Friday, November 11, 2011

Cultural Centres

I have sent out an invitation to all Mayor, Councillor, and Trustee candidates running in the 2011 Municipal election to ask if they would like an opportunity to provide a topic here on the blog. Below is the first topic from incumbent CNV Clr. Candidate Pam Bookham.

I can understand the desire of the Filipino and Iranian communities to have facilities to organize events and celebrate their heritage. We are all enriched by the visible and distinct diversity of our people and their culture.

The key issue, I think, is whether there is a role for the municipal council to play in the creation of cultural centres? Let's discuss this question openly.

I support an inclusive community. I want our public spaces (HJ, JBCC,NSNH,our library, our schools and hospitals, and City Hall to be welcoming of all our residents. We all contribute to the cost of these facilities.

I support programs that reach out to newcomers and strive to overcome language and cultural barriers.

That being said, do I support tax dollars being spent on cultural centres that serve one ethnic group? No.

Do I think City Council can assist such groups in achieving their desire for a cultural centre? Yes.

Let's talk about this and other important issues.

Best regards,

Pam Bookham


Anonymous said...

Many cultural centres that already exist have been supported by the private efforts of various ethnic groups and with sponsored support of various private businesses.

I do not think that municipalities should become anymore involved in establishing these centres, except for issuing building and/or occupancy permits.

If municipalities begin to support the building of one group's cultural centre, where does it stop? That would be encouraging exclusiveness, not inclusiveness.

Many existing privately built cultural centres already open their spaces to other ethnic groups and the public in general.

Don't try to fix what already works. There is nothing to stop any group, ethnic, or otherwise from using our public spaces. Now, what was the question again?

sue lakes cook said...

The Iranian Community have already taken a lot of control over the City Library, John Braithwaite, and North Shore Community Centre.
I have already listed before what is happening, but let's do it again:
1)Story time at the City Library in English, French and Farsi.
2)Computer lessons at the City Library in Farsi (no other languages have been listed in the library that I have seen for this)
3)Bridge an North Shore Neighborhood House in Farsi
4) Program for Persian Women over the age of 55 in Farsi (free)
5) Seniors Survey - one copy in English, one copy in Farsi at City Hall, City Library, North Shore Neighborhood House, and John Braithwate
6) Mission statement at North Shore Neighborhood House in English and Farsi only.
There is already an Iranain Seniors Society on 14th, but still there is a program called Hamrahan for Iranian seniors at North Shore Neighborhood House.
The Canadian Iranian Foundation is a very powerful group - check out their website:
You can also check out this site: This group organized two all candidates meetings for the Federal election

option=com_content&view=frontpage&Itemid=200001 which is the Civic Association of Iranian Canadians which is sponsoring an All candidates meeting in the City.

North Shore Persian Women's Walking Group - oranized through the rec centrel

I was told that the following program at Ron Andrews Pool is geared for Muslim women:

Sorry, but I think it is quite clear what is going on here. The Iranians are bringing in big bucks to North Vancouver and I feel with it is a feeling of intitlement. If they want their own cultural centre then they should pay for it themselves. The question is which candidates will have the guts to tell them that?
8:15pm - 9:30pm
(starting Oct 2

Anonymous said...

Now check out the Fillipino web site and you will see that this community is quite OK with taking care of themselves.

I cannot find any programs specifically for the Fillipino people in the City Library or the Rec Centres.

We have other strong immmigrant groups in North Vancouver as well, those from Korea, non-English speaking Europe and Asia. Clearly only one immigrant group is being listend to.

Guy Heywood said...

Councillor Bookham has raised the role of cultural centres in our community, and I think it is an excellent point for discussion. I think our community is made up of lots of different cultural and other groups, and I think our public spaces should be available for all to use. While it is not possible to cater to any one group over others, we are all enriched by community spirit. A great example of use of our existing public facilities is the New Life Alliance Church. I was privileged to attend a service last Sunday during which they celebrated their 19th year in North Vancouver. They had a Western-cowboy themed celebration of their faith and role in the community that took place in the Mickey MacDougall community centre. This is one example of the broad use that can be made of public facilities, and one that should be accommodated in a new Harry Jerome. We should not cater to any one cultural community, but instead build facilities to permit each part of our inclusive community to celebrate and co-exist in common spaces available to all.

