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Canada Day 2016 Remarks - By SALNAM's President Abu Bakarr Biggie Kamara

From the president's desk.

Happy Canada Day ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of SALNAM, I am delighted to welcome you to this social and fun gathering held to celebrate the 149th anniversary of Canada's founding.

Canada is very renowned and respected around the globe as a country that respects the rule of law and democratic participation of all its citizens. It is also a nation home to communities that invite and encourage people of all backgrounds and from different parts of the world to come and find a better life. 

And this day reminds us of how truly fortunate and blessed we are to be Canadian citizens, and as new Canadians, we should be grateful for the hardwork of generations of people who came from all corners of the world to build a successful and a prosperous nation. 

Also, it is worth noting that the vision, patriotism, and unwavering commitment of the country's past and present leaders, the likes of Sir John A. Macdonald who brought about national unity which helped to forge the country's national identity, greatly contributed to making Canada a great nation, one that we are all proud of today. Sir Macdonald for starters, is a father of confederation and the first prime minister of Canada.

Today therefore is also about celebrating and honouring the country's history, its institutions, as well as the values that define us as Canadian citizens.

SALNAM organizes this event every year to give Sierra Leoneans, like all Canadians, the chance to participate in the celebration with family, community members and friends. And as we celebrate, we should also be proud of our participation and the modest contributions we are making as new Canadians, to help strengthen the country's economic, social and cultural well-being.

The occasion is also a moment for us to briefly reflect on some of the things that make us proud about Canada. One of the things that come to mind is that the country is very progressive.

For example, until the rise of the suffrage movement led by women's rights activists and temperance advocates, women had very limited rights: they were disenfranchised around the world; women were ineligible to run for public office, and to vote in political elections.

Over time, the movement became a reckoning force and helped to pave the way for women to vote in Canada. Our province Manitoba became the first in Canada in which women won the right to vote on January 28, 1916.

Generally today in Canada, the rights revolution has taken on a life of its own, and the country is ahead in promoting human rights, including women's rights, as a cornerstone of politics internationally. Canada is in the vanguard of advancing women empowerment and participation in the political process.

At the federal level, women make up about fifty percent of the cabinet. Women are also found in all levels of governments in Canada.

This is very significant, and again, it shows the country is an evolving and a progressive one. What a great nation to be proud of.

Finally, I would like to thank the government of Canada for their support, and once again ladies and gentlemen, I wish you a very happy and memorable Canada Day celebration. Thank you for your attention.