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Speech at World Sikh Organization Annual Dinner

Introduction of Guest Speaker
World Sikh Organization Annual Dinner
Hon. David Kilgour
Room 200, West Block, House of Commons
3 June 2010

Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Vaheguru, Ji Key Fateh,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Permit me please first a short quote from my talk at this event two years ago (

"What Sikhs have experienced in different places, times and circumstances, has only made you stronger and better able to forge ahead. Sometimes it has taken (you) very long to obtain rightful redress (e.g. the Kamagata Maru matter in 1914, when 376 passengers, mostly Sikhs, were not allowed to disembark from a Japanese steamship in Vancouver). Canadians at large have learned much about Sikhs and Sikhism since 1984 and have come to better understand both.

"The political climate has changed in India much for the better too. The current government, headed by Dr. Manmohan Singh, himself a Sikh, is focused on economic growth and is seeking a place of pride among the responsible community of nations. It also seems inclined to mend fences with an energetic and enterprising global community with strong roots in India: Sikhs.

"Finally, and in a similar vein, I believe that Canada and all dignity-respecting countries should now be building special political-trade-investment relationships with India, along with all other rule-of-law democracies across Asia. Certainly, India's governments have made mistakes—as those in all democracies have--but the citizens of India have never abandoned government of, by and for the people. Given the special challenges Indians face as the planet's largest democracy, that is a remarkable accomplishment..."

Manoj Mitta

It is a great pleasure to introduce Manoj Mitta. He is a graduate from Hyderabad Law School and now a Senior Editor with The Times of India in New Delhi, which has an astounding circulation of ten million copies daily. As a journalist, he casts a critical eye on India’s record on the rule of law, human rights and judicial accountability. He has worked earlier with The Indian Express and India Today. He is also co-author of the path-breaking book, When a Tree Shook Delhi, 2007.

Having read an abstract of this seminal book, I am impressed by his candor and forthright analysis. It is most fortuitous that he is able to travel from New Delhi to Ottawa to speak tonight.

Please welcome our guest speaker. Thank you.

Vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Vaheguru, Ji Key Fateh,

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