Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 37th Parliament,
Volume 139, Issue 92

Tuesday, March 5, 2002
The Honourable Rose-Marie Losier-Cool, Speaker pro tempore

British Columbia

First Provincial Congress and First Celebration of Eid ul-Adha in Legislature

Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise today to recognize two firsts in the history of British Columbia that I was honoured to be witness to over the past week.

The first of these ground-breaking events was the British Columbia Provincial Congress, held on Tuesday, February 26, 2002. Premier Gordon Campbell launched the provincial congress as a platform for dialogue between representatives from all levels of government, Aboriginal leaders and industry spokespeople. This congress was important because it created a forum for participants to have an open and transparent discussion. The Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University could not have been a more appropriate venue for the event.

Iona Campagnolo, the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia, in her presentation remarked that dialogue is not about winning arguments, but listening with empathy as a basis for agreement and understanding. In that spirit, we spoke about the diverse issues that face the people of British Columbia, such as transportation, the costs of securing our seaports and aviation facilities, and issues facing our Aboriginal communities.

The second first was the celebration of Eid-ul-Adha in the provincial legislature in Victoria on Wednesday, February 27. Eid-ul-Adha commemorates the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son at Allah’s command. This is an important time for Muslims to come together as a community.

Eid-ul-Adha was celebrated in many cities throughout the country, and for the seventh year in a row, Eid celebrations were held on Parliament Hill. The Association of Progressive Muslims of Ontario and the Ismaili Council for Ottawa organized the event, which attracted over 300 people, including 25 ambassadors, many MPs and senators. Significantly, there was representation from all five national political parties.

Building on the tradition of the Parliament Hill gathering, the first ever Eid celebrations were held in Victoria. The event brought together Premier Campbell, the majority of members of the legislative assembly, 250 members of the B.C. Muslim community, comprising the Muslim Canadian Federation, the Ismaili Council of B.C., the B.C. Muslim Association and the Shia Muslim Community.

I hope that all honourable senators will join me in thanking the organizers of these two firsts and hope that they will pave the way for similar events in our pluralistic society.