“I was delighted to launch the beginning of celebrations of Asian Heritage Month this evening at the Canadian Museum of History.
“This year’s Asian Heritage Month launch is particularly poignant as it coincides with Canada’s first Journey to Freedom Day, thanks to the passage of the Journey to Freedom Day Act, which received Royal Assent last week.
“2015 marks 40 years since the beginning of the exodus of 840,000 people from Vietnam. A quarter of a million perished during the perilous sea voyage that followed, while Canadians rallied to bring 60,000 Vietnamese refugees, known as ‘boat people,’ to Canada. It was a gesture that helped to establish Canada’s reputation for generosity and represented a significant moment in Canadian history.
“As Canada hosts the Pan-Am Games in 2015, we also have the opportunity to recognize the achievements of Canadian athletes of Asian origin. Athletes like figure skater Nam Nguyen, rhythmic gymnast Lori Fung, archer Crispin Duenas, wrestler Arjan Singh Bhullar, and cricketer Ashish Bagai have all brought pride to Canada, setting examples for the next generation of Canadian athletes.
“I encourage all Canadians to join with me in celebrating Asian Heritage Month at the many events that are planned across the country throughout the month of May.”