One of the best things about Manitobans is our diversity.
More than that, we are accepting and appreciative of differences. Our welcoming multicultural society gives our province and country an atmosphere like no other place in the world. For these reasons, new Canadians make Manitoba their destination of choice.
Since 1999, 125,000 newcomers have chosen to settle in Manitoba, contributing to the economic development of over 130 communities. Nearly 30,000 immigrants came to Manitoba over the last two years, and 2011 saw the highest level of immigration recorded since 1946. Manitoba’s Provincial Nominee Program is a national leader, accounting for over 70% of all immigration to Manitoba. And by taking a casual stroll around The Maples, you can see how true this is. I love that my neighbours come from all over the world.
Recognizing the diverse needs of our community, I introduced a Private Member’s Resolution on the topic of funeral rites in May. Because religions such as Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism mandate the cremation of human remains, the permission of this practice is of utmost importance to many new Manitobans.
Cremation is a controlled process and all residual material is effectively sterilized. The department of public health confirms there are no health or environmental concerns with cremated remains.
Immigrants belonging to various faith communities are settling in Manitoba: recent newcomers to our province come from 150 countries, including many from India and China. In my constituency, there are numerous traditional Asian communities. The Sikh Society of Manitoba on Mollard Road and Kalgidhar Darbar on King Edward Drive are two gurdwaras in The Maples that benefit from this resolution’s call to action.
My resolution specifically called for the Legislative Assembly to recognize the significance of the custom of scattering cremated remains. I will work closely with the Ministers responsible to create a policy that would allow ashes to be scattered on waterways and unoccupied Crown land.
Manitoba tries to accommodate cultural practices in as many ways as possible out of respect for human diversity. Thank you to the constituents who are bringing attention to this important practice and to our government for recognizing the significance of this issue.
To get more information or to share your ideas and concerns, please contact my office at 80 Mandalay Dr., Winnipeg, R2P 1V8, 204-632-7933, Mohinder.Saran@YourManitoba.ca