Video and transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s remarks for Navroz at the Ismaili Centre in Toronto

“Often when I see members of the Ismaili community, they start by thanking me and thanking my father specifically, and I always have to turn it around and say no, no, no, thank you. Thank you for being the embodiment of the vision that my father and so many others had” — Prime Minister of Canada, March 21, 2018, Ismaili Centre.

(Video, followed by transcript)

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Transcript of remarks made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto on the occasion of Navroz, March 21, 2018

Thank you. Thank you my friends. Navroz Mubarak. Hello everyone, and thank you for that incredibly warm welcome. I want to begin by thanking Malik Talib, President of the Ismaili Council for Canada, for his invitation, for his kind words. I want to thank my colleagues Arif Virani, Alli Al Hasi, Yasmin Ratansi, who are here with me today, for all the incredible work they do in their communities and across the country.

And I want to thank all of you for being here today. This is always a wonderful moment for me to come to this beautiful centre to see friends, old and new, and to celebrate a community that, for me, represents some of the very best of Canada. The sense of connection, the sense of service, the deep values that fold into every action of this community is, I think, a testament to both the success of this country and those upon whom this success rests. Often when I see members of the Ismaili community, they start by, as Arif did, thanking me and thanking my father specifically, and I always have to turn it around and say no, no, no, thank you. Thank you for being the embodiment of the vision that my father and so many others had. Thank you for the incredible….

(Applause)

Thank you for showing not just Canadians, but the world, with and through your success and your devotion, both to your own identities but also to this shared identity we build as Canadians, what it is to be open and to prosper through being welcoming and engaging with the world and not closing oneself off. You are an extraordinary example of the very best of Canada, and every day I thank you for it.

(Applause)

And I think there is no better example of that than, as Malik pointed out, the over one million hours of community and volunteer service to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary that this community accomplished — it is an extraordinary achievement and a perfect example of the commitment that all you, but all of us should have every day to contributing to the community, to the country that surrounds us. It is a beautiful testament to the dedication to this country and to all its citizens.

It’s quite fitting we celebrate Navroz here, as the Ismaili community is known around the world for its commitment to pluralism. Tens of thousands of people see this symbol of diversity off the Don Valley Parkway every day. Navroz is a chance for all Canadians to honour the many communities that have observed this tradition for generations and the many contributions you have all made to Canada. This event is a testimony to the diversity that makes Canada stronger and Canadians better.

So thank you for gathering here today. I’ve been giving some thought to the idea of Navroz, which marks the start of the New Year and the beginning of spring. The idea of new beginnings is central to Navroz.

How can we create and take advantage of opportunities throughout the new year? How can we maintain hope? How can we remain optimistic in the face of adversity? How can we foster openness and understanding, not just today but every day? While there may be … more than one answer to these questions, they give us pause to reflect on the past year. And this reflection may allow us to move forward as we welcome a new year.

This led me to think back on a meeting I had just a few weeks ago with the Afghan Girls Robotics Team. By the time they arrived in Canada, these incredibly smart and driven young women had already been awarded the top prize at Robotics competitions around the world, gaining international recognition for their accomplishments in STEM. They spoke of their successes with pride and shared their plans for the future with optimism and hope. They spoke of their aspirations, not only for themselves, but also for their community, for Afghanistan, and for other women in their field.

(Applause, speech continues after photo)

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau at the Ismaili Cetre

Prime Minister Trudeau at Navroz celebrations held on March 21, 2018 at the Toronto Ismaili Centre. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant.

I am sharing their stories with you today because the path to success was far from easy for these young women. But despite the obstacles, they have remained optimistic, strong and full of hope. Brilliant, kind and proud.

I mention that Afghan Girls Robotics Team because in a way they embody the spirit of Navroz. These twelve young women were beyond ready for the next chapter of their journey here in Canada and ever so eager for new beginnings. And as it so happens, we met on the last day of February, on the eve of this month of renewal. Now, I know we can’t all claim to be leaders in robotics, but do not let their extraordinary circumstances and abilities distract you from the more familiar elements of their story.

