Thank you Paul for your kind introduction.
And special greetings to Vice Consul.
Thank you Ben and the members of the Greater Toronto Chinese Business Association for inviting me to join you in this celebration welcoming the Year of the Ox.
As always, the Chinese Canadian community has led the festivities marking the dawn of the Lunar New Year across the country.
There have been parades, fireworks, feasts, and family reunions in cities from coast to coast.
Canadians of all backgrounds increasingly share in these celebrations in the spirit of renewal and in the promise of good health and good fortune for the year ahead.
As business people and investors, I’m sure you’re also hoping that the Year of the Ox will also be the year of the return of the bull market.
Obviously the bull will come charging back eventually, but in the meantime the ox will serve us well: patient, hard-working, calm, tenacious, and resolute.
These are the kind of characteristics we need right now.
Fortunately they are characteristics Canadians have in abundance, and they have seen us through many difficult times in the past.
It is not our actions that determine our success as much as the values we have based those actions on: devotion to democracy and freedom; the embrace of cultural diversity; a commitment to family and community; and faith in the rewards of hard work and free enterprise.
Wave after wave after wave of immigrants to Canada, representing every conceivable culture, faith, language, and tradition, have found sanctuary and opportunity here by embracing these values.
And none have embraced the values of the True North more strongly and faithfully than the Chinese Canadian community.
As one of Canada’s oldest and largest immigrant communities, Chinese Canadians have made, and continue to make, enormous contributions to our country in every field of human endeavour.
They include outstanding members of our Conservative Government like Inky Mark, the Hon. Michael Chong, and Alice Wong, our Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism.
They are part of a proud tradition that dates back to 1957 when Conservative Douglas Jung became the first Chinese Canadian MP in our history.
And they will ensure that this community’s voice continues to be heard in the halls of Parliament.
Indeed, the wise counsel of Chinese Canadian business and community leaders is reflected in our Government’s Economic Action Plan.
Inspired by the Year of the Ox, we will be calm, patient, tenacious, and resolute in guiding our country through the difficult times that lie ahead.
In the meantime, please accept my best wishes for good health and good fortune in the New Year.
Gung hei fat choi.