life, Published articles

Canadians rejoice on Obama’s inauguration

Mayor James Atebe of Mission
Mayor James Atebe of Mission

Across Canada several events were organized by fan clubs to watch Obama’s inauguration ceremony, while some revelry was held over the weekend.

I talked to many Canadians on January 20, day of the much anticipated Presidential inauguration as they watched the proceedings in pubs, churches, class rooms, and homes throughout the country.

My narrative of the Obama legacy would have been incomplete without interviewing two prominent black-Canadians: Mayor of Mission, James Atebe and Clement Apaak.

“It is very significant that the son of a black man has risen to hold the highest office in the world and to me this is an important cause to celebrate,” said Dr. Clement Apaak, founder of the Obama Fan Club of Canada (OFCC) in Vancouver.

The OFCC organized a President Obama inauguration party to celebrate the power of hope on Jan. 23 at a local bar.

Apaak said, “He is the public indication of black people of the world. He is the spoken symbolism that has been established for the first time among the group of people that have been maligned and treated inhumanly.”

Canadians for Obama and Democrats Abroad, organized to screen the inauguration ceremony in Vancouver’s Rio theatre free of charge.

“You did not want to miss this, a day of history being made: new beginnings, new hope, a new US President,” said Braedan Caley, organizer of the event

Florence Whittaker, another Obama fan joined the inauguration party at Ceili’s Irish pub in downtown Vancouver.

“I am inspired by him as he steps beyond racial and social class lines to bring a public face to world leadership, speaking to issues not confined to America only,” Whittaker said.

James Atebe, the Mayor of Mission is a Kenyan-Canadian and serving his second term in office.

Dr. Clement Apaak
Dr. Clement Apaak

“He engages not only individuals but also institutions, organizations and nations. Most leaders have not being able to get everyone together on a common platform but he appeals to a common cause and unites people,” Atebe said.

Atebe further elaborates his stance on President Obama.

“Certainly up until now we have not known a world leader, let alone an American leader who doesn’t just seek to help Americans but positive aspects of humanity any where in the world.”

Obama’s has inspired creative fan reactions around the world, not only in Canada.

In London, United Kingdom Islington’s Hen and Chickens Theatre has announced plans to produce a musical, Obama On My Mind, inspired by the brand new President of the United States, reports. The musical is set to premiere on March 05 and will run until March 21.

“Black- Canadian community is not inspired just because he is a colored man.” said Dorothy Rashard a local Vancouver business woman.

“I hope American citizens are able to inspire Canadians to come out and vote in such large numbers as they did for Obama,“ Rashard said.

Here is more coverage on Obama’s cult status:

Clement Apaak Photo Courtesy The Georgia Strait

life, Published articles

Investigative journalism

” You must speak straight so that your words may go as sunlight into our hearts”

Cochise, Apache (1812-1874)

Robert Cribb, the award winning investigative journalist from The Toronto Star guest lectured at School of Journalism ( SOJ). It was a great opportunity to meet with him in person and learn about the skills needed to become a successful investigative journalist.

The two key best practices I took away from this intense two day course were “Patience is virtue” in becoming an investigative reporter and that “persistence pays.” The pattern of event, context, explanation and solution follows through if journalists aim towards balanced, fair and accurate reporting.

Cribb also emphasized journalists should pursue advocacy journalism where they take up a position and try to fix the problem. But the process can sometimes be lengthy and takes more than six months to get all the evidence to back up a story.

Freedom of Information documents are essential tools in an investigative journalists tool box . Factual documentary evidence should be concrete before any story gets into print.

Cribb will be in Vancouver till the end of this week.


Bounty Bust in Bountiful, BC

Canadians are still recovering from the effects of the U.S. economic crisis rippling through our side of the border. Now the recent polygamy arrests and convictions in Bountiful, BC drives home the notion that anything affecting our southern partners will surely ricochet through here.

The saga that started in 2005 finally reached it climax with the arrest of the these men. But what more will unravel is yet to be seen.

Winston Blackmore, 52 and James Oler, 44 the two leaders in the polygamous community of Bountiful, B.C. have been charged with practising polygamy, which is a Criminal Code offence.

Both held powerful positions; Oler is the bishop of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, while Blackmore is the former FLDS bishop who was ousted in 2002 after a power struggle with the sect’s prophet Warren Jeffs.

Blackmore has been charged with “practising polygamy” on May 1, 2005, according to provincial court files. The file says the unusual charge was sworn on January 6 against the 52-year-old man, but there is no reference to a court appearance being made yet.

Oler is charged with practising polygamy and the date of his alleged offence on record is Nov. 1, 2004.

A seven-month charge assessment review led to these arrests said Attorney General Wally Oppal said in an official statement. RCMP officers arrested Oler and Blackmore on Wednesday after an intensive, seven-month charge assessment review by special prosecutor Terrence Robertson. The investigation was into allegations that “these individuals breached section 293 of the Criminal Code by entering into a conjungal relationship with more than one individual at a time.

Here is more coverage on the issue:

B.C. polygamist leaders charged in case that will test ban on multiple marriage

Polygamy charges laid against Bountiful, B.C. leaders