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Newsletter. Issue 2004-11. May. 29, 2004
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Newsline Canada

The Elections in Canada - 1
The four federal political leaders write essays in this week's TIME Magazine

TORONTO, May 23 /CNW/ - This week's issue of TIME Canada (May 31st, 2004 cover date, on newsstands now) contains a special 10-page report on the upcoming Canadian election. Prime Minister Paul Martin Essay (Excerpts): "I'm calling this election because I want to move Canada forward. We've been in office only five short months and we've accomplished much already. We've made government more accountable in spending taxpayer's money. We've restored the voice of members of Parliament so they have real influence in Ottawa. ....."I want a health care system that is a proud example of our values-one that provides health care on the basis of need, not income. I want a Canada that is home to a truly 21st century economy with good, well-paying jobs in every part of the country. I want a Canada where our neighbourhoods are safe and healthy with clean air and water and plenty of green spaces. I want a Canada that provides a helping hand to the least advantaged among us-where equality of opportunity is an unshakeable commitment of our national character. I want a Canada that speaks on the world stage-to nearest neighbor and most distant nation alike-with a voice that is independent and influential.... "To do these things I need the approval of Canadians. I need their mandate to achieve my agenda. The fact of the matter is that Canadians face a very clear-a very real-choice between political parties. It amounts to a very
real choice in the way in which we look at Canada's future. The Conservatives have a plan that, if implemented, would profoundly alter the country. With deep tax cuts taking priority above all else, the services upon which families rely would be scaled back sharply and balanced budgets would be put at risk. "That's one kind of choice. That's one kind of Canada. I offer a different kind of choice and a different kind of Canada. One where health care is our top priority. One where we build on our values to make the great country that is Canada still greater. I want a mandate to deliver my plan.
And that's why I'm calling this election."
Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper Essay (Excerpts):
"Politics is hard on families. The long hours and constant travel mean that I miss a lot of time with my wife Laureen and our children, Ben and Rachel. It hurts when I'm not there to take Ben to hockey practice or read Rachel a bedtime story. But it's concern for their future that has led me back into politics. I want our children to grow up in a stable, prosperous country
where they can find opportunities as exciting as those that exist anywhere in the world.....Civil society can offer the best to its citizens only if it's underpinned by a vigorous, dynamic, innovative economy. But it has to be fostered by intelligent, conservative public policy that recognizes the long-term sources of prosperity: impartial protection of citizens' safety and property rights; honest, thrifty and competent public administration; low taxes, to encourage hard work and risk-taking; and competitive markets to challenge us all to improve and innovate.
"I grew up in a family of accountants, and I have a Master's degree in economics. Those experiences may not have made me very exciting (they say an economist is an accountant without the charisma), but they have taught me about the prudent use of resources and the principles of prosperity. Now I want to put those insights to use, for the future benefit of Laureen, Rachel and Ben-and not just for them. To quote the Party's slogan, I want to "Demand Better" for all Canadians, because my family can prosper only if Canada prospers."

New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton Essay (Excerpts): "I entered federal politics because I wanted to help restore hope, and I believe passionately that politics should matter. For 20 years, we've been told we can't do the things Canadians keep telling politicians they want. I think it's time we had an election about what we can do."..."People tell me they're not interested in politics, but I think it's because for so long, politics hasn't tried to involve people. It's become a cozy club that seems to listen to itself instead of voters-but every once in a while, voters make their voices heard and achieve real change. We saw it during the debate on Iraq in which Canadians became engaged and, I think, forced Jean Chrétien to keep Canada out of the war. The energy and passion I felt from large peace rallies in places such as Montreal was electric, but I felt it too on a visit to a public school in Moose Jaw. What gives me hope is I think Canadians liked making a difference. Let this be the election where we finally have a debate about the positive choices we can make together-because
we desperately need to put hope back into politics."
Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe Essay (Excerpts)..."These past 15 years have demonstrated just how complete the constitutional dead-end really is. The debates on the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords, the 1995 referendum, the framework-agreement on social union and the adoption of Bill C-20 all testify to the fact that the majority of Québécois consider themselves a nation with a character all its own, while the rest of Canada, laboring under the notion that all provinces are equal, cannot.
"Faced with this fact, Québec has the following choice to make: either fight with its last ounce of energy to hold onto powers increasingly eroded by the federal government, or achieve full sovereignty in order to pursue its own kind of economic, social and cultural development and take its rightful place on the world economic and political stage.
"However modest my contribution may be, taking part in this wonderful challenge has never ceased to drive me onward."

