On Canada Day, Reflections of Canada Through Images and Quotes of His Highness the Aga Khan

OTTAWA’S EMERGING SKYLINE

Please click on images for enlargement

A scene of Ottawa's emerging skyline inscribed on a stone plaque as seen from Gatineau, Quebec, across the Ottawa River. The  inscription reads as follows: "Canada has grown and evolved and so have the country's institutions. In 1867, the new Parliament Buildings welcomed the country's first government. When Canada became independent from Britain in 1931, new federal institutions were built to support the country's "coming of age." In 1967, Canadians celebrated the country's centennial year and their shared English and French heritage. The government embraced this ideal, and in the 1970's extended the federal public service into Quebec - a first step toward the creation of a bilingual and culturally representative capital region." Buildings represented on the plaque (l to r) 1 - National Gallery of Canada; 2 - Embassy of the United States of America; 3 - Canad Revenue Agency; 4 - The Parliemanrt Buildings, 5- Confederation Building; 6 - Department of Justice; 7 - Supreme Court of Canada, and 8 - National Library and Archives Canada. Photo: Malik Merchant. Copyright. June 2014.

A scene of Ottawa’s emerging skyline inscribed on a stone plaque as seen from Gatineau, Quebec, across the Ottawa River, metres from the Canadian Museum of Civilization. The inscription reads as follows: “Canada has grown and evolved and so have the country’s institutions. In 1867, the new Parliament Buildings welcomed the country’s first government. When Canada became independent from Britain in 1931, new federal institutions were built to support the country’s “coming of age.” In 1967, Canadians celebrated the country’s centennial year and their shared English and French heritage. The government embraced this ideal, and in the 1970’s extended the federal public service into Quebec – a first step toward the creation of a bilingual and culturally representative capital region.” Buildings represented on the plaque (l to r) 1 – National Gallery of Canada; 2 – Embassy of the United States of America; 3 – Canada Revenue Agency; 4 – The Parliament Buildings, 5 – Confederation Building; 6 – Department of Justice; 7 – Supreme Court of Canada, and 8 – National Library and Archives Canada. Photo: Malik Merchant. Copyright. June 2014.

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His Highness the Aga Khan on Canada

His Highness the Aga Khan is applauded by the Prime Minister, Members of the House, as well as other distinguished visitors as he arrives  in the House of Commons on Thursday, February 27, 2014 to deliver a rare address - the first by a faith leader in 75 years. The Ottawa Citizen published a similar photo on its front page of Friday February 28, giving it the title "In Divine Company." Alongside the Ismaili Imam are his daughter Princess Zahra and the Prime Minister's wife, Laureen Harper. Others in the photo, in rows adjacent to Mrs. Harper (l to r) -- 1st row: The Aga Khan's younger brother, Prince Amyn Muhammad Aga Khan, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, The Right Honourable Beverly McLachlin, Former Governor General of Canada, The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, and renowned Canadian author, intellectual and philosopher,  John Ralston Saul; 2nd row (l to r). President Malik Talib of the Aga Khan Ismaili Councli for Canada, Prince Hussain Aga Khan, Princess Salwa Aga Khan and her husband Prince Rahim Aga Khan - with both the Princes in the photo being the Aga Khan's children. Photo credit: The Office of the Prime Minister of Canada.

His Highness the Aga Khan is applauded by the Prime Minister, Members of the House, as well as other distinguished visitors as he arrives in the House of Commons on Thursday, February 27, 2014 to deliver a rare address – the first by a faith leader in 75 years. The Ottawa Citizen published a similar photo on its front page of Friday February 28, giving it the title “In Divine Company.” Alongside the Ismaili Imam are his daughter Princess Zahra and the Prime Minister’s wife, Laureen Harper. Others in the photo, in rows adjacent to Mrs. Harper (l to r) — 1st row: The Aga Khan’s younger brother, Prince Amyn Muhammad Aga Khan, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, The Right Honourable Beverly McLachlin, Former Governor General of Canada, The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, and renowned Canadian author, intellectual and philosopher, John Ralston Saul; 2nd row (l to r). President Malik Talib of the Aga Khan Ismaili Council for Canada, Prince Hussain Aga Khan, Princess Salwa Aga Khan and her husband Prince Rahim Aga Khan – with both the Princes in the photo being the Aga Khan’s children. Photo credit: The Office of the Prime Minister of Canada.

A VISION FOR THE OTTAWA RIVERFRONT?…. ISMAILI COMMUNITY AND CANADA

“In just three years, Canada will mark its 150th anniversary, and the whole world will be ready to celebrate with you. Sharing Canada’s robust pluralistic history, is a core mission of our Global Centre, and 2017 will be a major opportunity for doing so, operating from its headquarters in the former War Museum on Sussex Drive. Perhaps 2017 and the celebrations can be a catalyst with our neighbours to improve the entire riverfront area around that building.

“Our partnership in Canada has been immensely strengthened, of course, by the presence for more than four decades of a significant Ismaili community. Like most historic global communities the Ismaili peoples have a variegated history, but surely our experience in Canada has been a particularly positive chapter.

“I happily recall the establishment of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat here in 2008 and the Prime Minister’s description that day of our collaborative efforts to make Canada “the headquarters of the global effort to foster peace, prosperity, and equality through  pluralism. [1]

Parliament Buildings from the spot where the top image was taken. Photo: Malik Merchant. Copyright.

