Carabram’s Eelam Pavilion Donates to Osler

Another Carabram has ended, but the goodwill generated by one of Brampton’s largest festivals continues to impact the community. With the entire Brampton community gathering its resources to support William Osler and the construction of the new Peel Memorial, the organizers at the Eelam Pavilion rolled up their sleeves and encouraged people to give. The result was that volunteers collected $1,030 over the course of the festival weekend, and on Thursday, a cheque was presented to the William Osler Foundation to help support pediatric care. The donation will be matched by CN Rail, thanks to their 2016 Miracle Match program which matches funds raised through the William Osler Health System Foundation’s ‘You Have the Power’ Campaign up to $300,000.

You can donate to William Osler by visiting www.youhavethepower.ca. If you prefer to have fun while you give, you can also support Osler on July 23, by participating in the 2016 Brampton Focus Softball Charity Challenge.

You can choose to play, watch or just support the cause. For more information, click here.

 

Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day is the greatest national holiday we observe.  It marks the creation of Canada as a country.  This year, the place to be is at Chinguacousy Park where the City of Brampton will host a party for everyone to enjoy.

The activities begin at 1 pm and continue until 10 pm, and are expected to draw over 100,000 people.  Featuring a splash pad, kids zones, mini putt, the petting zoo and paddle boats, as well as performances by internationally recognized artists, local community artists, children’s entertainers and local buskers. A feature performance by Brampton native Shane Harte begins at 7:30 pm.  As always, a fireworks display will cap off the evening.  Remember that Brampton Transit offers free shuttle service throughout the day. For more information, visit the City’s website.

And, to get you into the proper mood, we’d like to offer you a chance to experience Brampton’s very own Brandan Duke, also known as the “Dextrous One”.  He is the Guinness World Record holder for “Youngest Club DJ”, an achievement that is recorded and recognized all over the World.  Enjoy your Canada Day!

Province Backtracks For Autism Parents

A big victory for parents of children with autism took place today. The Ontario Government has reversed course on a number of controversial changes they made early in 2016, which included an increase in funding for autism programs, but instituted a hard cutoff for eligibility once a child had reached age 5.

The Province announced that the implementation of the new Ontario Autism Program will begin in June 2017, a full year ahead of the initially planned date of June 2018. For parents who have had children removed from the Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) waitlist, Ontario will provide a choice of more direct funding or access to Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) services by publicly funded providers. This will provide access to continuous service until the implementation of the Ontario Autism Program begins in June 2017.

Representing the Ontario Autism Coalition, Laura McIntosh stated, “Its a positive change. It’s what we advocated for. I would have been pleased to hear the minister or anyone from the government take a little bit more responsibility for putting families through all the grief that they have been through, but at the end of the day we are pleased with this announcement.”

The situation may have reached a boiling point in May when it was reported that Mississauga MPP Bob Delaney called Police to thwart a planned protest against the proposed changes by Melanie Palaypayon, a mother of a 6-year old child with autism. The MPP has since apologized, but the incident galvanized parents and supporters of children with autism and may have led to the changes announced today.

Both Melanie and Laura spoke to Brampton Focus and their interview can be seen here:

See Full Press Release

Policing in Peel – Chief Jennifer Evans

Peel Regional Police is the third largest police force in Canada and serves a diverse population of 1.4 million residents in Peel Region. Keeping communities safe, enforcing legislation, and working to keep crime under control is challenging.

In this special episode of Brampton Focus, host Michael Charbon speaks with Chief Jennifer Evans about the challenges and opportunities faced by her officers on a daily basis including Street Checks (Carding, Collection of Identifying Information). From dealing with over 226,000 calls for help, keeping a clamp on gun violence, to handling individuals with mental health issues, Peel Regional Police are tasked with making the communities of Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon a safe environment for people to live, work, and visit.

“Aging in Place” with In Our Care

Accessing health care can be a challenge as we age and need specialized care, especially as hospitals continue to have a reduced role in long-term care.

In this webisode, Brampton Focus speaks with Victor Oliveira from In Our Care about the services that are available to help seniors “age in place” and stay in their homes longer.

Can We Make Brampton Safe for Everyone?

