Golden’s Sikh heritage recognized on new Stop of Interest sign

GOLDEN – A new Stop of Interest sign was unveiled in Golden today, recognizing the community’s early Sikh pioneers and the role they played in Golden’s history.

“This new Stop of Interest recognizes the important contributions early Sikh settlers made in Golden and throughout the Interior of B.C.,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone. “This is a good example of the Stop of Interest signs we want to add across the province, to tell the stories of how B.C. was shaped through the contributions of many different ethnicities and cultures.”

“We acknowledge the Gurdwara in Golden as the first in B.C., and quite likely the first in North America,” said Pyara Lotay, on behalf of the local Sikh community. “We thank the B.C. government for recognizing Golden’s Sikh pioneers and their place of worship with this Stop of Interest.”

The sign recognizing Golden’s Sikhs was originally a small local area history sign located next to the ‘Golden’ Stop of Interest sign at the viewpoint off Golden View Road. The new sign will replace the ‘Golden’ Stop of Interest sign, and the refurbished ‘Golden’ sign will be relocated to a site to be selected in consultation with the Town of Golden.

“The story of our community’s Sikh pioneers is one of hard work and determination,” said Golden mayor Ron Oszust. “This Stop of Interest means a lot to our present-day Sikh residents, and highlights an important chapter in the rich history of our region, of which we’re all proud.”

B.C.’s Stop of Interest signs were first installed in 1958 to commemorate the Colony of B.C.’s centenary and recognize significant historical places, people and events. The ministry is refurbishing existing signs in need of repair and updating language where necessary.

In addition, the Province is adding up to 75 new Stop of Interest signs. British Columbians are invited to submit ideas for new Stop of Interest signs and share interesting stories that could be told to people travelling B.C.’s highways. Submissions will be accepted through Jan. 31, 2017.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will install the majority of the new Stop of Interest signs in late spring/early summer 2017.

Aman Sanghera charged in 2015 hit and run

Surrey RCMP has concluded the investigation into a 2015 hit and run investigation with charges now being sworn against a 27 year old Surrey man.

On April 6, 2015 at approximately 5:45pm, a police officer was conducting a traffic stop in the 12600 block of 92nd Avenue when he heard a noise. The officer observed a newer silver car driving away eastbound on 92nd Avenue and a person lying on the road.

The officer attempted to stop the fleeing vehicle however it failed to stop and was last seen travelling north bound on 128th Street through the intersection at 96th Avenue. Emergency personnel attended and located an 85 year old victim with serious injuries. The victim is recovering from the collision and is reported to be in stable condition.

The Surrey RCMP Criminal Collision Investigation Team (CCIT) led the investigation with assistance from the Integrated Collision and Reconstruction Service (ICARS). A thorough investigation was presented to Crown Counsel who approved charges.

Aman Sanghera, 27 years old, of Surrey, is now charged with Fail to stop at an accident causing bodily harm and Dangerous driving. Sanghera was arrested on November 3rd, appeared in court, and has subsequently been released pending his next court date.

“Hard work by investigators and intersection cameras helped to lead investigators to Sanghera who is alleged to have been the driver,” says Corporal Scotty Schumann.

Jawahar Singh Padda of Gateway Pizza in Surrey charges with four counts

Surrey: RCMP arrested the owner of Gateway Pizza, Jawahar Singh Padda on November 1st after police was called to Gateway Pizza.  Mr. Padda was taken into custody and later released on $25,000 bail.  Mr. Padda is facing four charges, including pointing a firearm, uttering threats, forcible confinement w/o lawful authority and assault.  Padda is expected to re-appear in front of Judge on November 24th 2016.

200 kg of cocaine was seized, Gurpreet Singh Cheema, Gurpreet Singh, Tejinderpal Singh Sandhu, Jasmail Singh Sander and Parmjeet Singh Sandhu charged

The Canada Border Services Agency, along with RCMP, show cocaine seized during a drug importation investigation at the Coutts border crossing that focused on commercial vehicles.

