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Sikh News "This is cancer in our society" !

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by Archived_Member16, Nov 21, 2005.

  1. Archived_Member16

    Archived_Member16
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    http://www.canada.com/vancouver/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=e2797f98-9e84-4b78-968d-0913ea784c61

    'This is a cancer in our society'
    Attorney-General Wally Oppal calls on Indo-Canadian lawyers to tackle gang problem
    Kim BolanVancouver Sun
    Monday, November 21, 2005

    Attorney-General Wally Oppal is challenging a new organization of young South Asian lawyers to help combat the "cancer" of gang violence plaguing the Indo-Canadian community.

    Oppal, a former B.C. Supreme Court and Court of Appeal judge, was honoured at the first gala dinner of the South Asian Bar Association of B.C. in Vancouver Sunday night.
    Oppal said in an interview before the event that he is happy to see young Indo-Canadian lawyers coming together to serve as role models for youth in the community, especially with the explosion in gang violence that has led to a long list of murders and shootings.

    "That is clearly something that is a cancer in our society," Oppal told The Vancouver Sun. "All of us of South Asian origin have an obligation to reach into the community and address the social ills that exist in our community."

    Oppal said the Indo-Canadian community has had remarkable success in Canada, but cannot ignore the problems it has faced in recent years.

    "We have put people in high places. Financially and economically we have done well. But we have not taken care of the underbelly in our society and it is up to the lawyers and the other professionals to do these things," Oppal said. He invited the fledgling SABA-B.C. group to "get involved in the fight and the issue regarding Indo-Canadian violence."

    Oppal also said Sikh temples need to shift their focus away from hosting sporting events to tackling social problems such as disenfranchised youth and gender inequity. "That's where a lot of this [gang violence] comes from. The fact that the boys are left to their own devices. They receive Mustangs and BMWs for graduating into Grade 10 and the girls are constrained and we can't operate that way any more."
    Last June, Oppal spoke to the North American umbrella group of SABA in Washington, D.C. and described the rampant Indo-Canadian gang violence in B.C.


    He said the topic makes some in the community uncomfortable when it hits the headlines day after day.
    "The fact is we have to take ownership of it. . . . I have no problem with the media calling it Indo-Canadian violence because it is Indo-Canadian violence," Oppal said.
    He said he has high hopes for the B.C. group of lawyers. "They are the leaders of tomorrow and we expect them to step to the plate to come forward and do things."
    He said the Indo-Canadian community is now talking openly about the problem, which was not happening just a few years ago. "I think the community has come a long way."

    Lawyer Jas Basra, a SABA-B.C. vice-president, said the new group wants to serve the South Asian community, but also to be mentors and role models for youth.

    "We are a subsection of a national organization, but we do have our own mandate," Basra said Sunday. "We do want to serve the legal profession and the general community with our association. We want to be a positive organization that will hopefully gain credibility and have some impact."

    Basra, who began practising law in 2002, said the organization includes lawyers of South Asian origin, but also those who serve the South Asian community. SABA-B.C. also hopes to promote the advancement of South Asian lawyers within the legal profession. And the non-profit group wants to increase awareness within the Indo-Canadian community about how the legal system works, Basra said.

    "There are many issues surrounding the South Asian community here in the Lower Mainland. Maybe we can address some of those issues," she said. "I think we are going to do very, very well and make a great contribution to the law, to the legal profession and to the community generally."

    kbolan@png.canwest.com

    © The Vancouver Sun 2005
     
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