Comments and Questions Shared with Readers
The Afro News participated at a media roundtable held in Vancouver on February 26, 2009. Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper spoke about the economy and U.S President Barak Obama’s recent trip to Ottawa.
Mr. Harper also took questions from the gathering, including Honore Gbedze, publisher of The Afro News, editors and producers. Representatives of Vancouver’s growing ethnic media were also present.
Gbedze asked Mr. Harper to comment on the action the Canadian government might be taking to stimulate and support smaller scale entrepreneurs – from the corner store to community based and small business owners. Gbedze, a publisher and radio host is also founder of The Sage Foundation, dedicated to youth and the development of education and leadership in the immediate community. He therefore also voiced his concerns about building economic stability through small business development and hope for those dreaming about becoming future leaders.
In an interview with the Afro News, Gbedze shared his impressions of the opportunity to speak with Prime Minister Harper and community representatives of ethnic and immigrant interests.
“When does a new immigrant from Africa have a chance to meet the Prime Minister, no matter what party he belongs to?. I am not a politician, so on this unique occasion I chose the moral path and focused on small business and others like me who are interested in starting and maintaining businesses,” said Gbedze
“A new immigrant needs to settle into his new country and to participate. This is important for the well being of new people and to help them integrate and take responsibility. They need support and help from the larger authority to integrate, belong and build, “adds Gbedze.
He went on to explain that good ideas from newcomers often come from financial support. “If one immigrant succeeds then they can help society on many levels. One small business person can employ 10 other individuals. They create jobs. They support themselves and their family.”
Gbedze expressed appreciation of having the middle class heard in such a personal and direct way. He also noted that, “It was interesting to see how all the people in the room were bridging the current Canadian situations and news and concerns about home countries. It was another note of the very real connections and presence of Canada in the world.”
Prime Minister Harper also took some moments from his schedule to chat privately with The Afro News. Gbedze used the chat and photo opportunity to share is wish for The Prime Minister to do his best in helping the situation in The Congo & Sudan.
“Above all we are human we must extend our hand to others in need. We live in difficult times and in a different mind today, therefore we must remain vigilant and pull together to maintain freedom, peace and a united voice.” Gbedze reflected that Canada is highly respected in the world and can preserve the best of the nation’s qualities for future generations. “We don’t need to fall at any level.
On some questions including those relating to the gangs and violence, Harper responded that “it is difficult to run a minority government and it’s a challenge of the administration but they are trying to find common ground.”
Within 42 days of the last official federal budget and since the Vancouver media meeting, Mr. Harper announced Canada’s Economic Action Plan. Designed to address support for workers and taxpayers, the housing sector, infrastructure investment to create jobs, businesses and communities, it should improve access to financing.
Helena is a writer and communication trainer with global interests. Get the F.R.E.E. Express Lane Tipster at: www.helenakaufman.com It delivers short, hot communication tips to you weekly.