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Welcome to the News Section

Here, you can catch up with the latest news of Joe's actions in the community or look back to what he has done since
taking office in December 2010. Feel free to browse the articles provided!




July 2018


Chinese Heart and Stroke Survivors and Caregivers Summit held in Markham

COMMUNITY Jun 28, 2018 by Neera Chakravorty Markham Economist & Sun

The Chinese Heart and Stroke Survivors and Caregivers Summit held at Courtyard by Marriott Toronto Northeast/Markham on Saturday June 16, 2018 was a great success!

Summit examined the importance of rehabilitation, understanding the process of recovery, new skills and knowledge to cope with changes after heart disease or stroke, and the resources and services in our community.  

Expert panel consisted of: 

— Dr. Raymond Chan (moderator)

— Joe Li, Guest Speaker, Markham Regional Councillor

— Sukhan Lai, Social Worker, Toronto Rehab Institute

— Kenneth Lo, Registered Kinesiologist, Carefirst Seniors

Thank you to Shan Qiao, Dr. Chi-Ming Chow, regional Coun. Joe Li, Natalie Gierman, Dr. Gordon Moe, Dr. Joseph Chu, Dr. Cindy Yip, Kenneth Lo, Joanna Wong, Dr. Raymond Chan, Suk-Han Lai, Clara Tse and the entire Heart and Stroke team for your contributions and inspiring participants with encouragement in one’s recovery journey and living a healthy active lifestyle.

Picture:The Chinese Heart and Stroke Survivors and Caregivers Summit was held at the Courtyard by Marriott Toronto Northeast/Markham on Saturday, June 16. Those in attendance included Shan Qiao (from left), Dr Chi-Ming Chow, Markham Regional Councillor Joe Li, Natalie Gierman, Dr. Gordon Moe, Dr. Joseph Chu, Dr. Raymond Chan, Suk-Han Lai and Clara Tse. - Courtesy of Neera Chakravorty


June 2018

Markham celebrated the completion of Stiver Mill Landscape Rehabilitation.

Knabenpelle Norlingen, a 67 piece orchestra of young men ages 10-19 years old performed in traditional German attire.

Germany is one of Markham's sister cities with a special connection to one of Markham's founders, William Berczy.


June 2018

South Asian Heritage Month was celebrated at Vedic Cultural Centre observing 180th anniversary of the Indian arrival in the West Indies May 5, 1838.




June 2018


Canada Diversity Celebration event was another grand success this year. Appreciation Dinner was held for the amazing team of artists who helped unite the Indian & Chinese communities together through music to celebrate diversity within our City of Markham, the most diverse city in Canada.

The annual Indian-Chinese Hindi singing event was hosted by Chair Regional Councillor Joe Li, Co-Chair Amar Erry- President of ASM- Vedic Cultural Centre, Joe Samion, Hakka Canadian Association, and Neera Chakravorty Event Coordinator. Over 525 people attended this musical extravaganza at the Flato Markham Theatre. Thank you to the artists, volunteers, and supporters for their continued support and for the grand success of the show.


May 2018

Association of Chinese Canadian EntrepreneursEntrepreneurs News- 

Dignitaries, guests, ACCE Board of Directors and Advisors at the 2018 ACCE Chinese New Year Celebration held on February 21, 2018 at Markham Event Centre.

(Front row from left): Joe Li, Regional Councillor of City of Markham; Alex Chiu, Councillor of City of Markham; Logan Kanapathi, Councillor of City of Markham; Nirmala Armstrong, Regional Councillor of City of Markham; MP Majid Jowhari; MP Mary Ng; Deputy Consul General Yaodong Zhuang, Consulate General of PRC in Toronto; Kevin Au-Yeung, President of ACCE; Senator Victor Oh; Florence Tsang, Deputy Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office; Sandra Racco, Councillor of City of Vaughan; Godwin Chan, Councillor of Town of Richmond Hill; Alan Ho, Councillor of City of Markham and Castro Liu, Councillor of Town of Richmond Hill. (2nd row right 1): Stephen Bald, Vice President of BDC.

May 2018

Association of Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs- Entrepreneurs News- 

2017 ACCE annual Christmas Celebration was held on December 6, 2017 at the Casa Deluz Banquet Hall. (Front row from left): Alex Chiu, Councillor of City of Markham; Logan Kanapathi, Councillor of City of Markham; Amanda Collucci, Councillor of City of Markham; Consul General He Wei, Consulate General of the PRC in Toronto; Kevin Au-Yeung, President of ACCE; Kathy Chan, Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Toronto); Joe Li, Regional Councillor of City of Markham; Nirmala Armstrong, Regional Councillor of City of Markham; Florence Tsang, Deputy Director of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (Toronto). (Middle row from left) Consul (Commercial) E Defeng, Consulate General of PRC in Toronto; Minister David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation; Tom Vegh, Councillor of Town of Newmarket; Peter Lawler, Executive Vice President of BDC.

April 2018

ONTARIO CONSTRUCTION REPORT - "Strong development applications expected in York Region"

Development remains strong in York Region, however the types of proposals submitted over the past five years has changed, according to York Region’s 2017 Development Activity Summary.

