Diversity and Education, Chandra Arya – MP Nepean
One of the many reasons that make Canada such a wonderful country is its diversity. Our national unity and ability to embrace all cultures has been deeply ingrained in our Canadian identity from the start.
Though we don’t all speak the same language, or practice the same religion, there are ultimately more things that unite us than divide us. Our shared values like equality, peace and respect are what bring us together as Canadians and enable us to support one another.
I myself have lived in multiple countries, and societies with different cultures. One commonality that has always stood out to me, are shared family values. Respect towards elders and responsibility to children is a universal human quality I have personally observed in many different societies.
I grew up in Bangalore, the capital of India’s southern Karnataka state. From the time I was a child, my parents told me they could not provide me with material wealth—but instead worked hard to give me something they believed was far more valuable: education. I am the product of my parent’s hard work, and am grateful for their commitment to education, as it has gotten me to where I am today.
As Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
At a recent event at SNMC Rabbi Menachem Mendel Blum of the Ottawa Torah Centre and Dr. Aisha Sherazi during their talk on diversity, inclusiveness and integration conducted an exercise which clearly showed that people of all background were unanimous in support of universal values like honesty. But when it came to issues like fashion there was no unanimity which is neither surprising nor required.
As our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during his Canada 150 speech:
“Canada is a country made strong not in spite of our differences but because of them. We don’t aspire to be a melting pot – indeed, we know true strength and resilience flows through Canadian diversity. Ours is a land of original peoples and of newcomers. And our greatest pride is that you can come here from anywhere in the world, build a good life, and be part of our community. We don’t care where you’re from or what religion you practice or whom you love. You are all welcome in Canada. We may be of every colour and creed, from every corner of the world. But we embrace that diversity, while knowing in our hearts that we are all Canadians, and that we share a common pride in that red and white flag.”
Though I haven’t always lived in Canada, it is home for me. I love and respect this nation whose values of openness, compassion, equality and inclusion unite the country. I celebrate what makes us each different from one another, because it is what defines us as Canadians.
Chandra Arya – Member of Parliament for Nepean