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Chinese Benevolent Association 70th Anniversary

Address by the Hon. David Kilgour, M.P. Edmonton Southeast
Secretary of State (Latin America and Africa)
On the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the Chinese Benevolent Association
September 4, 1999

It is a pleasure for me to be with you this evening, as the Chinese Benevolent Association celebrates its 70th Anniversary. This is an important milestone for your association, which has helped enormously in the growth and vitality of Edmonton’s Chinese community.

There have been numerous important events throughout the last seven decades, not only in our city and province, but in our country and abroad as well. Social changes, economic periods of hardships and prosperity, technological progress, as well as the various governments, have contributed in the evolution of the city, province and nation. Through it all, the Chinese Benevolent Association has been an important factor in promoting and teaching all of us the distinct culture and traditions of this a community, and its place in our community.

Since 1929, Edmonton has evolved into one of Canada’s most prosperous cities. Fellow Canadians, as well as foreigners, who come here for a visit, often tell me how impressed they are by our city’s character and spirit. They point to the unique balance of the city’s cultural diversity and the Western character of our province, helping to make Edmonton the city it is today.

The various cultural communities which helped build Edmonton into what it is today, are the keys to the success of not only our city, but our province and country as well. Again this year, the United Nations named Canada as the best country in the world to live in. Our traditions, values, respect for each others differences and cultural diversity are envied worldwide. In my role as Secretary of State, I have had the opportunity to visit many countries, and many people I meet have tell me how much they admire the cultural mosaic that Canada has to offer.

In every part of this country, one learns about the various cultures and traditions. This is what makes this country unique. We have the opportunity to learn from each other’s differences, enriching ourselves in the process. Cultural organizations and associations such as yours are vital to our country. You help instill and teach the traditions and culture to the younger generations, helping them to understand not only their heritage, but also, the important contributions of their ancestors in our country’s history and evolution. It is by learning one’s history that one can inspire the dreams of the future.

This evening’s celebrations also mark the official swearing-in of the 1999-2001 Board of Directors. They will oversee the association’s role in the community as we enter the next millennium. Although much has been said and made about this up-coming milestone, one cannot deny that it is the beginning of a new era.

Beginnings are always a time to reflect on the past and make plans for the future. Taking this into account, the new members are in a unique situation to set-out the association’s path towards the future, outlining new ideas and projects on how to continue to better serve and help the members of Edmonton’s Chinese community. It is also a time for the community itself to come together and reflect on what you have achieved as a whole, and to pursue your dreams and aspirations for the coming years.

There is much that you can contribute to our city and province. Your ideas and acts, cultural vitality and traditions, are an important part of the character of our country, a vital factor in making Canada our home. There is much to learn from the examples of your community and, is it not by learning from each other that we grow as a whole, which in turn enriches this country as a whole.

As you celebrate your achievements this evening, take a moment to reflect on your contributions and achievements, and take pride in your place in our society.

Thank you and good luck!

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