When Gurpreet Singh packed his bags last fall and arrived in Ontario from India, he soon learned there was one thing some fellow Indians in Canada hadn’t left behind in their home country — their prejudices.
The human resource management student at Durham College in Oshawa, Ont., said he is viewed as an outcast in the ancient South Asian social structure known as the caste system, but faces more discrimination from Indians in Canada than he did in India.
“I have been here for roughly five months and I have faced it in a way more aggressive or aggravated form in this country from my own Punjabi community,” Singh said. “They beat their chest with pride that they come from this caste or that caste.”
India is a main source of immigrants to Canada. It’s also a huge pipeline for international students both to Canada and the United States, and some universities are taking note of concerns around discrimination based on caste.
California State University, the largest four-year public university system in the U.S., specifically added caste to its non-discrimination policies in January. In Ottawa, the academic staff association at Carleton University passed a motion in November to include caste-based discrimination in its policies.
Singh recalled a conversation with an acquaintance in Oshawa that shocked him after she used a casteist slur to address him.
“I confronted her that you’d be behind bars if you were in India right now … The girl who uttered that word acted as if she didn’t know anything, why it’s offensive, etc.,” Singh said. “To put it in her brain in the easiest possible way, I equated the word with the N-word.”
He said it was “strange” that she knew the N-word was a slur for Black people, “but even after living in India for 23 years, she had no idea, or at least pretended to have no idea, about the thing she just said so casually.”
The Hindu caste system divides people into four sub-communities based on ancestry — Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras — and the caste of a person can often be identified by their last name. The four main castes are further divided into 3,000 castes and 25,000 sub-castes.
The caste tradition transcends religion. Many Indians with Hindu lineage whose ancestors adopted Sikhism or Christianity retained their last names, and their caste designations.
Singh belongs to a scheduled caste, members of which are also known as Dalits. According to the caste system, scheduled castes are outcasts and do not belong to the social order.
According to the 2011 census, scheduled castes made up for 16.2 per cent of the Indian population. From 2018 to 2020, India’s National Crime Records Bureau recorded 50,202 registered cases of crimes or “atrocities” against scheduled castes. Activists from the community have long fought against caste oppression.
Singh’s last name was originally Badhan, which indicated his caste. He stopped using it, even on official documents, but he said in Canada he’s been asked for his full name so people could identify his community.
“I have had to hide my identity a number of times,” Singh said. “I had to lie twice. I told them I come from the Jatt community and my surname is something else because I felt that I might be isolated, and no one wants to feel that way when you are so far away from home.”
Casteism can cause harm
Chinnaiah Jangam, an associate professor in the department of history at Carleton University and an advocate for the rights of people from scheduled castes, believes casteism can hurt immigrants long term.
“A student or an employee coming from these backgrounds will not feel comfortable to express their own identity and they won’t feel comfortable being themselves,” said Jangam, who is the author of Dalits and the making of modern India and spearheaded the push to add caste to the anti-discrimination policies of Carleton’s academic association.
Meera Estrada, the Toronto co-host of the pop culture show kultur’D on Global News radio, was born in Canada but said she was aware she was a Dalit since childhood. She often hid her identity because other people of Indian background looked down on her community.
She recalled going to Gujarati language classes and people asking what samaj, or community, she belonged to. “And people were quite proud in saying which group they belong to, but it was always the Brahmin group or the so-called upper caste,” Estrada said.
India passed a law in 1955 to abolish “untouchability,” a term once used to describe the practice of ostracizing scheduled castes. But Estrada believes the social stigma against Dalits remains, something that became more apparent to her in her 20s.
“Aunties in mandirs [temples] trying to play matchmakers would always say, ‘Oh, this is a good boy from a good family.’ The implication there was that he is from a higher caste, and I would just feel like if that is the equivalent of good, who am I? Am I not good?”
One matchmaking Facebook group, the Samast Brahman Society of Canada, has 4,100 members. The group’s description says its “goal is to unite all Brahmins under one roof while they can serve in all other Brahmin organizations.”
Its administrator, Jagruti Bhatt, said in an interview in Gujarati that the Facebook group only accepts members of the Brahmin caste, although she later added that all castes are allowed at events organized by the group.
“We only allow Brahmins to enter the group. Different organizations exist to address different communities. Likewise, ours is only for one particular caste,” Bhatt said. She refrained from commenting on accusations casteism is promoted through her group.
Estrada said it’s “quite disgusting” that such groups exist. “Imagine, for example, it was a whites-only kind of thing. I almost don’t even see the difference there,” she said.
Sailaja Krishnamurti, associate professor of religious studies and women and gender studies at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, said the impact of such networks is concerning.
