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Results: 1 - 48 of 48
View Deborah Schulte Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Deborah Schulte Profile
2019-05-01 14:21 [p.27228]
Mr. Speaker, today begins Asian Heritage Month in Canada. This provides an opportunity for everyone to learn about the history of Canada's Asian immigrants and their descendants and to celebrate their many contributions to our country. This includes the growing Asian community in my riding of King—Vaughan and in York Region.
One such celebration is the Taste of Asia Festival, organized by the City of Markham, the Federation of Chinese Canadians in Markham and the Association of Progressive Muslims of Canada and supported by many organizations and businesses. Over 180,000 people attended last year and enjoyed cultural performers, culinary artists and artisans.
One cannot speak of the festival without mentioning Dr. Ken Ng, a family physician, a community leader, chairman of the Federation of Chinese Canadians in Markham and the founder and chairman of the Taste of Asia Festival.
I invite people to come and tickle their taste buds and meet Dr. Ng and his wonderful wife, Emily, tonight at the Taste of Asia reception in Room 7-52 at 131 Queen Street from 5 p.m. to 7p.m.
Let us all kick off Asian Heritage Month together tonight.
View Jati Sidhu Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I stand before you today to acknowledge the InterCultural Online Health Network, iCON, for its efforts in advancing the well-being of multicultural and indigenous communities in British Columbia.
Celebrating 10 years of service and partnership with the South Asian community, I was happy to attend a health forum for seniors and caregivers living with diabetes and hypertension. iCON has successfully brought together key stakeholders in health, such as the B.C. Ministry of Health and its health authorities, health care providers, patients and families. iCON has started a dialogue on health care issues to help educate communities with workshops and web-based resources.
I encourage the Minister of Health to connect with Dr. Cheema and Dr. Ho, iCON leaders, to explore how we can bring iCON to communities throughout the country.
View Geng Tan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Geng Tan Profile
2019-02-20 14:03 [p.25547]
Mr. Speaker, last night marked the official end of the two-week Spring Festival 2019, which was celebrated in Canada and around the world.
Ever since I was a child, the annual Spring Festival has remained one of my favourite holidays. I will always remember the fireworks, food, red packets and family gatherings that accompany the celebrations. For the past two weeks, we have enjoyed spending time with our families and friends while remembering the contributions made by our ancestors.
Canada's strength comes from the richness of our cultures and the diversity of our people. Therefore, as we celebrate the Year of the Pig in 2019, we must all do our part to keep improving this country we love.
View John Oliver Profile
Lib. (ON)
View John Oliver Profile
2019-02-08 11:15 [p.25450]
Mr. Speaker, this week marked the beginning of the spring festival or lunar new year. I am pleased to join with the many Canadians who are celebrating the lunar new year, which offers a great occasion to acknowledge the important role of Chinese-Canadian communities in my riding of Oakville and across the country. From coast to coast to coast, Chinese Canadians are helping build a stronger, more inclusive Canada.
This year, we celebrate the Year of the Pig, an animal symbolizing wealth and good fortune. During this time of new beginnings, I encourage everyone to reflect on the successes of the past year and look toward new opportunities.
Over the past week, I have joined in the celebrations with the Oakville Chinese network Society, the Oakville Jiu-Jiu Senior Association, and I wish the best of luck to the Halton Region Chinese Canadian Association for its gala tomorrow evening. I look forward to celebrating with the Oakville Chinese Residents Association later this weekend.
I wish everyone a year filled with peace, happiness, good health and great prosperity.
Gong hey fat choy. Gong xi fa cai.
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2019-02-05 14:01 [p.25274]
Mr. Speaker, today marks the beginning of the lunar new year for members of the Canadian Chinese community and Seollal for the Korean Canadian community. We mark the arrival of the Year of the Pig, a great symbol of prosperity.
The lunar new year is an opportunity for members of our communities to reflect on the successes of the past year and to look forward to new beginnings. It is also a great time to build deeper connections with our friends, families and neighbours.
On behalf of my riding of Willowdale, I wish to mark this happy occasion as a year filled with peace, prosperity, good health and great happiness. Gong xi fa cai. Gong hey fat choy. Gong xi. Gong xi. Xin nian kuai le. Saehae bok manui badeuseyo.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jenny Kwan Profile
2019-02-05 14:04 [p.25274]
Mr. Speaker, today 1.5 billion people worldwide celebrate the lunar new year. Across the country, events are held to ring in the Year of the Pig. This past weekend I celebrated with the Korean community with food, song and dance. The Vietnamese community, which is vibrant from Vancouver to Toronto to Montreal, cherishes the values of respect for human rights and the environment and began its celebration with the honouring of the ancestors.
Aside from numerous gala dinners hosted by clan associations, this Sunday, Vancouver's Chinatown will once again be packed with people from all walks of life for the annual lunar new year parade. Central to the celebrations are family and friends.
As I invite all of Canada to celebrate the Year of the Pig, I also ask the government to eliminate the cap for parents and grandparents sponsorship so that all hard-working Canadians who have helped build our country can unite with their loved ones.
I wish everyone good health and prosperity in the Year of the Pig.
Chuc mung nam moi. Gong hey fat choy. Xin nian kuai le.
View Jean Yip Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Jean Yip Profile
2019-02-05 14:11 [p.25276]
Mr. Speaker, today is the first day of the spring festival, or the lunar new year. In my riding of Scarborough—Agincourt, we celebrate lunar new year with many diverse communities.
Lunar new year is more than just a celebration for Asian communities. It is now celebrated widely across Canada. Everyone can enjoy the festive events, appreciate the new year foods and get together with friends and family.
According to one legend, the pig was the last to arrive at the zodiac table, but the pig persisted in its efforts to arrive. Those born under this sign are both diligent and generous. As we welcome the Year of the Pig, I would like to wish all Canadians a year filled with happiness, prosperity and longevity.
Chuc mung nam moi. Saehae bok manui badeuseyo. Shen ti jian kang. Wan shi ru yi. Gong hey fat choy.
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Joyce Murray Profile
2019-02-05 14:17 [p.25277]
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to join the many Canadians celebrating lunar new year and to take this occasion to acknowledge the important role and contributions of Asian-Canadian communities in Canada.
In 2019, we celebrate the Year of the Pig, an animal symbolizing wealth and good fortune. During this time of new beginnings, we reflect on successes of the past year and look toward new opportunities.
In Vancouver Quadra, the University Neighbourhoods Association always hosts a colourful and fun family event, and in Vancouver, Chinatown's Lunar New Year Festival day is legendary. I cannot wait to attend these and many other celebrations to mark the lunar new year with friends and constituents.
I wish all Canadians a successful Year of the Pig, replete with peace, happiness, good health and great prosperity.
Xin nian kuai le. Gong hey fat choy.
View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2019-02-04 14:05 [p.25196]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today on the eve of the lunar new year in the House of Commons to welcome the Year of the Pig, an animal that symbolizes the prosperity and good fortune that can be built with hard work and a little luck. Across the community in Richmond Hill, Canadians of Asian-Pacific heritage will ring in the new year tonight, and I will join them in their celebrations at Times Square for the official countdown.
I am pleased to have been able to partner with Times Square for this celebration and look forward to spending time with the Chinese-Canadian community in Richmond Hill tomorrow at the Liaoning Chamber of Commerce, where I can share my first-hand experience visiting China this January, where I had the opportunity to learn about the strong trade and economic, education and cultural linkages between both countries.
As families bring generations to the table for their celebratory dinners, I wish each one of them, xin nian kuai le, gong hey fat choy and gong xi fa cai.
View Majid Jowhari Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Majid Jowhari Profile
2018-09-28 11:03 [p.21978]
Mr. Speaker, this past weekend, I had the unique privilege of joining our Prime Minister at the mid-autumn moon gala, hosted by the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto.
Traditionally a celebration of the harvest and success after a long year, across Richmond Hill and the greater Toronto area, the Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese communities came together with family and friends to give thanks for good fortune.
As the autumn leaves change before our eyes, Canadians of all cultures and backgrounds will celebrate this time of renewal and traditional harvest with a diversity of observances. Whether it is the mid-autumn festival, Jashn-e Mehregan, or a Thanksgiving dinner, let us take a moment to pause as the season shifts and take stock of the things that matter in our lives, to reconnect with our family and friends.
