-wrenching,” he said of the attack on a 16-year-old, hijab-wearing Muslim woman. 

“I was disgusted by the horrific attack that took place in our city, and that too on the International Day for the Elimination of the Racial Discrimination. Such heinous acts of crime and hate are the principal reason for having anti-racism policies and education.”

“When will we learn we are all children of God!”

“We need to educate our children and those ignorant adults among us that racism is not human. It is a devilish mindset that pushes away from a path of love, unity, and togetherness as Albertans.”

On the committee’s progress to date, he said it is the beginning of the journey. Still, he remains confident the team will bring forward a firm policy to combat racism and discrimination.

“The systemic racism may take some time to go, but this committee’s efforts will undoubtedly uproot it,” he said.

“As a broadcaster and a visible minority, I will work with my team for social justice. It doesn’t matter what people wear, how they look, or how well they speak English. That doesn’t make them any less of a human or any less deserving of human dignity.

“My lived experience with racism will be a tool to end it because in times of stress, shock and crisis, people have displayed resilience and unity.”

He said he considers most people to be open-minded enough to find solutions to present-day challenges. 

Dhaliwal is a Western Standard reporter based in Edmonton

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. mppower@telus.net

    March 24, 2021 at 8:36 am

    Another committee looking for strawmen to divide Albertans? Is there one minority group in Canada that doesn’t claim victimhood?

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UPDATED: Omicron found in Alberta, BC

But Hinshaw refused to say where the traveller lives over fear it would identify them.

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The tentacles of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 have reached Alberta and BC.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw said an Albertan returning home from Nigeria, via the Netherlands, has tested positive for Omicron.

Hinshaw said they tested positive a week ago and the person, who traveled alone, is now self-quarantining.

She said medical officials are trying to “delay” the spread of the variant until more research is done.

But Hinshaw refused to say where the traveller lives over fear it would identify them.

Hinshaw also urged people not to take out their frustrations against the family of the infected person nor the countries that are under an Omicron watch.

And she said people shouldn’t “think of this as a reset to Ground Zero.”

In her daily update, Hinshaw said in the last 24 hours, health officials have found 238 new cases of coronavirus. There are 434 people in the hospital with 81 in ICU. Another six people are reported to have succumbed to the virus.

In BC, Der, Bonnie Henry said another traveller coming home from Nigeria had tested positive for Omicron.

That person lives in the Fraser Health region and is isolating. 

On Monday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced 156 Albertans self-quarantining after returning from travel in a country that had been hit with Omicron.

Six confirmed cases of the variant of concern have now been confirmed in Canada so far.

Earlier in the day, Canada added Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt to its Omicron travel ban.

On Friday, the government put restrictions on travellers from South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.

“Obviously we’re watching very, very closely the situation with Omicron,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on his way into the cabinet meeting.

“There may be more we need to do and we’ll be looking at it very carefully.”

More to come…

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Unvaxxed grounded in Canada

As of November 30, travellers will no longer be allowed to submit a negative test result in place of proof of vaccination to board a plane or train in Canada.

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As of Tuesday, Canadian travellers over the age of 12 will no longer be able to fly or travel by train in Canada without proof of vaccination.

The policy was originally set to come into effect on October 30, however, the federal government announced it would grant a grace period to unvaccinated travellers allowing for a negative COVID-19 test to be provided within 72 hours of the trip.

As of November 30, travellers will no longer be allowed to submit a negative test result in place of proof of vaccination to board a plane or train in Canada.

The new travel restrictions for the unvaccinated come on the heels of the emergence of a new variant of concern (VOC) dubbed Omicron by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Cases involving the new variant, originally detected in South Africa, have been found in other countries including five cases within Canada.

Although there is not much known about the new variant at this time, the WHO confirmed scientists around the world are working to determine how the highly-mutated variant will affect transmissibility and severity of illness in the population.

Canada, along with other nations, closed its boards and expanded its screening protocols to travellers arriving from affected areas in southern Africa.

The Canadian airline industry welcomed the vaccine mandates when they were announced in October. Air Canada and West Jet have both confirmed they will be asking all travellers to produce proof of vaccination before boarding their carriers as of Tuesday.

While health measures such as masking and screening will still be required, no measures for quarantining individual travellers have been put in place with the exception of those who have travelled through or arrived from southern Africa.

“If you indicate to your airline or railway company that you’re eligible to board, but fail to provide proof of vaccination or valid COVID-19 test result, you won’t be allowed to travel and could face penalties or fines,” the government indicated in a statement.

The Canadian government is also warning permanent residents abroad to expect to provide vaccine passports to return home.

The rules don’t apply to commuter trains.

The Government of Canada has created a “reliable way to show proof of your COVID-19 vaccination history when travelling internationally and within Canada,” states the government’s website. The document is verified once uploaded to ArriveCAN upon returning to the country.

The website warns travellers are not guaranteed entry to another country with the documents and suggests checking the rules of your destination country and the countries you travel through.

“Today, Canada passed a sad milestone in its history,” said Matt Slatter, a pilot with a major Canadian airline and a founder of Free 2 Fly, a hub that has “Canadian aviation professionals standing with passengers in defence of freedom.”

“No longer can it hold itself as a beacon of freedom and liberal values.”

The Free 2 Fly website encourages passengers and airline workers who “feel strongly that the ability to travel should not be linked to vaccination status,” to sign up and join their movement.

“With the advent of mandates requiring all aviation and rail passengers to be vaccinated, Canada is now effectively a two-tier society,” said Slatter.

“On one tier, compliant citizens are afforded many of the rights they once enjoyed in a free society. While the other tier is essentially relegated to their own localities, with limited exception.

“History suggests this style of governance will only lead to more tragedy and heartbreak. The cure is inevitably worse than the disease. Will Canada learn from the mistakes of the past?”

Currently, there are just under 38,000 signed up on the Free 2 Fly site. One of the goals of the group is to “wage a legal campaign to block, and/or overturn, all vaccination mandates.”

Melanie Risdon is a reporter for the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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CRTC trying to hang up on spoof calls

Caller ID spoofing occurs when callers hide or misrepresent their identity by displaying fictitious or altered phone numbers when making calls.

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All those calls from the taxman and Canadian Border Services officials threatening to arrest you could soon be coming to an end thanks to new regulations from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

“Many Canadians are now able to determine which calls can be trusted thanks to a new technology aimed at combating spoofed calls named STIR/SHAKEN. Caller ID spoofing is frequently used in nuisance and fraudulent calls to mask the identity of the caller,” said the CRTC in a release.

“As of today, telecommunications service providers will certify whether a caller’s identity can be trusted by verifying the caller ID information for Internet Protocol-based voice calls. This new technology will help reduce the frequency and impact of caller ID spoofing. As service providers continue to upgrade their IP networks and offer compatible phones to their customers, more and more Canadians will be able to see the effects of STIR/SHAKEN.”

It’s believed up to 25% of all calls in Canada are scams.

The CRTC said Caller ID spoofing occurs when callers hide or misrepresent their identity by displaying fictitious or altered phone numbers when making calls.

“This new caller ID technology will empower Canadians to determine which calls are legitimate and worth answering, and which need to be treated with caution. As more providers upgrade their networks, STIR/SHAKEN will undoubtedly reduce spoofing and help Canadians regain peace of mind when answering phone calls,” said Ian Scott, CRTC CEO.

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