NEPMCC committee meeting minutes, other special meeting minutes and minutes for the monthly meetings held at the Legislative Building, Queen’s Park, Toronto, Ontario are posted here.
Minutes of the Monthly Meeting held on April 11, 2022, through video conference via Zoom
Thomas S. Saras
Hon. Basilio Giordano
Leila Monteiro Lins
Sandie De Freitas
Kathy L. L. Li
Hon. Joe Volpe
Gezahegn Mekonnen Demissie
Muhammad Naeem Ul Islam
Mohammed Mominul Haque
Agenda of the day:
- Welcome Remarks by the chair.
- Minutes of the previous meeting
- President’s Report/Discussions
- Presentation by Hon Paul Calendra MPP Markham-Stouffville
- Presentation by Hon. Patrick Brown- Mayor of Brampton, Leadership Candidate for Conservative Party of Canada
- Presentation by Patrick Brown
- New Members/New Business
Welcome Remarks by the Chair:
Mohammed Tajdolati chaired the virtual monthly meeting and declared the meeting open. Hon Giodarno Bassilo moved a motion to approve the agenda. Roberto Hausman seconded it. The motion was carried unanimously.
Minutes of the previous meeting:
Roberto Hausman moved a motion to approve the minutes of the previous monthly meeting and Yuri Natchetoi seconded it. Minutes of the previous monthly meeting were approved unanimously.
- Thomas Saras welcomed everyone to the monthly meeting of April 11, 2022. He highlighted the achievements of the council over the past few years and specially during the pandemic when members faced additional challenges. He praised the arduous work and dedication of all members who contributed towards its success and specially mentioned Maria Saras Voutsinas who has been tirelessly working for the members during the pandemic. Maria Saras-Voutsinas informed the internship programme has started this year.
- President Thomas Saras informed about the budget being tabled in the House of Commons. He discussed the budget for ethnic media tabled in the House of Commons. He hoped that the Ontario government will allocate the necessary funds for the ethnic media industry.
- Thomas Saras thanked all the members who donated to NEPMCC. He appreciated their generous donations to NEPMCC.
- President Thomas Saras reminded members the annual membership fees for 2022. Many members mentioned the significance and benefits of being a NEPMCC member. NEPMCC has tirelessly worked for decades to educate and influence Governments to take Ethnic Media industry very seriously.
- President Thomas Saras mentioned that next year NEMCC will host a 3–4-day educational seminar in Toronto.
- NEPMCC will participate at CNE Ethnic Press Festival and will also observe Freedom of the Press Week in May.
- Motion: There was motion on the floor to authorize the office of the President to participate in the CNE this year. George Guzmas moved the motion, Athanasios Kourtesis and Roberto Hausman seconded it. The motion was approved unanimously.
- President Thomas Saras suggested in creating a fund to help international journalists who are being persecuted and tortured in various countries worldwide.
- Saras informed the members that the LJI budget has been increased for the current year and for the next business year. He encouraged members that have not already done so to apply for funding. He also explained that the Internship Program will continue and that NEPMCC is currently waiting for its approval. Once the approval is received for the next cycle, all qualifying members will be encouraged to apply for it. He mentioned that NEPMCC has already received several applications on file and those that are approved will be funded once the program begins.
- President Saras emphasized that funds allocated under various projects would only be distributed to members who qualify for it
- Saras informed members on the upcoming events and projects for NEPMCC. Mr. Saras will try to organize meeting with Lieutenant Governor of Quebec to discuss on the issues of ethnic media in Quebec.
- President Thomas Saras thanked all the members who generously donated to NEPMCC. Although the industry and our members are struggling financially, he encouraged everyone that can do so to donate.
- Thomas Saras urged the members to participate in different projects that are available. If there is lack of adequate participation, the funds would go back to its source and in future the allocations of such funds could be limited.
- Members who wish to participate in projects undertaken by NEPMCC (other than the LJI) must be in good standing and abide by all the codes governing the council. They should also pay all membership dues.
- The President is in touch with Federal Government and Provincial Government for funding members of NEPMCC during the ongoing Pandemic. President is scheduled to meet with representatives of both Federal and Provincial Government to request more funds for the struggling ethnic media industry.
- President Thomas Saras mentioned that LJI payments will be made in 2 weeks.
