By: Hon. Lena Metlege Diab, Member of Parliament for Halifax West
Happy Spring everyone! I hope you are all enjoying the warmer weather and the promise of the season ahead. This month, I have some very exciting news to share with you all.
On April 5, I had the tremendous privilege of introducing my first private member’s bill in the House of Commons as the Member of Parliament for Halifax West. My bill, officially titled Bill C-268, an Act to Designate the Month of November as Lebanese Heritage Month in Canada, is an important recognition of the enormous and enduring contributions that Lebanese-Canadians and their communities have made to Canada’s social, economic, cultural, and political development.
In bringing this bill forward, it is my hope that the country will follow the example of Nova Scotia and Ontario, who both have established November as Lebanese Heritage Month in their jurisdictions. November is an important month for Lebanese people, as Lebanese Independence Day is marked on the 22nd of the month each year.
As a proud Lebanese-Canadian myself, I believe that our Lebanese communities are a core part of Canada’s cultural identity, and officially recognizing Lebanese Heritage Month from coast to coast to coast is a great opportunity to highlight Lebanese-Canadians’ contributions and strengthen the tie between our two countries.
Nova Scotians and especially my constituents in Halifax West likely count many Lebanese-Canadians among their friends, family, neighbours, and colleagues. What you may not know is that Lebanese immigrants have been calling Canada home since the late 19th century, with generations of families embracing Canada and the freedoms, culture, and opportunities she offers, while treasuring and nurturing their own unique culture, language, customs, and heritage.
For me personally, it was important to dedicate this bill in memory of my dear late father, Steven Wadih Metlege. As an immigrant to Canada from Diman, Lebanon, he came to this country in his 20s, with no assurances, just a desire to work hard and give back. His story mirrors that of so many trailblazing Lebanese-Canadians who continue to inspire those who have come after them.
I’m looking forward to debating my bill with my colleagues in Ottawa, promoting it nationally, and working alongside Canadians of all backgrounds to share more about the contributions and culture of Canada’s Lebanese communities.
Thank you for your continued support.