OTTAWA – With the 2011-2012 hockey season now underway, Canadians across the country are coming together to enjoy the sport with family and friends. The same would be true in the Punjabi community, if the CBC brought back the Punjabi-language Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts, said NDP Multiculturalism critic Don Davies (Vancouver-Kingsway).
“Punjabi is the fourth most common language in Canada [after English, French and Chinese],” said Davies. “Watching the games in Punjabi had become a household tradition enjoyed by the entire family – from grandparents to grandchildren. It’s a bonding experience that also provides new immigrants an opportunity to learn about Canada’s favourite sport and get a taste of Canadian culture.”
The CBC initiated the weekly Punjabi broadcast across Canada in 2008, recognizing the importance of language-specific programming. However, the 2010 season was in jeopardy when a corporate sponsor could not be found. At the last minute, one did step up and the season’s Punjabi broadcasts resumed. During the current season, there is no Punjabi broadcast due to a lack of another financial contributor, and the community is rallying for a sponsor to step up and ensure the continuation of the broadcast.
“It is devastating to the community to lose such a program that brought generations of a family together,” said NDP MP Jasbir Sandhu (Surrey North). “I hope the CBC is able to secure a sponsor for the remainder of the season. I know that in many households across Canada, watching the Punjabi broadcasts had become a tradition and a way to bring the entire family together.”