by Tazeen Inam in Mississauga

Sports has the ability to unite Canada, show the recently released findings of an Association for Canadian Studies survey.

“A majority of Canadians agree that sports break down linguistic and cultural barriers to unite people,” the report states.

In Canada, immigrants from different countries and origins also bring with them some of their own favourite sports.

Dr. John Shields, interim academic director at Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement (RCIS), highlights the growing popularity of cricket in Canada as an example.

“[There are a] lot of people coming from South Africa, Pakistan and India who are avid fans of cricket,” says Shields.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]Immigrants from different countries and origins also bring with them some of their own favourite sports.[/quote]

Sports history important to know

University of Toronto vice-president Bruce Kidd says including sports history in the country’s narrative is an important step in telling a complete story.

“If you don’t understand the role of sports in Canadian history, you missed an important part and your sense of Canadian history will be incomplete.”

For instance, Canadian national sports like lacrosse and hockey were part of the nation’s culture even before confederation. They were the outdoor games played by First Nations. Curling and golf arrived with Scottish immigrants in the 1600s.

Canadians also played important roles in the early beginnings of popular sports like football and basketball.

Kidd explains that when sports are adopted in Canada they are infused with Canadian values, skills and narratives.

“I would say that Canadians have put their own stamp on the games that we play.”

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“I would say that Canadians have put their own stamp on the games that we play.”[/quote]

Sports as a unifying force

Today, hockey alone can ignite patriotism throughout the country.

Jennifer Anderson, historian at the Canadian Museum of History, says hockey is often reflected in Canadian popular culture. Even those who are not enormous hockey fans come across cultural references to the game in everyday life through TV shows, books and children stories.

“Somewhere there is a link between the game and our culture, and I think it demonstrates the relationship that Canadians have to the game,” she explains.

While sports can be a unifying force, like other aspects of Canadian culture, it can also be divisive, says Kidd.

“During those times when Canadian teams made up of Anglophone and Francophone athletes lead internationally, it forges bilingualism and commonality,” he says.

However, he adds, “When you have the Canada games, which put efforts from each of the different provinces against each other, it may create rivalries on linguistic ground.”

Exclusion also part of sports history

While Shields says that sport “tends to bring people together in terms of common cause,” he points out there certainly has been a history of exclusion and racism in Canadian sports, too.

“Historically it was very hard for Aboriginal people to get into the professional hockey leagues, as was for Black people,” Shields says.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“Historically it was very hard for Aboriginal people to get into the professional hockey leagues, as was for Black people.”[/quote]

Anderson explains that it’s not that First Nations people are dissatisfied with the way games like hockey and lacrosse have evolved; it’s more about the acknowledgement of their participation.

“They would like to be acknowledged as having participated in the game over an extended period of time,” she states. “Not just the beginning perhaps, not just the origin, but they continued to participate in the sport.”

Similarly, women have always been engaged in Canadian sports, but pre-Confederation, they were often barred from sports and had to participate informally.

Kidd says that women have gradually succeeded in winning opportunities for themselves in this area.

“I would say since the First World War, they played every sport that men played and today are an important, proud part of Canadian sports,” he adds.     

Anderson emphasizes that “this hasn’t always been acknowledged in the same way as men sports has.”

Increasing the media’s coverage of women’s sports has been a long-fought battle, and there have been movements and conversations about ensuring equality.

“Currently [women’s sport is] still underperforming in the kind of media coverage it gets,” Anderson says. “But I think social media has changed this to some degree and to some extent has shifted the way women sports is being covered.”

Sports have long been an important part of the Canadian economy, culture and education system, but experts like Anderson suggest that more efforts are required to promote equality in Canadian sports.

Specifically, they suggest we need to counter the growing cost of playing sports, ensure greater exposure of women’s sports and include more First Nations people in the national sports arena.

{module NCM Blurb}

Published in History

by Maryann D’Souza in Toronto

Pulse takes a look at some stories that caught the attention of Canada’s Indian diaspora community. From cricket fever to the ethnic vote, here is a round up of the top five headlines coming from ethnic media outlets this quarter.