For generations, people have come to Canada to realize their dreams. Some faced impossible odds for a chance to build a better life for themselves, while others made considerable sacrifices to ensure the success of their children and grandchildren. As we mark Navroz today in the Ismaili Centre, I want to recognize that everyone in this room can relate to these stories.

Take the Ismaili community, for example, many of whom were welcomed in Canada in 1972, after being forcibly expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin. This is a community like so many others that overcame significant obstacles, and of course its members are leaders in every profession across the country today.

Indeed, the story of hope and hard work is one that Canadians from all backgrounds can relate to. One that lives on in our communities and hopefully transcends our borders.

While Navroz is a time of celebration and new beginnings, it also reminds us of our privilege during this time of change. As Canadians, we are fortunate to live in a country where our rights are enshrined in the Constitution, where our freedoms are entrenched in laws. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms ensures that all Canadians can speak their mind, practice their faith, and stand up for what they believe in. Because of the Charter, every Canadian is entitled to a new beginning.

I want to end by sharing with you the wise words of the Persian poet, Hafez, which I believe capture the spirit of this occasion.

“Spring and all its flowers now joyously break their vow of silence. It is time for celebration, not for lying low.”

Once again, thank you for having me here today to join in this celebration. To all those who have gathered around the Haft-Seen table this week and are gathering in Jamat Kalmas (ph?) this evening. I wish you all peace, health, happiness, and prosperity in the New Year.

Navroz Mubarak. May peace and blessings be upon you.

(Applause)

Credit for video and transcript: https://pm.gc.ca/eng/video/2018/03/23/prime-minister-trudeau-delivers-remarks-navroz-ismaili-centre-toronto.

Date posted: March 27, 201.

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His Highness the Aga Khan, 49th Ismaili Imam, is a Champion of Diversity and Compassion and Inspires Millions, Says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

His Highness the Aga Khan is greeted by Justin Trudeau as he arrives in Ottawa, Canada, to celebrate his Golden Jubilee in 2008. At that time, Mr. Trudeau was a Member of Parliament in his riding in the Province of Quebec. He won the Liberal leadership in 2011, and after winning the recent Federal Elections held in October, he was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Canada on November 4th 2015. A day earlier he visited the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Building on Sussex Drive in Ottawa - see photo below. Photo: The Ismaili.

His Highness the Aga Khan is greeted by Justin Trudeau as he arrives in Ottawa, Canada, to celebrate his Golden Jubilee in 2008. At that time, Mr. Trudeau was a Member of Parliament in his riding in the Province of Quebec. He won the Liberal leadership in 2011, and after winning the recent Federal Elections held in October, he was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Canada on November 4th 2015. A day earlier he visited the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat Building on Sussex Drive in Ottawa – see photo below. Photo: The Ismaili.

The Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement on December 13, 2015, on the 79th birthday of His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan:

“Today, we celebrate the birthday of His Highness the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, who has dedicated his life to the promotion of peace, pluralism, and compassion around the world.

“For over fifty years, the Aga Khan has been an inspiration to millions, working tirelessly to improve the health and education of those living in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries. As a global humanitarian leader, he has worked with many partners – including Canada – to implement vital programs that advance long-term solutions to poverty, illiteracy, and disease.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with AKDN Representative Dr. Mahmoud Eboo (left) and the President of the Aga Khan Ismaili Council for Canada, Malik Talib, at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa on November 3, 2015, the day before he was sworn in as the Prime Minister. Photo: The Ismaili.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with Aga Khan Development Netork (AKDN) Representative Dr. Mahmoud Eboo (left) and the President of the Aga Khan Ismaili Council for Canada, Malik Talib, at the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat in Ottawa on November 3, 2015, a day before he was sworn in as Prime Minister. Photo: The Ismaili.

“I have seen first-hand the Aga Khan’s commitment to the ideals of diversity and inclusion. As a nation, we are proud His Highness was granted honourary Canadian citizenship for the leadership he has shown to advance development, pluralism, and tolerance – values that are at the core of our national identity.

“The world needs champions of diversity and compassion. Today, we are delighted to thank our good friend, the Aga Khan, for all that he has done to help those in need, and wish him good health, happiness, and peace on this special day.”

