“THIS week, Sikhs in Canada and around the world will celebrate Vaisakhi, a festival that marks the most important date in the Sikh faith.
“Vaisakhi celebrates the founding in 1699 of the Khalsa – the community of baptized Sikhs – by Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Family and friends will gather to pray at Gurdwaras and to participate in Khalsa Day parades.
“Next week, we will mark the 35th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Just as the creation of the Khalsa defines Sikhism, the Charter defines our country. It defends our individual rights and freedoms and, for Canadians of Sikh faith, ensures the Five Ks are protected.
“This year, as we mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation, let us take the opportunity to honour the many cultures, traditions, and beliefs that make Canada such a wonderful place to live. Canada is proud to be home to one of the largest Sikh populations in the world. Sikh Canadians help make Canada the strong and diverse country it is today.
“On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I wish everyone celebrating a joyful Vaisakhi.
“Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.”