View Geng Tan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Geng Tan Profile
2018-09-24 14:06 [p.21707]
Mr. Speaker, today many families from across Canada will reunite to celebrate the mid-autumn festival, a special day of togetherness with loved ones and friends. It is an opportunity to champion the benefits of a vibrant multicultural Canada, where diversity is our strength. It is also a chance to celebrate the many contributions made by Asian Canadians, whose culture, traditions and heritage enrich the lives of all Canadians.
It is in this spirit of celebration and togetherness that I welcome parliamentarians from all parties to celebrate the mid-autumn festival in the Sir John A. Macdonald Building right after tonight's vote.
View Alice Wong Profile
CPC (BC)
View Alice Wong Profile
2018-09-24 14:07 [p.21707]
Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my constituents in Richmond, I am excited to join Canadians of Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese descent in celebration of the mid-autumn festival, when families and friends will come together in harmony under the full moon for good food and fellowship. Originally a Chinese harvest tradition focused around moon worship, the moon festival now celebrates giving thanks, unity and prayer.
While I encourage all Canadians to join their neighbours in celebrating this special festival, I also offer my thoughts and prayers to those who have been affected by the two tornadoes that struck the national capital region this past weekend. The moon will shine again tonight.
[Member spoke in Cantonese]
[English]
I wish everyone a happy moon festival.
View Joe Peschisolido Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, on Saturday, I joined the Richmond Chinese Community Society at Lansdowne Centre in celebrating mid-autumn festival. I would like to thank Linda Li, Thomas Yu, Phyllis Chan, Michael Chiu, and all the great volunteers at RCCS for organizing this great annual event.
This festival was a time for friends and loved ones to get together to celebrate the harvest and the achievements over the past 12 months.
I am honoured to rise today to extend my best wishes to the people of Steveston—Richmond East and all of Canada on this autumnal equinox.
I wish everyone joyous celebrations and a happy, prosperous year.
View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2018-09-21 11:06 [p.21648]
Mr. Speaker, this Monday, Canadians of Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese descent will give thanks, celebrating the mid-autumn festival. Also known as the moon festival, this is a time for family and friends to celebrate the fall harvest and to be thankful for the past year of success. Loved ones will gather to enjoy traditional moon-cakes, light lanterns, share stories, give gifts and admire the beauty of the full moon.
Tonight, constituents from my riding of Don Valley West will mark this event at the Mosaic Living Club and at Top Kids education centre with good food, fun, festivities, children and families. As communities across this great country come together to celebrate, let us all look ahead to a future filled with prosperity and good fortune. From my family we wish everyone a happy autumn festival.
View Mary Ng Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mary Ng Profile
2018-05-25 11:10 [p.19681]
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to speak about Asian Heritage Month.
From athletes and entertainers, to business owners and community volunteers, Asian Canadians have made an incredible contribution to our country.
The 2003 SARS outbreak was a challenging time for the Asian-Canadian community when so many people grew afraid of shopping at Asian businesses. Community leaders in Markham—Thornhill rose to the challenge, and in doing so, encouraged others to do the same.
The first Taste of Asia festival brought the community together to promote local businesses and gave us a reason to celebrate who we are and the heritage that binds us. For the last 16 years, the leadership of the organizers, the Federation of Chinese Canadians in Markham and the Association of Progressive Muslims of Canada, have been a shining example of how Asian Canadians have helped make our country the compassionate and prosperous nation we know today.
I look forward to seeing many members in Markham on June 23 and 24 for this year's Taste of Asia Festival.
View Bob Saroya Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bob Saroya Profile
2018-05-08 14:05 [p.19240]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to recognize the month of May as Asian Heritage Month. It is a time to celebrate and reflect on the contributions that Canadians of Asian heritage have made to Canada.
I proudly represent the riding of Markham—Unionville, which is home to a large and thriving Asian community. Canadians of Asian heritage in Markham and across Canada are active members of our communities and contribute to our national life.
Canadians from all backgrounds stand together to honour the legacy of Canadians of Asian heritage who, throughout our history, have played a major role in moulding Canada into the culturally diverse, energetic, and prosperous nation we know today.
View Jean Yip Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Jean Yip Profile
2018-05-01 14:16 [p.18989]
Mr. Speaker, my riding, Scarborough—Agincourt, is one of the most diverse in Canada.
There are people who have come from across the world, but in particular from Asia, people from the Tamil community, the Philippines, India, Korea, Pakistan, Vietnam, many different parts of China, and more. This diversity is a source of strength. As a Canadian of Asian descent, I am proud to see how many of these communities have made an impact on Canadian society over the course of our country's history.
Every May during Asian Heritage Month, we celebrate their ongoing contributions to our communities. I encourage all Canadians to take the time to explore the many cultural festivals that will be happening this month, and to try different cuisines. If people are looking to embark on some culinary exploration, they should come to Scarborough—Agincourt. Believe me, we have everything.
View Deborah Schulte Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Deborah Schulte Profile
2018-02-14 14:13 [p.17179]
Mr. Speaker, February 16 marks the start of the lunar new year, and the month has been filled with lunar new year celebrations across Canada and in my riding. I have had the honour of being invited to the Tet Festival hosted by the Vietnamese Association and the lunar new year celebration at Vaughan City Hall, and I have several more wonderful lunar new year events to attend over the next few weeks.
I want to thank the Federation of Chinese Canadians, Dr. Ken Ng, the Vietnamese Association, and the Korean community for sharing their rich heritage and culture with Canadians and for helping to host a number of wonderful events.
On behalf of my colleagues in the House, we wish good fortune, good health, and a year of happiness to all those celebrating.
[Member spoke in Korean]
[Member spoke in Vietnamese]
[Member spoke in Chinese]
[English]
Happy new year.
View Alice Wong Profile
CPC (BC)
View Alice Wong Profile
2017-10-04 14:13 [p.13911]
Mr. Speaker, I am thrilled to join all Canadians of Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese descent to celebrate the mid-autumn festival today. It is the time of the year when the moon is at its brightest and fullest. This celebration dates back centuries and is associated with fertility, rejuvenation, and gratitude for a bountiful harvest.
Tonight, families and loved ones will gather under the full moon to light beautiful lanterns, exchange gifts and stories, and share traditional foods.
Canada is home to a number of vibrant Asian communities that have helped shape our society for the better and contributed tremendously to Canada's success.
I encourage all Canadians to participate in these community celebrations with our Asian friends and neighbours and to learn more about this holiday. On behalf of the riding of Richmond Centre, I wish all those celebrating a happy mid-autumn festival.
View Bob Saroya Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bob Saroya Profile
2017-10-04 14:17 [p.13911]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the House to wish the very best to the Chinese community in Markham—Unionville and around the world who celebrate the coming moon festival. Zhongqiu jié kuàilè.
Today, tens of thousands of residents will celebrate this day, also known as the mid-autumn festival. On this day of the Chinese calendar, the moon is believed to be its brightest. This festival has been taking place in China for over 3,000 years. Traditionally, it began as worship of the sun and moon and prayers for a good harvest. Today, the moon festival is an occasion for families to spend time together, eat festive food, including traditional mooncake, and enjoy Chinese tea.
As the member of Parliament for Markham—Unionville, I wish everyone taking part in the mid-autumn festival a safe and happy time. I cannot wait to join in the celebration.
Zhongqiu jié kuàilè.
View Shaun Chen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Shaun Chen Profile
2017-10-03 14:04 [p.13863]
Mr. Speaker, tomorrow Canadians of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese descent will give thanks in celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival. Also known as the Moon Festival, this is a time for family and friends to celebrate the harvest and be thankful for the past year of successes. Tomorrow night, loved ones will gather to enjoy traditional mooncakes, light lanterns, and admire the beauty of the full moon, its brightness and roundness a symbol of families coming together.
Last Saturday, I joined constituents in my riding of Scarborough North at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto to mark this year's festivities with good wishes for the upcoming year.
As communities across this great country come together to celebrate, let us all look ahead to a future filled with prosperity and good fortune.
From my family to everyone, happy Mid-Autumn Festival.
[Member spoke in Mandarin]
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2017-10-02 14:03 [p.13773]
Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for one of Canada's most diverse ridings, I deeply appreciate the immense contributions that generations of Asian Canadians have made to our great country. In that spirit, I am proud to rise today in celebration of two wonderful events taking place on Parliament Hill this week.
This evening, I am pleased to welcome Korean Canadians from across Canada to a joint celebration of Canada's 150th anniversary and Korea's National Foundation Day. In addition, on Wednesday it will be my honour to co-host a mid-autumn festival on the Hill in celebration of the upcoming harvest.