 

The Canada Border Services Agency, along with RCMP, show cocaine seized during a drug importation investigation at the Coutts border crossing that focused on commercial vehicles.

Global News / Braden Latam

 

RCMP say just over 200 kg of cocaine was seized in a drug importation investigation in southern Alberta that focused on commercial vehicles.

The drugs were seized at the Coutts border crossing on three separate dates.

During the first seizure on Sept. 2, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers searched a commercial truck entering Canada with a load of televisions.

According to the RCMP, officers discovered 60 packages of cocaine weighing 69 kg stashed in the vehicle.

The second seizure was two days later, on Sept. 4. CBSA officers searched a truck containing a shipment of novelty items.

According to RCMP, concealed within the load were 34 packages of cocaine.

Tejinderpal Singh Sandhu, 34, is charged with importing a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking.

The third seizure took place on Oct. 10. According to the RCMP, CBSA officers found 83 bricks of cocaine hidden throughout the cab of a commercial vehicle carrying produce.

Jasmail Singh Sander, 53, of British Columbia, and Parmjeet Singh Sandhu, 31, of Ontario, are charged with possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking and importing a controlled substance.

In all three instances, the commercial trucks were operating for commercial trucking companies based in British Columbia.

The Canada Border Services Agency, along with RCMP, show cocaine seized during a drug importation investigation at the Coutts border crossing that focused on commercial vehicles.

The Canada Border Services Agency, along with RCMP, show cocaine seized during a drug importation investigation at the Coutts border crossing that focused on commercial vehicles.

Global News / Braden Latam

Vikram Toor and Ashim Raza killed in Friday-night shooting in Surrey

By GLENDA LUYMES

Two young men are dead after a shooting Friday evening in Surrey.

Police were called to 159th Street and 110th Avenue just before 7:30 p.m. and found 19-year-old Ashim Raza and 24-year-old Vikram Toor suffering from gunshot wounds. One of them was pronounced dead at the scene, while the other was taken to hospital, where he later died.

According to a homicide team press release, investigators believe the shooting was independent from the gangland violence that has rocked the Lower Mainland in recent weeks.

Two men were shot while inside a car near the intersection of 159 St. and 110 Ave. on Friday night in Surrey.

“It is early in the investigation, but police are making every effort to establish the motive for the shooting,” said Cpl. Meghan Foster. “We ask that the public exercise vigilance, while we work to find justice for our victims and their families.”

The shooting happened in Fraser Heights, a quiet, family-oriented neighbourhood north of Highway 1, near an elementary school, playground and sports fields.

Photos from the scene show what appears to be a body covered by a yellow tarp hanging out of a vehicle with a window blown out. A box of firecrackers appears to be resting beside the car.

The homicide happened hours after the province’s public safety minister Mike Morris made a statement reassuring the public that police are working tirelessly to try to put an end to a recent string of gang-related violence.

Police have linked two killings and several shootings this month to gang involvement.

There have been 56 shootings in Surrey so far this year.

Randeep Sarai appointed as the new chair of LPC Pacific Caucus

SURREY, BC – Liberal British Columbia Members of Parliament chose Randeep Sarai to be the new Pacific Caucus Chair this week.

“Over the past twelve months our government has been working hard to accomplish real change and we are keeping to the promises that we made in the last federal election. It’s been a busy and exciting year for British Columbia and there is still much work to be done,” said Randeep Sarai.

“I’m honoured to have been chosen by my British Columbia colleagues to represent them as Pacific Caucus Chair, I’m looking forward to working together to help build a stronger and more prosperous Canada as well as work to ensure that British Columbia is the best place to call home.” said MP Sarai.

