Monday, December 31, 2007

Attention Black Women of the World
If you are not getting the love you deserve you might want to pick up this book and read it. There appears to be a conspiracy to deny Black women this right. A brand new book by Pearl Jr

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Kwanzaa - A Celebration of African Heritage

Kwanzaa is a time to celebrate African heritage and further strengthen core family values using seven African principles: umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity) and imani (faith). It's also a time to entrench oneself in four decades of tradition.

Kwanzaa, which means "fresh fruits," is a week-long celebration that runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. In this time, a different principle is celebrated each night through African proverbs, songs, chants and gift giving. Gifts normally include a traditional African heritage symbol and a book to stress ethnic values.

Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, then the leader of the Us Organization, a black nationalist group. His goal: "To give blacks an alternative holiday to Christmas." Today Karenga is a professor of black studies at California State University. The seven principles of Kwanzaa also correspond to Karenga's notion that "the sevenfold path of blackness is think black, talk black, act black, create black, buy black, vote black, and live black," which he asserts in his book The Quotable Karenga.

During Kwanzaa, families decorate their homes with harvest symbols and other ethnic artifacts and dress in traditional African garb that exude the colors of Kwanzaa--black (to symbolize the people), red (to represent the bloodshed and struggle for equality), and green (representing hope for the future).

Traditionally, there is a central decoration that holds seven candles: three red candles, three green candles and one black candle (which is lit on the first night).
It's Not over Yet - Celebrate the African Heritage Season - Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa is a time to celebrate African heritage and further strengthen core family values using seven African principles: umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), ujima (collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity) and imani (faith). It's also a time to entrench oneself in four decades of tradition.
In 1966 Dr. Ron Maulana Karenga adapted the principles of the African harvest festival to create the African American celebration known as Kwanzaa. He emphasized that the same principles could be used in building strong and wholesome communities.

Kwanzaa, which means "fresh fruits," is a week-long celebration that runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. In this time, a different principle is celebrated each night through African proverbs, songs, chants and gift giving. Gifts normally include a traditional African heritage symbol and a book to stress ethnic values.
During Kwanzaa, families decorate their homes with harvest symbols and other ethnic artifacts and dress in traditional African garb that exude the colors of Kwanzaa--black (to symbolize the people), red (to represent the bloodshed and struggle for equality), and green (representing hope for the future).

Traditionally, there is a central decoration that holds seven candles: three red candles, three green candles and one black candle (which is lit on the first night).
AlterNet: Blogs: Video: "It's a Blunderful Life" Starring George W. Bush [VIDEO]

A National Treasure has Slipped off this reality

Our beloved Oscar Peterson, a national treasure and one of jazz's most recorded musicians, both as leader and accompanist died at the age of 82. Peterson rose from working-class beginnings in Montreal -- where his father, a railway porter, let him pursue music only if he promised to be "the best" -- to become a major influence on generations of top-flight musicians.
"He was very shy, very down to earth. You didn't know you were with a world musician by any means," said Hazel McCallion, a friend and the mayor of Mississauga, Ontario, a Toronto suburb where Peterson lived.
McCallion said that Peterson died late on Sunday and that she was informed by Peterson's family. CBC Television said he died at home of kidney failure.
Since blasting onto the world stage with a famous appearance at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1949, the beefy high school dropout amassed armfuls of honorary degrees and awards, including a 1997 Grammy for Lifetime Achievement and an International Jazz Hall of Fame Award.
Canada made him a Companion of the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian honor, as well as the first living Canadian to be depicted on a stamp.
Peterson kept an exhaustive touring schedule throughout his career with groups featuring such players as bassist and longtime collaborator Ray Brown, drummer Ed Thigpen and guitarist Herb Ellis.
The work of this musicians will continue in the likes of Holly Cole and other top brass Jazz artists in the city. He will be studied and remembered for his excellent skills in this particular musical genre Jazz.

Dr. Charles Quist-Adade, a faculty member of Kwantlen university and prolific writer and journalist was last night elected president of the Ghana Canada Association of British Columbia at the Executive Plaza hotel in Burnaby.

Charles is also the newly appointed Managing Editor of Afri-Can magazine, published from Burnaby, Canada, by Sierra Leonean journalist and writer Gibril Koroma.

According to its web site, the GCABC was formed in 1986 by a group of Ghanaians living in Vancouver, British Columbia. It is a non governmental and a non profit organization.

GCABC cooperates with other humanitarian organizations and communities but has no political or religious affiliations. The aim of the association is to promote friendship, co-operation and cultural exchanges between the peoples of Canada and Ghana. The association aims at increasing the knowledge of Canadians about Ghana and developing countries in general. It aims at influencing the society’s thinking, the authorities and the individual’s sense of responsibility towards the problems of developing countries.

Charles Quist-Adade(pictured)was born in Ghana, where he obtained a Diploma in Journalism from the Ghana Institute of Journalism before earning an M.A. in Mass Communication from Leningrad State University and Ph.D. in Sociology from Petersburg State University, both in Russia. Prior to his arrival in Canada, Dr. Quist-Adade worked as a newspaper 2004 Black Community Leadership Award Recipient journalist and radio broadcaster for the Ghanaian Times and Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, as a press officer for the Hungarian Embassy in Accra, Ghana, and as a correspondent for the London (U.K.) - based syndicated Gemini News Service in Leningrad. He was a contributor to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) African Service and for London-based magazines, including New African, Africa Events, West Africa and African Concord, and published articles in newspapers around the world including the United States and Canada.

Dr. Quist-Adade arrived in Canada in 1992. For several years, he taught at the University of Windsor and at Wayne State University. He won many awards and accolades, including 1998 Ghanaian of the Year. Once he was named Most Popular Professor at the University of Windsor (1998 Maclean’s Magazine Annual Academic Edition) and more than once he appeared on published lists of the top ten professors at the university.

Besides teaching, Dr. Quist-Adade has taken a great interest in supporting Windsor’s Black community. He has for many years published Windsor’s Black community-oriented newsmagazine, Sankofa News, with the assistance of communication studies students from the University of Windsor. He has also acted as editor of the Multi-cultural News out of Toronto. Dr. Quist-Adade has to his credit more than 300 newspaper articles. His academic publications include the book Africa in the Shadows of the Kremlin and the Press: Africa’s Media Image During and After the Cold War (2001) and a chapter in the book Africa, the Kremlin and the Press by Lawrence Erlbaum Mahmah.

He is also the producer of The Ones They Left Behind: The Life and Plight of African Russians, a documentary film on the offspring of Black student fathers and Russian mothers and the experiences of these children in the (former) Soviet Union.

From September 1992 until August 2003, Dr. Quist-Adade produced and hosted CJAM’s Safari Pan-Afrikana, a weekly radio program featuring news, music, and commentaries on issues concerning continental Africa and the African Diaspora. Through the radio program and the Sankofa News, he has lent support to many Black community causes, as well as promoting unity and co-operation among all segments of Windsor’s Black community.

Currently, Dr. Charles Quist-Adade teaches at Kwantlen University College in British Columbia. His passion remains the quest for Global African unity and co-operation. Dr. Quist-Adade and his beautiful and affable wife, Geralda, have three children, Maayaa, Christopher (Kwaku) and Malika.