The Power of the Ethnic Vote

No party can afford to overlook the power of the ethnic vote. A perfect example: the NDP’s recent nomination of Farheen Khan (pictured to the right) as their federal candidate for Mississauga Centre. While demonstrating their diversity and support for the Muslim community and women all in one move, the NDP also took aim at Prime Minister Harper, who has come under fire for his seemingly disparaging remarks about Muslims.

As the Forum Poll carried in the Indo-Canadian Voice pointed out, the controversy over banning the niqab during Canadian citizenship ceremonies has clearly not helped the Conservatives — even though there are many who may agree with them.

In the Weekly Voice report, Khan is clear about the objective. “It is so important that at a time of heightened tensions amongst various cultures, we unite together and show the rest of world that Canada will not be phased by fear,” she explains. “We will show the Harper Conservatives that we can have a safer Canada without trading in our individual freedoms.” Many community newspapers, including South Asian Focus, have covered the news of her nomination. But, as Can-India News rightly points out, perhaps one should not be so concerned about what is on her head (the hijab), as what is in it.

According to Sikh Press — which also published a photo of Khan with Jagmeet Singh, NDP’s Sikh MPP for Bramalea-Gore-Malton — the political candidate is hurt, but undeterred by the, “[N]egative comments from individuals telling her to take off her scarf if she wanted to make it to Ottawa.” But considering there are many who wear a hijab in her constituency, it might be worth noting that long-time NDP members who attended the event said, “It was the largest NDP nomination meeting in Mississauga that they had seen.”

Lifelong Visa on OCI Card

The announcement of a lifelong visa on the OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) card is a major win for the Indian diaspora who travel to India often, sometimes on short notice due to emergencies like an illness or death in the family. Dr. Azad Kaushik, a member of The Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP), who pushed for the changes according to an article in the Weekly Voice, states that, “[F]rom now, the OCI card will be the entry and exit document for India, though you are required to carry the Canadian passport as well.”

[quote align="center" color="#999999"][M]any in the community were upset when Canada was denied visa-on-arrival privileges last year, and the OFBJP had pledged to take up the matter at that time.[/quote]

Not being delayed by visa application formalities and the complex system that can have travellers going back and forth more than once has the community sighing with relief. It was what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised during his visit to the United States: a simpler system. 

As Can-India News reported, many in the community were upset when Canada was denied visa-on-arrival privileges last year, and the OFBJP had pledged to take up the matter at that time.

Do We Need a Radicalization Tip Line?

Can-India News asks: Will a radicalization tip line be the solution to preventing acts of terror? With jihad being romanticized and idolized, many who have been pushed to the fringes of society are turning to radicalized groups for a sense of belonging and renewed purpose, or as a form of revenge for being left out.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]A tip line that allows Canadians to provide critical information without revealing the identity of the informer might reduce terror-related incidents — and a dedicated one for radicalization will no doubt speed up intervention.[/quote] 

Are these radicals protected by filial or community loyalty — or is it out of a fear of being targeted, as the editorial in the Bharat Times suggests? Jayant Gala says there are moderate Muslims who do not agree with the extremists that have drowned the voice of reason with their loud rhetoric. The moderates may know who these extremists are, but are afraid to reveal their identities because of perceived repercussions to them or their families.

A tip line that allows Canadians to provide critical information without revealing the identity of the informer might reduce terror-related incidents — and a dedicated one for radicalization will no doubt speed up intervention.

Cricket Fever

Cricket is to India what hockey is to Canada, and what soccer is to Europe and Latin America. While Indians might enjoy many other sports, it’s cricket that helps bond the country’s citizens together no matter where they are in the world. The Weekly Voice’s headline says it best: “For Indian cricket fans, heart rules over the head.” 

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]As India blasts its way to the finishing line in the hope of retaining the World Cup, all eyes are on Australia and New Zealand where the tournament is being played.[/quote]

Pakistan is the opponent that really drives up the excitement. Any game the two countries play is like the finals. That’s why the first World Cup game between the archrivals was screened free in many parts of the Greater Toronto Area. As India blasts its way to the finishing line in the hope of retaining the World Cup, all eyes are on Australia and New Zealand where the tournament is being played. While India is set to take home the Cup again, no matter what team it plays, many feel an India-Pakistan game would be the perfect finish.

