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Ontario Assembly in Canada celebrates Baisakhi

For the first time, the Sikh holy book Guru Granth Sahib was brought to the assembly here on Monday to celebrate Baisakhi and the Sikh Heritage Month.

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Premier Kathleen Wynne paying obeisance during the Baisakhi celebrations in the Ontario legislative assembly. IANS
Toronto, April 19
Top leaders in Canada’s Ontario province led by Premier Kathleen Wynne joined the Sikh community in celebrating Baisakhi at the Ontario legislative assembly.For the first time, the Sikh holy book Guru Granth Sahib was brought to the assembly here on Monday to celebrate Baisakhi and the Sikh Heritage Month.Wynne and her cabinet ministers joined the Sikhs as ‘kirtan’ was performed and prayers recited to mark the birthday of the Khalsa in April 1699.

The Sikh community’s saffron flag Nishan Sahib was also hoisted outside the assembly building to mark the day.

“It is the first time in the history of Ontario that the holy Guru Granth Sahib has been brought inside the legislative assembly building, and the Sikh flag Nishan Sahib installed to mark Baisakhi day.

“It is a proud day for Sikhs in Canada,” said Indian-Canadian politician and former Ontario transportation minister Harinder Takhar at the Baisakhi reception at the assembly building Queen’s Park.

Baisakhi is the harvest festival of Punjab, which also marks the Punjabi new year.

Dressed in salwar-kameez and with her head covered, Premier Wynne praised the Sikh community for integrating into Canada’s multicultural society while still maintaining its rich heritage.

She said she was very happy that the Sikh holy scripture was brought to the assembly for the first time and it created an atmosphere of peace inside the house.

Such events “should happen more often” to create an atmosphere of peace and harmony so that more productive work can be done by assembly members.

Wynne, who visited India in February, stressed that her visit was as much about promoting business as connecting with people.

She lauded the hospitality and warmth extended to her wherever she went in India.

Recalling her visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, she said it was a very beautiful and serene place.

Ontario (Canada) legislative assembly. Wikimedia Commons
Ontario (Canada) legislative assembly. Wikimedia Commons

She said she was overwhelmed by the sense of volunteerism at the Golden Temple.

In a lighter vein, she said India was a place where so much news happens and travels very quickly.

“There are so many newspapers I wonder how they read them all,” she said.

As her picture of making chapatis at the langar (community kitchen) at the Golden Temple was splashed in the media across India, she said wherever she went after that, people would say: “You were the one who was making chapatis.”

The Ontario premier praised the decision of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to apologise for the Komagata Maru event of 1914 to rectify past mistakes.

What is Komagata Maru incidence? Read here: http://www.newsgram.com/komagata-maru/

She said her own party legislator Vic Dhillon will move a motion in the Ontario assembly on the Komagata Maru apology and ensure that no future immigrants are ever discriminated against in Canada. (IANS)

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at gurmukh100@gmail.com)

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US to Work with Australia, Canada to Cut Reliance on Chinese Minerals

Over 80 percent of the global supply chain of rare earth elements is controlled by one country

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US, Australia, Canada
FILE - Samples of rare earth minerals (L-R): Cerium oxide, Bastnasite, Neodymium oxide and Lanthanum carbonate are on display during a tour of Molycorp's Mountain Pass Rare Earth facility in Mountain Pass, California. VOA

The United States will team up with Canada and Australia to help countries around the world develop their reserves of minerals like lithium, copper and cobalt, the State Department said on Tuesday, part of a multi-pronged strategy to reduce global reliance on China for materials crucial to high-tech industries.

Washington grew more concerned recently about its dependence on mineral imports after Beijing suggested using them as leverage in the trade war between the world’s largest economic powers.

This would interrupt the manufacture of a wide range of consumer, industrial and military goods, including mobile phones, electric vehicles, batteries, and fighter jets.

“Over 80 percent of the global supply chain of rare earth elements — is controlled by one country,” the State Department said in a fact sheet outlining the effort, which it has dubbed the Energy Resource Governance Initiative. “Reliance on any one source increases the risk of supply disruptions.”

US, Australia, Canada
The United States will team up with Canada and Australia to help countries around the world. VOA

Under the plan, the United States will share mining expertise with other countries to help them discover and develop their resources, and advise on management and governance frameworks to help ensure their industries are attractive to international investors.

Doing so will help to ensure global supply for the minerals can meet world demand, which is projected to surge alongside the growing take-up in high-technology goods. “Demand for critical energy minerals could increase almost 1,000% by 2050,” according to the fact sheet.

Frank Fannon, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for energy resources, said in an interview that tensions with China show the United States should be producing more rare earth minerals and help others ensure a secure supply. “We need to do more and we are not alone in this,” Fannon said.

Canada and Australia, two major mining countries, were partnering in the effort and other allies could join later, a U.S. official said.

Also Read- In Hot Water? Warming Oceans may Reduce Sea Life by 17%,Says Study

Canada’s Ambassador to the United States, David MacNaughton, said Canadian officials have met with the State Department several times to discuss critical minerals and environmental issues around global mining and he looks forward to advancing the initiative.

Representatives of Australia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The plan was first reported on Tuesday morning by the Financial Times.

The plan comes a week after the U.S. Commerce Department recommended urgent steps to boost U.S. domestic production of “critical minerals,” including by providing low-interest loans to mining companies and requiring defense companies to “buy American.”

US, Australia, Canada
Washington grew more concerned recently about its dependence on mineral imports. Pixabay

The Commerce report also recommended that U.S. agencies review areas that are currently protected from development and assess whether those restrictions should be lifted or reduced to allow for critical minerals development. (VOA)