Pam Bookham said...

I agree with you, Guy that cultural groups should be encouraged to use our core community centres. As we can see from the list provided by Sue Cook, that is already happening. Other cultural groups should be encouraged to create such programs where there is sufficient interest. There may be a question of capacity. That's where cultural centres can play a role. Look at the websites of the Italian Cultural Centre and Croation Cultural Centre in Vancouver to see how such facilities serve a specific group but are also welcoming of the community as a whole.

George Pringle for Mayor said...

And the Scottish Center on Hudson in South Granville.

Anonymous said...

The days of going to the library to check out a book are diminishing rapidly. The library has to find other ways of attracting patrons to show an increase of visits. The library must show an increase in visits or it becomes difficult for them to ask for funding from the tax payer. The library works hard at attracting visitors via free courses, public computers, wireless access, games rooms, study areas, kid’s areas, etc. etc. Should it still be a library or a community center? What are the true costs for the library? Should all the libraries on the north shore be amalgamated?

sue lakes cook said...

May I just start by saying I spoke to Guy Heywood yesterday at the Remembrance Day ceremony and I forget to mention what a really nice person he is. Very soft spoken and low key. The only thing Guy, sometimes when you talk figures could you make it a bit more simple?
As far as the Iranian community is concerned, I am appalled and disgusted at some of the issues I spoke about, especially the mission statement from North Shore Neighborhood House being only in English and Farsi. I have mentioned before I would accept it if one version was in English and the other with one line in Farsi, one in Mandarin, one in Cantonese, etc, etc, representing all of the immigrant groups.
I also wonder why the Library, North Shore Neighborhood House, and John Braithwaite seem to be doing a lot of hiring of Farsi speaking people. Why are the programs being directed at the Iranian people? Why is there signage in these places in Farsi only which exclude the rest of the community?

I have a terrible feeling that perhaps the Iranian people just don't want to mix with the rest of us, and that is just plain wrong.

I think it is time for some deep community sharing on the direction the City of North Vancouver is going where ALL people feel they are being treated equally as there is a lot of fear and anger out there.

No one immigrant group has the right to railroad the good intentions of a neighborhood or to take advantage of our generosity and good will.

Anonymous said...

The Iranian Canadian Community
held an all candidates meeting, with
very few Iranians attending are
the Candidates in the CNV or DNV
being supported financially by the
Iranian Community? Just curious,or
is it Let's make a deal with developments.

Anonymous said...

sue lakes cook said..

"The Iranian Community have already taken a lot of control over the City Library, John Braithwaite, and North Shore Community Centre."

Is anyone else thinking Sue is a racist?

Anonymous said...

The Iranian community is part of our community. Sue, are you a part of the European community? Because you have blonde hair and blue eyes are you somewhat more entitled?

Anonymous said...

Sue hates everyone and everything with equal contempt. Just read her comments to this blog over the years. It's a wonder she can leave her house.

sue lakes cook said...

Yes the Iranian population is part of our community but so are those who speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalong, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and French, and other languages as well.

Why aren't these immigrants given the same opportunities in our Rec Centres and City Library as those who speak Farsi in both programs and hiring opportunities.

I have no problem leaving my door as most folks I meet agree with me (and we are not racist, we just believe in equality for all)

We also believe immigration is a privildge NOT a right.

Anonymous said...

Could it be that the reason you don't see the other languages is because maybe the other groups haven't asked to be represented in signage and documents? As for your statement:

"Why aren't these immigrants given the same opportunities in our Rec Centres and City Library as those who speak Farsi in both programs and hiring opportunities."

I think you need to present some evidence that this is fact and not just your unfounded conclusion. You're always quick to judge and comment but rarely provide anything to substantiate your claims.

