Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 37th Parliament,
Volume 140, Issue 36

Thursday, February 13, 2003
The Honourable Dan Hays, Speaker

The Late Mr. Rashpal Dhillon The Late Mr. Riasat Ali Khan


Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise today to speak about the untimely death of two prominent Vancouver people. Vancouver has recently lost two pillars of the multicultural communities with the passing of Rashpal Dhillon and Riasat Ali Khan. Both of these men were well known within the Vancouver community for their hard work, and generosity, and both will be deeply missed.

Rashpal Dhillon was an immigrant success story, having arrived in Canada in the mid-1950s with nothing and becoming the first Indo- Canadian peace officer in Canada, serving with the RCMP for 29 years.

Upon leaving the police force, he took up his own business endeavours and became a prominent figure in the community, serving as an administrator to many Sikh temples and also a member and a director of both the Five River Society and the Yukon division of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind in British Columbia. He was a real pillar of strength in the Vancouver community and for all communities.

Riasat Ali Khan was the founder of the Pakistan-Canada Association, which opened the first mosque in Western Canada. He also served as the head of the B.C. Immigrant Services Society. He was also a board member of the B.C. Cancer Society and a delegate to the Committee for Racial Justice.

Though it was the circumstances of Riasat Ali Khan’s death that shocked Canadians and captured national media attention, we must remember that it is from the way in which he lived his life that we can find an example of what can be achieved with hard work and dedication to our Canadian values of harmony and multiculturalism.

I hope that all honourable senators will join me in expressing sincere condolences to the families of both these great men.