Tamil Heritage Month began in Canada this week as politicians from across the political spectrum paid tribute to the Tamil community.
An online event with cultural performances was held on New Year’s day to mark the start of the month, which will see events held virtually throughout January.
“It is a time to recognize and celebrate the many contributions Canadians of Tamil descent have made to Canada, as well as their extraordinary language and culture,” said Bardish Chagger, Canada’s Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth.
“Canada is the proud home of one of the world’s largest Tamil diasporas. Tamil Canadians have enriched, and continue to enrich, our national fabric through their many achievements in business, politics, and sports, to name a few areas,” she added. "During Tamil Heritage Month, I encourage Canadians across the country to learn more about this vibrant community. In these trying times, let’s also draw inspiration from the strength and resilience of the Tamil community and continue to develop a better understanding and respect for diversity and inclusion from coast to coast to coast.”
Steven Del Luca, leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, released a statement saying, “I will always be proud to call myself a friend of the Tamil community”.
“Tamil Ontarians have helped shape the Ontario we all know and love. You are leaders across every sector and champions one each of your communities.”
City of Brampton's Mayor Patrick Brown congratulated the Tamil community on their achievements and paid tribute to the Tamil language and culture, in an address to mark the start of the month.
Mississauga's Mayor Bonnie Crombie said the month is “an important opportunity to remember and reflect on the economic, charitable and public service contributions that Tamil Canadians have made to cities like Mississauga”.
City of Toronto's Councillor Cynthia Lai said she was “honoured to join the month of celebrations”.
City Councillor Harkirat Singh paid tribute to the resilience of the Tamil community, stating they “faced so much adversity in their 2,000 year history but they have such a remarkable and vibrant language, culture and beautiful arts”.
York Regional School board Trustee Juanita Nathan also paid tribute to Tamil Canadians in a message released this week.
Canadian Member of Parliament Salma Zahid shared her best wishes and spoke of her support for designating Tamil Heritage Month in 2016.
City of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson sent his greetings to the Tamil community and said the month was a “testament” to the contributions of the community to the country.
Toronto School Board Trustee Anu Sriskantharajah spoke of the Tamil “communal spirit”, stating “that we as a community have gone through so much and we will get though this pandemic as well”.