Anonymous said...

Sue only uses "those who speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalong, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and French" as cover so she can say racist things about other cultures about the Iranians.

Your trick and you are very clear.

Anonymous said...

Where are Canada's two official

languages posted at these centers?

A multicultural society so can't post

all languages, so let's be fair

English and French.

sue lakes cook said...

If you feel I am a racist why don't you have the courage to print your name? Because you are a gutless coward - throwing the race card around is getting tiresome and boring.
I find it extremely racist when a group decides to use publically funded organizations to have programs that are exclusively just for that one group (such as the Persian Women's group for those over the age of 55 in Farsi only)
I met with Mayor Mussatto a year ago and at that time he told me that the Iranian community was demanding a cultural centre which they wanted to be paid for by the taxpayers.
Perhaps it is time that those from such an oppressive country such as Iran show some gratitude to a country like Canada for allowing them to immigrate to this great country and try more to become Canadian.

Marty Howard said...

Sue Lakes Cook is a complete racist!!! If you read her older post. She just complains and complains about everything without ever really understanding what she is talking about. Someone needs to take her computer away from her so maybe she can find a life.

Sue Lakes Cook is a quite racist!!! She may not be confrontational, but she is a true racist!!

Anonymous said...

If your call fairness racist, there
is a huge wave out there, riding the same wave as Sue Cook and are
not racists.

Keep standing up to be counted Sue

Anonymous said...

Where is the fairness in Sue's statements? She isn't posting anything that shows proof of her allegations. She's passing her opinion as fact for all we know and her opinion comes of as petty and small. Show us the facts that support these claims. All I see is a lot of finger pointing focused at racial minorities. Shameful behaviour.

Anonymous said...

Sue Lakes Cook should be ashamed of herself.

Michael Charrois said...

I believe the City should leave the brick and mortar building of the edifice to the respective cultural communities. The City should have a role to play in providing funding for cultural events that happen in the space and provide property tax exemptions for the edifice. There's an Edifice Complex in the cultural sector- corporations and individuals love to put their names on a new art gallery or theatre but once the building is up there is no money left to invest in programming. Let the cultural groups find sponsors for every part of the edifice and once it is up let the City help by investing in the cultural special event programs. Every dollar invested in cultural and arts events returns $1.30 in economic activity to the City. Plus, at all of these community events we celebrate art, music, inclusivity and our collective humanity.

sue lakes cook said...

No problem Michael as long as all cultural/immigrant groups have the same equal opportunity.

My list is accurate (Pam Bookham agreed so) and I do not have to defend myself on this issue.

Perhaps my critics should read the charter of rights of freedom of speech and expression and then look up the true meaning of racism.

People who oppose Canada's present immigration system and what the perceive as favourtism towards some immigrant groups have as much right to express their opinions as those who support it.

Looks like there are those who wish to turn Canada into as oppresive a state as the countries people are trying to escape from.

Pam Bookham said...

Yes, Sue's list of programs at our community centres is accurate, but here the difference. Where Sue sees these programs as evidence of preferential treatment, I see them as positive outreach to a significant part of our community. All it takes is someone stepping forward with a good suggestion for a new program. I'm all for that. I know that if there was sufficient interest from other cultural groups for similar programs, they would be offered. This is how we make the tent bigger. This is how we welcome newcomers.

Anonymous said...

Darryl Mussatto is promising the
Filipinos a Cultural Center How
would the City propose to pay for

This is suppose to be a Multicultural
Society. One Umbrella.

The taxpayers will not be burdened
by more increases in taxes for
A Filipino. Iranian or IRISH Center.

sue lakes cook said...

I cannot see how programs that favour one part if the immigrant community as being a way of bringing us other one tent. Rather I see it as one group having a feeling of entitlement and the outsiders feeling resentment.
I still find the fact the mission statement at North Shore Neighborhood House in only English and Farsi absolutely disgusting. How can that possibly reflect the multi-cultural aspect of our community?
Sorry, but I think this is NOT a good idea, and I would like to see programs that are INCLUSIVE, encouraging all members of the community to be involved

Anonymous said...