Man Sues Canada for Wrongful Conviction

“Miscarriage of justice” — that’s what a B.C. Criminal Justice Branch investigation (in 2013) deemed a ruling that turned the life of a falsely accused Indo-Canadian man named Gurdev Singh Dhillon upside down.

A report in the Weekly Voice, which was carried by several media outlets in India including the Times of India and NDTV, indicates he is filing a suit against two RCMP personnel, Crown prosecutor Don Wilson and his former defence lawyer Sukhjinder Grewal for the wrongful conviction.

The 36-year-old Surrey resident was found guilty of sexual assault in 2005 and extradited to India upon his release from prison in 2008. The conviction was made on the basis of the victim’s testimony, which placed Dhillon as one of the three men at the scene of the crime. DNA evidence later revealed the other two were responsible. 

In the meantime, Dhillon’s marriage and family broke up, and he was stripped of his Canadian permanent residency status.

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Published in India

by Don Curry (@DonDoncurry) in North Bay, Ontario

For more and more new Canadians arriving in Ontario, Toronto and Ottawa are no longer the desired destinations. Newcomers seem to be moving further north in the province. As such, an innovative project is under way to assist them in the settlement process and create welcoming communities at the same time.

In North Bay, which is a three-and-a-half hour drive north of Toronto on a four-lane highway, and four hours northwest of Ottawa, staff at the North Bay & District Multicultural Centre (NBDMC) counted 66 businesses owned by newcomers. In fact, there are enough cricket enthusiasts in the newcomer community to form two teams to compete with teams in Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]There is now a Filipino community in Moosonee on the James Bay Coast, with entrepreneurs, health care professionals and skilled trades’ people.[/quote]

The Timmins & District Multicultural Centre, four hours north of North Bay, is seeing a similar phenomenon. To a lesser degree, it is starting to happen in smaller centres, such as South River, Temiskaming Shores and Cochrane. There is now a Filipino community in Moosonee on the James Bay Coast, with entrepreneurs, health care professionals and skilled trades’ people.

Increased immigration is new, even for the larger centres like North Bay (population 54,000) and Timmins (population 48,000.) The North Bay immigrant settlement agency opened in 2008 and expanded to Timmins in 2011. Between the two offices the agency serves the region from Parry Sound in the south to the James Bay Coast in the north – some 20 per cent of Ontario’s land mass.

A two-year project, led by NBDMC, to reach out to smaller communities began in September 2014. With almost $300,000 in funding over two years from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, FedNor (Industry Canada) and the participating municipalities, the project is administered in partnership with Pathways to Prosperity, a national immigration research body, providing advice and evaluation services.

The project began to formulate when James Franks, Economic Development Officer for Temiskaming Shores, approached the centre for assistance. That conversation developed into an immigration symposium in Temiskaming Shores in October 2013, and the project evolved from the symposium.

“We had no expertise in settlement services and we were starting to see newcomers arrive in the community,” Franks says. “Now, through this project, we have monthly visits from a qualified settlement worker from North Bay, and other community agencies know they can now refer newcomer clients.” Temiskaming Shores, population 10,500, is on the shore of Lake Temiskaming, the headwater of the Ottawa River and 90 minutes north of North Bay.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]“Skills shortages, the need to market the region to newcomers, business succession planning and the need for more rental accommodation to attract new residents are common priorities identified by (some Northern Ontario regions).” - Garvin Cole, HR North[/quote]

Many key players from Northern Ontario attended the symposium. For example, Jean-Pierre Ouellette, Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Cochrane, population 5,340, who got his community involved with the follow-up project and Adam Killah, Economic Development Officer for the Central Almaguin Economic Development Association, south of North Bay, who represents the third municipal partner group. The Almaguin Highlands area has 15 municipalities with a total population of 23,570.

