MP Sukh Dhaliwal announced on Thursday that he opened the second reading of Bill C-376, his bill to designate the Month of April as Sikh Heritage Month to ensure that the contributions and history of Sikh Canadians are recognized annually across Canada.
In the opening debate, Dhaliwal said: “The rich history and contributions of Sikhs in this country must be remembered so that every generation knows of the hard work, struggles, and ultimately the progress of this nation. Because this is not just the story of Sikhs, this is the story of Canada.”
With the passage of this bill, April will become Sikh Heritage Month across this country and resources will be provided by the Ministry of Canadian Heritage to mark this month. April was chosen for its importance to the Sikh faith as it’s the month when Vaisakhi and Khalsa Day are celebrated, which mark the birth of the Khalsa and its teachings of equality, selfless service and social justice, that are values shared by all Canadians.
By designating April as Sikh Heritage Month we will be able to bring more attention to where our country comes from, the contributions of all those who contributed to its development, and why the values of equality, fairness, and justice are so important to our identity, noted Dhaliwal.
As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said when he visited the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada: “The story of the Sikh community in Canada is, in fact, just the story of Canada.”
Dhaliwal added: “This is a story of early settlers and pioneers working in the fields, lumber mills, and railroads of Canada, the first Sikh Gurdwara opening in 1908, and racist laws being used to reject fellow British subjects on the Komagata Maru. But it is also a story of becoming Canadians in 1947, entrenching human rights in the laws of this land, and it’s a story of office holders, ministers, Premier, federal opposition leader, and a senator. This is a story that must be shared and told and with this bill we will do that”.