[Member spoke in Korean]
View Geng Tan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Geng Tan Profile
2017-05-02 14:14 [p.10646]
Mr. Speaker, the month of May is Asian Heritage Month. It is a time to celebrate the many contributions of Canadians of Asian heritage to the growth and prosperity of Canada.
As the member of Parliament for Don Valley North, I invite Canadians of all backgrounds to learn more this month about the many ways Canadians of Asian origin have enriched our country. Their struggles and achievements helped transform Canada into the culturally diverse, compassionate, and prosperous nation we know today.
Asian Heritage Month is an excellent opportunity for all Canadians to take part in the many events happening this month in celebration of various Asian cultures. Please join in this celebration.
View Terry Duguid Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Terry Duguid Profile
2017-02-03 11:17 [p.8438]
Mr. Speaker, this past Saturday was the beginning of the lunar new year. I would like to send my best wishes to all those of Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese heritage celebrating in Winnipeg South and across Canada. For many, the lunar new year is the most important and festive holiday of the year, a time to gather with family and friends.
During this week's celebrations, we welcome the arrival of the Year of the Rooster. The rooster symbolizes honesty, brightness, and ambition, and I hope the year is filled with these outstanding attributes.
I would like to recognize the numerous community groups and associations in Winnipeg which invited me to join their celebrations.
May the upcoming year bring members and their loved ones peace, prosperity, good health, and great happiness.
Xin Nian Kuai Le. Gong Hey Fat Choy. Happy Year of the Rooster.
View Alice Wong Profile
CPC (BC)
View Alice Wong Profile
2017-01-31 14:04 [p.8235]
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to extend greetings to all my colleagues and Canadians across our country on the occasion of the lunar new year. This year, as we celebrate the Year of the Rooster, we recognize the importance of hard work and seek success in our workplaces. The rooster is punctual, responsible, and dynamic.
As those with Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese heritage gather to celebrate this joyous occasion, I am reminded of how fortunate we are to live in Canada, where there is such a rich and diverse multicultural mosaic.
I encourage all my colleagues to participate in local lunar new year events, join us as we welcome in the new year, and continue our celebration for at least two more weeks.
On behalf of my family, I wish everyone a happy and prosperous Year of the Rooster.
Gong Hey Fat Choy. Xin Nian Kwai Le.
View Geng Tan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Geng Tan Profile
2017-01-30 14:12 [p.8129]
Mr. Speaker, I believe many parliamentarians have been participating in Spring Festival celebrations in ridings across Canada with their families and friends. It is the most important celebration of the year for many Asian Canadians. That is thanks to the passage of my Spring Festival motion last June. The Government of Canada now proclaims the first day of every Lunar Year as the beginning of the 15-day Spring Festival.
To celebrate the Spring Festival on the Hill, the Canada-China Legislative Association is hosting a reception tomorrow, Tuesday, January 31, at 4:00 p.m. in room 160-S in Centre Block. It is my pleasure to invite all my colleagues to attend.
Happy Chinese New Year.
View Geng Tan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Geng Tan Profile
2016-06-17 11:09 [p.4680]
Madam Speaker, my Spring Festival motion was passed on June 1. Therefore, beginning in spring 2017, the Government of Canada will proclaim the first day of the Lunar Year as the beginning of the 15-day Spring Festival.
I thank all my colleagues, including the Minister of Canadian Heritage, for their unanimous support. Now we can really make a difference, something solid.
I would invite each of my colleagues to do something special in his or her own riding to celebrate Spring Festival 2017. If members organize or participate in a Spring Festival celebration, I can assure them that it will be well received by all Canadians, including Asian Canadians.
Next year marks Canada's 150th anniversary. Let us make it a great year for everyone. Let us spring into action.
View Geng Tan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Geng Tan Profile
2016-06-01 18:12 [p.3904]
moved:
That, in the opinion of the House, the government should, on an annual basis, proclaim the first day of the Lunar Year as the beginning of the 15-day “Spring Festival”, in acknowledgement of the many celebrations and gatherings that take place in communities across the country, as well as in recognition of the tremendous contributions of people of Asian heritage to Canadian society.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak today on Motion No. 38.
In the springtime, many families in Canada and around the world pay special attention to the first day of the lunar new year, which marks the beginning of the 15-day spring festival.
Spring festival, sometimes called the Chinese new year, has existed for over 4,000 years. It is the most important and festive holiday in Asia. Millions of Asians around the world celebrate spring festival, including those in China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, just to name a few.
Many customs accompany the spring festival. People do a major spring cleaning of their houses, their clothes, and their utensils. A number of goods are purchased for the new year, including edible oil, rice, flour, chicken, duck, fish, meat, fruit, candies, and nuts. Children receive new clothes, shoes, and red packets with good luck money, and they exchange gifts with seniors, friends, and relatives.
There are fireworks, a dragon dance, kitchen gods, the beating of drums and cymbals, and many celebrations. Chinese eat noodles and dumplings called jiaozi to signify a long life and the end and the beginning of time.
Traditionally, the festival was a time to honour ancestors. It was the one time of the year when people could rest. Family members from near and far would travel to be with loved ones in time to usher out the old year and welcome in the new.
Today, all over China, passenger trains, buses, planes, and river boats are packed with millions of holiday travellers. Shops do a lot of business, kitchens are busy preparing elaborate feasts, and the streets are filled with the sounds of firecrackers. It is the time for entire families to reunite for an average of 15 days. Most employees will get vacations, while students take a one-month absence from school.
Martin Palmer, a British expert on China, once said that spring festival is an exact Chinese cultural symbol when all its elements are assembled, namely kitchen gods, lion and dragon dances, red packets offered to family, and symbols of good luck.
The two key reasons for the festival are to celebrate a year of hard work, have a good rest, and reunite with family; and to wish for a lucky and prosperous coming year.
Asian communities in Canada are well organized. The Chinese community, for instance, has many community centres and media outlets serving the population. It has a long history dating back to the 19th century. Starting in the 1890s, cities and larger towns developed their own Chinatown districts in Canada.
The Chinese Canadian community is currently the largest ethnic group of Asian Canadians, centred mainly in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. In a 2011 survey, Chinese Canadians, including mixed Chinese and other ethnic groups, made up 4.5% of the Canadian population, or about 1.5 million. As the Chinese Canadian population in Canada continues to grow, Chinese culture has become an integral part of the Canadian cultural landscape.
Chinese Canadians were essential to the building of Canada's Pacific railway and joined the Canadian Armed Forces in World War II.
Unfortunately, beginning in the 1880s, hundreds of Chinese railway workers died in Canada due to accidents, winter cold, illness, and hunger. It is said that at least four Chinese workers died for every mile of track laid.
Canada's first prime minister, John A. Macdonald, said that British Columbia could either have Chinese workers on the railway or no Chinese workers and no railway. Since British Columbia's entry into Confederation was contingent on construction of a national railway, without the Canadian Pacific Railway there would be no Canada.
It is our responsibility to remember the exceptional contributions made to the Canadian mosaic and culture by people of Asian background. My motion is an opportunity to commemorate not only what the Asian community contributed to Canada but the Canadian government's recent support for the Asian community to tell their story.
Canada is a multicultural society, whose ethnocultural makeup has been shaped over time by immigrants and their descendants. Each new wave of immigration has added to the nation's ethnic and cultural composition. Canada's population includes six million people, about 20% of the population, who were born outside of Canada. Recent immigrants to this country are more likely to have come from Asia and the Middle East than from other countries. It is, therefore, not surprising that Asian traditions, such as the spring festival, are celebrated by an increasing number of people in Canada every year.
In 2014, over 153,000 Chinese students were studying in Canada, representing the largest group of foreign students in our country. International students enrich our classrooms and their knowledge and skills are welcome in our schools.
Multiculturalism makes life better for all Canadians and helps to build strong, diverse communities. Many Canadians are interested in learning about Asia, but do not have the opportunity to travel outside of Canada. The spring festival is a fun way to learn more about Asian customs and family traditions from within Canada. Here we can bring this tradition into focus and have the community serving together, enjoying the day and the time with the greater community. This fits with the spirit of multiculturalism.
Many Canadian cities join their Chinese neighbours in the celebration of these festivities. For instance, the Canada-China Business Association stages a multicultural spring festival event in Richmond, B.C. Although the spring festival is not a nationwide public holiday in Canada, it is a festive occasion for many people.
