Ottawa: The President of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) Dr Lobsang Sangay attended the Thank You Canada event in Ottawa, the capital city of Canada on June 12th. The event which is a part of the ‘Thank You Year”, a year-long campaign of the CTA to mark the onset of the His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s 60th year in exile.
The chief guest at the event was Melanie Joly, the Canadian Minister of Multiculturalism. Other guests include MP Arif Virani, Chair of Parliamentary Friends of Tibet (PFT), MP Garnett Genuis, Co-chair of PFT, MP Randall Garrison, Co-chair of PFT, MP David Sweet, former PFT Chair, Former Senator Consiglio DiNino, founder of PFT, MP Alexandre Boulerice, MP Gagan Sikand, MP Raj Saini, MP Rom McKinnon, MP Gary Anandasangaree, MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette, MP Mona Forteir and visiting members of the Tibetan parliament and OOT Washington Representative Ngodup Tsering. Around 200 people attended the event including the local Tibetan community.
In his address, the President referring to what His Holiness the Dalai Lama had advised, to make new friends, while remembering the old friends, thanked Canada and its people and the friends of Tibet for being with Tibet and its people throughout.
“We are here to say that you have been with us for a long time, bear with us for a little longer” he said, adding that the Tibetan journey that began non-violently 60 years ago under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama will continue, but the destination is “much nearer that what we all think.”
Referring to the narratives he encountered of Tibet issue being too weak in front of a powerful China, the President expressed that such narratives have repeatedly been proven wrong by events such as the Fall of Berlin Wall, Fall of the Soviet Union, historic journey of Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi.
“Tibetans in Tibet has gone through a lot in this 60 years” he said, adding that the resilience and the “mountain spirit” of the Tibetan people rooted in Buddhism of over 2500 years will outlast the “100 plus year-old communism.”
The address also focused on the relationship between Canada and Tibet and its support for Tibet issue cited by the recent call on China by the Minister of Foreign Affairs asking to allow United Nations’ High Commissioner and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief to visit Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, the 11th Panchen Lama and the statement issued by Canada embassy in China calling for an immediate and unconditional release of the imprisoned Tibetan language advocate, Tashi Wangchuk.
Melanie Joly, Canadian Minister of Multiculturalism, said that she is happy to be at the event and expressed that Tibetans add to the multiculturalism of Canada. She assured Canada’s continued support for the Tibetan people and the Tibet issue. Arif Virani, member of Canadian Parliament who is also the Chair of Parliamentary Friends of Tibet (PFT), said that Canada should be thanking Tibet and the Tibetan people.
Tibetan Parliamentarians from North America Pema Chagzoetsang and Tsewang Rinzin also spoke on behalf of the Tibetan parliament to thank the government and people of Canada.
The event was followed by cultural performances by local Tibetans and a dinner consisting of Momo, a Tibetan dish. The event was jointly organised by the Office of Tibet (OOT), Canadian parliamentary friends of Tibet and Canada Tibet committee.