Today, 60 percent of the region’s housing mix consists of semi-detached, townhouse and apartment units. This trend continues to increase year-over-year, according to the Regional Municipality of York.

“Development activity in York Region remains strong over the past five years with official plan amendment approvals up 48 percent and site plan approvals up 59 percent,” York Region CEO Wayne Emmerson said in a statement. “We are seeing a diverse and increasing mix of housing options and offices built across York Region. This transformation is necessary as we modernize and prepare for expected population and job growth.”

A total of 283 applications were reviewed and responded to by regional staff in 2017 including: 40 official plan amendment (OPA) applications; 67 subdivision or condominium applications conditionally approved; an additional 60 subdivision or condominium applications cleared for construction; 70 site plan application approvals; and 46 engineering approvals.

“Based on our detailed development trend forecast, applications should remain strong in 2018 as we work towards meeting Provincial growth targets and achieving the Region’s planning vision,” stated City of Markham Regional Councillor Joe Li, chair of the region’s planning and economic development. “The complexity and importance of local planning matters are increasing given the shift towards infill development and intensification projects within urban areas.”

 April 2018

GTA Scoop-Vigils held in Markham and Barrie for the Humboldt Broncos

The City of Markham lowered their flags at half-staff since April 9th in honour of the fifteen lives tragically lost in the Humboldt Broncos crash last week. A public vigil was also held April 11th for the victims, their families and the community of Humboldt.

Mourners were able to sign a book of condolences located at the Civic Centre and seven community centres around the city. Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Regional Councillors Nirmala Armstrong and Joe Li, were joined by national journalist Lloyd Robertson and other members of council at the vigil.

Members of Markham’s hockey community, including the Markham Royals, Markham Thunder and minor hockey groups also attended. Everyone was invited to wear their jerseys and bring sports equipment such as hockey sticks to leave at the Peace Flame in the courtyard of the Civic Centre.


April 2018

snapd Markham added 4 new photos to the album: Canada's Diversity Celebration 2018 — at Flato Markham Theatre.

Canada’s Diversity Celebration Team held its 7th annual Indian-Chinese Bollywood singing event at the Flato Markham Theatre. Chair, Regional Councillor Joe Li, hosted the event with Co-Chair Amar Erry- President, Arya Samaj Markham- Vedic Cultural Centre, Joe Samion, Hakka Canadian Association and Event Coordinator Neera Chakravorty.

This Indo-Chinese Bollywood concert provided a unique platform to many local artists and brought the two communities together to celebrate unity and diversity in Markham.The program featured 20 talented amateur vocalists who sang a variety of popular and classic hits in Hindi, Chinese, and English.

Dignitaries in attendance included MP Mary Ng, Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Deputy Mayor Jack Heath and Councillors Alan Ho and Logan Kanapathi. Congratulations Regional Councillor Joe Li and team for another successful year!

March 2018

'The stink' of marijuana: Markham residents angered by cannabis grow-ops

Legal medical marijuana grow-op angers neighbours, politicians say nothing can be done if homeowner following rules

NEWS Mar 19, 2018 by Jeremy Grimaldi  Markham Economist & Sun

There is one house on Markham's Williamson Road that smells so bad of skunk neighbours say they can't enjoy their yards in the summer.

During other seasons, they say the smell actually seeps through their walls, smelling up their houses with the pungent odour.

Problem is, it's a not pest issue — it's a marijuana one.

“I want to sell my house, but with this smell, it's not worth anything,” said one neighbour who did not want his name published.

He's not alone.

In the past three months, Markham Coun. Joe Li has received 10 calls about marijuana grow-ops in Markham.

Although unsure exactly which operations are legal, with licences from Health Canada, Li's unsure that really matters.

What is important from his perspective is that residents are struggling to deal with often odious scents coming from these homes, with little or no recourse.

“I don't think this policy has been thought out carefully,” Li told yorkregion.com.

In the Williamson Road situation, the owner is breaking no rules, considering he has a medical marijuana licence to grow plants at his residence.

March 2018

Page One News added 4 new photos.

· March 8 · 

Lions dance at Li Dynasty Indian Hakka Chinese Cuisine

MARKHAM- Yvonne Li, wife of Regional Councillor Joe Li, launched her Li Dynasty Indian Hakka Chinese Cuisine restaurant at 9750 Markham Road, Markham.
This special occasion was celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by two wonderful lion dances. 
Among the guests were MP Shaun Chen of Scarborough North, Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Regional Councillor Nirmala Armstrong, Councillors Alan Ho, Don Hamilton, Amanda Collucci, and Alex Chiu along with City of Markham’s CAO Andy Taylor, Sandra Tam, and Indian Community leader Amar Erry.
Family and friends enjoyed a delicious fusion of Indian Hakka and Chinese cuisine.


March 2018


The dawning of a new dynasty arrived recently in Markham as Regional Councillor Joe Li, along with wife Yvonne and other family members formally opened the doors of their latest venture, a Hakka, Indian, Chinese fusion cuisine.

While a fairly unique concept in Markham, the newly designed Li Dynasty restaurant takes its culinary cues from a similar taste platform pioneered in Toronto by Joe Li’s brother.