I am your Sister, your Mother, your Grandmother and your Aunt. I am your Niece, your Cousin, your Mother and Sister-in-law. I am all of these things because it was not who I am, nor my personality that made me a target last Sunday afternoon, but the fact that I was a woman. I am a woman and that should not mean that I need an escort to ensure my safety on a bright afternoon near a busy street in Brampton. I am a woman and that should not mean that I automatically expect to be attacked and behave as though that’s what will happen if I walk Brampton’s pathways.

On Sunday April 24th, 2016, I was chased through a park near my home by two men telling me they wanted to rape me, armed with a duffel bag and jogging to try and catch up to me. Stopped by the presence of an elderly man on the pathways, they got away and were not able to make good on their promise but they were mere seconds from doing so. I was wearing a spring jacket, long pants and the only parts of my body exposed were my hands, my chin and my head; It’s not a question of whether I was asking for it, though to those who are wondering, I’m also a lesbian who had no interest in those men sitting on the bench, though they had both an interest and a clear plan for what they wanted to do with me.

This attack could have been directed at any one of the women close to you and that’s why I’m writing this; That fact is something that scared me because only moments before those men chased me, there was a young girl riding her bike along the pathway. It could have been her and it may eventually be others, which is why I’m speaking out.

The tendency may be to hear stories like this and say, “It happens everywhere,” or “That’s Brampton for you,” is common. These events though, can only survive with a combination of our fear of it happening to us too and the powerlessness to feel as though we can do anything to change it. It reflects a very real feeling of powerlessness to impact the violence that’s taken over our streets and settled in to call our city home. These are issues politicians are vocal about during election season but now that they’re in office- what are they doing with those good, voter-friendly intentions?

We must stop dismissing catcalling and harassment as the price women pay for their gender.  It is all-too common but it is not normal. I realized shortly after what happened that I was reeling from the shock of it because the world around me normalized very abnormal experiences. It’s not normal for a woman to be unable to walk alone in broad daylight. It’s not normal for a woman to have to pay Peel Regional Police to find out whether or not her attackers are still on the streets and whether her attack was calculated. It’s not normal for residents nearby to be completely unaware of what took place. It’s not normal for drunken or drugged men to behave as though they are owed a woman’s body because they consume mind-altering substances.

Yet, we have been conditioned to believe that these things are within reason.

What I understand from what happened is that Brampton has an issue at the level of City Council, Regional Council and Peel Regional Police with valuing women. It’s not just about my situation but about the processes by which we protect would-be rapists and devalue victims who dare to come forward. Why are we making victims pay to obtain reports, to find out about their attackers? Haven’t they paid enough through their experience? Why are women who are attacked not given the number for Victim Services Peel? Why are we only taking crime seriously when it happens, rather than the prevention of it and the production of programs that actually assist women who are victims of violent crimes?

Preventing crime is about more than carrying weapons or putting more officers in the streets, but creating a system that informs our citizens about dangers aside from general, “do not walk alone” advice given at school assemblies. We need community meetings with officers who give residents ways to handle crime if it increases in their area. Moreover, if we have budgets for flowers, surely we have budgets enough to photocopy several thousand flyers with directions to a community centre where such a safety meeting is taking place. We can have officers actually patrolling the pathways rather than sitting in their cars in parking lots where there have been violent crimes before. More importantly, how are your local politicians addressing this issue?

Behaviours which stem from the belief that women are less important or less valuable only escalate without intervention and rather than address the crime after it happens, we need to address it well before. How are we doing that?

We need to stop asking what the police are doing with their policies and procedures and instead ask what we are doing because our tax dollars and residence in Brampton make our Mayor, City Councillors, Regional Councillors and Peel Regional Police our employees. Our feedback matters, we are empowered and we cannot forget this.

Questions I encourage all of you as readers to demand our leaders answer are:

Who is taking action against this type of violence in our city? How are we addressing the long term solution to the violence against women more prevalent in Brampton now? What specific programs are in place? Which parts of the City and Regional budgets are laid out towards this? How can we keep our Councillors accountable? Where can we track their progress? How are other organizations like the Brampton Board of Trade and the Brampton Real Estate Board using their power to impact change, more than just participating in awareness walks and fundraisers? Ask your local businesses- how are you personally contributing to a safer city?

