Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 148, Issue 63

Tuesday, March 27, 2012
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, on Friday, March 2, I had the pleasure of attending the Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

The Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards recognizes all aspects that encompass diversity, including gender, age, socio-economic status, race, religion and sexual orientation. The vision for the ceremony is to present cultural diversity with a broad scope in an effort to ensure that people from all communities are able to identify with concepts of inclusion and discrimination.

This event also sets out to encourage people to be more mindful of not only the barriers that they themselves often face but also the barriers that others often face. For a decade, this awards ceremony has celebrated diversity by recognizing the accomplishments and best practices of organizations, initiatives and businesses in the Fraser Valley.

Among this year’s award recipients, École Mission Central Neighbourhood Centre, which provides services and individual support for all age groups, won the Inclusive Environment Award; Crystal Hearing and Vision Centre was awarded the Marketing Award; the City of Abbotsford Building Connections Project, which addresses the cultural and faith silos that exist in Abbotsford by building intercultural and interfaith connections, was the recipient of the Outreach Award; Columbia Kitchen Cabinets was the winner of the Reflective Workforce Award; the Honouring Our Teachers Ceremony, an Abbotsford School District professional development day put on by the Aboriginal Education Centre, was the recipient of the Innovative Initiative; and last but certainly not least, Dorothy Jeffery and Harold Rosen were the recipients of the Champion of Diversity Awards.

Looking around the room, it became clear that the whole of Abbotsford was represented at the event. As senators, we often have the privilege of attending events in our communities. In my experience, I have noticed that many events I attend showcase a particular community that exists within a larger community. What makes the Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards truly special is that people from all communities in the Fraser Valley were represented. I personally find the enthusiasm with which people from every ethnicity, gender, religion and ability come together to celebrate these awards to be truly inspiring.

I would like to congratulate the chief organizer of the Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards, Ms. Manpreet Grewal, and Ms. Virginia Cooke, the president of Abbotsford Community Services, for making the awards such a great success. I would also like to applaud the community of Abbotsford for embracing the true meaning of diversity.