The new restaurant on Markham Rd. north of 16th Ave by the Home Depot managed to draw local politicos including most of Markham town council, community leaders and even a Liberal MP, Li’s cousin. While Li, being the politician of the family as a councillor and nomination candidate for the Ontario PC party in the next provincial election, he was clear that the real work behind the Li Dynasty is being done by his wife Yvonne. With kids, parents, siblings and friends all present, the Li Dynasty is a true family effort that promises to be more than a centre for the over 10,000 Markhamites of Hakka Indian Chinese ancestry. 

March 2018

Mayor Frank Scarpitti’s Chinese New Year Dinner-

There were 1,000 people in attendance at Mayor Frank Scarpitti’s eighth, annual Chinese New Year Dinner held at Le Parc Dining & Banquet Hall. “Eight is a significant number in Chinese culture,” said Mayor Scarpitti. “I am proud to celebrate eight years as a community united by our shared respect for tradition and our hope for a bright and prosperous future." Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Co-Chairs Regional Councillor Joe Li, Councillor Alan Ho, Councillor Amanda Collucci and Councillor Alex Chiu welcomed everyone to the celebration and fundraising occasion. The event opened with a procession led City of Markham Honour Guard Firefighters, York Regional Police Ceremonial Unit, Southern Lions, Northern Lions and the God of Fortune. The festivities began with an eye-dotting ceremony and Lion Dance followed by a delicious dinner including a spectacular Year of the Dog cake. Chinese artists and performers entertained as well as a special performance given by singing impressionist André-Philippe Gagnon. Funds raised were donated to the following recipients: Hakka Helping Hands, $10,000, Sanatan Mandir Cultural Centre, $10,000, Federation of Chinese Canadians in Markham,$35,000;Eabametoong First Nation, $25,000. "What really makes this evening special is the money raised for various worthy causes in our community, a big thank you to all who make Markham a giving, caring city," said Mayor Scarpitti.



February 2018

subscribeAfter recording strong employment growth in 2017 the Region of York hopes to build on past success by expanding efforts to attract foreign investors by emphasizing its investments in infrastructure and transit. For individual municipalities, the regional strategy allows them to focus on economic activities, most relevant to them, that would attract new business. In Markham, for example, the goal is to encourage new local investment by technologyoriented companies coming from abroad. “Canada is the second largest trading partner of China and the influx of immigration unbelievable,” Markham regional councillor Joe Li told NRU. He says the region needs to accommodate future growth with additional transit and other infrastructure that supports growth. For example, with Viva Rapidways, the region aims to provide foundation for livable, workable and desirable communities for potential investors to locate in region. One of the priorities for the region’s 2018 budget is a new agreement with Metrolinx to enhance the PRESTO card system, making it easier for transit commuters to cross municipal boundaries. Li also represents York Region at Toronto Global, an arms-length agency that works with global companies to invest in the Greater Toronto Area. Li told NRU that he hopes to expand the list of potential foreign investors most likely to come to the region, thereby adding jobs. According to a Planning and Economic Development report to council, York Region employment growth rose 3.3 per cent last year, slightly down from the previous year, but still outpacing job growth at the national, provincial and Greater Toronto Area levels. Over the past five years, the report shows that York Region employment has grown at an average annual rate of 3.2 per cent compared to 1.4 per cent for the GTA as a whole. Li said that Markham benefits from Canadian immigration policies that allow students to work here for a set period after graduation from colleges and universities here, enabling them to join existing companies or establish their own. York Region policy research and forecasting manager Paul Bottomley told NRU they’re seeing a balance in population and employment growth. “We’re not only seeing newcomers, new residents in the region, but a large number of new businesses or expansions of existing businesses and this is sort of a historical trend in many respects,” Bottomley said. He said the region benefits from having a well-educated labour force, with more than 70 per cent of those employed between the age of 25 and 64 having a post-secondary education. “A lot of businesses want access to that talent,” said Bottomley. “That’s one reason why businesses move here.”

http://www.municipalclassea.ca/files/Articles/NRU Feb 2018.pdf

February 2018

Employment Is Up 3.3 Per Cent In York Region

“York Region is comprised of a multi-sector economy reflective of our diverse workforce,” said City of Markham Regional Councillor Joe Li, Chair of the Region’s Planning and Economic Development. “The Region’s economy is underlined by core attributes including our strong population, skilled labour force and the high quality of life available to our residents.”


February 2018


We are so happy to share this GOOD NEWS with our community that SMCC was presented a cheque of $10,000.00 at the MAYOR FRANK SCARPITTI'S CHINESE NEW YEAR DINNER as Councillor Alan Ho's beneficiary for 2018 on February 22, 2018 at Le Parc Dinning & Banquet Hall.


January 2018

Councillor Alan Ho's New Year's Levee

 Councillor Alan Ho’s New Year's Levee was a great success. Over 300 residents attended the reception on a warm Saturday afternoon, conversing over food and enjoying entertainment. In addition, they were updated by Councillor Ho on Markham news and events including recent local break-ins and how residents can be proactive in preventing this type of criminal activity. There were also some lucky residents who took home wonderful, lucky draw prizes to family and friends. 