On February 14th, 2004, while he was a faculty member at Central Michigan University and still commuting to the Windsor area on a monthly basis for a variety of volunteer commitments, the Windsor and District Black Coalition awarded the 2004 Black Community Leadership Award to this dedicated leader and volunteer whose many contributions to the Black community of Windsor and region will never be forgotten.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

We promote Human rights as an important value in the Western countries but we do not see that importance reflected in the media when it comes to International Human Rights Day. The scanty coverage in mainstream media will give you the impression that it is not that important. December 10 was International Human Rights Day. I think this is a day we all can and should celebrate regardless of race, creed, political beliefs and nationality. We all want our rights protected. Why is the media not playing up this event more than it does. Why are stories not researched etc. to show the benefits and beneficiaries of human rights.
In Winnipeg there is no complaint this year. We had a lot of media press around the Human Rights Commitment Award. This year the criteria for the Commitment award focused on the rights of the mentally ill. A FASD program that runs out of the David Livingston school was the winner. This program helps children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder to take their rightful place in society and to banish myths about children and people with this disorder. The children in this program were very happy to receive the award. In accepting the award, one of the children said they are just the same as every body, they just need a little more help than other children to do the right thing. He said they know right from wrong. The children were so sweet and touching. There was not a dry eye in the audience, I am sure.
The Youth winner of the Sybil Shack Youth Award was a grade 11 student from Balmoral Hall School, Krupa Kotecha. She was chosen for her tireless fight against racism and discrimination. She is the daughter of East Indian-Ugandan parents who were kicked out of Uganda during the crazy Idi Amin regime. Krupa has made a video about race bullying in schools and has done dramatic performances all having to do with raising awareness of racism. She was nominated by a teacher in the school.
The International Human Rights Day Luncheon has been sponsored for many years by the joint efforts of the Manitoba Human Rights Commission, Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Manitoba Association of Rights and Liberty. This year the event was held at the Radisson Hotel and was well attended.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

On the 17th of November, the Ron Paley big band had a concert at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The event was well attended, the concert was outstanding and it featured Winnipeg Jazz singer, Maiko Watson and a guy on the Sax I do not know his name but he was great. A great Francophone musicians to watch. Ron Paley is also freshening up his repertoire by incorporating some hip-hoppy kind of sounds. He was great and shows that he is a musician not stuck in his time but open to move with the time.
Was a great concert.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Open letter by Winnipegger Kojo Williams, community activist re: A sister who appears to be against Black-focused schools which is being discussed and ready to be tested in Toronto, Ontario where black youths seem to face more than the usual problems of racism, violence etc.

Hi Elma:

Greetings my Vincentian sister!!! I will be very brief with my response.

I think you and the other Blacks and anti-blacks are dead wrong on this issue. There are Black focused schools working well (for years) in the United States of America. There are Aboriginal, Jewish and other socused schools all over Canada. There is the Catholic School Board with Catholic schools all over Canada. There are schools dedicated for girls and schools dedicated for boys all over Canada. These special focused schools were established and maintained for good reasons. So why all this fuss now that - for some of the same reasons - Black focussed schools are proposed?

The fact is: the regular school system has failed Blacks all over Canada. Their curricula do not include the Black Canadian experience. They rape and rob our children of their self-esteem and self-worth. They graduate our kids at Grade nine and ten and leave them without education and by extension marketable skills, hence the reasons there are so many single Black mothers, unemployed Black males (particularly youths) and "Black youth crime".

Those Blacks who believe they "have arrived" and live in a society above the Black community need to understand the real issues that drive real Black leaders to try to try to establish Black focused schools - which are not exclusive to Blacks. They should work with the Black (and other) leaders who really care about Blacks and Canada, to correct Canada's racist systems and the attendant problems those who manage those systems so want to maintain.

As I see it, Black focused schools could be remedial places of learning which prepare Blacks - and other youths - to find an equal space in society. There is nothing racist or discriminatory about this. It simply makes sense for Blacks and the rest of the Canadian society.

My sister, I plead with you to re-examine this issue, as well as the state of the Black segment of our Canadian society. Your commentary may be music to the ears of those who benefit from the status quo, but equally so, it is pain in the heart of every Black mother and father whose youths have been failed by the present system.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

News Release: Manitoba Human Rights Commission
November 14, 2007

Manitoba Human Rights Commission Releases 2006 Annual Report
Formal Complaints received is the highest since 1990

The total number of formal complaints the Manitoba Human Rights Commission received in 2006 is reaching record highs. According to Dianna Scarth, Executive Director of the Commission, the number of formal complaints received (297) is the highest since 1990 and rivals the numbers recorded in the first few years following the proclamation of the Human Rights Code (Manitoba) in December 1987. She adds that
in 2006, an additional 45 matters were resolved informally through the Commission’s
pre-complaint process.

The 2006 Annual Report also reveals that the greatest number of formal complaints filed continues to be on the basis of physical and mental disability. Ancestry complaints were the second highest. In recent years complaints based on sex, including pregnancy was second.

Statistics show that disability complaints were at 41.5%, while complaints based on ancestry were at 20%, and sex, including pregnancy, were at 18% of the total number of formal complaints filed.

The Commission is also facing more complicated systemic complaints. “One of the greatest challenges,” says Ms Scarth “is the level of resources available to deal with systemic complaints.”

Systemic complaints raise allegations of discriminatory treatment of large groups. Examples of systemic complaints range from the accreditation of foreign trained doctors to the treatment of women incarcerated in provincial institutions.

“Systemic complaints require extensive research and investigations, but resolutions have a great impact in addressing large scale patterns of discrimination,” says Ms Scarth.

Other highlights of the 2006 Annual Report include:

• Mediation commenced in regard to the Elizabeth Fry Society complaint against the Government of Manitoba. This was the first mediation about the treatment of female prisoners in a provincial system in Canada. (The mediation concluded successfully in 2007).

• A settlement was reached between the Rainbow Harmony Project and Camp Arnes, balancing freedom of religion and the right to protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

• The Commission and the University of Winnipeg’s Racialized Communities and Police Services Project held its first community consultation, which resulted in a joint news release agreed upon by all the groups in attendance, including the Winnipeg Police Service. The project began at the request of a group of inner city residents who alleged racial profiling by the City of Winnipeg Police.

• Legal proceedings included two successful adjudications (Amy and Jesse Pasternak v The Manitoba High School Athletic Association and Hank Richard v the Brandon Youth Hockey Association), and one successful Manitoba Court of Appeal hearing (Thorvaldson Care Homes Ltd. v the Manitoba Human Rights Commission).

• The Commission, with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission, was granted intervener status at the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities v Via Rail. In support of the CCD, the Commission argued that human rights principles should be applied in the context of specialized human rights legislation. (The decision, in favour of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, was released in 2007.)

• The Commission developed guidelines for retailers, emphasizing the importance of respecting human rights when attempting to control the sale of intoxicating substances.

The 2006 Annual Report is available on the Commission’s website

For more information please contact:
Patricia Knipe
Communications Director

"Nothing like this has ever happened to me"

The University of Manitoba continues its excellent record for its
winning Rhodes Scholarships with the awarding of a 2008 Rhodes
Scholarship to Akosua Matthews, who graduated from the University
of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Arts (honours) in 2006.

Ms Mathews, who also won the Gold Medal in Philosophy in 2006, is
currently a full-time policy analyst for the Province of Manitoba.
Born in Edmonton, she moved to Winnipeg at an early age, attending
Bairdmore, Dalhousie and Acadia schools, all in Fort Richmond.
Matthews is also a graduate of nearby Fort Richmond Collegiate. Her
mother is from Ghana, and her father, a three-time graduate of the
University of Manitoba, currently works for water stewardship with
the Province of Manitoba. She also has a brother currently enroled in
University 1 at the University of Manitoba.