“It’s a well-known, well-established reality that people often use their community and family networks to help get employment as they are migrating. So, that can have a direct impact on what happens in terms of access to employment,” she said.
It’s long been predicted that with migration, caste would reach beyond South Asia.
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, an Indian jurist who would chair the committee that drafted the Indian constitution, warned in 1916 that caste could potentially become a global issue. He was opposed to the concept of untouchability and burned a copy of the Manusmriti, an ancient Hindu law book.
“If Hindus migrate to other regions on earth, Indian caste would become a world problem,” Ambedkar wrote in his thesis Castes in India.
Canada Day Ottawa: Ottawa police prepare for festivities, possible protests | CTV News – CTV News Ottawa
Police officers in cruisers and on bicycles are patrolling downtown Ottawa and the Parliamentary Precinct today, as the city prepares for Canada Day festivities and possible protests against COVID-19 mandates and the federal government.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to visit downtown Ottawa and the LeBreton Flats area over the next few days to celebrate Canada’s 155th birthday. Canadian Forces veteran James Topp will also complete his cross-country march at the National War Memorial, as he protests the remaining COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
At LeBreton Flats, there was a very strong security presence Friday morning as preparations continued for the Canadian Heritage Canada Day festivities. The Canada Day daytime show begins at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, while the evening show begins at 7:30 p.m.
Ottawa police interim Chief Steve Bell says the increased police presence will remain in place through the weekend.
“We’ve talked for a number of days about all the planning and preparation we have and the expectation of people attending,” Bell told CTV News Ottawa. “I think what you’re seeing is those plans coming into action and us being out there and vigilant around who’s attending, and trying to make sure people that understand it’s a safe place on Canada Day and you should come down and enjoy the festivities.”
On Wednesday, officers stopped a small convoy of vehicles in the area of Pinecrest Road and Hwy. 417 and several tickets were issued. Bell defended the actions of officers to stop vehicles in the capital region.
“We actually have good legal grounds for the plans we’ve put in place. We make sure that we stay on legal grounds because that’s very important as a police service,” Bell said. “We’re comfortable with the posture we’re taking and the actions officers are taking, and it’s all in the name that we ensure public safety and we can have a good, festive Canada Day.”
JAMES TOPP ARRIVES IN OTTAWA
Canadian Forces veteran James Topp will finish his cross-country march to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates this evening at the National War Memorial.
The final leg of his journey began at 1811 Robertson Road at 10 a.m. Topp is scheduled to arrive at Hog’s Back Park at 1:30 p.m. and finish his march at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider at 6 p.m.
“We have been in contact with Mr. Topp and his group and have plans in place to ensure that he can safely and lawfully move from the west end of the city down to the Parliament Hill buildings,” interim chief Bell said on Monday.
Speaking in Ottawa last week, Topp said a number of groups that formed out of the Freedom Convoy had come together to protest the federal government.
“What I would like to see with the establishment of C3 – the Canadian Citizens Coalition is for us to have further conversations about the way forward, about the way of the future, of what we see Canada being and becoming,” said Topp.
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds will not be taking part in Canada Day festivities in Ottawa.
The Royal Canadian Air Force announced the Snowbirds fly-past over Ottawa on Friday has been cancelled, following a problem with the aircraft’s emergency ejection parachute that grounded the fleet for nearly a week.
Visitors to Parliament Hill will need to pass through a security checkpoint, and be searched by a Parliamentary Protective Service officer.
A sign on the fence along Wellington Street says several items are restricted, including tables, speakers, barbecues, aerosols, weapons, fireworks and sporting equipment.
MOTOR VEHICLE CONTROL ZONE
A motor vehicle control zone remains in effect around the Parliamentary Precinct, downtown Ottawa and roads near LeBreton Flats.
The zone stretches from Colonel By Drive/Sussex Drive in the east, Booth Street in the west, Laurier Avenue in the south and Wellington Street in the north, along with the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway and Albert Street west of Booth Street.
The roads in the motor vehicle control zone are not closed today; however, motor vehicles taking part in any form of demonstration, event or protest will not be permitted in the area. There will be no on-street parking or stopping on roads in the control zone.
The city of Ottawa says a motor vehicle control zone will be in effect from Wednesday at 8 a.m. until July 4 at 6 a.m. (City of Ottawa/Twitter)
TICKETING AND TOWING VEHICLES
Ottawa Bylaw and Regulatory Services says officers are out ensuring all parking regulations are observed in the motor vehicle control zone.
“All vehicles found failing to observe the no-stopping zones will be ticketed and towed. Parking time limits and no parking zones outside the centre core will also be strictly enforced,” the city said.
Between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Ottawa Bylaw says 120 parking tickets were issued and 28 vehicles were towed in the vehicle control zone.
