Thank you Canada
Vietnamese Boat People Memorial Monument in GTA is a project that has been longing for by Vietnamese-Canadian community. Over ten organizations in GTA and elsewhere in Canada have endorsed and pledged their support to this project. Our Advocacy Team is formed to carry the mandate.
When built, this monument will be a tribute to Canada, also will remind the next generations and the public about the ordeal that millions Vietnamese refugees ‘boat people’ went through on their escape of communism’s oppression and their plight to freedom. Canada admitted over 60,000. Statistics Canada indicates there were about 67,000 people of Vietnamese origin living in Ontario in 2001.
We are ever grateful for the Canadian government and the Canadian society who have embraced us all this time. A multicultural country, Canada accept us, we are so happy being able to retain our culture while integrating into broader society with harmony.
The monument means dearly to us. It symbolizes our gratitude to this wonderful country and to our sponsors who opened their doors, their arms and their hearts to welcome us. We refugee ‘boat people’ were accepted in Canada as a result of a one-of-a-kind Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program developed and implemented by government in partnership with more than 7,000 private groups of regular Canadian citizens who sponsored us. How proper it is also called the Operation Lifeline because it casts a line to rescue our lives, giving us freedom, safety and opportunity.
Our saying two words “THANK YOU’ seems to be never enough. We owe a lot to Canada and Canadians, like York University philosophy professor Howard Adelman who spearheaded the national campaign of Canada’s boat people rescue operation in 1979, like diplomat Mike Molloy, the campaign chief co-ordinator, like Naomi Alboim, chair of the Public Policy Forum at Queen’s University and head of federal refugee resettlement programs in Ontario in 1979, like Immigration Minister Ron Atkey, like civil servants André Pilon and Bob Parkes from the Ontario Settlement Office of the Federal Department of Immigration, like Ottawa mayor Marion Dewar known for her “Project 4000”, the list goes on and on, and we just name a few here. This is our way of saying “THANK YOU” again and again.
We Vietnamese boat people and descendants always feel deeply indebted and won’t forget our duty to contribute for this country.
We are proud to be in our new homeland and we are proud to be Canadians. Thank you Canada!
President John Smith (Mountain Fund to help and save Vietnamese Boat People – Hamilton, Ontario) and Sculptor Pham Thê Trung at the Ceremony of the Award of Merit for The Arts – Gold Medal (City Hall of Toronto- March 6,1997).