"In school, Akosua was a leader in so many ways," says Kathleen
Crang, science teacher at Fort Richmond Collegiate. "She was active
in the Charity Club, Amnesty International and other groups."

"It´s been a whirlwind twenty-four hours," says Matthews. "The
stakes were very high, and I was blown away by the calibre of the
other candidates."

"What´s the right adjective to use?" her father muses. "We are
extremely pleased and excited for Akosua. She´s worked very hard
for this. After she got the call Saturday night, we phoned relatives
here in Canada to tell them the news and then woke up our relatives
in Ghana."

In addition to her outstanding academic credentials, Matthews is an
army reservist, where she is a corporal and plays bugle and trumpet in
the company band. "I was very busy performing at Remembrance Day
services this year," Matthews notes.

Matthews says she enjoyed her time in the philosophy department,
enhancing her ability to learn and share knowledge.

"My department was very small and hands-on," she says. "I got to
know my professors on a one-to-one basis. Many people think that
University of Manitoba is a really big school, but for me, my
experience was that once I got into a specific discipline, it became
quite small."

"People really got to know you," she adds.

Matthews is the 87th Rhodes Scholar to hail from the University of
Manitoba, which has produced more Rhodes Scholars than any other
university in Western Canada.

Matthews plans to eventually study law. Her Rhodes Scholarship is
tenable for studies at Oxford in England for two or three years
commencing in the fall of 2008, covering all tuition fees plus an
annual stipend.

For more information, contact Ms Akosua Matthews at: 204-880-
1514 (cell), or John Danakas, public affairs, at: 204-474-8551 or
204-228-9527 (cell).

A Winnippegger and member of the Ghanian community has won the Rhodes Scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships worldwide.
Akosua Matthews has been very active in the community. She participated in Folklorama and was a member of the Youth Parliament in 2004. She was the Director of Finance of the Board and acted as the Youth Parliament's 86th Deputy speaker with responsibilities of keeping accurate financial records; receiving all dues paid by members; and fundraising.

"I have been lucky to take part in a lot of youth groups based on interests such as politics. I was a page at the Manitoba Legislature. I took part in the Forum for Young Canadians in Ottawa, and this Holiday break I took part in Youth Parliament at the Manitoba Legislature. The great thing about these programs is the opportunity to meet other youth who are interested in politics and government"
Congratulations to you and family.

The 22 year old Matthews was born in Edmonton but was raised and schooled in Winnipeg. She graduated from Fort Richmond Collegiate. In 2006 she received a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and the gold medal in philosophy from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. She was lead intern for the Manitoba Legislative Assembly and is now a policy analyst with the Province of Manitoba. She is also a corporal and military musician in the reserve – Royal Winnipeg Rifles Regiment and an active member of the Youth Parliament of Manitoba. she intends to pursue graduate studies in philosophy in Oxford.

Updated November 21, 2007
Matthews thanks the Ghanaian community as being instrumental to her success
Please note that the Ghanaian Community has played a big role in my upbringing and personal development. My parents are very excited and we have shared the news with relatives in Ghana. A big thank you to all of my aunties, uncles and cousins who have been with me as I grew up.


Akosua Matthews

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Eritrean Motivational Speaker at Success Skills Centre

Robel Kidane an Eritrean-Swedish motivational speaker and counselor . Mr Kidane who resides in Sweden is a psychologist and specializes in mind-body relationships. Mr Robel Kidane has been part of the Rwanda genocide reconciliation Committee and he is an expert in cultural impacts that affect immigrants in general and Eritreans in particular. He is invited in Winnipeg by the Eritrean Community In Winnipeg to present a week session-seminar on "Knowing Your Inner Self" in English and Eritrean languages. Mr Kidane has done several seminars in all major European Capital , in 15 cities with refugee population in the USA and in Toronto and Calgary. Presently he is in a tour in North America addressing intergenerational issues and impact on developing healthy families in refugee population from Africa.

Friday, November 02, 2007


Labour and Immigration Minister Nancy Allan, Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Rosann Wowchuk and Dr. Emõke Szathmáry, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manitoba, today announced the establishment of the Internationally Educated Agrologist pilot program (IEAP).

"We congratulate the University of Manitoba's faculty of agricultural and food sciences and the Manitoba Institute of Agrologists, the two organizations that developed the pilot program so internationally-trained agrologists can work in their chosen field as quickly as possible," said Allan. "The province is pleased to support this innovative program which demonstrates our government's commitment to fast track skills recognition and integration into the labour market."

In the past year, Manitoba welcomed over 10,000 immigrants. A significant number of these new Manitobans are professionals who have international education and work experience in their chosen fields.

"These skilled individuals can make a strong contribution to Manitoba's agricultural economy, but first need supports to overcome barriers to professional recognition and job entry,"
Wowchuk said. "The people using this 12-month IEAP program will now be able to contribute their knowledge, skills and expertise to our workforce more quickly and benefit our agriculture industry sooner. The transfer of information and technological skills from qualified, internationally-trained agrologists will enhance and expand the options of our own industry now and in the future."

The pilot program provides eight months of study and four months paid work experience with an agricultural company in Manitoba.
Currently, 13 students are enrolled in the program.

Szathmáry praised the IEAP. "This program will meet the needs of internationally-educated agrologists at the same! time as it meets the needs of the Manitoba economy which requires highly-educated and experienced professionals,'' she said. "It is an excellent example of how the University of Manitoba recognizes and responds to the demands of the workforce in practical and effective ways."

"The IEAP is a tremendous opportunity for the Manitoba Institute of Agrologists (MIA) to help well-qualified people replace frustration with hope and to help internationally-educated agrologists demonstrate to employers that they have the appropriate level of knowledge and skills so their talent and experience will not be wasted," said Earl Geddes, MIA president.

Agrology is the application of the sciences to agriculture and the bio-resource sector. Agrologists are trained and qualified to provide advice on the production, processing and marketing of agricultural products, crops or livestock. The Manitoba Institute of Agrologists is the provincial accreditation organization that operates under authority of the Agrologists Act.

The Internationally Educated Agrologist pilot program, the Internationally Educated Engineers Qualification program and the Academic and Professional Bridging Program for Internationally Educated Teachers are initiatives Manitoba has developed to help newcomers use their professional skills in Manitoba workplaces.

The province recently introduced legislation that builds on these initiatives and qualifications recognition efforts. The proposed Fair Registration Practices Bill would also help reduce barriers to the recognition of internationally-educated professionals in Manitoba through transparent, objective, impartial and fair registration practices.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I am one of those people who is afraid of heights including flying. I fly because I have no other reasonable choice but wherever I can, I take the bus or train. I keep track of airline safety records and of air crashes and try to choose to travel in planes based on their good track record. I know this is ridiculous. One cannot avoid bad things altogether. A plane with the best record could have a bad day. But I make my bets on good record.
Hearing about the Q400 Turboprop jets also known as Dash 8 landing problems and near misses does not give me confidence at all. I will not take one of these planes to go anywhere. It is for this reason I do not travel on charter planes. I understand that these are older planes that are over-hauled and sold to vacation companies.
The Scandinavian Airlines has cancelled its contract with Bombardier to buy 27 of these planes because passengers do not have confidence in them anymore.
I think the customer should be vigilant when it comes to flying to ensure that they get the best plane and pilot to carry them up in the air.
Luckily no life was lost in these landing crashes but the fear in the hearts of many of the passengers will remain for a long time.
Bombardier stands behind the Q400. Where else would they stand? They invested a lot of money in these planes and they are not about to wash it down the drain and admit there is a terrible manufacturing problem with them. Instead of standing by these planes they should commit themselves to pull all these planes out of the skies and go over the manufacturing details so as not to risk the lives of innocent travellers.
As for me I will not venture into the Q400 aka Dash 8.
Do you research the airlines in which you travel? If you are going on a boat cruise do you research the company? I urge you to do and not leave things up to chance.

