Thank you very much for the warm welcome.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am proud to be here tonight to extend greetings to both the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers and to everyone here in attendance for tonight’s 12th annual RISE Awards.

The exemplary mandate of your organization is to improve the quality of life for all newcomers, and Canadians alike, and are in the tradition of the values of social justice, diversity, compassion, and responsibility – that we all as Canadians hold so dear. You truly understand that the success of newcomers is Canada’s success.

I would especially like to congratulate the award recipients for your remarkable achievements, success, and leadership contributions. The time, energy, and resources that you have contributed by your support of newcomers has made a great impact on Edmonton, Alberta, and Canada as a whole. Your efforts and caring enhance the quality of life for all of us who live in this community.

The story of Canada is a great example to the world. Everyone who lives here contributes to our extraordinary society, vibrant democracy, and freedom-loving country.

We are a nation strong, proud, and free.

New Canadians represent a great source of strength for our country. You arrive here from all corners of the globe, as did my grandfather and my father, resolved to build a better life for yourselves and your families in Canada – one of the most open and welcoming nations in the world.

And our Government welcomes you because we recognize that you are committed people who have chosen to live in Canada and to enrich our society with your unique contributions. Your knowledge and skills contribute to our country’s success and add to our rich, multicultural fabric.

Thank you very much and I wish again, to congratulate tonight’s award winners, for the significant contributions you have made by working hard to improve the lives of all Canadians, and to making Canada a better place to live.

Thank you.