They came here with lots of dreams and Canada helped them full fill their aspirations. These are the South Asian community stalwarts who made Canada their home and in return they made a difference in their community with their work and services. As Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary, Desi Today asked some of them what does Canada mean to them.
Canada is Celebrating its 150th Birthday.
As an Immigrant Canada embraced me with opportunity in educating, and establishing my Paediatric career. It provided me with a beautiful place to live in and to call it my home. Canada has learned with struggles to embrace ethnicity, diversity and multiculturalism. The choices and freedom to live and, practice the faith others chose, along with embracing and preserving our culture and language.
Canada is freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of choices to the Government level, freedom of New Ideas and Innovations. Freedom which flies in the maple leaf of our Flag.
On the 150th Birthday of Canada, it is a time to reflect in Canada of leadership in gender equality, tolerance, respect, multiculturalism and to keep Canada on this path for the coming future. I am proud to call myself a Canadian.
Happy Canada Day, Joyeux Jour du Canada
Dr Pargat Singh Bhurji MD, FRCP (C)
Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada
Twenty four years into a banking career, I was happily ensconced in my native India, when my brother called and implored me to join him in Canada. I am a risk taker by nature but this was still a giant leap of faith for me and my family.
However I instantly fell in love with Canada especially the beautiful BC and the caring people who make up the culture mosaic of the Lower Mainland. It is through God’s Grace that I am resident of a nation that truly values and honours humanity.
After landing at Khalsa Credit Union in 2004, and recognizing its vast potential, I was blessed to move up to the CEO position in 2015 and to lead an organization that I truly love. For all these opportunities I am very grateful and thankful to call Canada my home.
Dalbir Singh Mehta
Chief Executive Officer
My father came here in 1960s with very limited education. Back then, BC was primarily operating on raw resource industry. When South East Asians demographers came here they usually worked in the sawmills. My dad too started working in Prince Rupert in a sawmill. He sponsored my mom too eventually. Me and my brother were born here. Canada meant freedom for my parents. Freedom from the hardships and adversities they would have to face in India. My parents came with so many hopes and ambitions with a primary focus to get best for their kids. When they gave us the opportunity for education, the sky was our limit given the amount of resources we have here. They passed their dreams to us. But when I was growing up, I saw a lot of these dreams crashed when I witnessed kids from our community going into drugs and gangs. There were parents working so hard to give all the amenities for their kids to succeed. But these kids ended up getting in gangs and destroying all the dreams. That bothered me a lot and which was the beginning of hope for me to become a police officer. It did not only give me the opportunity to protect our community from crime, but also protect those dreams that our forefathers came here with. A lot of kids tell me they look up to me as an inspiration to become an office. I don’t take any credits but to inspire kids to become a law enforcement officer is a dream come true for me. I want everyone to give back to their community.
Law Enforcement Officer, Founder Kids Play
Canada is a country that makes your dreams come true. A country that gives equal opportunity to everyone to succeed. A country you can be proud of. My father came here in 1980. Things were tough for my parents. They struggled to make a mark in the society. I was the second generation. I was only 12 when we came here. We faced different set of challenges that were not in the working field. We faced challenges in the playground, schools etc. Life is a struggle for new immigrants for initial years but you forget about those hardships once you start rolling. The best thing about being in Canada is that it gives you equal and same opportunity to success regardless of your financial status, cast, colour or creed. You can start with nothing and achieve your everything. All depends on the individual on how far they want to go and what they want to achieve. Sky is the limit.
Canada is a land of opportunity for many of us. For my family and myself, we adopted Canada as our home over 20 years ago and it was the best decision we could have made. After immigrating to Canada I have done my best to continue to help the community that I work and live in. Living in Canada is a privilege and it is important to keep the diversity and culture of this beautiful land ongoing. My dream is to continue to help Canadians to get affordable and accessible oral health care. Happy Canada Day 150th year anniversary.
Dr Harinder Dhanju
Dentist, Founder Pacific Oral Health Society