Ottawa Bylaw will also be focusing on the following bylaws to ensure residents and visitors obey the rules over the Canada Day weekend.
- No unnecessary motor-vehicle or other noise, including speakers or shouting
- No unnecessary motor-vehicle idling
- No encumbering a sidewalk or roadway by any means, including setting up tents or other illegal structures
- No public urination and defecation
- No open air fires
- No littering
- Discharging of fireworks – contravening any regulations under Fireworks By-Law.
Ottawa City Hall and the underground municipal parking facility will be closed all weekend.
City Hall and the parking structure will be closed from 5 p.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. on Monday.
Tips for starting online betting safely
Sports betting has been part of the entertainment world for a long time now, but it has become even more popular now. This is because of the internet and especially online betting. It has increased the number of opportunities for betting and now people don’t need to leave their homes to have fun.
The internet has some of the most popular options such as NFL Week 1 odds and more rare possibilities. Because of this diversity, you can be sure that you can find an option fitting your taste. But if you have never bet on sports online before, you need to know how to do so safely. This article will help you with this.
There are many different interesting sports to follow
The world is full of different types of sports, which means that there will be one that will entertain you. Even if you are only looking for Canadian sports, there are still many different fantastic possibilities. This obviously means that there are also plenty of different possibilities regarding betting as well.
Even though there are many exciting opportunities for betting, you need to only bet on sports that you are familiar with. If you know everything there is to know about the sport, it will be easier for you to place your bets. Therefore it’s a much safer way to bet. If you are interested in specifically betting on a game that you don’t know too well yet, you should do some research.
Choose a safe betting site
Not only do you need to bet in a safe way, but you also need to choose a safe betting site. There are many different options when it comes to different betting sites, so you have a lot of options to choose from.
If you don’t know how to recognize safe betting sites, you don’t have to worry. There are plenty of different guidebooks specifically about this online. You can also use different websites that introduce popular and safe betting sites for the players. This will make the search process much easier.
What is the best betting site for you?
As we said, there are many different betting sites. Not only do you need to choose a safe option, but you also need to find one that is the best for you. And how can you know which is the best for you?
Simply by thinking about what you are looking for. It doesn’t matter what type of betting site you choose, as long as it fits you and it’s safe, it’s a good choice.
Spouse of gunman to testify at N.S. shooting hearings but won’t be cross-examined
HALIFAX — The spouse of the gunman in the Nova Scotia mass shooting will testify mid-July before a public inquiry, but she won’t face direct questions from lawyers representing victims’ families.
Lisa Banfield, on the advice of her lawyers, had initially refused to speak under oath at the hearings into the 22 killings carried out by her spouse on April 18-19, 2020.
However, she changed her stance after a criminal charge laid against her for supplying ammunition to the killer was referred to restorative justice.
The public inquiry said today in a news release that due to Banfield’s status as a “survivor of the perpetrator’s violence,” only the inquiry’s lawyer will be asking her questions during her July 15 appearance.
Josh Bryson, a lawyer for the family of victims Peter and Joy Bond, says his clients are losing faith in the credibility of the inquiry.
Bryson says the families’ lawyers have been polite and respectful throughout the hearings, adding that it is frustrating to be denied the opportunity to pose direct questions to key witnesses.
“Cross-examination can make or break a witness’s evidence … You test the evidence in a meaningful and trauma-informed way,” he said in an interview today.
The inquiry has also refused to allow cross-examination of Staff Sgt. Brian Rehill and Staff Sgt. Andy O’Brien, who were the first RCMP managers overseeing the response to the shootings.
Emily Hill, senior commission counsel, says participatinglawyers can submit their questions in advance and can provide follow-up questions to the inquiry’s lawyer to ask during the single day set aside to hear Banfield.
Banfield’s evidence could provide further information about the killer’s personal history and state of mind and may also be key to the commission’s mandate to examine the “role of gender-based and intimate-partner violence” in the killer’s actions.
The inquiry has heard she was the last person with the gunman before he went on his rampage. The killer allegedly assaulted her and confined her in a car, but she managed to escape. She fled into the woods and hid before emerging the next morning and telling police the killer was driving a replica RCMP vehicle.
The RCMP have said from the outset that Banfield wasn’t aware of her spouse’s intentions when she provided him with ammunition, but they proceeded with charges alleging she, her brother and her brother-in-law had illegally transferred ammunition to the killer.
During a briefing this morning, the commission confirmed that senior RCMP officers, including Supt. Darren Campbell, Chief Supt. Chris Leather, assistant commissioner Lee Bergerman and Commissioner Brenda Lucki will testify in July and August — under oath and subject to cross-examination.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2022.
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