Prime ministers of Canada have celebrated the lunar new year and spring festival and issued official statements honouring the spring festival. Canadian organizations participate in Chinese new year. For example, since 2011, Canada Post creates a new stamp annually to commemorate the Chinese new year with an animal. In the past, the Royal Canadian Mint marked the event with a series of new coins. It is my hope that this annual announcement will contribute to the enrichment of Chinese Canadian history knowledge for both Chinese Canadians and mainstream Canadian society.
It is important to remember that the Chinese community in Canada put down historical roots, not just in China but on both sides of the Pacific. Motion No. 38 would encourage Canadians of Asian descent to carry on the rich traditions of their heritage, reminding us again that Canada's strength comes from the richness of our cultures and the diversity of our people to recognize the important contributions Asian Canadians have made to Canada and to honour their values of hard work, enterprise, and community. The spring festival is a non-partisan and non-religious event.
Motion No. 38 encourages participation in the cultural life of Canada. The motion builds on the fact that the festival has already become part of Canadian culture. Many of the Asian organizations in America and around the world hold large celebrations and parades to share its spring festivity. Cities like Sydney, London, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco have held many successful lunar new year parades that attract thousands of crowds every year.
Motion No. 38 would enable Canadians to maximize opportunities for future generations and to embrace the natural linkages between this country and the Asia Pacific region. This motion would bring together friends from Asia and Canada, and makes Asian culture accessible to the local mainstream and minority communities. The celebration of the Chinese new year has served as a platform for bringing the community together and reminding that diversity and inclusion are sources of strength.
We are stronger, as Canadians, because of our diversity. We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic, different people, different beliefs, different festivals, different dreams but one country. Our differences make us stronger. We should celebrate our diversity and learn to work together. The Government of Canada believes in a united Canada that looks forward with a shared purpose; a country that is strong, not in spite of our individual differences but because of them.
Earlier this week, I explained in writing to all my colleagues in the House exactly why Motion No. 38 was good for Canada and for all Canadians. I would ask for the support of MPs from all parties in the hope that we can expedite this motion and officially recognize this significant event, spring festival, across Canada.
I am pleased to note that I have received widespread support, bordering on high praise and heartfelt encouragement from virtually all my colleagues across party lines for Motion No. 38, for example, from the hon. members for Richmond Centre, Vancouver East, Vancouver Kingsway, and the Scarborough ridings. I wish to thank everyone and every party for their full support and hearty encouragement.
I ask members to please support Motion No. 38 and join Asian Canadians at the spring festival 2017. Remember to have plenty of food and drink, and do not forget the dancing. Xièxie.
View Deepak Obhrai Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for bringing this motion in front of the House. Indeed, he can count on our support for this motion. It is a great motion for spring festival. It is a great way to celebrate the Asian heritage. During my speech, I will allude to the bigger festival that automatically comes from Asia.
Just as a little context, as I was saying to my friend from Lloydminster, in Canada we come out of winter. When we come out in spring, we go into farming. We go seeding and everything, and start working. In our case, we come out after the harvest is done. Indeed, I will be supporting the motion with my colleague from Richmond.
View Geng Tan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Geng Tan Profile
2016-06-01 18:26 [p.3906]
Mr. Speaker, indeed, spring festivals and other ethnic group celebrations have been in Canada for many years. More Canadians know this celebration. As I mentioned, the prime ministers of Canada and other government officials, and virtually everybody knows of a spring festival celebration. During that time of year, we can see it everywhere. We can see it in shops, in gas stations, in department stores, and in restaurants. All have signs of the celebration for the spring festival.
As I said in my speech, this is good for Canada because diversity is our strength, not our weakness. Again, as mentioned by the hon. member, the winter in Canada is very long so we need more celebrations.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jenny Kwan Profile
2016-06-01 18:27 [p.3906]
Mr. Speaker, it is important to recognize the celebration of lunar new year or spring festival for the Asian community, so I welcome the member's motion.
In order to further the celebration and the recognition of the contributions of the Asian community, what other suggestions might the member have to advance for the government to undertake that would give concrete results in recognition of the Asian community's contribution to building Canada?
View Geng Tan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Geng Tan Profile
2016-06-01 18:27 [p.3906]
Mr. Speaker, the most important thing right now is to promote awareness of this event to every Canadian, just like other large-scale events, for example Black History Month and Asian Heritage Month.
I suggest that some day the spring festival will become a big celebration in Canada.
View Arnold Chan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Arnold Chan Profile
2016-06-01 18:28 [p.3906]
Mr. Speaker, I want to join my colleagues from Calgary Forest Lawn and Vancouver East in congratulating my colleague and fellow neighbour to the west of my riding, my colleague from Don Valley North, for his introduction of Motion No. 38 before the House today.
I, along with my other colleagues on all sides of the aisle, join in congratulating my friend in introducing the motion and recognizing that lunar new year and the lunar festival is a significant event celebrated by Asian communities around the globe, including in Canada. I and my friend from Don Valley North, along with many others, have engaged in many activities during this festival.
I want to follow-up also on the suggestion by my friend from Vancouver East particularly as it relates to 2017. Does he have any additional suggestions that could perhaps highlight the importance of not only the contributions of Asian Canadians, but to celebrate the tremendous diversity that Asian communities have contributed to Canada's diversity and pluralism?
View Geng Tan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Geng Tan Profile
2016-06-01 18:29 [p.3907]
Mr. Speaker, I fully agree with the comments made by my hon. colleague. It is something big for us. The spring festival is not just one celebration. We are remembering the contributions made by Chinese Canadians over 100 years.
I would suggest that other big communities probably have similar things to share with Canadians. Canada is a beautiful country. We welcome people from all over the world to join our country. At the same time, we welcome people to bring the best of their culture and traditions to our country and make our country more colourful.
View Deepak Obhrai Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour for me to rise up during spring and talk about the spring festival.
As Canadians, we all love festivals. Most of our festivals, due to the weather, are in summer. We should not forget the traditions that have come from other parts of the world to Canada today, which is home to millions of Asians who live in this country.
I want to commend my colleague for highlighting the contributions of Asian-Canadians to the society of Canada. I am delighted. I want to thank my hon. colleague from Richmond for giving me this spot to speak and highlight more about the spring festival.
In Asia, there are spring festivals. The spring festival comes from the countries of Southeast Asia. I have a very large community of Vietnamese-Canadians living in my riding who celebrate spring festival. It is a joyous occasion that we always look forward to. We look forward to it not only because of celebrating with them, but we look forward to understanding the great achievements they have made.
When we go down to the spring festivals and cultural shows, it is just outstanding. It is absolutely outstanding. Do not forget about the great food and the 10-course dinners that we get, which my hon. colleague just enjoyed in Vancouver. He greatly enjoys the cultural heritage of the Chinese community. It does not matter whether it is from Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, or wherever, it is an honour to be there.
I must give credit, as the cultural events that are performed by these great groups are outstanding and a great heritage to Canada. While we can say that this is a Vietnamese show or a Chinese show or an Indian show, or whatever, ultimately it boils down to the fact that they are Canadian shows. They are done by young Canadians.
It is great, and we are honoured that in this great land of ours, without going to distant countries, we can see the diversity and the cultural heritage. Spring festival is part of that. I would be remiss if I did not say that I think it is a great thing to organize, and to recognize our fellow Asians on this occasion.
Similar to spring festival, another great festival that comes from Asia is the Vaisakhi celebration. It is celebrated in China and other countries. The Vaisakhi is a celebration when the harvest is done and people want to go out and celebrate. It is a great spring celebration that we can see across this country, with great parades taking place.
On the other hand, in India they celebrate Holi, which is throwing colours onto each other. I have been a victim of that colour throwing. Again, it is part and parcel of the festival, and part and parcel of Asian heritage. Indeed, it goes without saying that it is a great thing that we in Canada celebrate the diversity of our history.
The hon. member talked about the Chinese head tax and the recent apology made by the Prime Minister about the Komagata Maru, all of those things. In putting all of this behind us as we look forward and move forward, these festivals bring the richness of the culture and push the past away.
It is quite a great pleasure and honour to be supporting this motion and recognizing the contributions made by Asians in this country. I will just say in closing, let us celebrate the celebrations for everyone. Let us celebrate our land and move on.
To everyone I say, enjoy the spring celebrations.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jenny Kwan Profile
2016-06-01 18:35 [p.3907]
Mr. Speaker, let me first acknowledge and congratulate the member for Don Valley North for bringing this motion forward. Indeed, this is a motion that I will certainly support.