I don’t think it’s an unreasonable thing to ask that the powers-that-be in Brampton, provide this growing city with a solution to stop crime before it starts, more extensive than Crime Stoppers. I think it’s a reasonable thing to have officers walking pathways where in the past three years, more and more sexual assaults are taking place- this is our city too and we shouldn’t be asked to live in fear because there are gaps in the ways others are addressing crime in our city.

Some may try to discredit my experience by saying that if it was so bad, how am I able to speak up now, and it couldn’t have truly been that awful. What that speaks to though, is the way that we continue to devalue women’s lived experiences and that a woman only matters and has value when she is acceptably broken. If a woman dares to be strong through her fears and anxiety, her truth is shut down completely. I’ve been having panic attacks since it happened and when I leave my house, fear grips at every part of me. I cry often and wonder what kind of world I live in that I could be attacked in broad daylight- I will not however, let this stop me from protecting other residents of the city I call home. I’m speaking out so that this experience does not define me and with the hope that it stops this from happening to another young woman. I’m speaking out so that the next person this happens to isn’t your family.

We all have the power to do something and knowing that is all the power we need to make a world of difference. Here is to the Brampton that could be and to our collective ability to create that future.

Does Autism End at Age Five?

In this special Brampton Focus episode, we meet a parent and hear from the Ontario Autism Coalition. Both guests are appealing to the Ontario Government to ensure children and their families dealing with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have access to proven resources and therapies. Recent decisions by the Ontario Government suggest that children over 5 years of age are being transitioned off of waiting lists and provided with no alternative treatments.

Carabram 2016 – Brampton’s Multicultural Mosaic Festival

Brampton celebrates its cultural diversity again this year at the Carabram Multicultural Festival. The annual festival has been running since 1982. In these two special episodes of Brampton Focus, host Michael A. Charbon speaks with the organizers and finds out why Carabram has been an enduring feature in the City of Brampton.

Carabram takes place on July 8, 9, 10, at locations across the City of Brampton. The cultures featured this year are:

  • Africa – Judith Nyman S.S. / 1305 Williams Pkwy.
  • Caribbean – Chris Gibson Rec. Centre / 125 McLaughlin Rd. N.
  • Canada – Unifor Local 1285 Hall / 23 Regan Road
  • China – Chris Gibson Rec. Centre / 125 McLaughlin Rd. N.
  • Eelam – Brampton Soccer Centre / 1495 Sandalwood Pkwy. East
  • Hawaii – Victoria Park Arena /20 Victoria Cres.
  • India – Victoria Park Arena / 20 Victoria Cres.
  • Ireland – The Lions Hall / 45 Avondale Blvd.
  • Latin America – Century Gardens Rec. Centre / 340 Vodden St. E
  • Nepal – Century Gardens Rec. Centre / 340 Vodden St. E
  • Philippines – Century Gardens Rec. Centre / 340 Vodden St. E
  • Portugal – Century Gardens Rec. Centre / 340 Vodden St. E

For more information about Carabram, visit carabram.org.


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Make it Beautiful with CleanUp Brampton

A beautiful city is defined by green landscapes, historic buildings, well maintained avenues, excellent transit, walkable communities and more.

These defining attributes however can be compromised in an instant with litter.  A new local community group with a mission to keep Brampton clean is highlighted in this Brampton Focus community webisode – CleanUp Brampton.  Watch and share with friends, family and neighbours.

Brampton’s Big Blue House – One Hour Special Now Online

UPDATE: The Full 1-Hour Special Episode can now be watched online.

Could a monster home be coming to your neighbourhood? Across North America, owners are tearing down small properties and building new, massive homes. In Brampton, the most well known example is called the Big Blue House. Some call it a monstrosity. Many say it’s an eyesore. The neighbours say it’s way too big for their area, and the homeowner says he wants to finish it and call it home.

In this special, one-hour broadcast of Brampton Focus, host Michael A. Charbon delves deep into the “Big Blue House”.  Featuring interviews with the neighbours, exclusive never before seen video of the interior of the house, and a first ever, television interview with the owner, Ahmed Elbasiouni.  Mr. Elbasiouni purchased the property, started building the house, and has been fighting the City of Brampton for the past three years since his permit was revoked on February 20th, 2013.

 

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