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“Happy Birthday to the Hazar Imam” – Yasmin Rattansi, MP Don Valley E.

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His Highness the Aga Khan, MP Yasmin Ratansi and External Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew (July 2004 – February 2006). Photo: Jean-Marc Carisse. Copyright.

“Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to thank the constituents of Don Valley East for re- electing me to Parliament.

“My riding is proud to house three architectural jewels of Toronto: the Aga Khan Museum, the lsmaili Centre, and the Aga Khan Park built in Canada by His Highness the Aga Khan with his own funds.

“On December 13, His Highness will be celebrating his 79th birthday. I rise today in the House to pay a special tribute to a remarkable human being. His tireless efforts in building bridges across the globe, his commitment to eradicating poverty and ignorance for millions of people, irrespective of race or religion, through the AKDN network are unparalleled.

“I was fortunate to have worked with His Highness in establishing the Global Centre for Pluralism here in Ottawa.

“Happy birthday to the Hazar Imam. May all who come in touch with him benefit from his integrity, humility, honesty, and courage to do good.”

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A Message and Tweets from the Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, and Arif Virani, MP Parkdale–High Park.

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Mawlana Hazar Imam graciously accepts the standing ovation he receives after completing his speech at the opening of the Aga Khan Park in Toronto on May 25, 2015. With him is the Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne. Photo: Simerg/Malik Merchant. Copyright.

Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne Aga Khan Message

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….and a Tweet from the 2 Ismaili Mountaineers, Mirza Ali and Samina Baig, who conquered the “Seven Summits”, i.e. the highest mountain in each of the 7 continents

Date posted: December 13, 2015.
Last updated: December 14, 2015 (Message from Ontario Premier)

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Exclusive Photos by Jean-Marc Carisse: “Victorious Trudeau”, His Highness the Aga Khan and Liberal MP Yasmin Ratansi

LETTER FROM PUBLISHER

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“Victorious Trudeau”
Justin Trudeau with wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau just as results from polling stations across the country confirmed a Liberal majority government. Photo: Jean-Marc Carisse. Copyright.

By Abdulmalik Merchant

“Victorious Trudeau” is the caption of this large, beautiful and poignantly touching photograph on the front window of Jean-Marc Carisse’s Studio Café located on Elgin Street in Ottawa. It’s a remarkable record of history in the making, as it was taken by Mr. Carisse in Montreal just as Mr. Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party won the 2015 Federal Elections in Canada held on Monday, October 19th.

Countless other photos adorn the walls of the studio café Jean-Marc and his wife have lovingly and meticulously built on Elgin Street. Mr. Carisse, an award winning photographer (see profile below), has seen action around the world for more than forty years. From activists to artists, and singers to prominent world leaders, past and present, Carisse has the iconic figures as well as the common man well represented in his European inspired space that I call The Jean-Marc Carisse Museum of Photography.

SudioCafe&Gallery-MCarisse

Carisse Studio Cafe Photography Gallery on Elgin Street in Ottawa.

Ask Jean-Marc Carisse – the humble, lively and ever-joyous and smiling man – about the background and context of the photos, and he will oblige with details so rich, interesting and, sometimes, amusing that you will want to go back and look at the photos on the walls again and again.

Jean-Marc’s enormous collection include hundreds of photos of the 49th Ismaili Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, in group settings. One that Carisse is particularly attached to, in which His Highness appears alongside former USA President Jimmy Carter and Cuban leader Fidel Castro, was taken at the funeral of Justin’s father, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. In this photo Justin, the loving son, and now Canada’s Prime Minister designate – he officially becomes the Prime Minister on November 4 – is seen resting his head on his late father’s casket. This is a truly remarkable and poignant photo taken in sadder circumstances.

Pierre Trudeau FuneralThe photograph shows former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s family, friends, colleagues, and official guests in attendance to observe his passing. His son, Justin, rests his head on the casket of his father. Margaret Trudeau is in the front pew with son, Alexandre. In attendance next to Cuban President Fidel Castro are former Governor-General Romeo Leblanc, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. Other notables present at the ceremony not shown in this photograph include past Canadian Prime Ministers John Turner, Joseph Clark, Brian Mulroney, and Jean Chrétien. Photo: Copyright Jean-Marc Carisse.

