Honourable senators, it is with great pride that I rise today to speak on Asian Heritage Month, as May marks its fifteenth annual celebration.
I am pleased that Asian Heritage Month can trace its roots back to the Senate of Canada. Fifteen years ago, former Senator Vivienne Poy introduced a motion in the Senate to adopt May as the time to celebrate the achievements made by many Canadians of Asian descent.
Today, Asia is one of the largest sources of immigrants to Canada, who make up nearly 20 per cent of our population. Asian Heritage Month is a perfect opportunity to learn more about the historical, cultural and social contributions of Asian Canadians to our country.
As a Canadian, I am proud to live in a country that welcomes diversity. Our commitment to multiculturalism serves as a powerful example of how people of different backgrounds and beliefs are able to live in harmony. I truly believe that this is one of our biggest strengths.
As a father, and now a grandfather, I am proud that my family has the opportunity to openly explore their heritage and learn about cultures other than their own. Having lived in Mississauga for more than 30 years, we have had the privilege to interact with the diverse and vibrant Asian community.
As a senator from Singapore of Chinese descent, I am proud to represent the multicultural character of Canada and its connection to the global community.
Such diversity is reflected in the Senate. We now have senators who come from different Asian countries, including Vietnam, the Philippines, Pakistan, Singapore, India and Korea. Having senators of Asian descent in this chamber is a testament to Canada's ethnic and cultural mosaic.
Tonight, the Honourable Senators Martin, Ataullahjan, Dyck, Enverga, Jaffer, Ngo, Omidvar and I will co-host a reception with Speaker Furey and an honoured guest, the Honourable Dr. Vivienne Poy, in recognition of the fifteenth anniversary of her motion to establish May as Asian Heritage Month.
I invite you to join us tonight to celebrate the long and rich history of Asian immigrants and their valuable contributions to our great country.
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