2017 December





Whereas December 13, 1937 was the start of the Nanjing Massacre and this year marks the 80th Anniversary; and,


Whereas more than 300,000 people in Nanjing (comparable to the current population of the City of Markham), including women and young children were tortured, raped, and murdered during the Japanese invasion of China in World War II; and,

Whereas this atrocity in China has been largely unknown to many in Canada as it is rarely discussed but continues to have a deeply felt impact in many Asian societies, including Markham's diverse Asian communities; and,

Whereas honouring the individuals that lost their lives and educating the public of these atrocities is necessary to promote understanding and peace; and,

Whereas Markham is home to a high percentage of residents of Chinese origin in Canada, some of whom recall the atrocities that took place during this dark period; and,

Whereas the Toronto District School Board which is the largest school board in North America, passed a unanimous motion in year 2008, encouraging the teaching of the atrocities of the Nanjing Massacre and Japanese Military Sexual Slavery in their schools; and,

Whereas the City of Toronto issued a proclamation for the 75th Anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre in 2012 and then reaffirmed its recognition on December 2016; and,

Whereas the City of Markham can play a vital role in raising public awareness by affirming its recognition of the Nanjing Massacre, as a crime against humanity, in honour of the men, women and children who died; and,

Whereas the City of Markham encourages the York Region School Board to follow the Toronto District School Board by encouraging the teaching of the atrocities of the Nanjing Massacre and Japanese Military Sexual Slavery in their schools;



2017 December







李国贤在市议会通过他提出的动议后表示,感谢所有人抽时间出席支持有关纪念南京大屠杀的动议。他表示:“我很欣慰市议会一致通过12月13日为南京大屠杀受难者纪念日。我从内心深处向各位表示感谢!”  日本在二战侵略中国期间,有相当于万锦市人口,超过30万南京市男女老幼被凌虐、强暴和杀害。这件发生在中国的残暴行为却鲜为加拿大人知道,然而幸存者无法忘怀,也使很多亚裔社会包括万锦市的多元化亚裔社区至今仍深感伤痛。万锦市是全加拿大华裔人口比率第二高的城市,万锦市应作表率,促使民众关注到南京大屠杀是违反人道的罪行,并缅怀死难的男女老幼,因此万锦市把每年的12月13日为南京大屠杀纪念日是一个非常正确的决定。此外,也要求约克区公校教育局,鼓励学校教授日本在南京大屠杀的残暴行径和慰安妇的历史。



October 2017

Golden Horse Food & Framing Alliance-

“The power of the farming community as a significant economic driver should not be underestimated,” said City of Markham Regional Councillor Joe Li, Chair of the Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee, “The strategic recommendations outlined in the Agriculture and Agri-food strategy report will further protect and promote agriculture and farming in York Region.”


September 2017

York region.News- Joe Li seeks Markham-Unionville nomination for Ontario PC Party

NEWS Sep 13, 2017 by Ali Raza  Markham Economist & Sun

Markham regional Coun. Joe Li will seek the Markham-Unionville nomination.

 Li made the announcement on Sept. 12 in a press release, but will make his official announcement on Sept. 13 at a lunch reception.

After seven years as Markham regional councillor with the Regional Municipality of York, Li is now seeking to grab the nomination for the Markham-Unionville riding for the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party.

According to his press release, Li has much experience having saved taxpayers’ dollars, introducing transparency policies, introducing sustainable waste management technologies in Markham, bringing together community groups and forging international partnerships between Markham and municipalities in Sweden, India and China.

Li will make his official announcement at a lunch reception on Sept. 13 at Golden Palace Banquet Hall at 11 a.m. The hall is on First Markham Place, 3225 Hwy. 7 East in Markham.

September 2017




July 2017

DESI News Special Edition of Canada 150.

Regional Councillor Joe Li, "Indian by Birth, Chinese by descent, Canadian by choice".



 May 2017

Canada Diversity Celebration

Snap Markham-  "Canada’s Diversity Celebration Team held its 6th annual Indian-Chinese Bollywood singing event at Flato Markham Theatre. Chair Regional Councillor Joe Li hosted this cultural event in collaboration with Co-Chair Amar Erry- President of ASM- Vedic Cultural Centre, and Joe Samion- President of Yin Hua Association of Ontario. This Indo-Chinese Bollywood singing event provided a platform to unite many local artists, bring the Indian and Chinese communities together and celebrate unity and diversity. The program featured a mix of 18 talented Indian and Chinese amateur singers who sang a variety of popular and classic hits in Hindi, Chinese, and English. Over 527 people attended including representatives from both Chinese and Indian Consulate Generals' Offices."

May 2017    
March 2017         

 The Weekly Asian Connection newspaper:

The Asian Connections Newspaper / Featured / Regional Councillor Joe Li with India’s Honourable Chief Minister of West Bengal Smt Mamata Banerjee &Canadian Trade Commissioner Arjun Kumar Dutta




March 2017

Generation Next Newspaper

RC Joe Li represents Markham at 2017 Bengal Global Business Summit.

