The Islamic Foundation of Toronto held a fundraising dinner for the earthquake victims of Pakistan. A host of dignitaries from the political arena attended, showing how mainstream muslims have become in Toronto. Mr. Qayyum of the Foundation got a big applause when he invoked God's blessings on Canada for what they have done so far.
Toronto mayor David Miller is the first of the invited guests of honour to address the gathering.
David Miller has always worked very well with immigrants, minorities and communities, and this was no exception. He spoke well, was concise, and spoke of what Toronto is doing for Pakistan (helping with water purification techniques).
The long-time federal MP for the riding, Derek Lee, speaks of the Canadian response.
Derek Lee has served this community for a long time, and he spoke of the troubles Pakistanis were facing with the onset of winter. He got a few smiles when he said we Canadians know better than anyone how harsh winter can be.
Ontario Leader of the Opposition, John Tory, the leader of the provincial Tories, talks of the pledge.
The more I see of this guy the more I like him. Whatever the mess the federal Conservatives in Canada are in, the provincials have done the right thing in electing this man as their leader. I heard of him first when he ran for the position of the mayor of Toronto (ironically against David Miller, now his good friend). He spoke then of discrimination women in hijab face in job hunting. Today he was full of class, and got a standing ovation when discussing his own pledge.
Ontario New Democratic Party leader Howard Hampton addresses the majlis.
The NDP has always been a muslim-friendly party. It was Alexa McDonough, the leader of the federal NDP, that stood up in the house of Parliament after 9/11, and said, "Mohammed and Osama are Canadian names too". She was discussing the persecution many muslims at that time were facing. Mr. Hampton thus spoke to an appreciating audience.
Cynthia Lai, PC candidate for the area in the upcoming by-election, speaks.
I was happy to see the PC party has ditched their long time loser candidate for this riding and chosen someone who reflects the ethnic makeup of the riding (another positive for John Tory, he has made a big gesture in including minorities in his party, that has always been portrayed, sometimes unfairly, as anti-immigration, racist). Ms Lai spoke well.
Overall it was a great evening. Almost CND $50,000 was raised, with more on the way.