(Mumbi Kaigwa (top)
local radio show host Mzi (r) with Kenyan drummer (l)

Thanks to the CBC, where I get up to date information about whst's happening in the city, I heard of the Kenyan storyteller giving a presentation at Art Space in the Old Market Square area. I heard the announcement around 8:30 and it was to take place from 1 - 2 p.m. and being as spontaneous as I am, I decided I would go. I am glad I went. I got there a little after 1:30 but it was worth it.

Fifth anniversary, FemFest organizers reached beyond Canada's borders for the very first time this year by inviting Kenyan playwright Mumbi Kaigwa to perrforming her own play They Call Me Wanjiku.

Mumbi's personal story inspired me. She gave up her paid job with the UN to follow her passion and her passion brought her to Winnipeg. She conducted several sessions of her work and storytelling various groups in Winnipeg including the Aboriginal groups in particular the Graffiti Gallery. The session at the Writer's Guild Office where I attended was her fifth she said.

Like most southerners she said she was confused by everyone saying "what a beautiful day" when she was absolutely freezing in Winnipeg's warmer fall day -13. She did not want to hear how cold it gets in the winter.

It was a delight listening to this confident African woman with important knowledge about her craft.

Like most cultures, storytelling is a tradition in many families though some of us do it more than others e.g. people of African descent and the First Nations people. They still use this method of communication more frequently and more informally than some other cultures. Yet, she was saddened that her grandmother did not pass on all the stories that were available for every occasion in Kenyan culture. She said there is a song for most events including male circumcision; songs for marriage, births, deaths and critical events in cultural day to day living.

Kaigwa has taken her storytelling to new heights and at the same time empowering and transforming lives by her stories. Her methodology is interviewing people and then taking parts of each story and making it into a performance piece to which many people can relate.

During an interview on CBC she said that because of her story a woman who always wanted to be baker was motivated to follow her passion and today that woman is enjoying her work as a baker and feeding others with her wonderful delights.
She said she knew her work impacted her audience in a special way because afterwards people will relate how it did. It is the most exciting part of her work because she gets to make a difference in people's lives.

The audience teased her about returning in the Winter. Kaigwa could not see how that is possible, hugging herself just imagining the cold. She however may be back next year to work with Casmiri who is a local dancer and musician of Mozambican birth and by now pretty well know in the city. Hopefully, they will be able to bring her back so that more people can be influenced by her story. Kaigwa brought her own personal drummer to accompany her stories and songs.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Global pins hopes on show Da Kink
New series based on stage play about hair salon
The CBC’s got Little Mosque On The Prairie. CTV’s got Corner Gas. Could Da Kink In My Hair be Global's chance at a breakout home-grown situation comedy?

Da Kink creator and star Trey Anthony doesn’t want to focus on that kind of pressure, saying she’s simply delighted that she got the network to greenlight the show, based on her beloved stage play of the same name about a boisterous hair salon in Toronto’s Caribbean community.

“Global was really great about it, and we were totally on the same page creatively in terms of how we wanted the show to go,” Anthony said in a recent interview alongside her friends and castmates, Ordena Stephens-Thompson and Ngozi Paul, who’s also one of the show’s creators. “I just hope people watch it and enjoy it, and I’m trying not to think about anything beyond that.”

Global has been promoting Da Kink In My Hair heavily. Airing it just before The Simpsons on Sunday night — the show premieres this weekend — is a sure sign the network is dreaming of its own Cancon smash hit, says Damion Nurse, the show’s executive producer.

“This is the only Canadian show they’ve got premiering in the fall, they’ve given it a great time slot, they’re putting a lot of advertising behind it — so they really do have high hopes for it,” Nurse says.

“They believe in the project. So we’re excited and just crossing our fingers now to see what happens.”


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Manitoba Women's Advisory Council held a Lunch and Learn session today which featured three professional women from the Ukraine who spoke about trafficking in the Ukraine and what they are doing to curb this horrible situation. The women Luba Maksymovych, Halyna Fedkovych and Iryna Trokhym of the West Ukrainian Centre "Women's Perspectives", Lviv Ukraine, shared information and sought collaboration from Canadian women's groups. The trafficking problem is so huge they cannot do it alone. These women all worked in a non profit organization that helped to educated women on trafficking, what they had to look for before embarking on a job quest. The venue was packed to capacity by mainly service providers and women from non-profit organizations in the city.
Thought some of their English was not that great it was easy to understand them. One woman said she was shocked to find out in 1998 at a conference in Finland she was asked why there were so many young girls from Ukraine prostituting in Finland and where there were lots of prostitutes in their country. She said that because of poverty, women are seeking genuine employment to help feed their children and despicable traffickers prey on them.
She said they teach women never to give up their passports and to always have a return ticket, to check their work agreements carefully before leaving. She said they are making some headway.
Violence against women in the Ukraine is also rampant and until recently, it was considered a matter for the family and there was no law to protect women. Even the police in the Ukraine did not take women's complaint seriously. The session was enlightening in the fact that what is happening to women in Canada is not special to Canadian women but it is something that affects women everywhere in the world. This is more need for women to band together on a global scale to fight for equity, safety and respect.

Facts on Human Trafficking
Number of people trafficked worldwide: 600,000 to 800,0001
Number of people trafficked within the United States: 14,500 to 17,5002
It should be noted that these statistics vary based upon the source, with some sources having the number of individuals being trafficked in the millions.
Average enslavement: 2-5 years (some victims are enslaved for more than 20 years) 3
Common forms of human trafficking: Agriculture, domestic service, mail order brides,
prostitution, sexual abuse/exploitation of children, and sweatshops.4
Top cities for trafficking: According to the report Freedom Denied: Forced Labor in California released in February of 2005, 80% of the documented human trafficking cases in California occurred in San Diego, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.5 Routes for trafficking: The Trans Border Institute documents that many victims are trafficked into Mexico from other countries and from within Mexico, into California; from California they are either trafficked within the state or to other parts of the United States. Trafficking is more prevalent on the West Coast of the United States than on the East Coast.
Victims’ County of Origin: While trafficking has been documented in almost every country,the top three countries of origin of human trafficking victims are Thailand, Mexico and Russia. There is evidence of reverse trafficking, with Americans being trafficked from the United States into Mexico and abroad.6
Tactics used by traffickers: Withholding of legal documents, threats and acts of physical harm to victim and victims’ family, rape, kidnapping, isolation and confinement, denial of medical care, manipulation and psychological abuse.
Number of traffickers in 2004 who have been convicted by the Federal Government: 437
Other assistance for victims: Victims may be eligible for a T-visa, which allows them to remain temporarily in the United States. After 3 years, the victim may be eligible for permanent residence status if he/she meets the following conditions: 1) he/she is of good moral character,
2) he/she has complied with any reasonable request for assistance in the investigation during the 3 year period, and
3) he/she will suffer extreme hardship if he/she is removed from United
1 United States Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report, (TIP), June 2004
2 Ibid.
3 Turning Pain Into Power: Trafficking Survivor’s Perspectives on Early Intervention Strategies, March 2005, Family Violence
Prevention Fund
4 Freedom Denied: Forced Labor in California, February 2005, Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley
5 Ibid.
6.San Diego Task Force on Human Trafficking
7 Report on Activities to Combat Human Trafficking, Fiscal Years 2001-2005, United States Department of Justice
8 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Rescue and Restore Project