March 2017 

York region.com: Markham Economist & Sun- By Tim Kelly 

Markham Economist & Sun

Regional Councillor Joe Li, a native of India, was on hand at the inauguration of the 2017 Bengal Global Business Summit, India, meeting with India's Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, as well as Canadian Trade Commissioner Arjun Kumar Dutta.

Through a 2016 Markham trade mission to India, West Bengal's RAD 365, an IT service provider that delivers software solutions, teleradiology, knowledge processing and data analytics solutions to the health care industry, established an office in Markham.

RAD 365 is located in Bidhannagar's high-tech district outside Kolkata, West Bengal, India.


February 2017





February 2017


York Region.com

Dont finger point at Chinese on foreign buyerès tax: Markham Councillor:

Regional Councillor Joe Li said he didn't want to deal with a problem that reflected just 5 per cent of the market, citing statistics reflected in a recent Toronto Real Estate Board report that said just 4.9 per cent of GTA homes are purchased by foreign buyers.

More importantly Li said, he didn't want to fingerpoint at one community.

"In general, people know who you're talking about. It must be the Chinese. I don't want that kind of impression."




February 2017

  加拿大湖北商会2017喜迎新春年会于10曰(星期五)上午在万锦锦市政厅Council Chamber举行。参加的嘉宾包括有联邦参议员胡子修、万锦区域议员Nirmala Armstrong和Joe Li,万锦市议员Alan Ho和杨绮清,以及列治文上市议员陈志辉,及多个商会与华商代表。 - See more at: http://www.easyca.ca/bencandy.php?fid=225&aid=69639#sthash.YRMg596J.dpuf




January 2017


2017-01-30 CCTVmedium 








November 2016

York Region News - Queen's Park introduces bill to make regional chairs elected- http://m.yorkregion.com/news-story/6970337-queen-s-park-introduces-bill-to-make-regional-chairs-elected-Wayne

Meanwhile, regional councillors have repeatedly said they have no appetite for making the regional chair an elected position.           

While most mayors and councillors have said the current system is working well, some councillors have complained about the method of selecting the chair.
For example, Markham Councillor Joe Li has said the regional chair should be accountable to the region’s 1.1 million residents, not just 20 mayors and regional councillors.
Under the current system, candidates for the job have to curry favour with mayors and councillors behind the scenes to get their votes, he said last November.
“In order for the chairman to get his position, he has to make deals,” Li said, saying he was given a coveted position as vice-chair of the region’s planning and economic development committee, an important title on trade missions.
Ballard praised regional and local councillors and residents who fought for an elected chair, which he said accomplished “something very special in our province”.  

April 2016

Canada Diversity 2016 

Markham Review Newspaper

website at www.markhamreview.com

April 2016 

  Canada Diversity 2016- Weekly Voice

March 2016

Canada Diversity Celebration- March 26 2016-Canada’s Diversity Celebration Team held their 5th annual Indian-Chinese Bollywood singing event at Flato Markham Theatre. Regional Councillor Joe Li organized this cultural event in collaboration with Mr. Amar Erry- President of Vedic Cultural Centre, and Mr. Joe Samion- President of Yin Hua Association of Ontario.

This Indo-Chinese Bollywood singing event provides a platform to unite many local artists, brings the two communities together, and celebrates unity and diversity in our City of Markham. The event featured a mix of 17 talented amateur singers who sang a variety of popular and classic hits in Hindi and Chinese.

 February 2016

ICBC - Indo-Canadian Business Chamber

Markham Business Delegation Reception- ICBC invites members and guests to the joint business reception hosted by Deloitte, Indian Chambers of Commerce and Indo Canadian Business Chamber for the delegates from The City of Markham, Ontario, Canada on Monday, 8th February, 2016 at Bengal Club.    

City of Markham and the City of Kolkata are linked through the cultural and business connections that have been developed by the Hakka Chinese community in respective cities. Born in Kolkata, Markham Regional Councilor Joe Li is an example of the many successful members of the Hakka community with strong ties in both cities. Mayor Frank Scarpitti is leading his third official business delegation to India since 2012. Markham’s 2016 business mission will include their first visit to Kolkata. The City of Markham is visiting Kolkata to leverage existing business and community relationships, explore new business opportunities, and encourage investment and trade between respective jurisdictions with focus on Information and Communications Technology, Healthcare/Life Sciences, Financial Services, Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services. Link: http://icbc.org.in/ai1ec_event/markham-business-delegation-reception/?instance_id


Febraury 2016

Bengali newspaper covering the City of Markham-India Trade Mission in Kolkata India

February 2016

Will the Dragon Dance Again?

Kolkata's Chinatown, the oldest in India, has been in decline for decades. An ambitious revival project now aims to alter the community's future.

November 2015 

"This Thursday, York Region Council will be voting on a motion tabled by Markham regional councillor Joe Li. Li is asking the council to endorse Newmarket-Aurora MP Chris Ballard’s private members bill calling for the chair of York Region Council to be elected by the public. Currently, only the mayors and regional councillors decide and vote on this appointment.

Arguably, the Chair is the most powerful political position in York Region government.

