Jason Kenny is considered to be one of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s most influential and powerful ministers. One of his strongest attributes seems to be his ability to connect with the visible minorities. With this objective in mind Kenny has kept his portfolio of multiculturalism along with his current portfolio as Minister of National Defence. In order to stay connected with different communities, Kenny travels widely throughout Canada. This is more so in case of the Toronto and Vancouver metropolitan areas. Greater Toronto Area and Metro Vancouver are considered to be the hubs of a number of communities in general and the South Asian community in particular. Strangely, during all of these years in office, Kenny had never visited the India Cultural Centre of Canada’s Gurdwara Nanak Niwas in Richmond. Thus, it was a pleasant surprise for the Gurdwara management when on his recent visit to Metro Vancouver; Kenny decided to visit Gurdwara Nanak Niwas on Tuesday, July 21.
Gurdwara Nanak Niwas Management Committee was very pleased to welcome Kenny, his staff and a number of prominent members of our community. Kenny expressed keen interest in learning more about numerous activities taking place at the Gurdwara. These include a Yoga Centre, a Punjabi School, Chai Chaupal and a lot more. Some of the on-going activities include workshops and seminars and campaigns about issues relevant to the community including: Heart and Stroke Foundation, Financial Strategies/Protection from Fraud for seniors, Blood Pressure clinics, Eyesight camps etc. Kenny was pleased to learn that Gurdwara Nanak Niwas was able to raise $21,000 for the Nepal Relief Fund and that there are on-going fundraising activities for the Nargis Dutt Cancer Foundation. Here it may be appropriate to mention that just last Sunday, July20, Richmond Multicultural Community Services held a workshop on nutrition for seniors at the Gurdwara. This workshop was made possible with the efforts of South Asian Settlement Worker Karamji Kaur Jagdeo and Chai Chaupal Co-Ordinator Kamal Sandhu. Guest speaker Ranjit Dhari, Director of Nursing at UBC and nursing student Naureen did an excellent job in creating more awareness about nutrition, especially for seniors.
Jason Kenny showed keen interest in having an enjoyable conversation with India Cultural Centre of Canada’s Chairman, Asa Singh Johal. He admired Johal and his family for his wonderful contribution as a pioneer, a philanthropist, and for his unique contribution to the establishment and development of Gurdwara Nanak Niwas since mid-eighties to the present .He complimented the veteran lumber magnate for looking after himself so well despite his advancing years. Kenny was presented with a plaque by Johal and members of the management committee to recognise his visit to the Gurdwara.
Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist. He is also a member of the India Cultural Centre of Canada’s Gurdwara Nanak Niwas Management Team.