As well, I want to begin this debate by acknowledging the first peoples of this land for allowing us to build our lives here. All of us who are not indigenous came from other places to make Canada our home. Over the years, Canada has become a wonderful multicultural country that was built by the faces of this world. To that end, I want to acknowledge the first peoples, and then pay tribute to the multicultural community for the fantastic contributions they have made over these many years to building Canada.
This motion acknowledges specifically the spring festival that is celebrated by the Asian community. When I talk about the Asian community, it is much broader than just the Chinese community. It is celebrated by people from China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam. People from all of the different places in the Asian community celebrate the spring festival.
The Spring festival has a very interesting origin, which is traced back thousands of years, from a series of traditions and legends. One of the most famous that I remember as a little girl growing up is that of the Nian. As we were told, this famous Nian is believed to be a monstrous beast that would come and attack us and we would all run scared, and so on. History has it that we would do different things to ward off the Nian. We would use the red couplets that are seen from time to time in celebration of the Asian community. They are two red pieces of paper with a little Chinese poem written on it in Chinese black or gold ink. Sometimes we would light firecrackers to ward off this monster. That is the legend that we were brought up to believe.
Of course, in celebrating it, I remember as a little girl that the thing I loved about it the most is this. In preparation for it my mother would clean the house 10 days before the lunar new year, we would clean the house from corner to corner. We were given new slippers, new pyjamas, new clothes, and fantastic food. Of course come lunar new year's day we would get the red pockets. The most exciting thing for us about the red pockets is that there was money in them. For a little girl to get a dollar or whatever amount of money is very exciting. Then relatives and friends come to visit, and we would visit them, collect more red pockets with money, and fill our pockets full of candies. It was an enormous celebration. This is what I remember when I was a little girl in Hong Kong.
Then we immigrated to Canada, there was very little known about the lunar new year festival. We came in 1976, when I was a little girl, and we sort of celebrated among ourselves, with a few friends, but other than that there really was not much going on. I will say this. Over the years I have been so happy to see the celebration and acknowledgement of the lunar new year. Right now in Vancouver is the 43rd anniversary of the lunar new year parade. I remember when it first started. There was maybe a parade of 10 or 20 people. It was not very big. However, over the years we are now up to over 100,000 people who come to the parade, rain or shine. It is absolutely a tremendous celebration. It is not just people in the Asian community who come out to celebrate it. These are people from all walks of life. I dare say that we have had elected officials from all levels of government, and people from this very House, who have come and celebrated the lunar new year parade with us in Vancouver, including prime ministers. I would say that politicians would fight to get to the front of the line to be seen in this parade. Now it is absolutely a celebration that is recognized by all walks of life.
To bring this celebration together takes a lot of hard work. It does not just happen by itself. There are a lot of people behind the scenes. There are tremendous volunteers who work at the celebration every year. As soon as it is over, they are once again planning for the next year's celebration.
To that end, I would like to acknowledge, particularly from my community in east Vancouver, the Chinatown spring festival parade organizers: the Chinese Benevolent Association, the Chinese Cultural Centre, the Chinatown Merchants Association, SUCCESS, the Chinese Freemasons, and the Shon Yee Benevolent Association. They toil day and night preparing for this giant parade. Not only that, after the parade, we accumulate over 1,000 people in the largest restaurant that we have in the Lower Mainland. We all gather there and have a feast to continue the celebration.
Of course, as per the tradition, the lunar new year does not just end on the first day, but continues on, weeks on end. So many of the clan associations carry on the festive atmosphere well into spring. In fact, just last week I attended a community event and we still were celebrating the lunar new year festival and bringing in the new year.
This year, the year of the monkey, the lunar new year was actually February 9, and we are now June 1. The good member here has brought this motion forward, and months later we are still talking about the lunar new year festival. To recognize it and declare it in this sense so it is shared among all the communities across the country is a wonderful gesture.
I should also acknowledge that the city of Vancouver, over the years, has also made its declaration in recognition of the lunar new year celebration. The province of British Columbia has done the same for many years now. In fact, a family day was established.
The family day history actually started with a conversation with a number of people in our community. They thought it would be great to have a family day in the month of February, when we did not have a statutory holiday, and to time it so it would fall during the time of the lunar new year festival. That is how family day came about. Now, it does not exactly fall on the lunar new year day, because every year that day changes. Therefore, it is kind of hard to pick the actual date, because it changes every year with the lunar new year calendar, but it is close enough. That is the origin of the family day celebration in British Columbia.
I am very delighted to support the motion. There is no question that the more we talk about different cultures, the more we engage and embrace each other, the more we celebrate who we are and what we are about, and share that information, we are only going to enhance the spirit of multiculturalism, the knowledge and education of each other and to appreciate the different cultures we bring to the table with that celebration. We have truly reached what we have all strived so hard to do in the spirit of multiculturalism, which is the recognition and full participation of every community in all walks of life in what we do together as one.
I want to thank the member for bringing this motion forward. I look forward to the support of all members of the House for this motion so we can all walk in unison, with harmony and in a good way to celebrate each and every one of us, no matter who we are or where we come from.
View Randy Boissonnault Profile
Lib. (AB)
View Randy Boissonnault Profile
2016-06-01 18:44 [p.3908]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address Motion No. 38, which states:
That, in the opinion of the House, the government should, on an annual basis, proclaim the first day of the Lunar Year as the beginning of the 15-day “Spring Festival”, in acknowledgement of the many celebrations and gatherings that take place in communities across the country, as well as in recognition of the tremendous contributions of people of Asian heritage to Canadian society.
I support this motion, and I am honoured to be here to speak about an event of exceptional significance to a great number of Canadians, the lunar new year and spring festival.
As members know, this government is strongly committed to diversity and inclusion. As was noted in the Speech from the Throne, we strongly believe that Canada's strength is its diversity and our country is strong because of our differences, not in spite of them. Our shared experiences and diversity are a source of inspiration both in Canada and around the world.
For many Canadians, the lunar new year is one of the most significant events of the year. Individuals of various backgrounds, such as Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese, to name but a few, celebrate the occasion with friends and family. As many members know, the lunar new year and spring festival take place in January or February each year. This year, celebrations began on February 8, ushering in the year of the fire monkey, an animal that symbolizes cleverness, wittiness, intelligence, and curiosity.
I had the pleasure of attending in my riding of Edmonton Centre a number of events related to the festival surrounding this year of the monkey. The lunar festival has a tremendous impact on my riding, bringing sounds, smells, parades, line dances, and great fun for all Edmontonians.
The 15-day spring festival includes a wide range of exciting cultural activities, such as lion dancing, the preparation of delicious traditional foods, and beautiful displays of colourful decorations.
Recognizing the lunar new year in Parliament will encourage Canadians of all backgrounds to learn about, appreciate, and celebrate this date of great significance. The motion will complement existing commemoration initiatives, such as Asian Heritage Month, which takes place each year in May.
I am proud to support this motion, not only because it commemorates a date of great significance, but also because it provides another opportunity to reflect on the tremendous contributions of Canada's Asian communities to our society, both recently and historically.
Canada has benefited greatly from the diversity that has come with the arrival of many newcomers of Asian heritage. According to the 2011 national household survey, five million people reported an Asian ethnic origin in Canada. Within this group, 2.6 million individuals reported an East or Southeast Asian origin including 1.5 million Chinese, 220,000 Vietnamese, and approximately 170,000 Koreans.
Canada has been enriched by the presence of Asian Canadians for many years. From the moment Chinese artisans and traders arrived in the 18th century to today, Canadians of Asian heritage have played an important role in building our country.
It is worth recalling the role that people of Asian heritage have played in the development of our vast country through their hard work and resiliency building the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Similarly, we must acknowledge and never forget the many shameful and discriminatory restrictions imposed on immigrants from China including a $50 head tax introduced in 1885, and a prohibition on Chinese immigration in 1923. These deplorable moments in our collective history serve to remind us of the value of an open society and a commitment to equality, inclusion, and multiculturalism.
It is in this spirit of multiculturalism and inclusion that I am here today to speak in support of Motion No. 38. I believe that Canada's commitment to multiculturalism and the fact that I stand before members today in support of a motion to celebrate lunar new year in Canada's Parliament are clear examples of how far we have come since the days of the head tax.
While it is important to remember the errors of the past, Canadians of Asian heritage have much to be proud of and to look forward to. There are countless examples of Asian-Canadian success stories that one could choose to highlight. This is a testament to the great achievements of Asian Canadians throughout history.