“Skills shortages, the need to market the region to newcomers, business succession planning and the need for more rental accommodation to attract new residents are common priorities identified by the three regions,” says Garvin Cole of HR North, a project of the North Bay Newcomer Network and NBDMC, which uses the skills database of internationally trained professionals, augmented by resumes of recent university and college graduates from Northern Ontario to fill positions for employers. Originally conceived as a human resources service for small businesses in the north, he finds that even large employers seek his services. Cole helped create employers’ councils in each of the communities and these priorities came from the first round of meetings. They will all meet again in March.

The project is also addressing settlement needs of newcomers, by having trained settlement workers from the North Bay and Timmins offices visit each community monthly.

“It is so important to have personal contact,” says Deborah Robertson, NBDMC program coordinator. “Some follow-up can be done remotely but trust is developed in person.”

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]"I see other parts of Canada being interested in how this project turns out. It could be a model for rural Canada.” - Meyer Burstein, Pathways to Prosperity[/quote]

Creating events so newcomers can meet one another, as well as long-time residents, is another facet of the project. First up is a bowling event for newcomers and volunteers in Temiskaming Shores in March.

NBDMC receives core funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Ontario’s newcomer settlement program, but it seeks supplemental funding for projects such as this one.

Meyer Burstein of Pathways to Prosperity (P2P), who attended the Temiskaming Shores symposium and was involved in the formation of the project, is now leading the P2P evaluation team and is serving on the project executive committee. “I see other parts of Canada being interested in how this project turns out,” he says. “It could be a model for rural Canada.”

By the end of the project, its leaders will produce a bilingual “how-to” document. That, along with the P2P evaluation and articles published during and after the project will help disseminate the learned information nationally.


Don Curry is a journalist and former college journalism teacher. He is the executive director of the North Bay & District Multicultural Centre, a member of the board of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants and a board member of Pathways to Prosperity.

{module NCM Blurb} 

 

Published in Top Stories
Monday, 02 February 2015 16:58

Cricket in Canada: Over 200 Years Old

by Monika Moravan (@MonikaMoravan25) in Mississauga 

Cricket is often viewed as an exotic or foreign sport in Canada, but the truth of the matter is that the game has been played in this country for the better part of a century, even before Confederation in 1867. Sir John A. MacDonald, Canada’s first prime minister, even declared it the young country’s official sport. Take that hockey!

Cricket’s Arrival to Canada

Like so many things, it is impossible to pin down an exact date for cricket’s arrival in Canada. The earliest record of the game is depicted in a painting of a match on Montreal’s picturesque Ile-Ste-Helene in 1785. However, its origins are often attributed to British soldiers engaging in a game following the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. That’s 208 years before the Toronto Maple Leafs won the team's last Stanley Cup!

Just as cricket was originally brought to Canada by immigrants, its growing popularity can once again be credited to newcomers from lands where the sport reigns supreme, including India, Pakistan, West Indies, and Sri Lanka.

Cricket-speak

For those who come to Canada knowing the sport, it’s easy to pick it up again. But for new immigrants (or non-immigrants alike) who would like to take part, imagine having to learn the axioms and idioms of an unfamiliar sport.

Wickets, bowlers, batsmen and ball-overs. So much unusual terminology to decipher can be very confusing. Now you know how new Canadians feel trying to make sense of, "the skater with wicked flow splitting the D with her twig and biscuit to bulge the twine followed by a wicked celly." Loosely translated, this is cricket-speak for she shoots, she scores.

The ins and outs

Where a hockey game has periods and goals played by six people on each of two teams, a cricket match has innings and runs played by 11 people on each of two teams. Both sports take place on oval-shaped playing surfaces: hockey on a rink, cricket on a pitch. The winning hockey team is the one with more goals than the opponent and the winning cricket team is the one with more runs than the opponent. That’s so similar and repetitive, you say. Seems easy enough to follow, right? Now the fun begins!

