Honourable senators, I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism for hosting the Eid on the Hill event, which took place one week ago today. Working with two incredible groups — the Association of Islamic Charitable Projects and the India-Canada Organization — Minister Kenney welcomed over 200 members of the Muslim community in Canada to Parliament Hill to celebrate the recent holiday of Eid-al-Adha, as well as the contributions of Muslim Canadians to the building of our country.
The extraordinary event served as an occasion of mutual enrichment for all who attended and showcased a great source of pride for Canadians — our multiculturalism. Truly, a part of being Canadian is to know each other and to celebrate our differences.
At the event, I had the honour of introducing the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, who was attending his first Eid celebration in his capacity as Prime Minister. The Prime Minister recognized the many contributions of Muslims to Canada’s success as a growing and vibrant country and the importance of pluralism and religious freedom to our common values.
He stated that “our incredible cultural diversity is one of Canada’s greatest assets. The harmony and vitality that characterize our Canadian diversity are part and parcel of what defines us as a free, democratic country. Together, we are building a stronger and more united Canada.”
The Eid on the Hill event exemplified the true Canadian spirit: that integration does not mean assimilation, but sharing — a sharing of diverse values and traditions. It demonstrated that, regardless of background or faith, ethnicity or culture, we can come together as Canadians, that we are united in our diversity.
I greatly appreciated the efforts of Minister Kenney and the presence of the Prime Minister, and I look forward to next year’s event. I truly hope that Eid on the Hill becomes a new Canadian tradition.