The long list of outstanding Canadians includes individuals such as the first immigrant appointed as governor general of Canada, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson. This list also includes a wide range of individuals noted for their achievements in the arts and sciences.
I know, for example, Dr. Tak Wah Mak, a Canadian scientist of great renown for his work in microbiology and immunology and the important repercussions of his work around the world.
In the realm of the arts, we find individuals such as award-winning author Kim Thúy, winner of the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Award for French Fiction and the Grand Prix Littéraire Archambault in 2011. The list goes on.
By formally recognizing the lunar new year and spring festival, the government is also expressing its strong commitment to the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians.
The government is proud to support multiculturalism, which is a defining feature of Canadian identity and a source of pride for Canadians and for many people around the world. Our multicultural heritage is about more than just a commitment to welcoming diverse people from around the world. It is a commitment to principles of equality and freedom grounded in human rights and enshrined in the supreme law of Canada, our Constitution, and in the Canadian Multiculturalism Act.
Formal recognition of the lunar new year would directly support Canada's multiculturalism policy. This policy, which plays a fundamental role in shaping our inclusive and welcoming society, seeks to welcome and promote the understanding that multiculturalism reflects the cultural and racial diversity of Canadian society.
It acknowledges the freedom of all members of Canadian society to preserve, enhance, and share their cultural heritage. Events like the lunar new year and spring festival resonate with many Canadians and contribute to the cultural dynamism and inclusivity that make Canadian communities vibrant and welcoming places to live. They improve our quality of life by fostering a sense of belonging in unity which ultimately contributes to Canada being a more peaceful and harmonious place to live.
I am proud to stand in support of the motion to recognize the first day of lunar year as the beginning of the 15-day spring festival in acknowledgement of the many celebrations and gatherings in communities across the country and in recognition of the tremendous contributions of people of Asian heritage to Canadian society.
View Alice Wong Profile
CPC (BC)
View Alice Wong Profile
2016-06-01 18:51 [p.3910]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to this motion. I would first like to congratulate the hon. member for Don Valley North on being the first member of Parliament of a Mandarin-speaking background from mainland China to be elected to the House.
Like my riding of Richmond Centre, Don Valley North is culturally diverse and has made history on more than one occasion by electing MPs who were the first of their ethnic community. My former caucus colleague Joe Daniel was the first ever member of Malayali descent. On my part, I was the first Canadian woman of Chinese descent to be appointed to serve in cabinet. I am honoured to share in this moment to celebrate that multiculturalism is alive and strong throughout Canadian society.
I remember as a young child that every year I would always look forward to the spring festival, just as our hon. member for Vancouver East did. Although the gifts and delicious food were always a point of excitement for the children, there is much more to this holiday. It is not only an opportunity to welcome the incoming year, but represents a time of celebration and reflection on the past year. It is also a time for thanksgiving and an opportunity for family members to return home and spend time together.
Although both the hon. member for Don Valley North and I are both of Chinese descent, the spring festival is of great significance to many other ethnic communities throughout Southeast Asia as well. Along with mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, the spring festival and related lunar new year celebrations are held in other countries in the region, such as Vietnam, Korea, and Malaysia. There are many Canadians who hail from countries where the spring festival is a valued tradition, and they still observe those traditional celebrations here.
To put this in numerical perspective, as the hon. member from Edmonton has done, there are more than 1.3 million Canadian residents of Chinese descent. Half a million of those individuals have roots in Hong Kong, and I am one of them, 220,000 are of Vietnamese origin, and more than 170,000 individuals are members of the Korean community in Canada. Along with many others, they make up a huge part of our nation's cultural mosaic, in which we Canadians take great pride.
I realize that, as a multicultural mosaic, sometimes our different colours, origins, and traditions may appear to clash. Even within my riding of Richmond Centre, there is now some tension between the more established residents and the newer members of our immigrant community.
Some people may ask, if we pass this motion, where we would then draw the line. Are we to recognize every cultural tradition that is celebrated by some members of Canadian society? I would have to disagree with those individuals. There is a belief out there that somehow motions like this one may dilute our Canadian identity. To them I say that, rather than diluting what it means to be Canadian, we are keeping the finest traditions of the Canadian spirit instead.
Canada has always been a mosaic of different peoples, to which we have been continually adding new pieces, starting with our first nations and indigenous communities and moving to the arrival of European influences in the 15th century; and even now, today, people throughout the world come to Canada to find peace, acceptance, and freedom. We are a country that has always been weaving new threads into our national tapestry.
Over 85% of immigrants to Canada eventually become citizens, which is one of the highest rates in the developed world. Not only do they come to build a better life and a brighter future for themselves and their families, but they also fully join and, likewise, fully contribute to Canadian society. The motion and, more specifically, what it is celebrating are what being Canadian truly means.
Diversity is where we find much of Canada's strength. Throughout their long history in this country, Canadians of Asian heritage have contributed significantly toward making Canada what it is today. We are also pushing us forward to become the best nation we could possibly be.
The spring festival is no longer just an Asian holiday but one that is celebrated and enjoyed by Canadians of all backgrounds. I am privileged to witness this every year at the Vancouver Chinatown parade, one of the largest in North America, which brings together over 3,000 participants and 10,000 spectators annually. The groups that participate, much like Canadian society at large, are immensely diverse. Along with the traditional lion dancers and martial arts demonstrations, we also see some other groups represented, including Scottish pipe and drum bands, cadets, and members of the Royal Canadian Armed Forces. It is wonderful to see different groups taking part in the festivities and celebrating in the meaning of the spring festival.
I would like to also add the romantic part to this beautiful festival. In Chinese history, the last day of the spring festival, which is the 15th day of the first moon, is also Chinese Valentine's Day. It was during this day that young women and young men went out to the market carrying paper lanterns and solving riddles on the lanterns. The winners of those riddles did not only win prizes but they won the hearts of beautiful young ladies.
Over the past several years in my riding of Richmond Centre, there has been a countdown at the Aberdeen Centre to mark the beginning of the spring festival. It has become an important community event in Richmond. There have been prime ministers from different parties who have also taken part. I am sure that many of my colleagues in the House who have attended such events can attest to the fact that the spring festival celebrations are something to be enjoyed by all Canadians.
As the member of Parliament for Richmond Centre, I am truly delighted to have the opportunity this evening to speak to the motion and bring recognition to this important event. I am grateful that we as a House can celebrate our multiculturalism together and recognize the important role it plays in our Canadian society.
I, along with my colleagues, wholeheartedly support the motion put forward by the member for Don Valley North.
View Don Davies Profile
NDP (BC)
View Don Davies Profile
2016-06-01 18:59 [p.3911]
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to stand on behalf of the constituents of Vancouver Kingsway and my colleagues in the New Democratic Party in support of this motion to commemorate lunar new year across this country and the spring festival that begins every year in cities across our great land. The spring festival is celebrated, of course, by Canadians of Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean origin in particular, but, indeed, now by Canadians of many other nationalities across this country.
I would like to focus my remarks tonight, however, on the tremendous contributions of the Chinese community to my riding, the city of Vancouver, the province of British Columbia, and our country.
The 43rd Chinatown Spring Festival Parade was held this year in Vancouver and, as in past years, was organized in excellent fashion by six major organizations in Vancouver: the Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver, the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver, the Vancouver Chinatown Merchants Association, S.U.C.C.E.S.S., the Chinese Freemasons Vancouver branch, and the Shon Yee Benevolent Association.
The spring festival new year parade celebrates the new year of the lunar calendar and is a festive event for everyone to enjoy. As one of the three largest non-commercial annual parades in Vancouver, this parade features the largest assembly of traditional lion dance teams in Canada, with dozens of colourful and energetic lions from various local fraternal and martial arts organizations. The parade features some 70 entries, bringing over 3,000 participants from various community and cultural groups.
It is not surprising that the parade draws over 100,000 spectators representing every single ethnic group in this country along the route each year, plus many more who see it through TV coverage. It gives me great opportunity to highlight for the House the incredible contributions of Chinese Canadians to Canada's social, economic, and cultural heritage.
I want to start with the Chinese Benevolent Association. This was founded in 1895 by six pioneers to provide mutual support and leadership within the Chinese Canadian community. The current CBA president is Mr. Hilbert Yiu, who I would like to congratulate for his recent victory. This group represents the major Chinese associations in Canada, including major clans, like the Shunyee, the Mah, the Jang, the Kwan, and many others. This group, the CBA, fosters cultural, social, and charitable events of all types and works diligently to promote equality and understanding of other cultures. It also helps to provide housing and disaster relief.
