Spring Festival now official in Canada

Updated: 2016-06-09 15:23

By NA LI in TORONTO(China Daily USA)

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Starting in spring 2017, the Canadian government will proclaim the first day of the Lunar Year as the beginning of the 15-day "Spring Festival".

Parliament's deputy speaker made it official on the evening of June 1, when the popular motion passed to loud applause from all parties.

Don Valley North M.P. Geng Tan said he will never forget the exact moment.

"Mr Speaker, I just need 10 seconds," he said when offered five minutes to sum up. "I would just take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues for their support. I will remember this," Tan said.

According to Tan, the Chinese-Canadian community is currently the largest ethnic group of Asian Canadians, centred mainly in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. In a 2011 survey, Chinese Canadians, including mixed Chinese and other ethnic groups, made up 4.5 percent of the Canadian population, or about 1.5 million. As the Chinese-Canadian population in Canada continues to grow, Chinese culture has become an integral part of the Canadian cultural landscape.

"This motion would bring together friends from Asia and Canada and makes Asian culture accessible to the local mainstream and minority communities," Tan said in a statement. "The celebration of the Chinese New Year has served as a platform for bringing the community together and reminding that diversity and inclusion are sources of strength."

In fact, so will all Asian Canadians ... every time Canadians enjoy Spring Festival in Canada, now that an important page in Asian-Canadian history has turned.

"Mr Speaker, I rise today to address Motion No 38", said Randy Boissonnault, parliamentary secretary to the Honourable Mélanie Joly, minister of Canadian heritage, on June 1.

"I support this motion, and I am honoured to be here to speak about an event of exceptional significance to a great number of Canadians, the Lunar New Year and Spring Festival," said Boissonnault, "I am proud to stand in support of the motion to recognize the first day of Lunar Year as the beginning of the 15-day Spring Festival ... in recognition of the tremendous contributions of people of Asian heritage to Canadian society."