Liberal Town Hall Meeting on Immigrants and Visa Closure

June 15 -2012 Town hall meeting on Immigration and Visa Closure Liberal Town Hall

Farvardin Cultural Centre is one voice amongst the many organizations which takes a firm stand for the concern of the Iranian-Canadian community. Our organization represents part of the community and is best known for Chaharshanbe Suri (Fire Festival) which attracts more than 10000+people and is help in Richmond hill annually since 2007.

Chaharshaneh suri was co founded by Mr. Saeed soltanpur, Mr. Jamshid Bagherzadeh and myself Shahrzad Khani and a few others organized with the support of counsellor Shelly carol and Toronto police at 33division in 2004. This event was first held at Sunney Bbrook park. However, due to the high number of people attending this event the fire department and police found sunnybrook park not suitable nor safe for such a huge event. Again, with the help of counsellor Shelly caroll this event was moved to Mel-Lastman Squre. Due to the grow of Iranian community a second location in Richmond hill was organized by Farvardin cultural centre in 2007.

Farvardin cultural center greatly appreciates the support we’ve received from Hon MP Jim Karygiannis every year. Aside from our active roll in chaharshanbe suri we have reached out to the community and shown our support when needed. Our active role in helping community members was evident in cases such as Behnood Sadat khani who unfortunately was deported in May 31-2007 . Kavoos Sufi in Jan 31st 2012, Fateme Taleb Sarie and Amir Haydari.

I should add in all these cases we have reached out to the government and we have been successful with the help of Richmond hill Hon MP Costas Mengak is to stop some of these deportations such as Fateme Taleb Sarie in Feb. 2012 and Mr. Heydari in June 2012 who was release from detention .just a few hour ago. We also thank Jim Karygiannis for his taking the time to fly to Iran and showing his support regarding Zahra Kazemi the Iranian Canadian Journalist who was killed in July 11th of 2003 . Zahra Kezemi’s case became headline news in Canada just hours after her death and brought the community together at demonstration at Mel last Man organized by Centre For Thought Dialogue and Human Rights in Iran which three of the founders are active member of Farvadin Cultural Center. Hon MP Jim Kargyiannis attended the event and showed his support to the community.

After the closure of Embassy’s Visa section in Tehran we organized a peaceful demonstration in Richmond hill MAY 23 _2012 where Immigration minister Hon. Jason Kenny was attending a Conservative dinner party. Minister Kenny took the time to speak to community members and promised to hold a town hall meeting before the end of summer. In appreciation of Minister Kenny’s promise to hear our concerns we will not be holding any further demonstrations till the beginning July 1st, Canada Day in front of MP s office. Farvadin has numerous concerns regarding the Bill c-31. Although, we can agree the refugee system needs reform we are concerned that this bill can put too much power in the hand of the minister and hence lead to politicizing whats suppose to be a fair and judicial process.

I think at the end of the day we all need to remember were all immigrants and refugees, or their descendants. In our opinion the liberal party has lacked the intention to reach out to different communities including the Iranian community to hear their concerns. We hope that this meeting is a positive step for the liberal party to reach out to our community and not just an outreach by Hon MP Jim Karygiannis. This crates a concern for us in determining if the new liberal leader will show the same support for our community or bring us back to square one. Tel. (647)-704-1566

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