That being said, do I support tax dollars being spent on cultural centers that serve one ethnic group? No.

1 of 3 part respond by :
Mehran Dadbeh

Dear Ms. Bookham and others who have made comments wondering about the requirements of the Iranian Canadian community such as Ms. Sue Cook and ....,

I had the opportunity to read some of the comments on the question of cultural centers in general... I am happy to see some intention for support of this important steps to conserve such heritage.

I however would take this opportunity to share my views in regards to your decision of being against the tax dollars to be spent on such services and some negative concerns and comments made which in my opinion seems laced or motivated with feelings other than positive :

I think in order to help understand the importance of this issue and to respond in accordance to the importance of this subject, we need to examine our understanding of who and what being a Canadian means.

In my opinion Canada is made of the people of different heritage which in turn becomes and shapes the heritage of Canada as Canada has decided to be this beautiful melting pot and help creating a society which is knowledgeable about all its colorful customs , cultures and heritage backgrounds.

We all know to be able to live in harmony and to create a strong nation , the citizens of that nation need to know about each other's mentality and to know how each one of us function and what our beliefs are. Just like a good soccer team or a basketball or a baseball team, ample hours are spent to have the team members spend time with each other and get to know each other to create a more cohesive group which in turn helps make the team function more coordinated and more focused towards the common goals.

Unless Canadians know about each others cultural habits and have better understanding of each others mentality and customs, we will not be a team with the level of cohesiveness necessary to keep our country close to the top of civilization and social behaviors hierarchy which we all know it can only stem from understanding of each others heritage.

Unless we believe that Canadian Heritage is only the heritage of the ones who were here before the rest of us, we will never be able to establish ourselves as one cohesive nation and will always wonder should we take the step ( spend tax dollars ) to improve our understanding of each other or not and/ or oppose to one group's requesting and organizing efforts to better preserve their identity which will of course hinder the ability of the group to pass it on to the next generation and help keep Canada colorful.

The tax dollars are a wealth accumulated form the contribution of citizens of all cultures and heritage in Canada . Tax dollars are accumulated from the contribution of all people who live in Canada, so while it may seem that these tax dollars are being spent for the benefit of one group , we must not neglect to realize that these tax dollars must be allocated to make such learning centers to be formed and created for every and all different cultures and heritage of the people who form the population of this country.

For whom else these tax dollars should be spent if not for the people of this country ? after all the same people with all their cultural and heritage differences are the one's who contributed to this tax and surely all deserve to benefit from it unless only the English Heritage deserves to benefit from the tax dollars which are gathered by all ( English and non English ) Canadians and not just one group.

So to say that Iranians have or are privileged with what they have been afforded by the city facilities and why aren't resources not spent for the Chinese group or Russians or .... is a comment which is not becoming of positive people with intentions to encourage development of our society to a rich cultural background.

Anonymous said...

Part 2 of 3 by : Mehran Dadbeh

To understand or respond to such concerns we need to understand the cultural needs and expectations of these different nationalities and backgrounds: Russians and Chinese and Vietnamese and Iranians all have their differences in the level of expectations due to their traditional, cultural and social customs and educational backgrounds and upbringing.

Russians or Chinese or Vietnamese could very well have different expectations and standards of needs than Iranians may have due to that very same question of cultural differences . It is also obvious that in Richmond we will not see so much of Farsi services and see ( and rightfully so ) the signs and services geared more towards the needs of the Chinese communities and in Port Coquitlam this could be more tilted towards the needs of the Russian communities and again no Farsi services is visible , but expecting no such expanded services in Farsi where the Iranian community is most concentrated and focused ( the North shore ) would make one wonder about the motivation of such anti Iranian service posture and provisions and possible negative motivation or perhaps some ulterior motivation behind the soft words of invitation to discussion.