Parliament Buildings from the spot where the top image was taken. Photo: Malik Merchant. Copyright.

A statue of French explorer Samuel de Champlain at Nepean Point in Ottawa. The explorer is  seen holding his famous astrolabe upsidedown. Nepean Point is a hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, overlooking the Ottawa River, Parliament, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and other features of downtown Ottawa and Gatineau. It is located between the National Gallery of Canada and Alexandra Bridge. The sculpture was made by Hamilton MacCarthy in 1915. Photo: Malik Merchant, Copyright.

A statue of French explorer Samuel de Champlain at Nepean Point in Ottawa. The explorer is seen holding his famous astrolabe upsidedown. Nepean Point is a hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, overlooking the Ottawa River, Parliament, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and other features of downtown Ottawa and Gatineau. It is located between the National Gallery of Canada and Alexandra Bridge. The sculpture was made by Hamilton MacCarthy in 1915. Photo: Malik Merchant, Copyright.

The rock crystal shaped dome of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat  shown just above the top deck of a boat on the Ottawa River, beneath Ottawa's Royal Alexandra Bridge. Photo: Malik Merchant. Copyright. June 2014.

The rock crystal shaped dome of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat shown just above the top deck of a boat on the Ottawa River, beneath Ottawa’s Royal Alexandra Bridge. Photo: Malik Merchant. Copyright. June 2014.

CANADA – A HAVEN OF PEACE

“Canada is an international power who takes her responsibilities seriously and whose policies have never in her history been tainted by the cruder forms of colonialism, racialism or isolationism. [2]

“Successful experience with democracy, civil society and pluralism are the national genius of Canada of which much of the developing world is in dire need. [3]

“Canada remains for the rest of the world an enviable haven. A haven of peace, and of immense natural beauty and wealth. The wealth I speak of, is not merely its natural resources but the peoples of Canada, steeped in your tradition of tolerance, generosity and compassion in alleviating human suffering and respect for diversity of thought and culture.” [4]

His Highness the Aga Khan and the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, face eager cameras at the Canadian Parliament Building on Thursday, 27 February, 2014. An oil on canvas painting of The Right Honourable Sir John Alexander Macdonald, Prime Minister (1867-1873; 1878-1891) adorns a wall as part of the House of Commons Heritage Collection, while the Ismaili Imamat and Canadian Flags form a backdrop in this historical photo. Photo credit: The Office of the Prime Minister of Canada.

His Highness the Aga Khan and the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, face eager cameras at the Canadian Parliament Building on Thursday, 27 February, 2014. An oil on canvas painting of The Right Honourable Sir John Alexander Macdonald, Prime Minister (1867-1873; 1878-1891) adorns a wall as part of the House of Commons Heritage Collection, while the Ismaili Imamat and Canadian Flags form a backdrop in this historical photo. Photo credit: The Office of the Prime Minister of Canada.

CANADA – MOST SUCCESSFUL PLURALIST SOCIETY ON EARTH

“Canada is a country that has invested in making this potential liability [of pluralism] become an asset, and I think that Canada has been perhaps too humble in its own appreciation of this global asset. It’s a global asset, and few countries, if any have been as successful as Canada has. [5]

The Old Canadian War Museum will become the future site of the Global Centre for Pluralism, once renovations  are completed inside the building. The Centre is governed by an international Board of Directors chaired by His Highness the Aga Khan. The Global Centre for Pluralism was inspired by the example of Canada’s inclusive approach to citizenship, and works to advance respect for diversity worldwide, believing that openness and understanding toward the cultures, social structures, values and faiths of other peoples are essential to the survival of an interdependent world.

The Old Canadian War Museum will become the future site of the Global Centre for Pluralism, once renovations are completed inside the building. The Centre is governed by an international Board of Directors chaired by His Highness the Aga Khan. The Global Centre for Pluralism was inspired by the example of Canada’s inclusive approach to citizenship, and works to advance respect for diversity worldwide, believing that openness and understanding toward the cultures, social structures, values and faiths of other peoples are essential to the survival of an interdependent world.

“Canada is today the most successful pluralist society on the face of our world. Without any doubt in my mind. You have created the perfect pluralist society where minorities, generally speaking, are welcome, they feel comfortable, they assimilate the Canadian psyche, they are allowed to move forward within civil society in an equitable manner, their children are educated. So Canada has succeeded in putting together a form of pluralist society which has been remarkably successful. I’m not the one who’s making a judgement.” [6]

Date posted: July 1, 2014.

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[1] House of Commons, Thursday, February 27, 2014.
[2] Diplomatic Banquet (Toronto, Canada), 19 November 1978.
[3] The Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Foundation Stone Ceremony (Ottawa, Canada), 6 June 2005.
[4] Diplomatic Corps Banquet (Toronto, Canada), 19 August 1992.
[5] CBC Interview, One-on-One with Peter Mansbridge (Ottawa, Canada), 28 October 2006. Click One on One: Peter Mansbridge Interview with His Highness the Aga Khan
[6] Globe and Mail Interview (3rd), John Stackhouse and Patrick Martin (Toronto, Canada), 30 January 2002

Please also click His Highness the Aga Khan and Canada: A Profound Affinity – But Why Canada?

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