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Newsletter. Issue 2008-25. December 06, 2008
Newsline Canada
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News Clips From India
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Goan Voice UK
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People Places and Things

Self-Interest Can Lead The World To Ruin, Pope Says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Without the practice of Christian charity, the world today risks a disastrous fixation on personal self-interest, Pope Benedict XVI said during a noon blessing Nov. 23, the feast of Christ the King. Addressing pilgrims from his apartment window above St. Peter's Square, he said Christ made it clear that his kingdom, while not of this world, works within human history to bring about all that is good. 'If we put into practice love for our neighbor, following the Gospel message, then we make space for the rule of God and his kingdom is realized among us. If instead everyone thinks only of his own interests, the world can only go to ruin,' the pope said. Christians need to remember that the kingdom of God is not a question of honors and appearances, but of justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, he explained, saying God will welcome those who work daily to carry out his teachings, not the hypocrites who talk about Christ but fail to put his commandments into practice.


Stantec to buy Halifax environmental consulting firm Jacques Whitford for $143M
November 24, 2008

Goan Voice Canada Comment
Goan veterans in the engineering profession followed with interest the news of the $143 million takeover of the environmental company, Jacques Whitford by Stantec of Edmonton. The company co-founder, Hector Jacques, is an Officer of the Order of Canada, and probably the only Goan to receive this honour. (click Goan Voice Canada)

Jacques Whitford, founded in 1972, was recently in the list of Canada's Top 100 Employers ? by Maclean's magazine. In surfing the JW website, it is pleasing to read Hector wearing his Goan heritage on his sleeve.

Although the new owners state that business will continue as usual, in time, large conglomerates tend to operate under a single name as they re-group and promote a brand image. Here in Canada when few visible minorities are seen in executive positions, least of all in the public service, (see this issue Toronto's Mosaic, A Reality Check ) the impending disappearance of a Goan name from one of Canada?s leading companies will be a sad moment for many in the community.

EDMONTON - Engineering firm Stantec Inc. (TSX:STN) is buying Jacques Whitford, a Dartmouth, N.S.-based environmental consulting services firm, in a friendly deal worth about $143 million.
The acquisition of Whitford, which had about C$230 million in gross revenues in the last year and has more than 1,700 and 40 offices in Canada, is slated to close in January, the companies said Monday.

Stantec's shares closed up more than 16 per cent on the Toronto Stock Exchange after the transaction was disclosed. The deal, which "has the support of the Jacques Whitford board and senior leadership team," is subject to due diligence review, regulatory approvals and Jacques Whitford shareholder approval, Stantec president and CEO Tony Franceschini told a conference call after stock markets closed Monday.

"Jacques Whitford is a leading provider of environmental management, remediation, and geotechnical engineering services and their addition will significantly strengthen our core capabilities in our environment practice," Franceschini told investors. He said the purchase price includes assumed debt when the transaction closes.

"We also expect to pay the purchase price over a three year period," said Franceschini, adding that any outstanding balances would be subject to a five per cent interest payout. Founded in 1972 and employee owned, Jacques Whitford provides engineering, environmental and earth sciences services from offices across Canada and in the United States.

Franceschini said the friendly acquisition doubles the Edmonton company's presence in Atlantic Canada; expands geotechnical engineering capacity, creates a significant presence in Canada's Arctic and Alberta for resource development environmental and geoscience assessments and expands services to mining companies and for air pollution control.


Goan Bands And DJs In The GTA Perform 'For Peanuts'
December 13, 2007
Rakshande Italia

This article appeared in 2007

It started when Iona and Vincy Miranda were gathering friends and family to welcome the new millennium. "We decided to host an affordable event," says Iona Miranda, who brought together 200 people for the New Year's Eve party and dance, charging $50 per family, including snacks and dinner. For entertainment, they decided to press their collection of 1,000 CDs into service.

Soon after, the mother of three found herself being offered deejaying gigs around the GTA, some for events with as many as 500 people. "As Goans, we have music in our blood," Miranda says, echoing Bollywood's stereotypical portrayal of Catholic Goans, rarely shown without a guitar in hand.

In Toronto, even if every Goan doesn't own a guitar, chances are they are busy polishing their dancing shoes and getting ready to boogie all night as the festive season approaches. "I think it's all about missing your roots from back home. Deep down, we miss the community way of life," says Beverley Pinto, a Toronto teacher who used to sing in a band in Mumbai. But organizing an event or being a musician in Toronto doesn't pay enough to do it full-time, she says.

Joseph Rebello, leader of the Naked Flame band, agrees. "One cannot sustain ourselves on this alone. We sing for the love of music." he says. "We spend the whole day to set up equipment but we don't get paid for that." Rebello's band members earn about $200 to $300 each night, but they only perform three or four nights each month, he says. That isn't enough to make these gigs more than just a hobby.

Many musicians say they'd love to play or deejay full-time, but it would involve expensive marketing and advertising. They are also frustrated with their dealings in the community because they say desis undervalue them.

"South Asians are cheap," says Bharat Kumar, a Toronto deejay who has also worked in England and Dubai. He complains they'll often try to drive a hard bargain when negotiating rates. "When I don't (relent) they say, ?You are too English or Canadian.' " With bands and deejays charging anywhere from $300 to $1,800 per event, depending on the size of function, "It could become lucrative, if everybody doesn't undercut everybody," says Kumar.

Rebello agrees. "Our community doesn't want to pay. And one is compared against others who charge less." Formerly a full-time musician in Tanzania, Rebello says inexperienced bands - who "play in their basements but who come out and play professionally" - are also changing the face of the industry.

As well, the emergence of the one-person band with high-tech equipment and lower overhead means event organizers can have live music for far less money.  Daulton Alex, who organizes a Christmas party every year for his 11-member cricket club, Criasia, admits he bargains. "We are desis - we've got to," he jokes. Alex says the club can't charge more than $30 for admission because everyone has large expenses to contend with around Christmas. "It's not about money," he says, adding that last year's event earned the club $450, and this year's is expected to bring in $550.

Deejays and musicians also say Toronto offers less room to grow or experiment, because the crowds they cater to are mostly first-generation Goans who prefer the music of the 1960s, '70s or '80s. Kumar says he loves new songs and all kinds of music, but if he wants to get his Goan clients on the dance floor, he plays their music, and then introduces newer sounds.  Miranda agrees. "Older music is preferred because it's the music which we grew up on and enjoyed," she says.

Despite the tough market, the demand for bands doesn't seem to wane. "We decided to come back again after seven years because people said they were missing bands," says Francis D'Souza, 58, a native of Goa. His group, Focus Dance Band, played in Toronto for 22 years but stopped in 2000. After re-forming the band this year, he has already played 10 events, including one in New York.
In the end, it's all worthwhile. "I played for peanuts," Miranda says. "But just seeing people enjoying is very satisfying. If the dance floor is full, you know you are doing your job and nothing compares to that thrill. Even if it means lugging huge speakers in the snow in -20 C." Rakshande Italia is a Toronto-based freelance writer and columnist for Metroland newspapers. Email: .


Goan Christmas Recipes

  • Gram Sweet(dosh) | Nankaties | Kulkuls | Bibinca | Bolinhas | Pinaca

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