awards 2017 / President’s Remarks

REMARKS BY THOMAS S. SARAS AT THE AWARDS CEREMONY ON NOVEMBER THE 17TH, 2017 Hon. Members of the Federal and Provincial Parliaments, Hon. Members of the Diplomatic missions in Toronto. Members of the Toronto City Council, Members of the Police …

Hon. Members of the Federal and Provincial Parliaments, Hon. Members of the Diplomatic missions in Toronto. Members of the Toronto City Council, Members of the Police Services, Toronto and York Region. Members, of the TD Financial Group.
Distinguished guests, members of the academic community, distinguished honorees, dear colleagues, publishers, editors and journalists members of the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada as well as individual members of the sector, ladies and gentlemen attending today’s ceremony, please allow me to welcome you all and at the same time to thank you for the great honor of your presence.
For the political observer of the Canadian society it is clear that we are a nation of many nationalities, many races, many religions, bound together by a single unity, the unity of freedom and equality.
As one great statesman of our country said, “with the charter of rights in place, we can now say that Canada is a society where all people are equal and where they share some fundamental values based upon freedom.”
Classical democratic theory always viewed democracy as a set of institutions which promoted and depended upon the full rational development of the individual, and today’s event celebrates the accomplishments of individual citizens and organizations in every field of social, cultural and academic endeavor and is honoring those individuals who have shown real leadership in cementing the relationship of their community with our great Country, Canada.
It is therefore that today we salute their contributions and recognize their struggles for the respect of human rights and the dignity of every individual citizen, for equal opportunities, for social justice, for peace, cooperation and understanding among the members of the diverse Canadian cultural communities and the world, and also for justice and respect for all humanity and the international community.
In our modern society, today, we have powerful agencies working in order to formulate the public opinion: the press, motion pictures, radio, television and the internet. Ours then is the duty to see that these agencies are respecting the highest ideals of truth, justice and fair play in a so volatile society by creating of a wholesome relationship among the various cultural, religious, racial and economic interest groups which are formulating the Canadian society.
Today’s celebration is the recognition of their considerable contributions to our democracy and also to multicultural fabric of our society as a community of communities. It is therefore that today, we are celebrating the best of our cultures as well as the men and women dedicated themselves in the service and dignity of our fellow men.
This can be considered as the true spirit of citizenship in the high Athenian sense of democracy, which compels a man to live his life with the understanding that the rich in diverse cultures society of a truly civilized state, allows to its citizens to choose their own ways to achieve success in good spirit, without hurting their neighbors.
This is exactly the message of today’s ceremony. Our honorees, and mostly the publishers and producers of newspapers and electronic media, with their outstanding efforts managed to bring change and progress in our society, in order to prevent any form of oppression, injustice or hatred, which can be considered as an evil designed to harm the harmonious co- operation and co-existent of our vibrant cultural communities and our democracy.
There is some criticism, these days, by elements of our society, that the ethnic press and media are needless and therefore there is no reason for its existence. What a myth really. The citizens of a democratic state are entitled to the essential facts and the government of a democracy must continuously have, in times either critical or not, the benefit of enlightened public criticism as well as enlightened public understanding. There is a principal for the quality of a good
and liberal democracy, and this principal states it is important for a democracy its citizens to have complete knowledge of the government.
Resent statistics released by Canadian Statistics are telling us that more than 6.8 million Canadians are using at home their mother language to communicate among them, a fact that is emphasizing the need of the existence of the ethnic press and media, and yet it is common knowledge to the members of the sector that the federal government besides the press releases for equality and multiculturalism, when the matter comes to dollars and cents from 57,501.00 dollars financial assistance for 2016-17 to Canadian magazines and periodicals, less than two millions was given to members of the sector. And yet, by closing my remarks, please allow me to refer to the statement of the President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the USA: “No democracy can long survive which does not accept as fundamental to its very existence the recognition of the rights of the minorities.”
It is my humble opinion, You Honour, Ladies and Gentlemen, that today it is more than ever important that the place of a minority group in our democracy not be obscured by ignorance and prejudice. It is important that the members of every minority group consider together their problems in order that these problems may find expression for the benefit of all. It is even of greatest importance that the government considers with open and sympathetic mind the problems of the minority groups in order that the process of our democracy may work to bring about their solution. And this is exactly the main object of this organization. To this extend please allow me to inform you that effective this year the NEPMCC is working together in association with the Canadian NewsMedia Council, in our common efforts to help the integration of the new comers into the mainstream Canadian Society. We earnestly hope that our two organizations will forge to greater accomplishment and achieve the most, working together and using our collective influence.
This organization is unique, one of its kind in the world, as representing 850 publications from 105 difference linguistic communities and also 150 Radio and Television producers.
Finally I want to express my gratitude and the one of our members for the help and support we are receiving from the TD Financial Group and the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration of Ontario for organizing this event.
I want also to thank my colleagues Dr. Mohammad Tajdolati, Maria Voutsinas, Enrique Castellvi, and Daniella Spirlac, for their dedication and support.
At this point please allow me to express our gratitude to all participants in today’s ceremony, as they contributed the most in the success of this event, with their presence and finally to congratulate all our honorees.