1st Session, 42nd Parliament,
Volume 150, Issue 89

Thursday, December 15, 2016
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan

Felicitations on Eightieth Birthday

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, on Tuesday, December 13, over 15 million Ismaili Muslims residing in 25 countries around the world celebrated the eightieth birthday of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan.

Born in 1936 in Geneva, Switzerland, His Highness succeeded his grandfather as the forty-ninth spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims when he was only 20 years old.

For more than three quarters of his life, His Highness has worked tirelessly to make this world a better place. For his efforts, he has been recognized as an honorary Canadian.

To mark this special occasion, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement where he described the work of His Highness the Aga Khan as follows:

. . . His Highness has worked tirelessly to reduce hunger, poverty, disease, and illiteracy in developing countries. He is a beacon of acceptance and compassion, and an inspiration to both his community and the world.

Honourable senators, I have spent hours reflecting on the tremendous sacrifices that His Highness the Aga Khan has made throughout his lifetime, not only for Ismaili Muslims but for people all over the world, especially those who are the most vulnerable.

He has provided schools, hospitals and parks in many places in the world. I thought to myself how could you possibly repay someone who has given so much? It quickly became clear to me that the best gift we could give His Highness is to personify his values each and every day.

This means working hard to leave the world in a better place than it was when we found it. This means recognizing all countries are different in terms of history, culture, tradition, and that we cannot take a set of issues or values from one country and apply it to another. This means ensuring that difference is not seen as weakness but instead as a powerful force for good.

Honourable senators, I am sure you will agree that we are all incredibly fortunate to live in a country as great as Canada, where difference and diversity doesn’t divide us, it defines us.

Not everyone in this world is as lucky as we Canadians. I truly believe that together we can make His Highness’ vision of the world a reality so that men, women and children all over the world can be as fortunate as we are.

Honourable senators, I ask you to join me in wishing one of our honorary Canadians, His Highness the Aga Khan, bon anniversaire.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!