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Statement in recognition of the Carassauga Festival of Cultures - May 23, 2013

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak for the first time in this esteemed Chamber.

I would like to thank Prime Minister Stephen Harper for recommending me, and bestowing on me the honour and privilege, of serving Ontario and Canada in our Upper House. I must also acknowledge our leader, Senator LeBreton, as well as my sponsor, Senator Frum. I wish to thank my colleagues on both sides for welcoming me to their ranks. We all have a great duty to our fellow citizens, and I look forward to working with senators to fulfill this duty. It is also a true honour to be the first Canadian of Singaporean descent to receive this prestigious appointment. I am fully aware of the responsibilities of this position, and truly grateful for the chance to serve here.

Honourable senators, as a resident of Mississauga, it is with great pride that I rise to speak about one of our city’s greatest cultural institutions, headed by our longtime mayor Hazel McCallion. Since its inception in 1985, the Carassauga Festival of Cultures has grown to become the largest multicultural festival in Ontario and the second largest cultural festival in Canada. This three-day event celebrates the cultural diversity of Mississauga, promoting understanding and respect among Canadians of different heritages. When Carassauga was founded, it featured 10 cultural pavilions. This weekend, Carassauga celebrates its 28th anniversary, showcasing 72 countries in 28 pavilions, in 13 locations across the city. Citizens of Mississauga are proud of the growth and success of this important community event.

I would like to thank the Carassauga chair Jack Prazeres and the Executive Director Linda Siutra for their hard work and dedication in making this event successful. I would also like to commend the wonderful volunteers who give up their time on Carassauga weekend in order to share the histories and traditions of our global neighbours.

I invite all honourable senators to share in this celebration throughout Mississauga on May 24, 25 and 26.

Thank you. 

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