York Region Taxpayers Coalition supports MP Chris Ballard’s bill but we felt it didn’t go far enough in addressing genuine taxpayer issues. We’ve written our views on this bill in previous posts. See: http://www.yorktaxpayer.ca/issues/toronto-voted-on-it-why-electoral-reform-is-important-in-york-region-too/ and http://www.yorktaxpayer.ca/issues/resistance-to-democratic-reform-in-york-region/

Below is a submission we’ve made for Thursday’s council meeting on behalf of you, our members, on Regional Councillor Li’s motion:" ....



November 2015

"Markham votes yes to voting in York's regional chair"

A majority of Markham councillors have voted in favour of electing the York Region chairperson.

A motion, put forward by ward councillor Karen Rea, puts the city’s support squarely behind Bill 42 and calls on the province to get the ball moving in time for the 2018 municipal election.

The motion passed 9-4 in a recorded vote.

Councillors Alan Ho, Don Hamilton, Karen Rea, Colin Campbell, Logan Kanapathi and Alex Chiu along with Regional Councillors Jim Jones, Joe Li and Nirmala Armstrong voted in favour.

Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Regional Councillor Jack Heath and Thornhill Councillor Valerie Burke voted against the motion.

Councillor Amanda Collucci abstained, which under the Municipal Act counts as a vote against.

Rea’s motion goes hand-in-hand with Li’s motion at the regional level, to be debated Nov. 19.

In order to change the makeup of regional council, a triple majority is required. That means, a majority of regional council, a majority of municipalities and of those municipalities, they must represent a majority of York Region residents.

Markham as a whole represents about a third of York Region’s population.

“How can we spend billions of dollars to promote the democratic system in the Middle East but still practice hypocrisy in our backyard,” Li said. “We have to lead by example.”

There is growing support in the region, with motions coming before Whitchurch-Stouffville, Aurora and Richmond Hill local councils, he added.

During a debate on Rea’s motion, the current system of appointing the regional chairperson was referred to as a small circle of voters where back-door trading takes place.

“We hear a lot of ‘You support me on this and I support you on that’ type of deals,” said Robert Mok, representing the Markham Citizens Coalition for Responsive Government.

“This is just a way for mayors and councillors to push their own agendas. We need to eliminate the horse trading.”

Others disagreed.

“More elections doesn’t improve democracy,” said resident León Brumer.

It was suggested electing a chairperson opens up a Pandora’s box when it comes to campaign support, which could come from special interest groups and developers.

Regional Councillor and deputy mayor Jack Heath agreed. Having a regional chairperson backed by heavy development could pose a problem since the region does not deal with issues such as parks or greenspace.

But local mayors are also supported by development, argued Regional Councillor Nirmala Armstrong.

There has been movement to eliminate local powers over items such as planning, waste management, fire services and water and wastewater, Heath argued.

“Government should be close to the people,” he said. “We don’t want these services to disappear. There would be a power shift from Markham to the region.”

But other councillors argued power already sits in the hands of the chairperson, so the position should be made accountable.

“The chairperson is a nobody before regional council appoints him,” said Regional Councillor Jim Jones. “Then he becomes the most powerful politician. If he’s elected, he can’t kowtow to any member of (regional) council.”

York Region link: http://www.yorkregion.com/news-story/6115041-markham-votes-yes-to-voting-in-york-s-regional-chair/


November 2015

View from Queen's Park: Time to elect the Chair of York Region.

"I am pleased that Markham Regional Councillor Joe Li has asked Regional Council to support my private member’s bill. His motion, tentatively scheduled to be debated November 19, was seconded by Whitchurch-Stouffville Mayor, Justin Altman."-Chris Ballard, MPP

The Aurorian



November 2015

 Some York Region councillors pushing to have elected chair.

"In a region of 1.1 million residents, it only takes 11 people to select York’s most powerful political leader.

Markham Regional Councillor Joe Li and Whitchurch-Stouffville Mayor Justin Altmann want to change that.On Nov. 19, Li will bring in a motion, seconded by Altmann, asking councillors to make the regional chair an elected position."

Yor Region News



November 2015

 Motion for an elected Regional Chair by Regional Coucnillor Joe Li Whitchurch-Stouffville Mayor Justin Altmann.



October 2015

Regional Councillor Joe Li supporting Toronto Indian Cultural Association to present Bollywood Singer Sadhana Sargam in a spectacular community event for youths, local, and international artists.  


August 2015

"Elected Regional Chair idea makes a comeback."

In the fall of 2015, this Motion will be submitted to the Regional Municipality of York by Regional Councillor Joe Li.

The Liberal Newspaper: 






August 2015

"Motion to make York Region chair elected coming this fall

Frustrated with backroom wheeling and dealing in advance of the appointment of York Region’s chairperson, Markham Councillor Joe Li wants to make the job an elected position.

He will bring in a motion this fall asking regional council to advise the province it wants the chairperson’s job to be elected in time for the next term of council following the 2018 municipal elections. 

“I’m working on that. When I was campaigning for re-election (last year), a lot of people asked me why the regional chair is not elected, so I made a pledge if re-elected, I will make sure it’s going to happen,” said Li, adding Whitchurch-Stouffville Mayor Justin Altmann has indicated he will second the motion.