As a community leader, a lawyer and a real estate developer, Randeep Sarai has invariably focused his efforts in Surrey. His dedication and excellency in these endeavors have framed his ability to be diligent, inventive and devoted when representing you as your Member of Parliament for Surrey–Centre.

Randeep was born in Vancouver and raised in South Burnaby. He graduated from UBC with a Bachelor of Arts and went on to complete his Bachelor of Laws Born at Queen`s University in Kingston, Ontario. He was a Founder and has served as a Director of Virsa – Supporting Youth Strengthening Families Society and helped start South Asian Community Coalition Against Youth Violence, which successfully championed for the creation of the Integrated Gang Task Force. Randeep has been engaged in community work from a very young age, much of it learned through the examples set by his late Father. “Giving back” were common words used and discussed in the Sarai household. He supported his Father to raise funds to fight against Polio thru the local Rotary Club, build their local temple, and organize food drives.

Randeep has also always been passionate about civic responsibility, including the need to make positive contributions to public policy, participation in the electoral processes at all levels, and supporting initiatives that focused on enhancing the quality of life for those less fortunate. Randeep regularly participates and comments on municipal bylaw issues, public policy issues and has been regular commentator on political issues on local Metro Vancouver media outlets.

Currently, he and his wife, Sarbjeet, are raising three children who attend Surrey schools and are very active in sports, recreation, arts and cultural activities. During his spare time, Randeep cherishes time with his family, including the newest member, a young Labrador puppy named Mr. Cuddles, and enjoys activities such as yoga, soccer and jogging.

He is committed to making Surrey the most transit friendly, low crime, metropolitan centre in Canada. Randeep believes the right voice, sound understanding and a commitment to a multi pronged approach can curb the current crime escalation that plagues the city and prevent any further increase in traffic congestion.

Sabi Marwah and Howard Wetston make list of Senate appointments

BY Barbara Shecter

Two Bay Street stalwarts are on the list of new Senate appointment recommendations Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled Monday: Howard Wetston, former chair of the Ontario Securities Commission, and Sabi Marwah, who was a longtime senior executive of Bank of Nova Scotia.

Wetston, a former Federal Court of Canada trial judge and one-time chief executive of the Ontario Energy Board, retired last November from the OSC, where he had served as chair and CEO since 2010. In April, he joined Toronto-based law firm Goodmans LLP as counsel.

As head of the OSC, Canada’s largest capital markets regulator, Wetston beefed up enforcement by launching the Joint Serious Offences Team, a partnership between the OSC, the RCMP Financial Crime program and the Ontario Provincial Police Anti-Rackets Branch. He also put the wheels in motion for the creation of a paid whistleblower program, and a disclosure regime intended to promote more women on corporate boards and in senior management.

Dale Lastman, chair of Goodmans LLP, said he doesn’t yet know whether Wetston will be able to continue working with the law firm.

“If he can stay, we’ll be delighted to have him, and if he can’t stay, then we’ll be sad from one perspective but he’ll be helping our country from another,” Lastman said in an interview.

He said the former regulator has primarily been providing internal advice and mentoring at the firm.

“If smart and classy and nice and decent and caring and being passionate are qualities that would make a good senator, then Mr. Wetston will make a good senator, as would Mr. Marwah, who I also know,” Lastman said.

Marwah, who joined Bank of Nova Scotia as a financial analyst and climbed the ranks to the positions of vice-chairman and chief operating officer, retired in 2014 after 35 years at what is now Canada’s third-largest bank. The influential former bank executive has also served as a director on the boards of Torstar Corp., Cineplex Inc., George Weston Ltd., and Telus Corp.

Marwah’s official biography posted online by the Prime Minister’s office notes that he is from India, and that he has worked extensively over the past 15 years “to showcase the rich diversity of Sikh and South Asian art and culture.”

Warren Jestin, who was chief economist at Bank of Nova Scotia until his retirement in February, said Marwah’s range of experience in the business, health, and education sectors, including sitting on the boards  of the Hospital for Sick Children and Ryerson Futures at Ryerson University, make him an obvious choice for the Senate.