TIME's Canadian Bureau Chief Steven Frank on The Election in General: "However you slice it, Canada is embarking on a pivotal election that will not be a humdrum affair. Political junkies, get your drool bibs out, because this promises to be one of the most raucous, volatile and potentially nasty election campaigns in decades," writes Frank. "In the past three federal elections, the Liberals began and ended in a clearly dominant position. This time Canada is diving off a political cliff. The Liberals, in power since 1993-and for 81 of Canada's 136 years-still may have the nation's most organized and experienced election machine, plus a phalanx of new star candidates and a (mostly) respected leader. But they also face big
challenges.
Canada's two national opposition parties, the Conservatives and the N.D.P., have risen from their political doldrums to become far more effective organizations; the two now have the potential to damage, if not destroy, large parts of the well-oiled Liberal fighting machine. Even the separatist Bloc Québécois, led by the steady former labor leader Gilles Duceppe, has seen a remarkable bounce in its fortunes-thanks to the sponsorship scandal-and looks poised to win back seats in Quebec that it lost in the last federal election in November 2000."

Minority Workers Make 14.5% Less In Wages Than Their Mainstream Counterparts
From: http://www.weeklyvoice.com/CNews/?CNewsID=526450
Visible minorities, who comprised less than 11 per cent of the labour force on average between 1992 and 2001, accounted for a third of the labour force's contribution to Canada's real gross domestic product (GDP) growth annually, according to a Conference Board study released early this month.
The new study, Making a Visible Difference: The Contribution of Visible Minorities to Canadian Economic Growth, identifies the economic impact of visible minorities through their contribution to labour force growth-one of the key elements to growing the potential output of our economy, and in turn, to expanding GDP. Although visible minorities made up less than 11 per cent of the workforce on average between 1992 and 2001, they accounted for almost one-third of the labour force growth. As the visible minority population approaches 20 per cent of the workforce by 2016, its share of Canada's economic growth will become even more important.
This significant contribution to Canadian GDP growth is due to the fact that visible minorities have been a primary source of Canadian labour force growth during this period. Their contribution could have been even greater if not for the gap in average wages between visible minorities and other Canadians. Visible minorities earned 11 per cent less than the Canadian average in 1991. This gap grew to 14.5 per cent in 2000. But minority activists suspect that the real gap could be even higher.
"The wage gap is a problem because Canada will depend on immigration for its future labour force growth, and the majority of our immigrants are visible minorities," said Prem Benimadhu, Vice-President, Organizational Performance at the Conference Board. "Canada is competing for immigrants with other developed countries. This continued wage gap may jeopardize Canada's ability to attract and retain immigrants, with negative consequences for our labour force growth and economic potential. Recognizing foreign credentials or experience alone would eliminate roughly one-third of the gap.

