Your Excellency, Minister of the Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, the engineer Mr. Gibran Bassil.
Mr. Sami Haddad, the Charge’ d ’affair, and Mrs. Carla Zarifeh President of the Lebanese Canadian Society of BC,
The 9th of June, has become a memorable day in the history of the Lebanese community in BC. This is the first time since 50 years ago, that a Foreign minister pays a visit to our community in the far Canadian west. We appreciate the 17 hours of time that our Foreign Minister shared with us, despite the 5 hours flight and his busy schedule. Thanks again for being in BC.
I would like to share with our audience the short but very interesting story of the first Lebanese immigrants to BC.
In 1888, Mr. Ibrahim and Fares Al Ra3I arrived to Victoria, and they were followed by their brother Racheed by the end of 1890. But that time many Lebanese families arrived, and formed the first Lebanese community to arrive to Vancouver.
In 1912, the first Lebanese club was founded under the name of the Lebanese club of Vancouver in down town area, where Sun tower is located today, Meetings use to happen at the 19floor. Then in 1965, the name of the club was changed to the Lebanese Canadian Society of BC, exactly 50 years ago.
Our Lebanese community is one of the oldest here, and despite the fact that it is small in number, it always played a prominent role in the multi ethnic Canadian society and on all levels. Our community is aware of its sacred mission, and as always it spreads the scent of authentic Lebanon, that time can’t spoil.
It is an undeniable fact that our minister for Foreign Affairs has revived this ministry in a very short time, and awakened it from a deep and long lethargic sleep, to become the most dynamic ministry if not the best, with the world as its borders.
Thank you your Excellency for the great job in unifying our efforts, we feel now that we are back home. Your visit is a witness and a message, and a challenge to all of us immigrants to work hard for days to come.
Please allow us your Excellency to propose the following 3 items:
1- We need your full support to establish, a memorial monument in Batroun for the forgotten Lebanese victims of the titanic disaster. 103 years of waiting is enough.
2- Create a broadcasting programs for 2 hours a week, in different languages, exclusively dedicated to link Lebanon to our Lebanese Diaspora around the world.
3- BC is in need for an Honorary Lebanese Consulate, and the candidates for this job are ready.
Your Excellency, dear friends, I would like also to add that our community in BC and in Halifax are ready to join the establishment of the Canadian Lebanese Immigrants House in Batroun Lebanon. Preparation for this project are on their way with the help of his Excellency Mr. Wadih Fares the Honorary Consul in Halifax.
I also had the honor to participate in the last Diaspora Energy Conference 2015 held in Lebanon, and here is some video shots of this important event.
And please accept my apologies for the lack of hotel rooms be of the coincidence of this event and FIFA’s Olympic events.
And now, I do not believe I need to read a biography about our guest, he is well known…
P lease welcome his Excellency the Minister of foreign affairs Mr. Bassil.