- President Thomas Saras continued to educate members on various projects undertaken by NEPMCC and especially on the LJI. President Thomas Saras informed about the local initiative program The Local Journalism Initiative (LJI) supports the creation of original civic journalism that covers the diverse needs of underserved communities across Canada. Funding is available to eligible Canadian media organizations to hire an unemployed journalist or pay freelance journalists to produce civic journalism for underserved communities. The content produced will be made available to media organizations through a Creative Commons license so that Canadians can be better informed. He mentioned under this program a publisher can hire qualified journalist or a journalistic student in the final year and get up to a maximum of $30,000 per year. He mentioned that the program has been phenomenally successful. He hoped that the program will continue to receive funds in future. The program also pays for mailing expenses of the copies of the publication to remote communities and provides special prepaid kits to members participating in the program.
- The president also encouraged all the members to apply for an ID or Media Pass of the organization. There are so many benefits; the president said that it is to one’s advantage to have it.
Presentation by Hon Paul Calendra- MPP Markham-Stoufville
The Chair introduced the Honorable Speaker to the meeting.
Paul Calandra is the Member of Provincial Parliament for Markham-Stouffville. Before being elected to the Ontario Legislature in 2018, Paul was a Federal Member of Parliament, elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2011. As a member of the Ontario Legislature, Paul serves as Government House Leader. Before entering public service, Paul was a small business owner and insurance broker. Paul is a community advocate in Markham-Stouffville. He often highlights the sacrifices others make in building our community, including honouring local veterans and community volunteers.
Paul Calendra highlighted on the achievements of the Ontario government under the leadership of Doug ford during the unprecedented difficult time of pandemic. He mentioned the contributions from immigrants towards Ontario economy through their hard work. He mentioned Ontario Government is investing in education and skills training programs to make sure today’s students, and tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, innovators, and workers, have the skills they need to succeed in a highly competitive global economy. He mentioned that Ontario Government under Doug Ford has plans in place for building a modern, connected, and sustainable patient-centred health care system — investing now to end hallway healthcare, focus on mental health and make sure the very best services are in place for future generations.
He opened the floor for discussions and answered all questions candidly.
Margaret Bonikowska, Rosemary Sadlier, Liisa Qureshi, Mila Garcia, Manan Gupta and others participated in the discussions and asked pertinent questions to the speaker.
Presentation by Hon. Patrick Brown- Mayor of Brampton, Leadership Candidate for Conservative Party of Canada
The chair introduced the Honourable speaker to the meeting
Patrick Brown has served as the 51st and current mayor of Brampton since 2018. Entering politics when he won a seat on the Barrie City Council in 2000, Brown later joined the Conservative Party and became a member of Parliament (MP) in 2006. He would represent Barrie in the House of Commons until 2015, when he was elected as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative (PC) Party and resigned his seat in Parliament. Brown was subsequently elected to represent Simcoe North in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and became the leader of the Opposition Mayor Brown is a proven fighter for Canadians. Mayor Brown is a strong fiscal Conservative who knows how to deliver.
Hon. Brown highlighted his achievements in serving as the Mayor of Brampton. He expressed his opinions on how he would make Canada more secure and conducive to better economic growth. He shared his visions with the members of NEPMCC and answered all questions candidly.
Roberto Hausman, Margaret Bonikowska, Manan Gupta, Zuhair A, Arif Ahmed, George Guzmas, and others participated in the discussions and asked pertinent questions.
Roberto Hausman introduced the idea of a group picnic for the members of NEPMCC. Many members expressed their opinions on this made some suggestions on the venue and probable dates.
President Saras hoped that the restrictions will be lifted soon so that members can begin meeting in person at City Hall again. Till Public Health restrictions are in place NEPMCC will continue to stream the meetings live over zoom for the members across Canada.
Maria Saras Voutsinas informed that the office of NEPMCC has K95 masks and rapid test kits. Members interested in getting the masks can contact the office of NEPMCC. She informed on the Bill C-11 which amends the broadcasting act. She will be meeting with the industry partners and other stakeholders to make some suggestions and recommendations to the Federal Government.
Maria Saras -Voutsinas updated on the various steps taken by NEPMCC to further the cause of the members. She mentioned that NEPMCC is working with industry partners to bring free newspapers under the ambit of Aid to Publishers this year.
Mr. Saras also expressed his hope that we will be able to host an Educational Seminar in 2022.
Roberto Hausman moved a motion to adjourn the meeting and Yuri Natchetoi seconded it. The motion was carried. The Chair Dr. Tajdolati adjourned the meeting at 8:15 PM. The next monthly meeting will take place on Monday, May 09, 2022, via Zoom.
The above notes from the meeting of April 11, 2022, were prepared by Secretary General and Senior VP of the NEPMCC, Neel Nanda.