Instead of the stick and puck used in hockey, cricket’s main tools more closely resemble those in baseball, albeit with a longer and rectangular shaped bat.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]Unlike a hockey period, which runs for 20 minutes of playing time, a cricket inning is based on a pre-determined number of six-ball overs. Translation? Instead of shifts beginning with face-offs, every delivery of the cricket ball from bowler to batsman is known as a ball.[/quote]

The playing surface in hockey is marked with blue lines, face off circles, goal creases and nets. Cricket differs with a 22-yard pitch set within the smaller and innermost of two ovals. Instead of nets at either end of the rink, you’ll find a trio of stumps topped by two bails - smaller pieces of wood.

Unlike a hockey period, which runs for 20 minutes of playing time, a cricket inning is based on a pre-determined number of six-ball overs. Translation? Instead of shifts beginning with face-offs, every delivery of the cricket ball from bowler to batsman is known as a ball. Six balls is a one over. Matches are usually set to 20 or 50 overs regardless of how many days that takes. The exception is premier games such as test or first-class.

[youtube height="315" width="560"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDsvQe0Tk84[/youtube]

Courtesy of the Mississauga Ramblers Cricket, Sports, and Cultural Club, this footage is from one of the organization's intra-club games and features the Hawkeyes in black and the Blasters in brown.

Seen this before?

Like baseball, it’s the batsman’s job to hit the ball and the farther it flies, the more runs can be scored. The batting team tries to score as many runs as it can in its innings, while the bowling team tries to restrict them to as few runs as possible or get all of their players out. Another similarity is that the best hit – reaching the field boundary - earns four runs. But cricket needs to keep us on our toes so it awards six runs if said shot doesn’t bounce before doing so. Keep those eyes on the bouncing ball.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]Keep two batsmen on the field, all players other than the bowler and wicketkeeper from the bowling (pitching) team on the pitch and this cricket stuff is getting easier to follow.[/quote]

The aim of the bowling team is to limit hits and get opposing players out. Sounds familiar, eh? Batsman gets bowled – out  when the bowler hits a wicket with the ball. Other reasons to get an out are:

Leg before wicket - umpire believes ball would have hit wicket if not for contact with anything other than the bat holding hand  

Caught - similar to an out in baseball

Run out – multiple meanings, commonly called if no part of a batsman’s bat or body is grounded behind the crease and the bowling team puts the wicket down while ball in play

Stumped – when wicketkeeper puts wicket down while a batsman has moved beyond the popping crease and not attempted a run

All on-field decisions are made by two umpires. Some matches at higher levels might have a third referee and a match referee.

Keep two batsmen on the field, all players other than the bowler and wicketkeeper from the bowling (pitching) team on the pitch and this cricket stuff is getting easier to follow.

How does it end?

Saying a hockey game ended in a tie or draw means one and the same, that both teams scored the same number of goals. But, in cricket, same words, different definitions: a tie means both teams had the same number of runs when all innings were completed. In timed matches such as Test or first-class, a draw is called when the anticipated number of innings weren’t played.

Got all that? Just don’t try it on ice.

{module NCM Blurb} 


 

 
 
 

 

Published in Arts & Culture

by Robin Brown (@RobinBrown) in Toronto 

I became a Canadian citizen in November last year. Like most immigrants to Canada, I am proud and grateful to join my fellow Canadians in building this extraordinary nation. That didn’t stop me, however, from sharing in the hope and ultimate frustration that the English around the world experience every four years as we watch our national team compete and fail in the World Cup. And, clearly in Toronto, I am not alone. The trans-national identities of Canadian citizens are no more evident than during the World Cup or other international sports tournaments.

According to the Economist magazine we are living in an age of diasporas.  Currently over 200 million people are living in a different country than the one they were born in and that number is rising rapidly. This population, alongside their children, is creating huge ethnic diasporas who share a common culture but are geographically dispersed. The internet has enabled these diasporas to maintain an unprecedented cultural coherence through constant communication worldwide. Both immigrant Canadians and those born here are clearly comfortable embracing both their Canadian national identity alongside membership of an ethnic diaspora.

