The Province: WSO offers support to Sikh cadet corps push

The World Sikh Organization of Canada is offering their full support to the Surrey community in the fight for the Surrey Sikh cadet corps, it announced Tuesday.

http://www.vancouverdesi.com/news/military-world-sikh-organization-of-canada-offers-support-to-sikh-cadet-corps-push/

Published on October 2, 2012 by Chris Parry

The World Sikh Organization of Canada is offering their full support to the Surrey community in the fight for the Surrey Sikh cadet corps, it announced Tuesday.

“We’ll back up any petition they have put out,” Senior Policy Advisor Gian Singh Sandhu told VancovuerDesi.com. “(We’re) insisting that the government needs to come to the table and discuss with the community.”

In a Sept. 13 meeting, the Department of National Defence and the Army Cadet League of Canada opposed the Surrey cadet corps’ name – the 3300 British Columbian Royal Army Cadet (Surrey Sikhs) – which halted its September 19 launch.

DND opposed the name because they said it would not be inclusive to all youths aged 12 to 18 and it may deter non-Sikhs from joining. Officials insist they are firm in their opposition.

According to Director of the Friends of the Sikh Cadet Corps Society, Parghat Singh Bhurji, numerous community members visited him Monday after the story broke on VancouverDesi.com, The Province newsroom’s new South Asian website.

“The community is really upset,” said Bhurji. “The reason everybody wanted their kids in it was because of the name.”

Bhurji, along with members of Surrey’s South Asian community – including school boards and temples – have united to put together a petition in an effort to fight for the Sikh Cadet Corps.

And according to Sandhu, the WSO is backing them 100 per cent.

But Friends of the Sikh Cadet Corps Society have yet to hear anything from the government.

“We served with distinction in world wars and no one had a concern,” said Sandhu. “If they had a concern they should have at least sat with the committee and discussed it.”

Sikh regiments have served in the British and Indian army since the mid-1800s and have included both Sikh and non-Sikh members, according to the WSO.

“Being called the ‘Surrey Sikhs’ would honour and celebrate the history of Sikh regiments and would be no different than names currently in use honouring other historic regiments such as the Highlanders, Irish or Hussars,” WSO President Prem Singh Vinning said in a release.

The organization is calling for a review of the decision.


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