When I asked Mr. Carisse to create a special dropbox for me of the photos of His Highness, he gladly obliged for the photos that were electronically available which he had shot over the past 12 years or so. These photos were from the Ismaili Imam’s visits or meetings with Ministers who during the 2002-06 time frame headed the Department of External Affairs. The Liberals were in power at that time, and Ms. Yasmin Ratansi, an Ismaili Muslim, was the Liberal MP representing the Don Mills East constituency. She lost her seat in the 2011 Federal Elections to the Conservative member by less than 1,000 votes in what turned out to be a watershed election for the Liberals, who could only keep 34 seats out of 308. But last week in a major turn around, Ms Ratansi won the same riding by almost 10,000 votes, with Liberals increasing their count by a substantial margin to 184!

I wondered whether I might find Yasmin somewhere in the dropbox of thumbnails that Jean-Marc had set up for me. Indeed! I found her, and there were quite a few. I met with Jean-Marc Carisse late yesterday, Monday, October 26, to view the actual enlarged versions, out of which we selected a couple with two Ministers. Also Carisse shared a portrait of His Highness the Aga Khan (see below)

This is our little tribute to Ms. Ratansi who has worked hard for Canadians. Undaunted, this remarkable lady was not prepared to go into oblivion just because she and her party were defeated four years ago. She has come out strong, and we wish her well in the years to come in her service to the people of this great country.

re, Bill Graham & Yasmin RatansiHis Highness the Aga Khan and Yasmin Ratansi (right) in a happy exchange with Canadian External Affairs Minister Bill Graham (2002-2004), looking on. Photo: Jean-Marc Carisse. Copyright.

Marc Carisse 2005 0607 203His Highness the Aga Khan, MP Yasmin Ratansi and External Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew (July 2004 – February 2006). Photo: Jean-Marc Carisse. Copyright.

With regard to Mr. Justin Trudeau, who will officially become the Prime Minister on November 4, I might note that the relationship of the Ismaili Imamat with his family goes back more than 40 years, when the Liberal Government under Justin’s father, Mr. Pierre Trudeau, accepted thousands of Asian refugees including  Ismailis from Uganda.

Judging by the respect and warmth that Mr. Justin Trudeau has shown towards the Ismaili Imam and the Ismaili community, we expect that the fraternal bonds between the Ismaili Imamat and Canada will continue to remain strong, as they have been under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other Prime Ministers  before him.

Aga Khan by Jean-Marc CarisseHis Highness the Aga Khan. Photo by Jean-Marc Carisse. Copyright

We wish Mr. Justin Trudeau and his  Liberal Government the very best to serve this country well, and to lead the country to loftier heights. The Ismaili community, as ever, will continue to excel in its commitment to this magnificent country in all spheres of human endeavour, under the guidance of their beloved Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, who asked his Ismaili followers in 1978 to make Canada their permanent homes.

We conclude by mentioning that the Diamond Jubilee (60th Imamat Day Celebrations) of His Highness the Aga Khan will be celebrated in July 2017, at the same time that Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary. We look forward to celebrating these two great milestones in Canadian and Ismaili history under the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Date posted: Tuesday, October 27, 2015.
Last updated: October 28, 2015.

Please also visit Simerg’s photoblog at http://www.simergphotos.com for an enhanced version of this piece containing additional photos of His Highness the Aga Khan. _______________

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Jean-Marc CarisseAward winning photographer, Jena Marc Carisse has photographed the political, cultural and social scenes in Ottawa and around the world for over 40 years.  He was official photographer for the Prime Minister’s Office for many years serving Prime Ministers Trudeau, Turner and Chrétien, as well as serving Official Opposition Leaders Bill Graham, Stéphane Dion and Michael Ignatieff. He’s also photographed consecutive Prime Ministers from Diefenbaker to Harper, US Presidents from Ford to Obama and hundreds of world leaders. Many of his photographs have appeared on the covers and pages of history and political books (including his own coffee table book “Privileged Access w/ Trudeau, Turner & Chrétien” by Warwick Publ. 2000),  magazines including Time, Paris Match and Maclean’s, as well as TV documentaries and biographies.