Konkani Tiatr in Toronto
Chukh Review
By: Eugene Correia goanet@goanet.org
Wed, 26 May 2004 21:12:16 -0700 (PDT)
Posted on Goanet
The article below is an excerpt from Goanet, and does not necessarily reflect the views of goanvoice.ca
Fatal error fails play that promised much
By Eugene Correia
A play that promised so much at the start proved to have committed a fatal error when it finally ended. The six-act drama, Chukh (mistake), is a story of a young adopted girl who, while studying to be a doctor, is pregnant and is driven out of the home. Her mother is indignant at the shame she would bring to the family though her father is considerate and understanding.
It's only in the final act that the central character Brenda (Bella Fernandes), now a full-fledged doctor, gives out the secret - that she was raped. She says that her parents, particularly her mother, didn't allow her a chance to explain.
That, however, isn't the truth. In the heated exchanges between Brenda and the parents when she discloses her pregnancy, the mother asks her whether it was her boyfriend who got her pregnant. Brenda says no and the mother flies in a rage. But there was enough time for Brenda to blurt out that she was raped. It's around her silence that the central story gets built up with other intertwined stories of other cast members.
The drama was largely enjoyable because of the "sideshow", an integral part of Konkani dramas. It was the professionalism of Rosita Pereira, playing the part of Luiza, a family friend of the main couple, Phillip and Monica (played by the real husband and wife team of Mike and Mary Alfonso) that provided a sharp yet lively edge to the proceedings.
A former actor in many plays by the late Christopher Leitao, her fellow villager, Rosita kept the sideshow moving at a steady pace with rip-roaring laughter. The other sidekicks, Cassy Alfonso (Indy) and Xavier Alfonso (Jones) add to the fun as lovers, with Cassy masquerading as a woman. And when the three came together a couple of times, they brought the house down with laughter.
The play in itself was low-key and slow. It lacked vitality and punch and the story got disjointed after the intermission when three new characters were introduced - Dolly (Mirose Alfonso), who plays the young Brenda and her blind father Johnny (Johnny Alfonso) and Ida, (Ida D'Souza), the maid.
It was a flashback to the time when Dolly/Brenda is brought to be given for adoption by her father, who is Phillip's younger brother. By the time the story ends, Brenda turns out to be the daughter of Ida who was an unwed mother and had passed on her daughter to Johnny when the latter's wife and child dies at childbirth.
There seems no clue that the scene is a flashback and the fact comes to light in the closing act when Ida makes a confession. There also no clue what job Phillip does and it comes as a shock when he is arrested and jailed for possession of drugs, planted by his cunning wife in collaboration with her lawyer Tony Alfonso to take away her Phillip's wealth. Tony was the weakest link as an actor, lacking style and made worse by forgetting his lines.
In the merry bunch that comes together to the end minus Phillip and with Johnny successfully operated upon by his "daughter", Luiza justifies the title of the play by blaming the principal actors for their errors. The melodrama, which was rather mellow than vigorous, ends with Brenda as a redeemed person in the eyes of her arrogant and selfish mother and the world at large.
On the note of songs, most of the tunes were adopted from other songs, particularly from the late Alfred Rose. A tribute song to this famous singer, who died last year, by Tony Alfonso was indeed a shame as he forgot some of his words and fumbled at some. Alfred Rose may have turned in his grave.
By contrast, the other Alfonso brothers were moderately good. Again, it was Rosita, also an
accomplished singer, who won the hearts with her hilarious and fast-paced Canada Chock Chockkit, a racy piece with humourous lines.

The Survival of Konkani
Stephen Puddicombe reports
From CBC Radio
http://www.cbc.ca/india/konkani.html
For many in India the clash between the old and new has turned into a fight over preservation. In the case of Bashkar Chandavarkar, the fight is over a language called Konkani.
The history of Konkani as a language spoken and written in India traces all the way back to the twelfth century. The Konkani tribe believes that their ancestors lived in India starting in 4000 BC. These days, many Konkani live in the Konkani coastal pockets in Goa, Karnataka and kerela.
In 1994 it was estimated that there were 2,056,841 Konkani speakers in India.
The central Literary Academy of India declared Konkani an independent language in 1997, and it has been declared the official language of the state of Goa.
Chandavarkar uses his music to preserve Konkani and borrows from worldwide rhythms to do so. One of the most noted sitar player and composer in India today, Chandavarkar has studied under the tutelage of Ravi Shankar.
Chandavarkar says the future of his language is in the hands of young musicians like Remo, Who has released several Konkani CDs.


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