The question should not be about why services are in Farsi or why so much of it, the question should be if the services are in proper proportion to the number of the members of the ethnic group in question or not. I think instead of making comparison with communities that are not as much in numbers as the Iranian community is in the North shore , we need to embrace the fact and extend encouragement to the Iranian community who is trying hard to pave roads to assimilate in the society step by step and by using the Farsi language services to better become familiar with the ways the Canadian society functions

Turning this effort around and making it to be a sign of ( the Iranians ) not wanting to integrate into the Canadian society and its ways, is just laced with negativity and driven by some reasons other than what it actually appropriate.

Iranian , Russian, Chinese,Korean, Spanish and all others are all Canadian and together form the nation but their needs and their expectation of service is different as the sweet people of Pilipino background or the Koreans or Russian may be content with what is being offered to them, while the Iranian community does expect more and thrives on being more interested in integration and may expect a different level of service for their community and cultural necessities.

Anonymous said...

Part 3 of 3 By : Mehran Dadbeh

In closing I like to specifically address the comments made by Ms.Cook " Perhaps it is time that those from such an oppressive country such as Iran show some gratitude to a country like Canada for allowing them to immigrate to this great country and try more to become Canadian. " If a country is oppressive ( as you have mentioned ) then what would it have anything to do with Canadians who are living here and pay taxes to Canada and work and contribute to Canadian economy and ways ? why would you feel that Canada has done a favor to Iranian ethnic members of Canada ? would it not be correct to have more faith in the Canadian rules and regulations and accept that these Iranians are here because Canada has found them to be valuable to the development of Canada ? I am sure that they would not be accepted to join the rest of the Canadians in this country if they were not recognized as positive energy to help advance Canada further. Iranians are not bunch of uneducated backward people having had no options and ( as you say ) have been given a chance as a sign of charity, these people are coming from a background of over 7000 years culture and I personally feel they are as valuable as any other Canadian whether born here or immigrated into this great nation of ours .

I suggest in the spirit of multiculturalism and creating a cohesive society in Canada Ms. Cook could make an effort and refrain from such distasteful and insulting comments about the very people who form a large segment of the Canadian tax payers and indeed are a part of the reasons for Canada being as wonderful as it has become in cultural diversity, economic fortune and other avenues that contributions are being made every day by the Iranian communities across Canada.

Anonymous said...

Correction for Part 1 of 3 paragraph 8 :

Unless we believe that Canadian Heritage is not limited only to the heritage of the ones who were here before the rest of us and it is a collective of the heritage of all who live in Canada , we will never be able to establish ourselves as one cohesive nation and will always wonder should we take the step ( spend tax dollars ) to improve our understanding of each other or not and/ or oppose to one group's requesting and organizing efforts to better preserve their identity which will of course hinder the ability of the group to pass it on to the next generation and help keep Canada colorful.

Anonymous said...

Sue Cook: You are a complete bully and a racist. If you knew the first thing about the Iranian community and had some cultural awareness, you would know that most Iranians in the North Shore are hardworking people paying taxes just like you and I; are respectful of their new Canadian life and DO try to integrate into this new environment. How dare you bully this community who has contributed so much to the rich multicultural entity that we have and are so proud of in Canada?

You have a problem with Farsi language programs and events in the library and other places? Each area in Vancouver has a major ethnic community for which it needs to create things. If you go to the Richmond Public Library and the Vancouver Public Library, you will see that most of the events other than in English language are given in Chinese. Please, stop being a bully and quit with your insulting and racism remarks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue, I'm Aboriginal and I feel the same way as you. I get frustrated when I only see ENGLISH in the North Shore. I'm really tired of white people who immigrated to Canada and they think that this is their country. It's not yours if you only like to see your culture being represented in Canada I think you should go back to England or Ireland, or what ever hole you crawled out of.

You have such a sense of entitlement it literally makes me sick to my stomach.

Your people have raped, murdered, tortured, abused the first nations since you came here on your ships.