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Photos: Minister Nancy Allan making a point, emcee Manju Loda, singer Aiza Luna; speakers: Ms Ang'er Ruay and Ms Flor Marcelino MLA for Wellington

Women's History Month
The annual Women's History Month celebration hosted by the Minister responsible for the Status of Women (Hon. Nancy Allan) was moved from the Legislative Building for the first time and held at the Norwood Community Centre.
For me this was a refreshing change. It was easier to access, not that I mind climbing up the stairs at the Leg. (great for the legs) but there wasn't the long line up to sign in, something new that started last year to increase security. More important though, having it in a community centre makes it more accessible to women who would not have normally attended such events. I think the Minister should try and decentralize this event more and take it to the various community centres where it can be exposed to more ordinary women.
From the look of things I did not feel that there were less people. The demographics might have been different. Instead of the office types that may have been dropping in for a free lunch, there were more community people and for me that's always a big plus.
Another big plus we were pleasantly disappointed not getting a brown-bagged subway but instead some ethnic delicacies though I am sure more fattening. We can give a little for Women's History Month.
Minister Nancy Allan, dressed in a beautiful black and silver-trimmed sari, welcomed everyone and declared that this Women's History Month was themed to honour immigrant women who have made significant contributions and achievements that benefitted the community. She shared her own personal journey into politics. She followed her mother's footsteps who was one of the first rural women to run for office. Though her mother did not win a seat, it inspired Nancy to work for the betterment of women in our society. It was fitting that the Guestspeaker was Flor Marcelino, first Women of Colour representative in the Manitoba Legislature. Ms Marcelino shared her experience of immigration and how she finally ended up in the highest seat of power in the province. Ms. Ang’er Ruay a member of the lost boys and girls from Sudan, who has experienced the Sudanese war and displacement in refugee camps spoke about her experience and expressed her gratitude to Canada for giving her a chance but she could not forget home. She returned recently and found the situation very bad. She is studying to be a nurse practitioner at the University of Manitoba and she vows to return to her homeland to take care of the people who desperately need good medical care.
Aiza Luna, a young Filipina singer performed a couple of songs at the end of the program. She has a powerful voice and did a fantastic job singing some popular songs.
Ms. Manju Loda, Winnipeg self-taught artist and a member of the Manitoba Women's Advisory Council performed the duty as the emcee.

There were the usual information booths helping to connect people to services that they need and resources within the community. All in all it was a fabulous event. Looking forward to next year.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Racism targets ‘visible’ minorities in France, UN independent expert says

2 October 2007 – Following a mission to France, a United Nations independent expert noted that “visible” minority immigrants are targets of Racism and called on the government to enact policies to address “widespread, entrenched and institutionalized discrimination.”

“Racism is alive, insidious and clearly targeted at those ‘visible’ minorities of immigrant heritage, the majority of whom are French
citizens,” the UN Independent Expert on minority issues, Gay J. McDougall, said in a statement issued last week.

“Young people’s hopes and dreams are being denied; they see no possibility of upward mobility because of their skin colour, their religion, their surname or their address (in what’s called the sensitive suburbs),” said Ms. McDougall, who visited France from 19 to 28 September.

Many victims of discrimination are stranded in “socially and geographically Isolated urban ghettos,” where unemployment is as high as 40 per cent, she Noted. “They feel discriminated against and rejected by rigid notions of French national identity to which they do not conform.”

The Independent Expert also voiced concerned regarding statements made during the recent electoral period by French political leaders and candidates which she characterized as unwelcoming at best and racist at Worst.

“The Constitutional promise of equality is the vision, but not the reality of modern France,” she stated. “France’s leaders must live up to that promise.” She urged authorities to make concerted efforts towards an acceptance of cultural diversity.

“Currently, there is a widespread feeling within the communities of new minorities that to become a citizen of France is not sufficient for full acceptance; that acceptance will be granted only with total assimilation that forces them to reject major facets of their identities,” she
explained. “Only when a way is found to shed the colour of their skins, hide the manifestations of their religion or the traditions of their
ancestors, only then will they be accepted as truly French.”

During her visit, Ms. McDougall travelled to Paris, Marseilles and Strasbourg, and held meetings with Government officials, religious leaders, academics, representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society groups, academics and others working in the field of minority Issues, discrimination, racism and gender issues.

She also stopped in the Paris and Marseilles suburbs that were the scene of urban upheavals in 2005 to talk directly to those affected by the turmoil.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

HIghlights of the Horace Patterson Foundation night of elegance and excellence
Lisa and Natalie Bell the singing sisters performed a couple songs which livened up the atmosphere. The young women are very talented and enjoy giving back to the community. Karon Chester did a fantastic job as MC. She is an articulate, beautiful woman who has recently married to one of the nicest guys around.
There was a debate between two talented, bright and articulate young women Ms Delly Dyer and Ms Martha Mayen on a difficult topic: Parents should take responsibility for their children's action or behaviour(something to this). Excellent points were made on both sides. Delly Dyer debated for this position. She said that parents should realize that they are role models for their children and should be aware of their actions at all time. On the other hand, Martha said that sometimes parents cannot prevent their children's bad behaviour because the children may choose to do the wrong thing even though they know what is right and parents cannot always be blamed for their children's behaviour. She also said that it takes a village to raise a child and not only the parents - the community shares the responsibility.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Horace Patterson Foundation
The Horace Patterson Foundation celebrated its 15Th anniversary with an evening of elegance and excellence at the Centro Caboto Cultural Centre. It was packed. I am sure there were more than 200 participants at $43.00 a plate. It was a Black and White affair. Ms Lois Patterson, President took the time to remind people to wear black and white and also to bring an item for the Winnipeg Harvest. There was a lovely meal of chicken and calypso rice with a light tasty dessert of Mango gelate and a touch of cream at the top.
Ms Adoma Patterson Founder of the Dumisani Productions,flew in from Hawaii to present the keynote address and to participate in this important milestone of the Horace Patterson Foundation, developed to honor and carry out her father's work in promoting education among young Black students.
Chioma spoke about finding one's purpose in life and the importance of pursuing one's dream and not allow anyone to design that dream for you. She delivered a powerful, thoughtful presentation that won her a standing ovation. She called on the Horace Patterson Foundation to reach out to children who are living in violent homes, who do not have the resources available to them as more fortunate children. These are the children who needs a chance to pursue their dreams and a chance to fulfil their potential.
Congratulations to the seven scholarship recipients of $1,000 dollars each.
The recipients are: Antoninette Melissa Bryan, Patricia Maria Kumbakisaka, Kweku Paul Matthews, Martha Johnson Mayen, Elizabeth Onyebuchi Okolo, Angelo Fabian Phills, Mario Dominic Phills.
Congratulations to HPF for putting on a classy, successful and enjoyable event. May they continue to support our youths towards that important educational pursuit.
The City of winnipeg is buzzing with the sudden resignation of the City’s top civil servant Annitta Stenning, CAO, with no explanations forthcoming from either the Mayor or Ms Stenning. All we hear is that it was an amicable separation. On top of that a replacement in the form of harvard unversity graduate, a Mr. Alex Robinson has been appointed as interim CAO immediately. Robinson has been with the city since 1991. Coun. Jenny Gerbasi told CBC News she was stunned by the news and disturbed by the appointment of Stenning's replacement and that this is a terrifying prospect.
"The person who has been appointed acting CAO is actually in charge of the EPC secretariat, which is political staff, so now we've gone from having an administrative leader in charge of all the departments to having a political appointee in charge of the entire City of Winnipeg," said Gerbasi, councillor for Fort Rouge - East Fort Garry. I am sure this matter will engage community activists for the next little while.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Junk Food at schools gone underground
Students at one high school in Winnipeg launched a group on the popular Facebook social-networking site calling for school leaders to "bring sugar back" to the school.
The Winnipeg schools are making an effort to ditch junk food from their premises and supply healthier alternative to students. However the addicted students are leaving school and dashing over to McDonald's to get their fixes.