“You think of him as a guy who ran the day-to-day operations of Scotiabank, be his interests and skills are far wider than that,” Jestin said in an interview.

Marwah and Wetston were recommended for Senate appointments alongside, Lucie Moncion, chief executive of the Alliance des caisses populaires de l’Ontario, Gwen Boniface, the first female commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, University of Toronto School of Public Policy professor Tony Dean, and Kim Pate, executive director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies.

Trudeau’s six recommendations to the Governor General were chosen using a new merit-based process, which is intended to ensure that the Senate is “independent, reflective of Canada’s diversity, and best able to tackle the broad range of challenges and opportunities facing the country.”

For the first time, the process was opened to Canadians to apply, which generated more than 2,700 applications. The submissions were reviewed by an independent advisory board for Senate appointments, which then provided “non-binding” recommendations to Trudeau.

Meeting strengthens India-B.C. partnerships

Minister of Finance Michael de Jong met with Indian Finance Minister, Minister of Corporate Affairs in the cabinet of India, Arun Jaitley, today in New Delhi to discuss ways to continue to strengthen economic ties between India and British Columbia.

“I was impressed by Minister Jaitley’s interest in mutual economic investments in both India and Canada by companies, such as Indian Oil. India is an important economy with a young and growing middle class that represents an important opportunity for B.C. partnership, trade and investment, particularly in the areas of forestry, energy, international education and clean technology,” says Minister of Finance Michael de Jong.

The meeting builds on bilateral discussions and activities since the visit by Prime Minister Modi to Vancouver in 2015, where the prime minister and senior Indian government officials showed great support and enthusiasm for formalizing relations between India and British Columbia. Meeting topics included: the recent approval by the Canadian federal government of the Pacific North West LNG project; the successful issuance of B.C.’s Indian Rupee (INR) bond; and future opportunities to expand two-way trade and investment.

 

By 2030, India is expected to be the world’s third-largest economy behind the United States and China. B.C. exports to India have jumped from $201 million in 2011 to $623 million in 2015, making India B.C.’s fifth-largest trading partner. Real GDP in India was 7.2% in 2014, and estimated to grow to 7.6% in 2015, and in 2016 is expected to be 7.4%.

 

The Government of British Columbia has been actively working to make India and B.C. long-term partners in economic and social prosperity. It’s a strategy that’s focused on:

  • Building the foundation of the India-B.C. relationship based on mutual economic growth;
  • Identifying targeted opportunities for B.C. to help address specific needs of the Indian market and;
  • Making India top-of-mind among B.C.’s exporters.

On Sept. 9, 2016, British Columbia was the first foreign government to issue a bond in the Indian Rupee (INR) offshore market – or what is known colloquially as a Masala bond. The bond issue demonstrates the Province’s confidence in the outlook for India, and positions B.C. to participate in internationalization of the INR and India’s economy.

In addition, with Budget 2016, the Government of British Columbia committed $5 million over three years to promote a stronger B.C. wood brand in India. This investment is helping B.C. companies establish themselves as the world’s leading suppliers of sustainably harvested wood products to a market that includes the world’s largest middle class.

British Columbia’s work to build a strong relationship with India has proven successful. Earlier this week, Air Canada launched a direct flight from Vancouver to Delhi, demonstrating that India and B.C. are closer than ever before. This flight now provides a direct link for businesses to come together, and families to stay connected.

Karman Singh Grewal, and Elson Blue Joy charged in Fentanyl and Cocaine bust

By Caley Ramsay

Global News

Two people from British Columbia have been charged following a drug seizure in Grande Prairie earlier this month.

More than one kilogram of cocaine and nearly 150 fentanyl pills were seized from two Grande Prairie homes on Oct. 13.

The seizure came following a month-long investigation by members of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams and Grande Prairie RCMP.

