In 2002, a Royal Proclamation declared June 27th to be Canadian Multiculturalism Day, recognizing the important contributions made by Canadians of all backgrounds to the strength and prosperity of our Dominion. As this year marks our Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, it is appropriate to reflect upon and celebrate the remarkable unity of Canadians during Her Majesty’s reign. Over the past six decades, people of diverse cultures and faiths have contributed to Canada’s legacy of peaceful pluralism and social cohesion.
On Canadian Multiculturalism Day we renew our shared commitment to equality before the law for all Canadians, whatever their race or creed and we commend the many volunteers that strive each day to foster a culture of mutual respect among Canadians of diverse backgrounds. Canadians like Bridget Foster, who was recently named the 2012 recipient of the Paul Yuzyk Award for more than 30 years of service, improving the lives of thousands of immigrants and refugees in Newfoundland and Labrador and across the country.
Canada’s peaceful pluralism, which is the envy of so many nations, depends on that welcoming community spirit being multiplied across the country. It is why I am proud of our multiculturalism program, which supports inter-faith and inter-cultural understanding, civic memory and pride, and promotes our core democratic values, history, and institutions, which are open to all who embrace them and make them their own.
Multiculturalism is not simply a government program: it is the day-to-day reality of our country in which Canadians of very different origins live and work side by side, in which new Canadians work hard to learn our languages, our values, and our traditions, and, in turn, are welcomed as equal members of the Canadian family. As Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism, I am proud of all Canadians who live the successful reality of Canadian multiculturalism every day.