This is expected. Students are not going to bite immediately but I'm with the establishment on this one. Keep doing what you are doing, the students will come around in time. Besides, I think that the students who desire healthy foods' right should be respected.
Threat to security at University of Winnipeg Downtown Campus

The University of Winnipeg boosted security on its downtown campus Thursday morning after university officials found troubling graffiti on a bathroom wall.

"There was a message left on the wall of one of our public facilities that indicated a threat — not in the near future, but within a couple of days — to the university community," university spokesman Dan Hurley told CBC News Thursday morning.

"It might just be a case of graffiti, but it might also be a more serious situation, so the university is treating it seriously."

From let: Yisa Akinbolaji, Gerald Folkerts, Cornelius Buller and Ray Dirks with samples of art on display.

THE celebration of a life-long commitment planted the seed for an art exhibition highlighting human relationships gone very wrong.
"I invited my friends there and that was a plan of God to go beyond that," explains Nigerian-born painter and mosaic artist Yisa Akinbolaji of how his wedding guests hatched a faith-based, multimedia project on the topic of human trafficking under the banner of Invisible Dignity.

The 50 piece exhibit, Unveiling the Mystery, is the culmination of two years of research and reflection on trafficking, sexual exploitation and other forms of indignity for Invisible Dignity project co-ordinator Cornelius Buller, one of Akinbolaji's wedding guests.

The two-venue exhibit featuring works by Akinbolaji, now of Manitoba, fellow Winnipeggers Ray Dirks and Gerald Folkerts, Jo Cooper of Frontenac, Que. and Steve Prince of Hampton, Va., opens Saturday, Sept. 22 at the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery, and on Monday, Sept. 24 at Booth College Library.

The idea of human trafficking alternately engaged and horrified Buller, 52, who began researching the topic when employed an ethicist for the Salvation Army.

"If this is going on in the world and we don't do something about it, that really says something about what we are about," says Buller, now executive director of Urban Youth Adventures, a joint initiative of Camp Arnes and World Vision based in the city's North End.
"Our own dignity is up in the air, it's questionable, until we address the question (of human trafficking)."

Despite his own extensive research, Buller says statistics on human trafficking in Canada are difficult to nail down. Worldwide, an estimated 27 million people are enslaved for prostitution or forced labour, and in some cases, parents give away or sell their children.

Instead of focusing only on the ugly and depressing side of the issue, the art exhibit features work that illuminates the humanity in every person and celebrates relationships, says Folkerts.

"If we think of the dignity that is inherent to every person, if it's invisible, it's not because its not there but because we're blind to it," explains the painter who will be contributing his series of paintings of faces and feet to the exhibit."

"What we're trying to suggest and do in our art is to bring it to the fore, the inherent dignity that is in us."

That approach intrigued singer/songwriter Steve Bell, one of the performers at a benefit concert connected to the exhibit. After years of touring, he's witnessed too much sadness in the world to pass up on participating in a project that celebrates and promotes the dignity of all people.

"I like the focus on celebration rather than warning," explains Bell. "And I like the fact that it is art based. Art has a way of putting us a little off balance so we can see something in a new way. It's a very powerful medium for opening up new paths to compassionate living."

Hosting the exhibit and some of the educational events of Invisible Dignity was a good fit for the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery, explains curator Ray Dirks. "We try fairly aggressively to be involved with pieces that are more than nice piece of art," he explains.

"I've worked pretty much all my adult life around this theme. We need to get to know each other and see each other in the eyes of God."

Buller collected a diverse and wide group of participants and supporters from across denominational lines for the $30,000 exhibit and related events. That widespread involvement of faith groups and organizations means more points of connection within Winnipeg to each other and the larger issue of human trafficking, he says.

"For whatever reason, it's very easy to not be engaged with our neighbours, to be a community," says Buller. "In a city with so much diversity, we have to be very conscious of building community, of knocking down barriers."

Sunday, September 09, 2007

What does this mean?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he "profoundly disagrees" with a recent decision by Elections Canada to allow Muslim women to vote with their faces covered by burkas or niqabs.

Speaking at a news conference at the end of the APEC summit in Sydney, Australia, on Sunday, Harper said Elections Canada is subverting the will of Parliament by permitting women to cover their faces at polling stations
Will the PM rescind this decision?

Is it fair that people can vote all covered up? There should be some way to identify people who are voting. Perhaps an identifying booth to check out the women and their identities. This is so important when the polls are tight. I know where many of us immigrants come from rigging votes is not unheard of, what makes you think we'd change. People should be allowed to wear their hijabs but should not be allowed to vote unless checked out.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Winnipeg Artist's Untimely Demise

The Winnipeg art community is grieving the loss of one of their own, a relatively young artist Angie, from Indo-Trinidadian background. I was walking home from work when I bumped into a friend who is an artist. She told me she was returning from a funeral and showed me a picture of the dead woman from a booklet containing full-colour pictures of a number of her art works. I was shocked. It was Angie. Angie took her own life. It hit me like a ton of bricks. She was such a nice person, there was a gentle spirit about her. She spoke softly and intelligently. I never knew she might have suffered from depression. There were so many questions I wanted to ask. Was this a medical problem or a pyscho-social problem? When one takes one's own life, one asks what could have been so desolate in a person's life that they feel life is no longer worth living. It's pretty sad and sobering too as a human being.
Angie has recently taken to selling Mary Kay but I felt she was not suited to that line of work. She did not have that kind of bold faced brashness to make someone buy a product that they did not really want or could afford. May her gentle soul rest in peace.
Students Rule in Canadian Classroom
As school terms begins, there are many teachers whose guts may be tied up in knots to find out who they have in their classrooms. Because among those little angels are usually some vicious devils dressed up like children. Many of these children have parents just like them and no amount of complaining or asking for parental support makes a difference. IN fact some parents also join with their children to abuse teachers.
Recently on W-Five I heard many teachers talk about violent incidents with children. The most aggravating this is that nothing appears to be done about it. Teachers are expected to grin and bear it.
Research is showing that one in 5 teachers are leaving their preferred profession (because of the inherent danger in it) after five years. They just walk away not able to take the abuse and not getting the appropriate support from School administration. Do we have to get bullies for teacher to match the bullies in the classroom? Do our teachers have to learn karate and judo; counselling, psychiatry, nursing and what not? What about those children who are there to learn and whose parents have taken the steps to train them properly? We expect more from our teachers without giving them the support they need. It is not fair to teachers.
There was a time when teachers were respected, admired and feared by students today teachers have fallen from grace because of lax school administration who are afraid of parents themselves and perhaps of the very students they want their teachers to faecde.
We are cuddling bad children and hoping that all bad children can be rehabilitated. They can't. We need special schools like a boot camp where kids can work out their anger physically and in a setting that is created for such behaviour. They should not be allowed to terrorize teacher and other students with little or no consequence. Teachers should be allowed to sue school boards if they are hurt or traumatized on the jobs perhaps then they would seriously address this problem.
Increasing teachers are called upon to engage in a he-says she-says confrontation in front of principals. Students rule C
All they need is a little training counselling what we need is trained support work in assisting in carrying out their task.