The following items, worth more than $150,000, were seized from the homes:

  • 1 kilogram of cocaine
  • 146 fentanyl pills
  • 155 grams of marijuana
  • 175 millilitres of GHB
  • Two body armour vests
  • $56,120 cash proceeds of crime

“The seizure and the disruption of this criminal group will help to reduce the negative community impact created by the local drug trade,” Supt. Don McKenna with the Grande Prairie RCMP said.

“This seizure highlights the importance of a coordinated provincial effort to stem the movement and sale of controlled substances.”

Karman Singh Grewal, 24, of Langley, B.C. has been charged with two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of drugs and possession of proceeds of crime.

Elson Blue Joy, 22, of Kelowna, B.C. has been charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking, possession of drugs, possession of proceeds of crime, possession of stolen property and possession of body armour.

Watch Below: A member of the RCMP Clandestine Lab Enforcement and Response Team demonstrates how fentanyl pills are made, during a conference in Edmonton Thursday.

The number of fentanyl-related deaths in Alberta has drastically increased over the past five years. In 2011, there were six deaths in the province connected to the drug; that number spiked to 274 deaths in 2015.

In the first six months of 2016, 153 people in Alberta died from apparent drug overdoses related to fentanyl.

Men charged with felony assault and hate crimes in beating of Bay Area Sikh man

(By Ben Poston of LA Times)

October 14 2016

Contra Costa County prosecutors charged a pair of Texas men Friday with two counts of felony assault and hate crimes for beating a Sikh man and cutting off his hair in the Bay Area city of Richmond, last month.

Chase Bryan Little, 31, of Beaumont, and Colton Tye Leblanc, 24, of Winnie, were charged with assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and assault with a deadly weapon. Prosecutors added hate-crime enhancements to both counts.

Maan Singh Khalsa, 41, who wears a turban and maintains his hair and beard unshorn as part of his Sikh faith, was attacked Sept. 25.

Sikh leaders said the attack was a hate-motivated crime directed at Khalsa’s religious beliefs and ethnicity. During the attack, Khalsa’s attackers yelled, “Cut his hair, cut his … hair!” then used a knife to chop off a fistful of his hair, according to Sikh leaders.

Richmond police arrested Little and another man but determined that the other man did not take part in the attack and will not face charges, according the prosecutors.

According to the district attorney’s office, Khalsa was stopped at a red light in Richmond, about half a mile from his home, on the night of the attack.

A white Ford F-150, which was occupied by at least five men, pulled up alongside and beer cans were thrown at Khalsa’s car, authorities said.

Khalsa was again stopped for a red light at the next intersection when two occupants of the truck got out and ran toward his car, authorities said.

The two men repeatedly punched Khalsa in the face through an open window while he was seated inside his vehicle, the district attorney’s office said. Khalsa’s turban was knocked off during the barrage. The assailants then began pulling his hair.

While yelling obscenities, the assailants forced Khalsa’s head down and cut a significant portion of his hair, prosecutors said.

Portions of the attack were overheard and recorded by a California Highway Patrol dispatcher who was trying to determine Khalsa’s location, they said.

After the attack, Khalsa drove to a gas station where he waited for paramedics, authorities said.

He suffered a swollen black eye, numerous damaged teeth and several knife wounds to his left hand, which led to an infection that promped the amputation of his little finger at the first knuckle.

Khalsa, who is a U.S. citizen, has been living with his family in Contra Costa County for seven years.

He works as an information technology specialist for the Social Security Administration as well as a certified caregiver for the elderly.

The attack and other assaults across the U.S. have sparked fear within the large Sikh community in Richmond.

In 2012, six Sikh worshipers were killed when a neo-Nazi walked into a temple in Oak Creek, Wis., and opened fire.

Little is out on bail, with a pending court date of Nov. 21; a bench warrant will be issued for Leblanc’s arrest, prosecutors said.