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TOP 25 CANADIAN IMMIGRANTS 2009

 

Hon. Yonah Martin: Honourable senators, as we near the end of May and Asian Heritage Month, I wish to acknowledge, once again, Senator Vivienne Poy, who has led by example and inspired Canadians of diverse backgrounds to reflect and celebrate the rich array of cultures in Canada.

I thank you, honourable senators, for your willing participation at various events in celebration of Asian Heritage Month.

On May 25, 2009, I had the honour of hosting the Canadian Immigrant Magazine's inaugural award ceremony that recognized the top 25 Canadian immigrants. I hosted this event in Vancouver on behalf of Minister Jason Kenney.

The awards ceremony was the fulfillment of a dream of Nick Noorani, publisher of Canadian Immigrant Magazine, and his equally formidable spouse, Sabrina. After receiving hundreds of nominations, the list was reduced to 75 nominees; and then a nationwide online survey was held to determine the top 25 Canadian immigrants.

In creating this national award, Nick Noorani asks the question: Who inspires you? Through the engaging process of highlighting these unsung heroes from various cultural communities, we have the opportunity to learn about these top Canadian immigrants and their stories of perseverance and success in Canada. They are proof of Canada's incredible mosaic, bound together by their shared pride in their home Canada.

Congratulations to Nick and Sabrina Noorani and the staff of Canadian Immigrant Magazine and to the first recipients of the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants award.

Honourable senators, two very special visionary heroes, and my personal unsung heroes, are here visiting in the gallery today. They are also immigrants to Canada who came here with only a few hundred dollars in their hands and with hearts full of hopes and dreams. Through incredible perseverance, sweat, bloodshed and tears, they have built their respective international companies. Ron Suh is the CEO of Bisco Dental Products Canada and Sandy Lee is the President and CEO of STR Supplies Inc., exclusive supplier to corporations like McDonald's and Starbucks. These men are pioneers of the Korean Canadian community.

Today, I stand to pay tribute to Ron Suh and Sandy Lee; to my parents; and to all immigrants who work tirelessly for their families; who have made tremendous contributions to Canada; and who are fiercely proud to call Canada their home.

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