Notes for a Statement to the Legislature by the Honourable Dr. Eric Hoskins Minister of Citizenship and Immigration on the occasion of  Diwali



Queen’s Park

Toronto, Ontario


November 2, 2010




• Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the Legislature to recognize Diwali, the annual Festival of Lights this upcoming November 5th, which is celebrated around the world and here in Ontario by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains.


• During the five days of festivities, houses are lit up with small clay lamps, known as diyas, to signify the triumph of good over evil.


• For many people, Diwali is a time of great celebration.


• It is a time to enjoy good food, fine clothes, and to spend time with family and friends. In some rural areas around the world, people flock to melas, or fairs, in villages and towns.


• For others, Diwali is a time of quiet contemplation, meditation and abstinence.


• But increasingly, Mr. Speaker, Diwali is a global celebration, recognized and celebrated by people around the world.


• This special celebration unites communities all over the world on both a religious and social level. 


• Although the festival of Diwali dates back centuries, its significance is still widely appreciated and celebrated in a variety of communities today. 


• The Diwali focus on light serves as a wonderful symbol of the truth and renewal of life - a symbol often present in many other religious traditions.


• In the face of today's unique challenges and pressures, this celebration is an excellent occasion to promote mutual respect and understanding, and share in the common values of tradition and faith. 


• As a province, this celebration helps us recognize the rich diversity of our culture - the cornerstone of Ontario's success and prosperity. 


• Celebrating Diwali also adds to the fabric of our nation and strengthens our social foundations by making our communities more dynamic, culturally rich and cohesive.


• With people from over 200 countries, speaking more than 130 languages living in Ontario, our diversity brings us global connections, talents and skills.  It is this diversity that enriches us socially, economically and culturally.


• Mr. Speaker, I think we can all be proud that the seven-thousand year-old Diwali festival is being celebrated today in communities across Ontario such as Hamilton, Mississauga, Brampton and Toronto.


• On behalf of the McGuinty government and all Ontarians, I wish all those observing Diwali a wonderful celebration.


  Happy Diwali to all. Namaste. Sa Sri Akal.


• Thank you, Mr. Speaker.








Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Diwali is an annual five-day religious festival for people of Indian descent who practise Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism. This year, it begins on Friday, November 5 and lasts until Tuesday, November 9.


Diwali, popularly known as the Festival of Lights, is celebrated around the world wherever South Asians have settled. This includes Ontario, where more than half of Canada’s India-born immigrants now live.


Diwali provides us with an opportunity to share with Ontario’s South Asian community in observing this religious festival, and to promote and celebrate our province’s diversity.