By Abu Bakarr Biggie Kamara
From SALNAM's president's desk
On Friday, July 1, 2016, many Sierra Leoneans, young and old, converged at Kildonan Park to observe the 149th anniversary of Canada Day. The event was organized by the Sierra Leone Nationals Association of Manitoba (SALNAM).
In true Canadian style, the celebration was community oriented, and as stated, a large number of community members and their friends were in attendance to witness this festive event, which featured various games and fun activities for adults and kids. The program ended on a high note, and the day's activities included music and chair, egg and spoon, tug of war, sac race, soccer and other fun games for kids.
Also, there was lot to eat and drink: barbeque hot dogs, smokies, and burgers. Participants, in festive mood, partook in the feast, and mingled in different formations either to chat and play, or to exchange pleasantries and share camaraderie. Celebrants also enjoyed the enchanting music provided by D.J Nazer.
As noted, the event was well attended, and SALNAM President, Abu Bakarr Biggie Kamara, in his brief remarks, welcomed and wished everyone a happy and a memorable celebration. He stated that SALNAM holds the event to provide the means for Sierra Leoneans like other Canadians, to come together with their family and friends to participate in the day's festivities. He observed that Canada is respected all over the world as a country that adheres to democratic principles and the rule of law, and that the event was also a reminder for participants to be appreciative and proud of their Canadian citizenship.
He admonished participants to be grateful for the work of the country's ancestors and earlier generation of people including the country's past and present leaders who, he said, have worked hard over the years to build a prosperous and a great nation.
He stressed on the need for Sierra Leoneans to be proud of their participation and the modest contributions they are making to the socio-economic and cultural development of the country.
He stated that "Canada is a progressive country which has come a long way to promote the human rights of all Canadians irrespective of their socio-economic status or gender orientation in society." He observed that "prior to the rise of the suffrage movement, women had very limited rights in Canada as in other places in the world." "Women did not have the right to vote or to participate in the political process", he went on, and that "In Canada, Manitoba became the first province that allowed women to vote on January 28, 1916", he continued.
Today, he remarked, "about fifty percent of the cabinet at the federal level in Canada are women". This, he reiterated, is indeed a significant achievement for the country, he ended.
Indeed the celebration was a memorable one, and SALNAM wishes to thank the government of Canada for their financial support which made it possible for SALNAM to organize and celebrate the 149th birthday of our beloved Canada. We are all proud Canadians.