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Respected Richmond Community Member Kenny Chiu Visits No. 5 Road Gurdwara

By Balwant Sanghera

India Cultural Centre of Canada Gurdwara Nanak Niwas, located in the centre of Richmond’s Highway to Heaven (aka #5 Road) is a major attraction for locals and visitors from all over. Students and adults from various communities come here to pay their respects and also learn more about Sikhism and the Indo-Canadian community. Recently, we had another prominent member of our community visit this place of worship. Kenny Chiu is a well-known and respected member of the Richmond community. He has served this community in various capacities. This includes his service as a member of the Richmond Board of School Trustees. Last year, in 2019, Mr. Chiu was elected as Member of Parliament for Richmond Steveston. In order to learn more about the issues on people’s minds, Mr. Chiu visited Gurdwara Nanak Niwas on Monday, July 27. He was greeted warmly by members of the Gurdwara Management Committee led by President Balbir Singh Jawanda.

In his opening remarks Mr. Chiu stated that he wanted to get to know the concerns of the Gurdwara management and offered his assistance in addressing any concerns the committee members may have. As Richmond’s representative in Ottawa he is keen to stay connected with us. This set the stage for a very frank and fruitful discussion. In this context, the Committee members brought the following concerns to his attention:

The issue of international students has been discussed in not only our community but also in other communities as well for quite some time. Chiu mentioned that he has been also hearing these concerns from the broader community and will take this matter up with the appropriate authorities in Ottawa. In addition to that, there were concerns about the recent federal benefits programs like CERB and their misuse/abuse by certain people. Everyone was in agreement that in view of the COVID-19 it was appropriate to offer assistance to Canadians. However, due to the rushed introduction of these aid programs there is likely to be a lot of misuse/abuse of these programs.

The Gurdwara management committee members were also eager to hear from Mr. Chiu about the deteriorating relations between China and Canada, China’s aggressive approach towards Canada and some other countries as well as China’s imprisonment of the two Michaels. Also, the recent developments in Hong Kong came up. On the whole, it was a very informative and productive meeting. Mr. Chiu mentioned that these are very valid concerns and he hears such concerns from others as well. He assured that as our MP he would be pleased to bring these concerns to the attention of appropriate authorities in Ottawa. Chiu promised to stay in touch and assured the committee members that he and his office will stay in touch with the Gurdwara management. Before departing, Chiu thanked the management committee for welcoming him and sharing their concerns. On behalf of the Gurdwara, President Balbir Jawanda and Secretary Balwant Sanghera thanked Chiu and his assistant Manjit(Many)Fallon for taking the time to visit the Gurdwara Sahib.

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