Shared experiences

The implications this has for geo-politics and public policy is widely discussed. But my interest is in the implications for business and marketing. Canadian marketers used to be able to influence the shared experiences of their consumers in limited and known geographical parameters. Now, they find themselves in an unprecedented situation where so many of the people they are trying to reach did not grow up sharing common experiences of their brands and products. We used to know that some communication may “spill over” from access to U.S. TV stations or trips across the border. But now we are in a situation where an Indo-Canadian youth may be more influenced by Pepsi India’s sponsorship of cricket than any activity Pepsi Canada initiates.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"][A]n Indo-Canadian youth may be more influenced by Pepsi India’s sponsorship of cricket than any activity Pepsi Canada initiates.[/quote]

In our new book, Migration Nation, Kathy Cheng and I argue that we are entering a new world of “borderless marketing”. In this new world, companies can reach large global segments that share an ethnic culture and related consumer tastes and preferences across the world. But, of course, this assumes that these diasporas are relatively homogenous in their preferences and tastes. Is that a fair assumption? Does a Chinese Canadian share a common culture with a Chinese American or a resident of China? Does their ethnicity have a stronger influence on their consumer preferences than their location or citizenship?

The answer is of course, that it depends. It depends on the product category. For categories where ethnic culture is highly influential like food you will find commonalities across the diaspora. It also depends on the characteristics of the diaspora. For example, Bollywood provides a common entertainment culture that unites many in the South Asian diaspora. Other ethnicities may not have the same unifying attributes. And, of course, the environments in which the diaspora settles influence their homogeneity.

Levels of acculturation

Our recent research compared Chinese and South Asian Americans and Canadians’ level of acculturation using Geoscape and & Environics Analytics CultureCodes (see graph). These analytical tools classify the population into five categories of acculturation based on their home language, knowledge of English/French and period of immigration. We found much higher levels of acculturation in the U.S. than in Canada for both groups. This results from a number of factors, including the “melting pot” vs. multicultural culture of each country. Of course, this means that these populations will differ and marketing efforts to reach them must navigate that difference.

But, understanding the diasporas may not be the biggest challenge faced by multinationals. The current reality for many multinationals is that many of their consumers are in some respects more global than they are. There may be good business reasons why an Asian Canadian cannot find Nescafe iced coffee here in Canada, but consumers are not aware or don’t care about the constraints of separate business units, tariffs and supply chain logistics. They are connected globally and informed of products and services that are used by their ethnic diaspora across the world.

Disconnected multinationals

Multinational companies need to become as globally connected as their consumers. I am often surprised that behind a seemingly global brand there are so many disconnected business units. For example, it should be common sense for North American companies to at least connect to their branches in Asia to simply learn more about the over 10 million Asian population living within their market borders. Yet, even that task is often not as simple as it should be. Let alone other tasks such as ensuring that products and marketing assets developed outside of North America can be effectively leveraged here.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]Multinational companies need to become as globally connected as their consumers.[/quote]

So, are we entering a world of borderless marketing? Slowly. There are glimpses of it. Unilever, for example, is effectively doing it. The Asian products under the Knorr brand are marketed to the Asian diaspora in North America by an international business unit independent of Unilever Canada or U.S. But, for many, the task of connecting to global diasporas and navigating the new world of borderless marketing requires not only an understanding of that new audience but a cultural and organizational shift. Canada is one of the most diverse nations in the developed world. Our population is highly globalized. Now is the time for our business culture to embrace and take a lead in the borderless future.

Robin Brown is Senior Vice President at Environics Research Group and co-author of the newly released book, “Migration Nation: A Practical Guide to Doing Business in Globalized Canada”.

{module NCM Blurb}

Published in Commentary

New Canadian Media provides nonpartisan news and views representing all Canadian immigrant communities. As part of this endeavour, we re-publish aggregated content from various ethnic media publishers in Canada in an effort to raise the profile of news and commentary from an immigrant perspective. New Canadian Media, however, does not guarantee the accuracy of or endorse the views and opinions contained in content from such other sites. The views expressed on this site are those of the individual writers and commentators, and not necessarily those of New Canadian Media. Copyright © 2019 All rights reserved