As Canadians, we are fortunate to live in one of the most diverse countries in the world. Generations of newcomers have enriched our country throughout our proud history and have helped establish a strong Canadian identity.
Harmony and diversity is rooted in Canadian history, even though the celebration of Canadian Multiculturalism Day on June 27 is a relatively recent innovation. As the proclamation establishing this celebration declares, it gives us a special chance for a “celebration of the contributions of Canada’s diverse people to Canadian society.” However, the quieter, day-to-day recognition and respect for our differences is something that goes back much further.
Indeed, Canada has always been a nation of immigrants. For centuries, immigrants have come to the true north to build better lives for their families. They have found a land of opportunity, amid strength, unity, and purpose. Furthermore, communities from coast to coast to coast have benefitted from the cultural traditions, skills, experiences, knowledge, and hard work of new Canadians. This very much continues in the Canada we know and love today.
Our Government is proud to have played its part in upholding these Canadian traditions. In particular, we’ve maintained an immigration system that continues to enrich Canada’s vibrant communities and which is essential to economic growth and long-term prosperity. We continue to make the system faster and more flexible to better meet the needs of the Canadian economy and provide immigrants with as many opportunities as possible to contribute to our economic prosperity.
Conservatives have a rich and proud history of representing people of all backgrounds. The first Member of Parliament (M.P.) of Chinese and Asian descent, Douglas Jung, was elected as a Conservative in 1957. The first black M.P., Lincoln Alexander, was elected as a Conservative in 1968. The first Indo-Canadian woman elected to Parliament was Nina Grewal, in 2004, also a Conservative. The first Korean-Canadian Senator was Yonah Martin, a Conservative, appointed in 2009. Conservative governments also passed Canada’s first Bill of Rights and first multiculturalism act.
Our Government also encourages the celebration of Canada’s openness and pluralism on Canadian Multiculturalism Day and throughout the year. As Canadians, we can embrace the cultures of our friends and neighbours, while remembering as well the history of our great country.
This June 27 and throughout the year, let’s celebrate our multicultural heritage, our shared harmony, and the great country we call home.