York Region News



June 2015

Regional Councillor Joe Li's Nepal Earthquake Fundraiser Event




December 2014

Official Inaugural Meeting for Markham's 2014-2018 Council- SNAPD MARKHAM- https://markham.snapd.com/index.php

Regional Councillor Joe Li & inaugural Council Meeting of the 2014-2018 elected members of Council of the City of Markham The occasion also marked the 220th anniversary of the founding of Markham held at the Flato Markham Theatre and was followed by a reception in the Markham Civic Centre Great Hall.

Photos by Darrell Hein


October 2014

Joe Li relected Markham Regional Councillor for another 4 year term. Election night victory party celebration with volunteers and supporters.

September 2014

Regional Councillor Joe Li, a founding member, supports the Lions Walk/Run for Happiness. This event helps bring awareness for  Mental Health and the proceeds go to the Canadian Mental Health Association, Markham Stouffville Hospital, and Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences. All for a great cause.

September 2014 Ward 5 All Candidiates Meeting at Black Walnut Public School.  An opportunity for all the candidates in the Municpal Elections to introduce themselves to the residents of Cornell, inform them of your platform, and a great way to connect with the Cornell community. Regional Councillor celebrated his birthday and campiagn fundraiser all on this day

September 2014



Toronto Indian Youth Proudly presented Fame Bollywood singer Babul Supriyo in a live musical show with Kutty Lead Keyboardist, Zee TV & Indian Idol Star Swagata Nag, Rishabh Dhar Exponent, Jone Shakka innovative dancer & musician, vocalist Bijoy Chakravorty, AlejandraGarcia Flamenco dancer, Finger prints Preformers, and fusion dances by Puja Amin of Sanskriti arts. Our own local children shared the stage with these great artists 


August 2014

Regional Councillor Joe Li Campaign Office- Grand Opening celebrations

Office is located at 7750 Kennedy Road , Unit 6 in Markham.

 August 2014



The Republic of Trinadad & Tobago Flag Raising Ceremony


 July 2014

Promoting Friendship between the City of Zhangjiagang & City of Markham

Markham Regional Councillor welcomed the Vice Mayor Huang Xueyuan and the business delegation from Zhangjiagang, China. 


July 2014

Naming Ceremony of Lesley Price Woodlot At Milne Dam Conservation Park.

July 2014


Sudha Om Dhingra, Dhingra Family Foundation hosted their inaugural Hindi Chetna-Dhingra Family Foundation International Literacy Awards Ceremony.


July 2014


Joe Li Fundraiser Dinner

A night of great enterainment and with deep appreciation from Joe and his Team to everyone who came out to support


July 2014

Joe Li Fundraiser Event at Markham Event Centre

June 2014

Yin Hua BBQ

June 2014

25th Anniversary of Ecole Catholique Sainte-Marguerite Bourgeoys (Markham).

A special milestone for this French community in Markham.


May 2014



Regional Councillor Recieved the Outstanding Achievement Award for his community service.

May 2014

Regional Councillor Joe Li thanking the many local Artists who participated in another successful Indian-Chinese Bollywood singing extravaganza.  He provided a great platform to unite both the Indian & Chinese community and creating a stronger bond  in the most diverse City in Canada.

April 2014



Congratulations to Regional Councillor Joe Li for another successful Indian-Chinese Bollywood singing extravaganza. He worked with 30 local artists and many volunteers over the past several months.
He worked jointly with Mr. Amar Erry from Vedic Cultural Centre, and Johnny Chung from Yin Hua Association of Ontario to celebrate rich cultures of Indian & Chinese community and created a stronger bond between the two communities in most diverse City in Canada.

April 2014



ReelWorld Film Festival in Markham.


Gala Reception Gala at the Cornll Community Centre. 




November 2013




Markham Regional Councillor Joe Li was a Sponsor for the Lions Club International District A16 - 1st Annual Lions Walk/Run for Happiness. This event helped create awareness for Mental Health and funds raised went to three major beneficiaries Markham Stouffville Hospital, The Ontario Shores Foundation for Mental Health Sciences and the Canadian Mental Health Association- York Region.


 March 31, 2013



Joe hosted Canada’s Diversity Celebration: A Musical Evening Showcasing Our Rich Culture bringing communities together, celebrating Chinese-Indian cultural diversity, through singing and music. It is co-organized by Mr. Amar Erry of the Vedic Cultural Centre and Mr. Johnny Chung of the Yin Hua (Chinese from India) Association of Ontario.  

This year’s show featured a mix of over 20 talented amateur singers of Chinese and Indian backgrounds who sang a variety of popular and classic hits in Hindi and Chinese. Our Mayor Mr. Frank Scarpitti made a special guest appearance debuting his Cantonese and Mandarin singing accompanied by a violinist and an erhuist.

The evening was a great success. It was very well-received and well-attended with a full house of over 500 guests, over 20 local singers, VIPS, and dignitaries. Click Here to view photos.

November 2, 2012

"Markham's NHL dream takes a hit, courtesy of deputy mayor"

   Joe was quoted again, questioning the Arena deal

National Post

November 1, 2012

 " Markham's NHL-size arena project losing support"

   Joe was quoted as one of Markham's biggest opponents of public funding  for the Arena project

Toronto Star

October 5, 2012

“Markham’s power play: Will plans to build a 325 million arena boost or burden the city?”

