Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 41st Parliament,

Volume 148, Issue 43

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Nesika Awards

Congratulations to Honoré Gbedze

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I am proud to rise before you today representing the province of British Columbia, which is recognized as one of the most culturally diverse regions of the world. British Columbia is home to people from virtually all linguistic, cultural and religious backgrounds. In 2008, the Government of British Columbia, along with the Multicultural Advisory Council, sponsored the Nesika Awards, which both honour and celebrate the diversity that is so deeply rooted in our province’s identity.

On November 18, the third annual Nesika Awards ceremony was held at the Museum of Vancouver. During the ceremony, one of our special British Columbians, Honoré Gbedze, who is the owner and editor of The Afro News, accepted the Nesika Award for operating a business that embraces diversity.

Born in an African village in Togo, Honoré learned from a very young age the importance of hard work and education. The son of a teacher and an entrepreneur, Honoré inherited a legacy of community development and participation. Spending almost two decades pursuing a career as a chef, Honoré has also found ways of bridging lines of communication in an effort to help Africans understand each other and have others understand Africans.

Honoré has received support from a number of parliamentarians, most notably our esteemed colleague Senator Martin. Senator Martin works diligently in our province on issues of multiculturalism. She is a strong voice for the multicultural community in our province. Thank you, Senator Martin, on behalf of all British Columbians.

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Honourable senators, over the years I have observed with great admiration Honoré’s commitment to fostering an environment of unity and understanding among not only the African Diaspora but all Canadians. He has shown my African brothers and sisters the importance of coming together and focusing not on what divides us but instead on what brings us together.

Every month, in every new edition of The Afro News, light is shed on the important issues that are facing not only the African community but Canadians across the country. Through this medium, he has provided members of the African community with an outlet to express their concerns and learn from each other.

Honourable senators, Honoré represents what it means to be a Canadian. He has dedicated his life to strengthening the bonds that unite us as Canadians, while at the same time embracing the diversity that makes us one of the most pluralistic countries in the world. I urge honourable senators to join me in congratulating Honoré Gbedze and Senator Martin for the great work they do in British Columbia.

 

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