Ethiopian Millennium Celebration
Today I was fortunate to be invited to the Ethiopian Millennium Celebration at the Ethiopian Cultural Centre in Winnipeg, 595 Notre Dame Avenue. The little hall was packed with people, most of them Ethiopians with their families. It was nice to see that there are so many children in this community. The Ethiopian community in Winnipeg is a young one. The children were having fun while the parents tried to keep them quiet during the formal part of the presentation. It reminded me of home. Children and adults are always part of an audience and people appeared to have developed an ear to hear over the natural noises of children as it was at the celebration. There were some special guests in the personage of Dr. Jon Gerard, Leader of the Liberal Party, Mr. Harvey Smith, City Councillor and the owner of Palliser Furniture, who owns one of the largest furniture factories in Winnipeg and who employs a large number of new immigrants.
The celebration was open with a prayer by the Minister of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. He wore a long black gown bearing a huge gold-plated cross around his next and he held a smaller one in his hand. Members from the community would come up to him and he would offer the cross which they kissed in several places and then hugged or in some cases kissed the Minister. It is obvious that the Minister is highly respected. Like Catholic priests, Ethiopian Orthodox priests do not marry.
Ethiopians follow the Gregorian calendar. According to an Ethiopian woman who sat next to me during the proceeding, this is the original calendar. She said the Western calendar deviated from the original calendar after Jesus' birth.
Another reason said the Guest speaker, Taye Zegege, past President of the Ethiopia Society of Winnipeg, is that one of the three wise men was an Ethiopian and that he took seven years to walk back to Ethiopian (LOL). Anyway, this Millennium is seven years after Canadians celebrated its Millennium and like that time, it went by uneventful.
Mr. Taye gave a brief historical background of Ethiopia, the only African country that was never colonized. He boasted that twice the Ethiopians fought the Italians who was trying to colonize them and twice they succeeded in driving them out. He said Ethiopians are found all over the world because of despotic governments but that Ethiopian has a long history of democracy and good government. He said that Ethiopians embraced diversity because within it million odd square kilometres, there are 80 different cultures with their own distinct languages coexisting in peace. He said that Ethiopia have some of the most fertile lands in the world but there is famine which he claims is man made through poor government and wars and only partly because of drought.
There was a display of traditional Ethiopian clothes followed by a sumptuous meal of injera, chicken, beef, vegetables, seasoned cream cheese, Ethiopian flat bread and samosa. The meal was absolutely fabulous.
The meal was followed by the Ethiopian coffee ceremony. The coffee was roasted in the building and the fragrance inhaled and passed around as a feast to the sense. The coffee was brewed in a traditional pot and then served in small espresso containers. Great coffee.
I had a great time. Theinvitation was sent out to the entire community but I was the only person of colour who was a non Ethiopian. Why? We have to move out from our insularity and embrace community life in a big way. That means supporting other communities as they celebrate important cultural events.

St. Norbert's Market on Saturday

It's a bit cold today. Feels like fall. The wind is heavy with water it seems but the rain would not fall. I wish it would. That would save me watering my garden. I have not watered it in a few days thinking it would rain.
Anyway, this morning I drove up to the Farmer's Market in St. Norbert. It's a great place to hang out on a Saturday morning. The place buzz with activities of the Stabroek Market in Georgetown Guyana. People come at St. Norberts with their dogs, some carried in their arms others on leeches. The market has improved since I last went a few years back. There is a canopy for musicians. There was a band there this morning, but I did not stop to find out who they were. There are a lot of fried stuff happening - perogy, hotdog, Filippino egg roll. You can see why some of us get fat. People were guzzling the stuff more than one at a time. I had a hearty breakfast minus the coffee at home. It was nice to get a hot cup of human bean.
I find the produce at the farmer's market a little steep. Not that I do not think farmers deserve to be paid a fair share but they seem to be competing with Safeway and the other box stores. When one drives all the way up there to get produce you would expect it to be a bit more reasonable. Anyway the prices are steeper than before but that would not stop me from going out there. I believe in buying local. It is the thing to do. Of course, I bought more than I can use up in a week. So what do i do? Feed good food to my worms? I do have a vermiculture and making black compost hopefully to spread in my garden next spring.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Best Western Hotel Kitchen Staff
While walking to work this morning I saw two kitchen staff from Best Western Hotel (formerly Charter House)standing outside against the wall smoking cigarettes and wearing their uniforms. Well, I've worked in the Kitchen during Folklorama and we could not leave the kitchen to go i.e. outside the building or in the bathroom wearing our aprons. We had to take it off and this the Coordinator said was the instruction they got from the Public Health Inspector. I have seen people wearing their uniforms in the washrooms at Portage Place, City Place and now this.
I think if this violates public health standards, something should be done about it. The city must do more to ensure that people's health risks are minimized because of these violations

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sudanese envoy to be turfed from Ottawa
Updated Wed. Aug. 29 2007 1:41 PM ET News Staff

Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier has announced that a high-ranking envoy at the Sudanese embassy in Ottawa will be turfed from the country in a retaliatory move that is expected to turn up the heat on a simmering diplomatic dispute.

Bernier says Canada has decided to expel the diplomat in response to the Sudanese government's expulsion of Canada's chargé d'affaires, Nuala Lawlor.

"Canada considers the expulsion of our chargé d'affaires to be entirely unjustified. Wherever they are posted, Canada's diplomats will continue to work to uphold Canadian values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law," Bernier said in a statement.

Sudan's ambassador in Ottawa has been notified of the decision, which will take effect on September 1.

Earlier this month, the Sudanese government announced that it would be expelling Lawlor and EU's diplomat Kent Degerfelt for "meddling in its affairs."

Lawlor and Degerfelt had allegedly been seeking the release of opposition politicians who had been imprisoned over an alleged coup attempt.

At the time, the Sudanese government asserted that the expulsion order should not hinder relations between Sudan and the EU or Canada.

Earlier this week, Bernier said he spoke to Sudanese Foreign Minister Lam Akol in protest of Lawlor's expulsion and conveyed "Canada's strong concern about Sudan's decision to expel Canada's charge d'affaires."

But Bernier's efforts were to no avail, he said.

As a result, Bernier has directed Lawlor to leave Sudan.

Canada has already cut off bilateral aid to the Sudanese government and ensures that its aid money flows through the African Union's mission in that country.