   Joe questions why the rush to push through the arena project

Toronto Star




October 4, 2012

September 28, 2012

 “What the #!%*?: An NHL-ready arena for Markham?”

“Markham arena doesn’t depend on NHL team: developer”

   Joe rails against spending public tax dollars on the arena project

National Post




September 22, 2012

 York approved reduced transit fare hike”

   Joe voted against the YRT fare hike

Markham Economist & Sun




July 13, 2012

“Added holiday shopping on hold, Region waits for completion of Toronto Review”

   Joe is supportive of holiday shopping

Markham Economist & Sun




June 27, 2012

“Markham seeks growth pointers from Swedes”

  Joe to take part in a sustainability study tour to Sweden

Markham Economist & Sun




June 13, 2012

“Markham’s Milne eyed as part of Rouge”

  Joe voted in favour of Milne Dam as part of Rouge National Park

Markham Economist & Sun




June 13, 2012

“Markham Council split on filling vacancies”

  Joe pushes for Council to set Council vacancy policy

Markham Economist & Sun




May 30, 2012

“Amendment doesn’t fix mosque parking problem”

  Joe voted against amending the Mosque parking by-law

Markham Economist & Sun




May 18, 2012

“Markham mall granted holiday exemption”

  Joe lobbied successfully for holiday shopping

Markham Economist & Sun



May 18, 2012

“Markham retail centre on quest to open holidays”

  Joe supports large-scale retail mall’s quest to open on holidays

Markham Economist & Sun




May 16, 2012

 “York Region to vote on Markham mall’s bid to open on statutory holidays”

  Joe calls the 22-year old Retail Business Holidays Act outdated

Toronto Star




May 2, 2012

“500k spent on Markham NHL-size arena consultants”

  Joe calls for the release of the cost of the arena consultants report

Markham Economist & Sun




April 29, 2012

“Markham mum on Bettman talks”

  Joe believes Markham investing in the Arena will not break even

National Post




 April 27, 2012

“James: The real price of the Markham arena”

  Joe doesn’t want to see Markham plunging into debt

Toronto Star




 April 27, 2012

“Markham backs plan for 20,000 seat arena” 

  Joe insists the Arena should be privately-funded



April 27, 2012

“NHL team icing on cake for Markham” 

“Markham oks financing for NHL-ready arena”

Joe tries to push for deferral of the Arena deal and questions the legality of voluntary contributions from developers

Markham Economist & Sun




April 25, 2012

“Confidential report details Markham’s NHL dreams” 

Joe raises questions on the financial framework of the Arena deal and prepares to motion for a deferral of the deal

Markham Economist & Sun




April 25, 2012

Trail to take route outside Milne Park” 

Joe voted in favour of an on-street option of the Milne trail

Markham Economist & Sun




April 19, 2012

“Culture key in the holiday shopping debate”

Joe voted in support of a large-scale retail mall’s exemption request

Markham Economist & Sun




 March 26, 2012

“Markham debates electing regional chair” 

Joe voted against deferring the Direct Election of Regional Chair motion

Markham Economist & Sun




 March 22, 2012

Markham mayor, councillor bristle at request to see expenses” 

Joe expensed just $5 out of his $6,500 annual discretionary budget

Markham Economist & Sun




  March 1, 2012

  February 24, 2012


“Heated debate over severance in Markham” 

“Rouge River Estates lot severance supported”

Joe voted against the severance of lots in Rouge River Estates

Markham Economist & Sun




 February 8, 2012

“Markham hikes taxes”

Joe voted against the tax hike

Markham Economist & Sun




 January 27, 2012

Hydro rate hike could pay to bury power lines”

Joe voted against the costly pilot to bury hydro lines in Markham Centre

Markham Economist & Sun




  January 27, 2012

Residents, council split on severance bylaw”

Joe voted against the severance of lots in Rouge River Estates

Markham Economist & Sun




 January 27, 2012

“Region approves tax hike”

Joe voted against Region’s tax hike  

Markham Economist & Sun




 January 27, 2012

“Business mission partner earns India award”

Joe to take part in the trade mission to India  

Markham Economist & Sun




 December 4, 2011

An initiative spearheaded by Joe, Sun Yat-Sen Avenue was officially unveiled on December 4, 2011 by Mayor Scarpitti and other Members of Council with the Federal Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney as their honoured guest.




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Joe Li is the Regional Councillor of Markham & York Region - A commitment to serve Markham. Born in India to working-class parents, Joe Li's passion for politics and success took root in his teens. While his father wanted him to work in the family business upon graduation, Joe knew he could achieve a higher purpose in life and traveled to Europe. While living in Sweden, years of hard work in the restaurant industry eventually paid off, enabling Joe to eventually own three Chinese food restaurants in Sweden. Achieving great personal success in Europe, Li always dreamed of coming to Canada - a dream that was realized in 1984. In a short time, he found his niche at the London Life Insurance Company. After several promotions, he held the prestigious title of director of Asian initiatives. VICommunity - Virtual Integrated Community, Powered by QCTI - QC Technologies Inc.