Statement by Jagrup Brar
December 9, 2020
Victoria – Once upon a time, a young Punjabi man came to Canada in 1973 for a better life for himself and his family. He spent his entire life fighting for the rights of every person and working to end discrimination and inequality. As a result of his work, he was first elected in 2005 as MLA for Burnaby-Edmonds, and recently made history in B.C.
As you begin a long walk to the Speaker’s chair I am reminded of Nelson Mandela’s words: “It always seems impossible until it is done.” You may have thought the same for many years until it was done this week, Mr. Speaker. It was a historic day for the people of British Columbia, and specifically for the people of the Punjabi community and, of course, for you, hon. Speaker.
All members of this House worked together to make this historic choice and a positive change in this House. A long-serving member of this House from Burnaby-Edmonds was elected unanimously as the Speaker of this House, a rare milestone for all of us and for the Member for Burnaby-Edmonds. It was rare because you, hon. Speaker, are the first Punjabi person from India to be ever elected as a Speaker of a legislature in North America.
It is so because Canada is a country of immigrants, who come to this country with big dreams for a better life. But it is almost impossible to dream of becoming a Speaker of the House, because it seems something beyond reach. Not anymore. It is not a remote possibility anymore. In fact, it can be done now.
Your story, Mr. Speaker, will inspire every immigrant and person of colour to dream even bigger. Your story, Mr. Speaker, will also send a message to the global community that people in this country not only open doors to new immigrants but embrace them as equals.
My sincere thanks to the Premier, the Leader of the Official Opposition, the Leader of the Third Party and all members of this House for your support to show that we are committed to making this province more inclusive, more equal and more fair for all.
In the end, Mr. Speaker, my sincere congratulations and good wishes to you and your family — your beautiful wife, Inder, and your kids.