This year the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada had its Christmas party well after Christmas - on January 26, 2007, probably a compromise allowing for the Chinese new year which falls on February 18.
The theme of the event was to honour the military who are fighting in Afghanistan and the rather large steps taken this year to the benefit of immigrants by both the federal and the provincial governments.
Present was Federal Minister of Immigration Jason Kenny who noted that " my colleague Peter Van Loan is Estonian." Kenny spoke about the funds given by the federal government to the provincial government as well as turning over duplicating departments to the provinces. Kenny came late directly from Ottawa and left immediately for Vancouver on the red-eye (midnight flight).
Ontario Minister of Immigration,(Liberal Eglinton-Lawrence) the Honourable Mike Colle was the master of ceremonies, responsible for awarding the medals to those who had helped organize the evening as well as to the representative of the military, Brigadier General Thibault.
Two Liberal MPs - the Honourable Jim Karygiannis (Scarborough Agincourt) and John Cannis (Scarborough-Centre) - were there to join in the festivities. Karygiannis was wearing the same tie he was wearing on television, earlier that day, when he was condemning the "grow-ops" (houses used to illegally grow marijuana) which have flourished in Scarborough lately.
Colle was grateful for the funds that the Ottawa had given Ontario. "Each year Ontario receives over 150,000 immigrants. That is more than the population of Prince Edward Island," said Colle. Colle mentioned with pride the ads his government had produced showing recently arrived immigrants with high education working at menial jobs.
In his speech, General Thibault read out a letter that he had received from a Captain who had been posted to Afghanistan. "I have been out in the field for two weeks without a shower but I am proud to work here with the people of Afghanistan because I see how we are making a difference," quoted Thibault. Thibault was given a medal of commendation along with a certificate. "I take this medal on behalf of all the men and women who have given their lives and serve in the field," said Thibault.
Toronto Mayor David Miller arrived late as well and in his speech pointed out that by far most of the immigrants that come to Canada and Ontario end up in Toronto. He was impressed by the steps taken to integrate the immigrants into society and the workforce. Miller also recognized Mall Puhm as an Estonian whom he knows.
The event was meaningful as both major topics, the military and the issue of immigration were able to bring federal and provincial parties of different political stripes together.
Ethnic media honours the military, notes immigrant benefits