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, MLA St. Norbert
May 2, 2013

Asian Heritage Month

Mr. Speaker, Manitoba is proud of its multiculturalism and social diversity. On behalf of the Manitoba Government, I'm honoured to have the opportunity today to rise and recognize May as Asian Heritage Month. We acknowledge the extensive and rich history of Asian Canadians and appreciate their contributions to both our country and province.

Over the last two centuries, Asiatic immigrants have journeyed to Canada from all over the world, bringing vibrant cultural heritage, languages and traditions with them. Manitoba has welcomed newcomers from 150 countries, and Asian nations currently top the list with the Philippines, India and China being the most prevalent countries of origin.

These new Manitobans drive our province's economic and social growth and contribute to every aspect of society: in the arts, science, business, government and sports. They have helped make Manitoba into the culturally diverse, compassionate and prosperous province that we are fortunate to be a part of today.

Everyone should get a chance to discover these cultures and I highly recommend taking in Folklorama and its superb Asian pavilions. What a great opportunity to experience a variety of ethnic dances, music, cultural display and food. Thank you to all the Asian cultural organizations in Manitoba, and to Folklorama for bringing these groups together once a year in the largest and longest running festival of its kind in the world. Manitoba is undoubtedly the cultural capital of Canada.

In the weeks ahead, numerous events will take place across the country to celebrate Asian Heritage Month. I invite all Manitobans to take part in the festivities across the province, whether it's writing workshops, the screening of short films or the music and dance concerts, there's something for everyone. The annual festival at The Forks is a definite highlight.

Mr. Speaker, I sincerely hope that Asian immigrants keep selecting our province as their destination of choice, and that all Manitobans will continue to appreciate the contributions that these new Canadians. Just as they have helped shape our history, identity and society, Manitobans of Asian descent will continue to help drive our collective story forward.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.