If you have a huge problem with Iranian people you should get out of the North Shore. You can't really go to Richmond cause then you would have a huge problem with the Chinese, and I can't recommend Surrey for you cause then you would have an issue with Indians, and I can't recommend North Burnaby for you cause you would have a problem with the Italians. So do everyone a favour and move to Mars. See if you are capable of being civilized where you don't have to deal with anyone except your own racist, uneducated, biased culture.

As I look around where I live on the North Shore and the rest of this country, all I see is your churches, organizations, TV stations, cultural food, clothing, language, culture, heritage, and on and on.

PLUS you could tell your culture to stop medalling in the affairs of other countries. If your culture could stop sticking their nose in other peoples business than maybe people wouldn't have to come to Canada because their own countries wouldn't be ravaged with war, conflict, and destruction. You're culture destroys everything it touches and it's time you go back to where you came from.

Anonymous said...

Well isn't this interesting...

Birch bark and blueberries said...

Okay Mr. Aboriginal guy-if you're Kwatkiutl or Haida: is this the right time to mention their blood-thirsty histories of slavery? Looks like every nation has at least some blood under its nails, huh?

Oh wait-only "whites" can be racist. Well. Except for that part of history where thousands of English, Irish, Scottish, and Icelandic people were taken as slaves by North Africans. What? You didn't hear about that in history class?

Oh and how many "white" people does the Aboriginal poster know? Got any "white" or Iranian friends? Nope. Is "white" a nationality or a racist way of referring to people by their skin colour? Talk about racism, pal.

My ancestors survived in this country only because of their close ties with First Nations peoples, and if there are any more official languages, they should be Native ones, but let's be clear: you are not who they were, so no way you're going to get away with riding on their coat-tails!

For every Native back then who disagreed with English/French ways, there were always lots more busy fighting alongside us, marrying us, dancing with us. Maybe it's time you forgot what happened hundreds of years ago and joined the rest of us.

Iranians: Jesus, if ever a people needed a serious ass-kicking, it's you guys. Oh hell yeah I AM generalizing and the exceptions are far too few not to.

What an arrogant, misinformed, money-obsessed bunch of ungrateful cretins so many of you are! You're like the opposite of the Filipinos (whom most people seem to love-for God's sake find out what they're doing right and start doing it.)

I'm Canadian. We actually have a culture-surely you've noticed the minute you got off the plane? Or did everyone act so differently that you were confused?


Canada recognizes First Nations peoples, along with the two original settler groups: the French and English. The only places where you will find cultural enclaves is in the three major cities-everywhere else is Canadian. Gee...sorry about that.

You need to understand once and for all that you live in a self-imposed, apartheid-like enclave that has nothing to do with the rest of us. In your heart, you know it! You chose to live in a bubble. You would not survive in most of the country, which is comprised of smaller cities and towns. You would have to become Canadian if you did move to a smaller place.

Guess what? You'd be happier there. You'd find the true friendliness that is our country. You would not speak Farsi. So what. Welcome to the club. I don't speak French anymore.

GO LEARN OUR HISTORY and ffs shut up about yours for a change!

Throughout Canadian history, people came here in small numbers-too small to isolate themselves from the rest, so they assimilated and we all became English or French. END OF STORY. It was only in the 1970s that Pierre Trudeau decided we should become multicultural. It was a naive idea and nowhere in the world has it worked for very long.

Name one country in the world where multiculturalism works. Sorry, what's that you say? The former Yugoslavia? Rwanda?

Problems start whenever one cultural group gets bigger and starts making demands, pushing its own cultural agenda. Next we get "enriched" by the very ideas that helped destroy their own nations, ideas like women walking around in cloth bags. Don't get me started. And guess who won't be on Canada's side if we should ever have to go to war against, say, Iran??

Adapt to the culture that is already here. Any racism is the other way around-it's you refusing and disrespecting OUR culture. Not for one second would you tolerate me living in Tehran, setting up a giant Canadian enclave, not associating with any Iranians, and then insisting on English signage.

There. Now you know what the vast majority of Canadians really think.