Armenian Canadian Council Hosts Montreal Reception for Recently Elected Canadian Federal Minister and MPs
MONTREAL – On January 6, on the occasion of Armenian Christmas, the newly formed Armenian Canadian Council (ACC) organized a well attended, vibrant cocktail reception on behalf of the Armenian community of Montreal to welcome and celebrate the October 19, 2015 electoral victory of a number of high profile Canadian members of parliament (MP) of the greater Montreal area. The reception took place at the Montreal Tekeyan Center.
Minister of External Affairs of Canada Stéphane Dion, Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly, Eva Nassif, MP for the riding or electoral district of Vimy, and Anthony Housefather, MP for the riding of Mount Royal, had accepted and confirmed their presence. As a result of last minute urgencies created by the North Korean and Saudi Arabia crises, Dion, a long-time friend of Armenians, sent his best wishes with his regrets for having been retained in Ottawa. All other invitees together with a large circle of their high level assistants and collaborators were present and addressed the over two hundred Armenian and non-Armenian guests, who gave a very warm welcome to the distinguished speakers. Mayor of St Laurent Allan De Sousa and newly appointed Consul General of Armenia Sassoun Hovannessian were also present.
The evening started with a beautiful rendition of O Canada by Aida Karibian, who gave an interesting historic overview of the origins of the Canadian National Anthem.
Viken Attarian, a well-known leader of the Montreal Armenian community who holds key positions in the Liberal Party of Canada acted with unique taste and ability as the evening’s master of ceremonies.
Raffi Yeretzian was introduced as a young spokesperson for the ACC. Raffi gave a very well organized and insightful presentation on the purposes and field of action of the organization. He specified in particular that ACC‘s aim is to organise and facilitate the political participation of the Armenian community, and especially of its youth, in Canada, and for Canada.
Attarian then introduced Dr. Arshavir Gundjian, a leading personality of the Armenian community, to address the guests and the audience on behalf of the community. Gundjian is founder and leader of many local and international Armenian organizations as well emeritus member of the AGBU Central Board. He gave an overview of Armenians in general and of Canadian Armenians in particular. He highlighted his presentation with some light hearted notes as well as the strong commitment of Armenians in Canada to participate in the Canadian political process as well as to back the progressive initiatives of the current government.
Attarian then invited the guests to give their messages to the Armenian community. Attarian introduced each one of the guests with very pleasant and humanizing remarks, based on his firsthand experience and collaboration with each one of them.
MPs Nassif followed by Housefather made warm and quite spontaneous remarks underlining their close feelings towards the Armenian community, and thanked the latter for its sincere welcome. Naturally the star of the evening was the newly elected Minister of Canadian Heritage, Mélanie Joly, who explained the wide scope of the duties that she is undertaking through her ministerial responsibilities to communicate and work with the various communities of Canada. She recounted her excellent experience with the Armenian community, and invited the community to actively participate in the 150th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the Canadian Confederation in 2017.
All speeches were received with thunderous applause. Afterwards, several notable personalities of the Montreal community and many representatives of organizations spent long hours, until very late at night, to meet personally and exchange thoughts and ideas with the distinguished guests.
The ACC was formed by community organizations and politically active organizations unaffiliated individuals at the end of 2015, roughly 2 months ago. It is intended as an umbrella organization which will bring together both Armenian organizations and political active Armenians who are not presently a member of any organization. It will facilitate the interaction of the Armenian community with the Canadian government on federal, provincial and municipal levels, and help interested youth of the Armenian community to enter political life in Canada.