Sitar music, spring rolls and saris were in abundance as Canada’s senators celebrated the diversity that makes Canada special at their annual Asian Heritage Month reception. The Ottawa event, held Monday, May 8, 2017 showcased the cultures of China, India, Korea, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam.
More than 450 people watched singers and dancers perform dances and songs from the six participating countries. Volunteers served delicious foods from the various cultural communities.
The Senate’s Asian Heritage Month reception was hosted by the 10 senators of Asian descent: senators Salma Ataullahjan, Lillian Eva Dyck, Tobias C. Enverga Jr., Mobina S. B. Jaffer, Yonah Martin, Sabi Marwah, Thanh Hai Ngo, Victor Oh, Ratna Omidvar and Yuen Pau Woo.
Senators of Asian descent in the Red Chamber make up nearly 10% of its members.
It was fitting that senators hosted Asian Heritage Month to pay tribute to Canada’s diversity. Since it was created 150 years ago, the Senate has had a unique role representing Canada’s regional, linguistic, religious and ethnic minorities.
Asian Heritage Month is especially significant to Canada’s senators because it was the Hon. Vivienne Poy, the first Canadian of Asian descent appointed to the Senate, who proposed designating May as Asian Heritage Month in 2001.
The Asian Heritage Month celebration featured a Twitter lounge where guests tweeted photos and videos from the event, sharing their pride in their own Asian heritage or expressing their appreciation for Canada’s diversity.