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Opinion

OPINION: Ravinder Minhas – as a Sikh, as a brown man, as a businessman who has put up with racism innuendos

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With a recent post circulating social media about Prime Minister Trudeau’s brown face photo. We crossed by an interesting commentary shared by prominent Alberta businessman Ravinder Minhas.

From Alberta Business man Ravinder Minhas:

“As you many of you know I don’t make political posts as I have friends and family whom are conservatives, liberals, NDP and everything in between and I respect we all have different philosophies and opinions. BUT as a Sikh, as a brown man, as a businessman who has put up with racism innuendos, undertones and sometime straight up prejudice for 20 years
I don’t see this image as a joke. On top of this I don’t wear a turban but have friends and family that do whom have an even larger uphill battle to equality.
I have had to work harder, smarter and longer to get the level respect of my selected industries for 20 years now and yes in Canada.

I expect better from those who want to be our political leaders and especially our prime minister, regardless if this is from 20 years ago. Trudeau I’m ashamed of you and your scripted, rehearsed, perfectly lit apology.

* my first version of this post had some four letter words in it, but I recalled quickly my mom is now on Facebook, so I went with the ‘my mom won’t be disappointed with me version’!”

His Facebook Profile is here: https://www.facebook.com/ravinder.minhas/

#ReDiscoverRedDeer

George Floyd and the double standard – Red Deer man explains what it’s like to be black in Central Alberta

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George Floyd and the double standard

Dax Williams is in his early 30’s.  He’s lived in Central Alberta his entire life.  He’s a father and a business owner, and he’s a black man.

The death of George Floyd last week at the hands of white police officers in Minneapolis has resulted in protests all over the United States and in Canada as well.

When we think of racism in this part of the country we typically find ourselves considering the plight of First Nations people.  But Dax assures us he’s felt the wrath of an underlying hatred more than once.

A couple of days ago Dax took some time to share his thoughts and he recorded this very thoughtful, personal, and powerful video.  He shared it on youtube hoping his fellow Central Albertans would take note and try to understand what people of colour have to live with, even here in Western Canada.  We’re happy to share it with you.

(Warning to people offended by strong language.  This video does contain strong language which may be unsuitable for children.)

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Alberta

Our sports history has value

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Simple confirmation that the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame has been operating without its standard financial aid from the provincial government prompted some interesting response during the last few days.

In a casual conversation, executive director Tracey Kinsella mentioned last week that COVID-19 made it necessary to cancel at least two annual fund-raisers – the Hall of Fame induction ceremony and its annual invitational golf tournament in Red Deer – and she was concerned about meeting routine expenses.

Consistently, the government’s contribution of $302,000 a year has been in the hands of Hall of Fame officials before the middle of the year. She expressed only mild frustration,, understanding that the coronavirus pandemic and other major financial issues have created major problems far from the world of sports. She did state that government staff members, working below the level of elected or appointed officials, have told her of their efforts to have the money forwarded as quickly as possible.

Perhaps this delay must be seen as part of a long and ongoing drop in Alberta’s financial support to amateur sports at all levels. In the 10-year period ending in 2019, the reduction reached $5.1 million – an average of $500,000 per year. We should hope not.

Some comparative figures seem to be well worth serious study:

* The economic impact of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer was $110 million; impact of the 2018 Alberta Winter Games was $3.4 million for the Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo area and $5.6  million for this host province;

* In 2018-19, Alberta Sport Connection, a sport delivery system disbanded months ago by the UPC, provided $7.2 million to be shared among 80 provincial sport organizations that delivered programming to more than 788,000 Albertans;

* Leduc hosted the 2016 Alberta Summer Games with an economic impact of $3.6 million for the area and $4.9 million for the province.

Still, government aid has dropped. Some citizens suggest minor and amateur sports should not receive government support during troubled times. Today it might be wise to ask Fort McMurray if that community will value the 2022 Arctic Winter Games? The record shows that numerous small- and mid-sized business stepped up during the 2018 Games, a difficult time for fire victims and petroleum companies that have served as a backstop to countless community and area projects.

After the severe floods earlier this year, it’s safe to guess that any international program that will improve community morale while adding some vital dollars to the public purse will be welcome. Incidentally, they’re headed to Wood Buffalo because COVID-19 forced cancellation of the scheduled 2020 event in Whitehorse. Fortunately, some of the dollars set aside and unused in the Northwest Territories have already arrived in Fort McMurray.

These days, surrounded by a crippled economy, I wonder if Alberta now wishes the 2026 Commonwealth Games were headed for Edmonton and 2026 Winter Olympics were coming to Calgary. Both possibilities were seriously discussed before being nixed.

During my five-year term as chair of Alberta Sport Connection, the organization received steady criticism for finishing third of fourth – usually in the rear of Quebec and Ontario – in provincial medal counts. I tried regularly to help almost any government official to focus on the cost of doing business.

It made no impact to point out that Alberta’s per-capita investment in sport programs is (or was) the second-lowest in Canada. Sorry, I can’t remember which province spent less, but I am sure that Saskatchewan receives $24.39 per capita and Newfoundland gets $8.36 per capita.

Alberta receives $3.85 per capita although 82 per cent of Albertans say in polls that they believe sport contributes to quality of life. And those I have spoken to say clearly that the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame has value.

John Short on Edmonton’s baseball debate

 

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june, 2020

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