I would like to highlight the Chinese Cultural Centre, a world-class organization that promotes Asian arts and culture and facilitates exchanges of artists from around the world. It recently hosted the Greater Vancouver Chinese-Canadian Artists Invitational Exhibition, which featured world-class Chinese Canadian artists, such as Johnson Chow, Winifred Lee, James Tan, Joyce Tsai, and many others. This was an explosion not of multiculturalism but of interculturalism and, indeed, cultural fusion. The chair of the Chinese Cultural Centre is Fred Kwok, who is carrying on the fine tradition of previous chairs.
I also want to mention the International Arts Gallery, which is led by the talented team of Katherine and John Chan, who bring artists from all over the world and promote Canadian artists internationally. I must also mention Dr. Jan Walls, a Simon Fraser University professor, who is a leading translator, historian, and cultural icon, and an inspirational leader in multicultural understanding, tolerance, and respect.
I want to highlight the Chinese Canadian Military Museum. Just a few weeks ago, in May, it commenced an extraordinary exhibit entitled "Rumble in the Jungle", a special exhibition that explores a largely unknown part of Canadian history. This was organized under the leadership of President King Wan. It highlights the work of Force 136.
During the final years of World War II, an elite group of Chinese Canadians were secretly trained in guerrilla warfare and jungle survival tactics. Their mission was to get dropped behind Japanese lines and assist with sabotage and intelligence gathering. These soldiers included Neill Chan, Raymond Chan, Chong Joe, Charlie Lee, Ronald Lee, Gordon Quan, Gordon Wong, Tommy Wong, Victor Wong, and Hank Wong. They provided absolute vital service to this country in a very dangerous mission and theirs is a story of glory and courage.
This is also a story of racism and intolerance. These soldiers were not able to easily join Canadian regular forces. They were not recognized as Canadian citizens. They were subject to racist property laws. They could not vote in Canadian elections, and they were victims of the racist head tax. Indeed, disgracefully, these soldiers had to hitch a ride back to Canada on their own after risking their lives in some of the most dangerous work done in the war for their country. However, this exhibit cannot mask the heroism that these soldiers displayed in carrying out their top-secret mission in the most difficult and dangerous theatre imaginable. Their families are proud today.
I want to mention the Chinese Freemasons, led by Chairman Chuck Chang. One of the first Freemason organizations in Canada, this was started on Vancouver Island, in Barkerville, in the 1800s. They provided then and provide today fraternal and social support to the Chinese community before the advent of social services by government. They also played an instrumental role in world history. They hosted and funded Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, who was in Vancouver at the beginning of the 20th century and who returned to China to help found the Republic of China, bringing an end to imperial rule.
I want to mention success. The CEO of success is Queenie Choo, who does an outstanding job for this organization. She follows in the history of talented CEOs and leaders: Tung Chan, who is a figure of national renown, and Maggie Ip, a former city councillor, incredible organizer and community leader. This is one of the most pre-eminent social NGOs in the country. They assist thousands of immigrants with their settlement needs, ESL, employment, housing, and integration into Canadian society.
I want to focus on the Chinese Seniors Society of Greater Vancouver under the great leadership of president Mingming Zhu. They just celebrated their 11th anniversary and bring seniors from all over greater Vancouver together for important social and cultural events.
In my own riding, I want to highlight what I consider the best Chinese seniors group in Canada, the Renfrew Chinese Seniors. Under the leadership of May Cheng and Eddie Tang, over 400 seniors meet quarterly at the Renfrew Park Community Centre and bring seniors together for recreation, dance, and community connection.
I want to mention the business leaders of renown in the Chinese community. We have Tong Louie, a towering figure in BC business who started the London Drugs chain; Jack Chow, who started and ran a very successful insurance business; the Wong family, tailors for over 100 years, who are still making great made-to-measure suits, the last major tailor shop in Vancouver's Chinatown; David Choi, who founded Royal Pacific Realty; Richard Wong, a powerhouse of energy involved in fostering international trade; and Faye Leung, a pioneer of courage, who has made a lifetime of breaking barriers. She emerged out of Chinatown and overcame discrimination on race and gender to become a leading realtor and historian.
I want to mention important civic leaders from the Chinese Canadian community. Raymond Louie, the acting mayor of Vancouver and the first Chinese Canadian chair of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities is leading our city of Vancouver in the country today. He is joined on Vancouver City Council by Dr. Kerry Jang, who works at UBC school of psychiatry, and is also an excellent leader in my riding of Vancouver Kingsway. They followed in the footsteps of B.C. Lee, George Chow, and Tony Tang, past councillors, and the great member for Vancouver east, who I believe is the only person in Canada of Chinese descent who has been a city councillor, a provincial MLA, a provincial cabinet minister and also a member of this Parliament. I must mention the very popular Allan Wong, elected five straight times to the Vancouver School Board. He is an incredibly popular politician, who has fought for generations of Vancouver students.
I want to mention finally the media. We have in this country, and in my city of Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, a very vibrant and democratic Chinese media. Newspapers like Sing Tao, Ming Pao, Global Chinese Press, Dawa, the Fairchild TV and radio station, and the OMNI multicultural channel provide honest reporting, fair coverage and play a vital role in informing citizens, which is an integral part of our democratic process.
The mainstream media in this country could take a lesson from the Chinese media in this country, which lead the way in fair, balanced, diverse coverage. We owe a debt of gratitude to them all.
In conclusion, today is the day to commemorate the spring festival, but also the contributions of Chinese Canadians across this country. I am proud on behalf of the New Democratic Party to salute them here today in this House.
View Geng Tan Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Geng Tan Profile
2016-06-01 19:09 [p.3912]
Mr. Speaker, I just need 10 seconds.
I would just take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues for their support. I will remember this.
View Bruce Stanton Profile
CPC (ON)
View Bruce Stanton Profile
2016-06-01 19:10 [p.3912]
The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2016-05-20 11:01 [p.3641]
Madam Speaker, I stand to recognize Asian Heritage Month and the endless contributions that people of Asian descent have made to Canada's social and economic fabric. We are who we are as a nation because of those contributions. Our rich Canadian Asian heritage comes from people of Chinese, Bangladeshi, Filipino, Vietnamese, Pakistani, Tamil, and Indian heritage, and many more.
Special events can be found year round and have become a part of who we are as a nation. For example, I think of Chinese New Year, the many summer Filipino fiestas, or our fall Diwali celebrations. We should all take pride in our Asian community as it continues to grow in many ways, and in a very real way, how it has become a part of the very fabric of our society and who we are as a nation.
To quote the Prime Minister, we are stronger not in spite of our diversity but because of our diversity. Our Asian Canadian community helps make Canada one of the best countries of the world.
View Rona Ambrose Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, today, I rise to join with the Prime Minister and all members of the House in gathering to reflect on a tragic chapter in our country's history.
As Canadians, we have always taken pride in our country's commitment to our shared values of justice, freedom, tolerance, and respect for human rights.
We are rightly proud of our country's openness to newcomers from all over the world. Canada has been enriched by the generations of hard-working men and women who have come to our country to seek a better life. Ours is a society that offers opportunity for all, regardless of one's background. It is a life free from the violence, persecution, and insecurity that so many have been forced to flee.
However, there have been times when Canada has not fulfilled these aspirations. We must recognize and try to set right those periods in our past when we have not lived up to our values.
We have to reflect on and learn from times in which Canada acted unjustly.
The tragic events that we are gathered here today to remember was one of those lapses.
When the vessel Komagata Maru arrived in Vancouver, on May 23, 1914, most of the nearly 400 passengers on board were immigrants from Punjab. They were Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims, and all British subjects, just like Canadians at the time. They were simply seeking a better life in Canada. Twenty-four were allowed in and the rest were not. The ship and its passengers were detained in a harbour for two months, until they were escorted out on July 23 and sent back to India. When they arrived in Calcutta, a disturbance broke out in which 19 passengers were shot and killed and dozens more were arrested.
This journey resulted from Canada's refusal to welcome them. It ended in terrible tragedy and great hardship for those aboard the Komagata Maru.
It is for that refusal that the Canadian government, and all of us here, stand today to recognize the terrible events that occurred when Canada failed to accept those seeking shelter in a new home.
This side of the House welcomes today's apology. We wish to join with the government in offering a deep and sincere commitment to honour the memories of those who suffered and to learn the lessons of this tragedy.
