Ontario’s Sikh Motorcycle Club Demands Helmet Exemption

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By  Surjit Singh Flora

Toronto:  “The Sikh Motorcycle Club of Ontario” is demanding from that Wynne government that Ontario should follow Alberta and other provinces for allowing turban-wearing Sikhs to ride motorcycles without helmets.

While from April 12th, the province of Alberta will be allowing Sikh turbaned bikers to ride the bike without helmet, it’s been termed as an “exemption”

In August 2014, Premier Kathleen Wynne told the Canadian Sikh Association that an exemption on wearing helmets would “pose a road safety risk.”. “Ultimately, the safety of Ontarians is my utmost priority, and I cannot justify setting that concern aside on this issue.”

But as election is just 2 months away; Liberals and Kathleen Wynne need the Votes, and it is expected that one of these days she will flip flop on her August 2014 road safety words and cash them into her vote bank.

As it is, she’s throwing the sweet lollipops all around Ontario to get the votes from the community at large and all citizens.

While from March 31st to April 28th, the Sikhs are celebrating “Sikh Heritage Month” – aiming to celebrate the contributions and aspirations of all Sikh-Canadians and develop a greater understanding and appreciation for a rich, unique and diverse heritage.

Turban-wearing Sikhs will be able to ride a motorcycle in Alberta without a helmet was one of the main news being discussed by the community in Ontario.

The Sikh Motorcycle Club of Edmonton, Gurpreet Pandher posted a statement on Facebook that it’s “milestone and memorable day” in Alberta’s history. While Dashmesh Culture Centre former president Parmeet Singh Boparai said discussions have been taking place with the Alberta government on the exemption since 2015, and members of the community have been advocating for the change for years. “It’s a big achievement for the community. It gives us a platform to share our values, our beliefs and our outlook with other communities of Alberta.”

It seems that the NDP will also be looking for votes anywhere  they can find. To get the Sikh community votes they are making smart moves like Wynne in Ontario, but religious choices by members of a certain sect should not allow for having  different laws from others; it’s not fair.

For the Sikhs, the value of a  turban is higher than a sexual  crime. So, it cannot be removed. But on other hand, a helmet is hard to fit top of the turban, but as a Sikh biker, they can manage a small turban that can fit under the helmet. By doing this they are not breaking the law neither going against the religin. It’s just one demand after another – nothing more than that. For the Sikh community demands never seem to be coming to an end.  Remember! “The turban is a marker of the Sikh identity and a symbol of the religious belief system.

“By creating the Khalsa– an order of the pure ones, tasked with upholding universal broth erhood– Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and last guru, gave the Sikhs the 5 Ks in a baptismal rite: kes (long hair), kangha (comb to keep the long hair neat), kara (an iron bracelet), kachcha (shorts) and kirpan (sword). The 5 Ks are not only a means of showing the Sikh identity but are powerful, spiritual  symbols of the Sikh faith.

Brampton-based Surjit Singh Flora is a veteran journalist and freelance writer. Pic: Surrey Motorcyclists –  www.sikhmotorcycleclub.org