Monday, August 27, 2007

It's a grey day in Winnipeg. The weatherman said it would rain this morning. It is still not raining. The sky is merely heavy with dark clouds hanging long. I wish it would rain and get over with it. My plants will then be watered and I would not have to water them this evening.
The good thing is I do not have to feel bad about having another cup of coffee. The latest report is that coffee is good for your liver and helps to prevent liver cancer.
Fourteen Year Old Kills Mother and Sister

People are reeling from this one. It seems like everytime you turn around a youth is committing a heinous crime. What is going on? I do not think that a child would kill his parent or mother in such apparent cold blood. Are we putting children with emotional problems to the test by allowing them the freedom that some may not be able to handle. Or are parents cuddling their emotionally challenged children. I believe that for a child to commit such a crime he had to be mentally unstable. So unstable that he cannot see his mother and sister as they are but as something threatening to his own well being. When these crimes are committed we look at the child as if he is a monster when in fact he may be suffering from a mental illness that distorts reality.
It is such a tragic loss and for it to happen in a small rural community I cannot begin to imagine the impact. It is tragic for everyone.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Dining in Winnipeg, Keep Safe and eat at Restaurants with Safe Practices

The following restaurants have been either convicted or shut down because of insanitary conditions. Make sure you check their public health record before eating or buying food from these establishment. Stop the spread of e-coli and other illness due to insanitary practices.

Tindahan Food Market used food from unuauthorized sources
906 Sargent Avenue

Civita restaurant Dirty, dirty
B-691 Corydon Avenue

Mandarin Restaurant 3 charges (fail to protect food from contamination;
252 River Avenue (fail to keep equipment and utensils clean and in good repair; no hot water; terrible)

A & W Food Services of Western Canada
333 St, Mary Avenue (City Place) (no hot running water to hand wash basin)

Mad Dogs
93 McLeon Avenue (lack of running water)

Ho Choy Restaurant (insantary - mouse dropping
640 Jefferson throughout food preparation and storage area

Dragon River Restaurant Insanitary conditions, filthy
537 Sarget Ave

George's Burgers and Subs
212 Henderson Highway Insanitary defective washing facilities

Tasty Bite Pizza & Restaurant Insanityary conditons, filthy
102 Sherbrook St.

Ducky Fish and Chips Insanitary conditions
884 Notre Dame Ave

Sushiya Dirty conditions, improper washing of utensils
659 Corydon Ave

Hi-Ball Restaurant
421 Academy road Obtain food from unapproved sources

Samosa Hut (City Place) No handwashing facility
333 St. Mary Ave

Divine Dogs
1582 Magnus Ave Failure to wear approved clothing

Albert Street Burger
58 Albert Street insanitary condition, lack of hot water

Soup Pierre
240 Portage Ave no head covering, insanitary condition

Garwood Grill insanitary condition, dust, dirt, debris
435 Pembina Highway

Green Garden Restaurant
City Place - 333 St. Mary insanitary condition

Awesome Dog #4 did not wash hand after smoking,

Pampanga Meats and Groceries insanitary conditions

McDonald's at City Place insanitary conditins

Cathay House
1631 Regent Avenue West insanitary food handling, dirty food containers
inadequate temperature


Friday, August 17, 2007

Alcohol snuck into a dry Reserve

This is a very sad commentary of the Aboriginal leadership on this troubled reserve. What were they thinking man? A former chief, a band councilor and an addictions counselor colluded to bring liquor to this dry Pauingassi First Nation reserve. Are they at all concerned with the health and wellbeing of their people on that community? So many lives have been lost; so many families broken because of alcohol and people who are expected to know better and have the community interest at heart have let down their community down badly.
I listened to a commentary on CBC this morning from a social worker in Toronto. She claimed that dry reserves do not work and that this is imposed mostly on religious grounds. She said that more education was needed. People must be told about the dangers of alcohol and its impact on the society and unborn children but if it is forced upon the community it will not work.
I agree to this to a certain degree. However if alcohol is prohbitive in order to establish a policy on the reserve to make it a better place for everyone (and not because of some religious minority group)there might be some positive outcome. What the reserve needs to do is to occupy people with positive activities to replace the dependency on alcohol. Have activities like punch-making recipes using various juices and teas to create wonderful drinks; use of songs and dance to create similar highs that alcohol creates.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

RCMP warns Canadians to watch out for counterfeit cash
Last Updated: Wednesday, August 8, 2007 | 3:57 PM ET
CBC News
Consumers are being told to watch out for Canadian counterfeit money with glued on authentic holographic security stripes, following incidents in Alberta, B.C., Ontario and Quebec.
The RCMP Bureau for Counterfeit and Document Examinations (BCDE) issued an alert Tuesday after identifying an increase in fake Canadian bank notes that bear a genuine holographic stripe taken from authentic currency of a lower denomination.
The counterfeit money has actual holographic stripes removed from Canadian Journey series $5, $10 and $20 notes, which are glued onto poor quality counterfeit $20, $50 and $100 notes.
RCMP spokesperson Nathalie Deschenes told that a recent rash of the fake notes is what prompted the BCDE to issue the release. She said 45 of the counterfeit notes had been found in July alone, with a total of 66 notes for 2007, and a total of 450 since 2005.
Most of the incidents happened in Alberta, with some also in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.
"Watch for bank notes which bear a genuine holographic stripe but for a lesser denomination than that of the actual bank note.
"For example, the note may have a genuine holographic stripe with the numeral 5 appearing on a counterfeit $50 bill. The same is happening for the numeral 10 appearing on a counterfeit $100 note," said the BCDE in a statement.
"Bank note security features are easy to recognize by touching, tilting and by looking through the note. Both merchants and the public are encouraged to routinely check their bank notes, not only to protect against loss, but also to prevent counterfeits from entering circulation," it added.
The BCDE added that the criminals tried to take the genuine notes with the missing security stripes back to the bank for replacement.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Photoplay of Winnipeg Summerscapes

Photoplay of Winnipeg Summerscapes

Canada's Uzoma Asagwara heads to the bench with a scratch above the eye while playing the United States during their Pan American Games basketball Monday, July 23, 2007. Semi - final game in Rio of Janeiro, Tuesday July 24, 01:53 AM

Uzoma is from the Prairie City of Winnipeg, Canada's jewel in the heart of the country.

The Afro-Caribbean, African and Multicultural communities are all rooting for this dynamo. We are all proud of her achievements

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Manitoba Metis Foundation held a great fundraising event recently at Hotel the York. It was like a buds and spud event. The food was good and the entertainment by various Metis and Aboriginal entertainers were great. Sierra Noble was there playing the instrument she knows so well. Everytime I hear her she sound better and better as well as Percy Tuesday, an old hand at Country.

The Immigrant Women's Association of Manitoba Inc. held a successful picnic at the Assiniboine Park to encourage immigrant and refugee women and their supporters to take a break and have fun with their children and grandchildren. IWAM provided free hotdog, chips and dips, fruits and provided games for the children. It was a beautiful day and everyone had a fabulous time. Here are some pictures from the event

Milt Stegall has made Manitoba by blasting away the records the CFL Touchdown. Winnipeggers routed for this player and gentleman. Here is the cutest picture of a little Chase Stegall, two year old son of Milt playing in his father's big shoes that made the front page of the Winnipeg Free Press.

Happenings in Winnipeg

Shout out to the women who were honoured at the recent Provincial Council of Women Fundraising Event. The honoured women were: Donna Blight, Beverley Goodwin, Elisabeth Fleming, Barbara Kendel, Monica Singh and Shirley Walker. These women come from all background from professional careers to professional volunteer. It was nice to see Babs Friesen there for this event which was held at the Assinboine Parks Conservatory's within the luscious tropical garden.
The evening was fun and upbeat and was refreshingly light - no heavy speeches just snacks, a little talk and more mingling. There were lots of door prizes and rainbow
auction items as well.