Today's apology is the culmination of a process of recognition that began with steps taken by our previous Conservative government about a decade ago. This process began with the previous prime minister and member for Calgary Heritage's public recognition of the injustice committed against the passengers of the Komagata Maru in 2006. It was followed by his apology to the community in Vancouver in 2008.
That marked the first time the Government of Canada gave official recognition of this tragedy, and the recognition was backed up by a deep and meaningful commitment to never let the memory of this event fade. Our Conservative government created the community historical recognition program, which offered support to Indo-Canadian groups seeking to acknowledge, commemorate, and educate Canadians about the Komagata Maru. This program supported the development of books, documentaries, websites, and other resources so that future generations could learn from this tragic event.
Our government was also very proud to support the first public museum dedicated to the Komagata Maru, opened at the Khalsa Diwan Society in Vancouver, in 2012, and the first public monument in Vancouver's Harbour Green Park.
In 2014, we were all proud in the House when Canada Post commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Komagata Maru with a special stamp.
It is through actions like these that we sought to recognize this historic injustice and ensure that future generations understood the mistake that was made. We take these actions because we want to live up to our own values.
We cannot change the past, but we can demonstrate that Canada has changed. No nation can grow without re-examining our past and seeking to move beyond our ancient prejudices. We can show those communities, who have been wronged, that their tragedies are understood and their experiences are valued.
Today, Canada's South Asian population is over one million strong. Since the Komagata Maru, we have welcomed successive generations of Indo-Canadians to our country. These hard-working men and women are devoted to their families and their communities, and their presence makes our country stronger.
They are an integral part of the Canadian family. Their entrepreneurial spirit means more prosperity for their families and for all Canadians. They are public officeholders at every level of government, having sought and won the support of their fellow Canadians as leaders.
Their values are interwoven with ours, creating a nation that has been more vibrant and welcoming in recent years than at any other time in our history.
We only need to look at the recent tragedy in Fort McMurray to see how the generosity of every Canadian community can lift us all. One of the first to open their doors to the evacuees in Edmonton was the Guru Nanak Sikh Society. I must mention that the members of the Singh Khalsa Sewa Club in Brampton loaded their trucks with supplies and drove for days to reach northern Alberta to help.
View Rona Ambrose Profile
CPC (AB)
These examples of dedication, selflessness and community spirit are evidence of the values that we all share as Canadians.
The apology today is an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to those values.
View Thomas Mulcair Profile
NDP (QC)
View Thomas Mulcair Profile
2016-05-18 15:31 [p.3533]
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for my colleagues and me to participate in today's official apology for the historic tragedy of the Komagata Maru, an apology that has been much too long in coming.
The leader of the official opposition was absolutely right when she said that the previous government, led by the prime minister of the day, who is now the member for Calgary Heritage, did indeed apologize to the community, which was greatly appreciated.
Today in the House, that act, which I would describe as an act of contrition on behalf of all Canadians for that historic tragedy, is being made official.
Let us call a spade a spade. We all know that racist, exclusionary policies resulted in the Canadian tragedy of the Komagata Maru.
It is, indeed, important to apologize and it is also important to remember why we apologize. Members may recall, as I do, just a few short years ago when another ship arrived in B.C., the MV Sun Sea, and the reception that it got with haz-mats and protective gear for all the people going onto that ship. That was eventually struck down by the Supreme Court, but it reminds us that it is not just in history that these events take place. Those same attitudes can exist today. That is why we all have to be mindful of our obligation to be fair to people who are in distress coming from other countries, as was the case with those Tamils coming in just a couple of years ago.
New Democrats have been proud to stand with thousands in the South Asian community who have fought tirelessly for this official apology for the Komagata Maru tragedy. My former colleague, Jasbir Sandhu, referenced by the Prime Minister, led the fight for an official apology in Parliament and moved an opposition day motion to that effect. My friend and former colleague, Jinny Sims, who is here with us today, spoke eloquently in the House in favour of an official apology and fought for a more welcoming Canada more broadly.
As has been pointed out, it has been just over 100 years since the Komagata Maru came to shore at the Port of Vancouver. It was a boat full of people, full of families, seeking safety and a better life. They were prevented from disembarking and the ship remained in Burrard Inlet for a full two months. We can imagine the conditions. They were denied basic necessities, like water and food, and those conditions actually worsened, of course.
In the end, all but 20 of those 376 passengers were sent back home to face grave danger. When the Komagata Maru arrived in Calcutta, police fired on passengers and 19 were killed. Many others were imprisoned and, let us be clear once again, it was racism, pure and simple, that put our fellow human beings at such risk.
The continuous journey regulation was a racially motivated one, just like the Chinese head tax, which the previous government, almost immediately after its election, apologized for in this place, and it also did immeasurable harm by keeping South Asians out of Canada. Mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters were jailed, and worse, because they were not welcome here in Canada. It was a horrific chapter in the history of a country that has come to recognize diversity and tolerance as great strengths.
The story of the Komagata Maru is a Canadian tragedy. People left their homeland in search of a better life with the hope of achieving their dreams here in Canada. They were wrong. Three hundred and sixty-five passengers were sent back to where they came from simply because of their origins. They lived through imprisonment and exploitation, and worse still, 19 of them were shot dead by the authorities on their arrival in India. It was pure racism.
Today, we finally apologize, but we also stand in solidarity with those who continue to fight for freedom and dignity in India and Canada. We owe it to those who were turned away more than 100 years ago to continue the struggle for justice.
To ensure that this kind of tragedy is never again repeated, we owe it to them to continue building a more welcoming Canada, where diversity is celebrated, where families can reunite with their loved ones, and where the most vulnerable are given refuge, not turned away in their hour of need.
The victims of the Komagata Maru deserve nothing less. Canadians deserve nothing less.
In memory of the victims of the Komagata Maru, it is our duty to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again. Together we must build a more welcoming Canada where diversity is valued and where no one is left behind in situations of distress.
[Member spoke in Punjabi as follows:]
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Ali Ehsassi Profile
2016-05-13 11:16 [p.3316]
Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise before the House today to celebrate Asian Heritage Month.
I am fortunate enough to represent one of the most diverse ridings in Canada. In my riding of Willowdale, generations of Asian-Canadians have profoundly contributed to our culture, our economy, and the richness of our day-to-day lives.
Asian-Canadians have not only made important contributions in Willowdale, of course, but throughout Canada. Asian Heritage Month provides Canadians from coast to coast to coast the opportunity to celebrate the transformative contributions Asian-Canadians have made to our great country over the course of many decades.
In that spirit, I would like to say in Mandarin:
[Member spoke in Mandarin and provided the following translation:]
Let us build our collective future together.
In Korean let me add:
[Member spoke in Korean and provided the following translation:]
Let us continue moving forward together.
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
View Joyce Murray Profile
2016-05-12 14:15 [p.3265]
Mr. Speaker, in recognition of Asian Heritage Month, I celebrate the contributions of Vancouver Quadra constituent Mr. King Wan. Mr. Wan's career includes serving as a naval reservist, senior manager in Vancouver City Hall, Canadian Forces BC liaison officer, and commanding officer of HMCS Discovery.
The service and sacrifice of Canada's Chinese Canadian Armed Forces members in both world wars is a tale not told in our schools or in our history books. In his role as president of the Chinese Canadian Military Museum in Vancouver's Chinatown, Mr. Wan and his team preserve and exhibit the story of these brave Chinese Canadian veterans and their service to Canada, a country that had yet to grant them the right to vote.
Through his distinguished career and a lifetime of community leadership, Mr. Wan is a shining example of why we are proud to celebrate Asian Heritage Month every May.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jenny Kwan Profile
2016-05-02 14:02 [p.2647]
Mr. Speaker, for over a century, Asian people have been coming to Canada and contribute to the rich multicultural tapestry of Canada.
This month, Canadians will have the opportunity to learn about the diverse Asian cultures in celebration of Asian Heritage Month.
ExplorAsian has brought together different organizations and has created a month-long program filled with great events from music and art shows to thought-provoking documentaries and film festivals to highlight the historic struggles Asian Canadians faced and their many achievements.
To kick things off, this past weekend I attended the opening of Van East's very own award winning Chinese calligrapher Master Wai Yin Lau's art exhibition which showcased six distinct Chinese calligraphy art forms at the Chinese Cultural Centre.
The Chinese Cultural Centre will also host the Together Art Festival, featuring performances from Korea, Japan, China, and Polynesia on May 28.
I encourage all Canadians to take part in the many activities in their own community to learn about and celebrate Asian Canadian culture and history.
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