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Dhaka, Bangladesh Building Collapse

Honourable senators, we all heard of the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, this past April. It was heartbreaking to see the images of bodies being pulled from the rubble and hear of the over 1,100 dead and 2,500 injured. I had the opportunity to go the site of the Rana building in July and wanted to tell you of my visit. I had seen the images, but nothing could prepare me for the horror I saw. What was once an eight-storey building had become a ga…
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Rohingya Muslims

Honourable senators, today I wish to call your attention to the severe human rights violations in Burma. Burma, also known as Myanmar, has been leading a systematic and wide-ranging persecution of its religious minorities. While 90 per cent of the country is Theravada Buddhist, 4 per cent of the population is Christian, another 4 per cent of the population is Muslim, and the last 2 per cent consists of other forms of Buddhism. The discrimination reached a heightened state of v…
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Late Honourable Doug Finley

Honourable senators, although I know many here will be speaking about Senator Finley today, I wanted to pay my respects to him, too. I will never forget the day I met Doug. I had a meeting scheduled with the party’s national campaign director, whom I had never met. As I walked into the reception area and into the elevator, I barely noticed the man behind me. I had no idea that the man who held the door open for me was the man I was supposed to meet. As soon as Doug started spea…
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Polio Eradication

Honourable senators, polio is a disease that has disappeared from our collective consciousness, and with good reason. Since the introduction of a polio vaccine in 1955, Canada has been relatively free of the disease. Worldwide, cases of polio have declined from 380,000 in 1988 to 223 cases in 2012. Polio, however, has not completely disappeared. It is still endemic in three countries — Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. Research shows that if we try to contain this disease, rat…
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Refugee Rights Day

Honourable senators, I rise today to recognize Refugee Rights Day, which took place on April 4 this year. It is an annual day to commemorate the Supreme Court’s signing of the 1985 Singh decision, one that is deeply tied to our values of equity as Canadian citizens. The Singh decision was a milestone decision for refugee rights in Canada. It involved seven appellants, six of whom were named Singh. They were citizens of India claiming refugee status based on their fear of persec…
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World University Service

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak about a formidable organization, the World University Service of Canada, or WUSC. I visited WUSC headquarters in Ottawa last December and was so impressed with the spirit and culture of the people that I had to share it. WUSC is a network of professionals, students, volunteers, faculty and community leaders who together provide opportunities to some of the world’s most disadvantaged youth. Its mission is to foster human development and…
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