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Percy Downe

The Hon. Percy E. Downe, B.A. Senator Percy E. Downe was appointed to the Senate of Canada by the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien. He has served in the Senate representing Charlottetown in the province of Prince Edward Island since June 26, 2003.

Statements & Hansard


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Statement made on 20 October 2010 by Senator Mobina Jaffer

Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer:

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak on the importance of embracing difference. On Friday, October 15, I had the privilege of attending the tenth annual LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium. This event was founded by our former Governor General, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, and is co-chaired by Mr. John Ralston Saul.

This year, the symposium attendees warmly welcomed His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan who delivered an inspiring speech on the topic of pluralism. In his lecture, His Highness spoke about the Global Centre for Pluralism, which has been established in partnership with the Government of Canada. He explained that this centre is one of the first institutions dedicated to tackling the question of diversity and pluralism in our world.

The Aga Khan went on to state that Canada was a natural home for this institution, given that Canada is particularly well versed in the importance of embracing difference and has an international reputation of perceiving diversity as a strength rather than a weakness.

Honourable senators, throughout my life in Canada, I have learned that it does not matter if someone is black or white; if they speak English, Italian or Punjabi; or if they worship in a church, mosque or synagogue. Being different does not hinder the ability to flourish in Canada.

I have never been more proud to be a Canadian than last Friday evening. I was especially inspired after hearing the Aga Khan state:

What the Canadian experience suggests to me is that identity itself can be pluralistic. Honouring one's own identity need not mean rejecting others. One can embrace an ethnic or religious heritage, while also sharing a sense of national or regional pride.

As a woman of Indian origin, Ismaili Muslim faith, who was born and raised in Africa and who sought refuge in Canada, I have found great comfort in these wise words. Regardless of my complex identity, I have not only been granted the honour of identifying myself as a Canadian but I have also been given the privilege of rising before all honourable senators today and representing my community and my province of British Columbia.

Honourable senators, the Aga Khan in his speech indicated:

Pluralism is a process and not a product. It is a mentality, a way of looking at a diverse and changing world.

It is important for Canadians to acknowledge that although being home to the Global Centre for Pluralism is a source of great pride, it also brings great responsibility. We now have an obligation to show the rest of the world that embracing difference can help foster a better life for all.

I congratulate the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson and Mr. John Ralston Saul for making this year's symposium a great success. However, most importantly, I congratulate all Canadians for showcasing to the world that, as the Aga Khan said in his speech, "diversity has the capacity to inspire."

Recent Statements from Liberal Senators

First Nations Control of First Nations Education Bill

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Lillian Eva Dyck | Honourable senators, I would like to say a few words about this motion. I am definitely in support of it. The idea of a First Nations education act is critically important to the welfare of First Nations across Canada, and especially to our young people.

Income Inequality

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette | What does the government intend to do to learn from the financial crisis, reduce wealth inequality, and follow the lead of other jurisdictions that have started to rein in compensation that has nothing to do with the productivity of the people who earn the average salary of a Canadian in half a day?

Broadcast of Senate Proceedings

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Grant Mitchelll | What is the leader's personal opinion about televising the Senate?

National Pharmacare

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator Art Eggleton | That was supported unanimously in the Senate, so I take it, senator, that you would be willing to now advance this idea to the government.

National Pharmacare

10 Apr, 2014 | By Senator James Cowan | My question is: Will this government put National Pharmacare on the agenda?
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