Like many of you, I look in shock at the devastation that is taking place in Ukraine for the past month: homes and livelihoods destroyed, lives lost, and millions of people displaced. Yet, I am proud to see that Canada is working relentlessly to cut the red tape and expedite arrivals of Ukrainians to Canada.  

The Government of Canada has been working diligently in providing millions of dollars of humanitarian and defensive aid to Ukraine these past week and has imposed unprecedented sanctions on Russia—targeting Putin’s sympathizers and limiting his ability to wage war.  

On March 15th, I had the honour of witnessing Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s historic address to Parliament. The President’s uncompromised spirit, willingness and determination to preserve Ukraine’s democracy and territorial sovereignty echoed in the halls of Parliament. I was deeply moved by his message and inspired by his leadership. The President’s words are an inspiration to us all, and I was glad to see the unity within the House of Commons with parliamentarians of all stripes recognizing Canada’s unconditional support to the Ukrainian people.  

To raise funds for humanitarian aid to be sent to Ukraine, I encourage everyone to mark your calendars and join me on April 4th for an event organized by the Knights of Columbus at Soul Stone Sushi Bar & Grill, on St-Joseph Boulevard in Orléans.  

I would also like to highlight the important upcoming holidays and celebrations that are slated to take place in our community. As of April 2nd , Muslims will be entering Ramadan, a period of fasting, contemplation, and reflection. On April 17th, Christians will also be celebrating Easter. Finally, from April 15th to April 23rd, it will be Pessah for our Jewish community. 

Last week, on March 20th, I also had the chance to make some remarks at the Great India Festival, held at Shenkman Arts Centre. It was a great opportunity to celebrate Holi, the Hindu festival of colours, where music, dance and other cultural experiences were in the spotlight. 

March 20th also marked International Francophonie Day, a celebratory event that is particularly close to my heart. During this day we recognized the cultural and linguistic contributions made by our Francophone communities in Orléans, Canada, and across the world.  

Finally, with the last remnants of winter withering away and the advent of spring’s warm weather coming our way, along with outdoor and indoor activities resuming with more relaxed COVID measures, I want to reiterate the importance of being careful and watchful as we enjoy the return of ordinary life.  

**La version française est maintenant disponible sur ma page Facebook**