In this week’s round-up of what’s been making headlines in Canada’s ethnic media: celebrated deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service quits the force, mainstream grocery stores make concerted efforts to become one-stop shops for ethnic consumers, and Filipinos in Alberta get their long-awaited consulate.
Toronto Deputy Police Chief’s resignation a loss for local black community
Members of Toronto’s Black community view the recent retirement of deputy chief of police, Peter Sloly, from the Toronto Police Service (TPS) as a major loss.
Community advocates and activists who worked with Sloly over the years “think his departure is a blow to the city, especially in fractious police-community relation matters,” writes reporter Neil Armstrong in Pride, Canada’s weekly African-Canadian and Caribbean news magazine.
Sloly, who immigrated to Canada from Jamaica, was the TPS’ second Black deputy chief. He was passed over last year when he applied for the position of police chief, which was awarded to his fellow deputy chief at the time, Mark Saunders.
Known as a staunch supporter of community policing, Sloly was instrumental in leading the TPS’ Police and Community Engagement Review (PACER), which made several recommendations to reform current policing practices, including creating a new core value articulating the service’s commitment to bias-free policing.
“His departure is a blow to the city, especially in fractious police-community relation matters.
“He had such a connection to the community and he understood, he empathized and he was willing to make changes so there was a sense of loss,” Audrey Campbell, co-chair of the PACER review committee told Pride.
Many community members share this sentiment. In a Share News article, Dave Mitchell, the former president of the Association of Black Law Enforcers, stated that Sloly contributed enormously to 21st century policing.
“He will be missed in terms of his innovative approach to modern law enforcement and community-based policing,” said Michell. “He’s also a role model to other Black officers because of his myriad [of] significant achievements.”
Loblaws’ new motto, offerings reflect focus on diversity
Grocery chain Loblaws’ new motto “30/30” is a reference to estimates that 30 per cent of Canada’s population will be born outside of the country by 2030.
As reported by Neil Sharma in The Epoch Times, to celebrate this year’s Chinese New Year, Loblaws’ North Mississauga Real Canadian Superstore decorated its store with hanging lanterns and dragons and sold items like dumplings and red envelopes.
“Chinese people will put money inside for gifts and give them to the younger generation,” Stew Chang, senior category manager of Loblaws, told The Epoch Times. “It suppresses evil and ensures the children will be healthy and have good fortune throughout the year.”
According to Won Suk Ha, senior category manager of Multicultural Fresh, Loblaws used the Mississauga location, being that it’s in a highly diverse city, as a pilot to get a sense of what customers gravitated to most.
30 per cent of Canada’s population will be born outside of the country by 2030.
To date, the Superstore’s seafood department has fared well with Chinese-Canadian shoppers. The Mississauga location has the largest seafood section of any Loblaws-operated store, with fish like tilapia and green bass on display.
Also stocked on the grocery store’s shelf: a wide selection of tea brands imported from Taiwan and mainland China; a variety of soy sauces; rice and noodle imported brands; and items like dried lily flower and Chinese peppers in the bulk food section.
Unlike initiatives such as Sobeys launching a South Asian store and the forthcoming Seafood City Supermarket catering to Filipinos, Loblaws aims to become a “one-stop shopping destination for customers,” merging “mainstream” Canadian foods with a wide range of multicultural selections.
“Whether it’s Canadians whose families are from different places around the world or Canadians who have traveled the world and have an extended palette, it’s important to us that when they come to our store, they find [what they need],” Ha said.
Philippines consulate to open in Calgary
It’s been a long time coming, but a Philippine consulate will be open for business in Alberta sometime next month.
According to a recent article published by The Filipino Post, the Philippines’ department of foreign affairs (DFA) will open the office in Calgary to serve the more than 120,000 Filipinos living in Alberta, something community members have been demanding for years.
Calgary was selected as the home of the consulate office due to its high concentration — approximately 40,000 — of Filipinos, DFA assistant secretary Julius Torres told the Philippine Inquirer in a telephone interview.
The aim of the office will be to bolster relations with commercial establishments, major industries and other diplomatic offices located in the area, Torres explained.
Calgary was selected as the home of the consulate office due to its high concentration of Filipinos.
After a 2009 economic boost brought more temporary foreign workers to Canada from the Philippines, the Vancouver office became busier and over capacity, reports the Philippine Asian News Today. In 2014, added pressure was placed on the Lower House of Congress to find room in the budget to open a consulate in Alberta.
Torres, who was appointed as consul general, will arrive in Calgary on Feb. 23. The office is expected to be fully operational by the beginning of March and will offer services like passport applications and renewals and document authentication.
The office will be the fourth Philippine post in Canada outside of the embassy in Ottawa and consulates in Vancouver and Toronto and is expected to ease the workload of the other offices.