Minister Kenny Recognized Richmond India Cultural Centre/Nanak Niwas because their management took initiative to establish Highway to Heaven with the help of Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism associations to promote mutual understanding and intercultural harmony.
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Richmond, BC, August 2, 2015
NRIpress-Club: Balwant Sanghera/Ramesh Verma/ Gary Singh Grewal
Jason Kenny is considered to be one of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s most influential and powerful ministers. One of his strongest attributes seems to be his ability to connect with the visible minorities. With this objective in mind Kenny has kept his portfolio of multiculturalism along with his current portfolio as Minister of National Defence. In order to stay connected with different communities, Kenny travels widely throughout Canada. This is more so in case of the Toronto and Vancouver metropolitan areas. Greater Toronto Area and Metro Vancouver are considered to be the hubs of a number of communities in general and the South Asian community in particular.
Kenny decided to visit Nanak Niwas:
Strangely, during all of these years in office, Kenny had never visited the India Cultural Centre of Canada’s Gurdwara Nanak Niwas in Richmond. Thus, it was a pleasant surprise for the Gurdwara management when on his recent visit to Metro Vancouver; Kenny decided to visit Gurdwara Nanak Niwas on Tuesday, July 21, 2015
India Cultural Centre of Canada (Nanak Niwas Gurdwara, also known as the #5 Road Gurdwara)), was the first place of worship to be built along this road. After that near about 20 religious institutions including the world’s major religions – Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism representing various denominations call No.5 Road their home.
“These all religious institutions are doing an excellent job in promoting mutual understanding and intercultural harmony,” said Balwant Sanghera, Chairperson of Highway To Heaven Association, Richmond, B.C.
Gurdwara Nanak Niwas Management Committee was very pleased to welcome Jason Kenny, his staff and a number of prominent members of our community. Kenny expressed keen interest in learning more about numerous activities taking place at the Gurdwara. These include a Yoga Centre, a Punjabi School, Chai Chaupal and a lot more. Some of the on-going activities include workshops and seminars and campaigns about issues relevant to the community including: Heart and Stroke Foundation, Financial Strategies/Protection from Fraud for seniors, Blood Pressure clinics, Eyesight camps etc. Kenny was pleased to learn that Gurdwara Nanak Niwas was able to raise $21,000 for the Nepal Relief Fund and that there are on-going fundraising activities for the Nargis Dutt Cancer Foundation. Here it may be appropriate to mention that just last Sunday, July20, Richmond Multicultural Community Services held a workshop on nutrition for seniors at the Gurdwara. This workshop was made possible with the efforts of South Asian Settlement Worker Karamji Kaur Jagdeo and Chai Chaupal Co-Ordinator Kamal Sandhu. Guest speaker Ranjit Dhari, Director of Nursing at UBC and nursing student Naureen did an excellent job in creating more awareness about nutrition, especially for seniors.
Jason Kenny showed keen interest in having an enjoyable conversation with India Cultural Centre of Canada’s Chairman, Asa Singh Johal. He admired Johal and his family for his wonderful contribution as a pioneer, a philanthropist, and for his unique contribution to the establishment and development of Gurdwara Nanak Niwas since mid-eighties to the present .He complimented the veteran lumber magnate for looking after himself so well despite his advancing years. Kenny was presented with a plaque by Johal and members of the management committee to recognise his visit to the Gurdwara. In his brief remarks, Kenny appreciated the opportunity and the very warm welcome at the Gurdwara. He was pleasantly surprised when told about the twenty plus places of worship along #5 Road which is now commonly known as the Highway to Heaven. Gurdwara Nanak Niwas serves as the centre and gathering place for representatives of these places of worship who meet here regularly. The recent participation by the Highway to Heaven Association with a float jointly prepared by the representatives of these places of worship was very well received at the Canada Day Salmonfest Parade in Steveston on July1. Incidentally, this float won the second place out of more than one hundred floats.
Just outside the main entrance of the Gurdwara, in the middle of a lovely park surrounded by water fountains on each side, is the beautiful Yadgar-e- Khalsa. In 1999, 22 Sikh Societies from across BC and Washington State celebrated the 300 birth anniversary of the Khalsa. At that time, they made a unanimous decision to place this unique symbol of pride for the Sikhs at this location. Jason Kenny and his entourage were very impressed with it and congratulated the Gurdwara management for looking after it so well.
Kenny and his staff spoke highly about recent renovations at the Gurdawara. It goes without saying that Gurdwara Nanak Niwas is a very popular place of worship for marriages in the Sikh community. Also, a large number of groups come to visit it and learn about Sikhism and the community throughout the year.
Before leaving for his next engagement, the Minister of National Defence and Multiculturalism thanked the Gurdwara management for making his visit very pleasant, productive and enjoyable.
World’s major religions – Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism on No.5 Road, Richmond, BC, Canada – Joined Heaven Association:
- Richmond’s Highway to Heaven has become famous worldwide and became a great model of multiculturalism.
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About Jason Kenney:
Jason Kenney served as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration from 2008 to 2013. He implemented comprehensive reforms to Canada’s immigration, refugee and citizenship programs. In 2013, he was appointed Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism, with a mandate to ensure that Canadians are well-prepared to participate fully in the labour market of the future. Mr. Kenney was appointed Minister of National Defence and Minister for Multiculturalism in 2015
(Balwant Sanghera is a retired School Psychologist and Community Activist. He is also a member of the India Cultural Centre of Canada’s Gurdwara Nanak Niwas Management Team)