moved for leave to introduce Bill C-573, an act to establish International Mother Language Day.
Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to be tabling a bill today calling upon the federal government to recognize February 21 of every year as International Mother Language Day.
On that day in 1952, five students of the University of Dhaka who were protesting the imposition of Urdu on the Bengali population were killed by police. They became the martyrs of the Bengali language movement.
In 1999, UNESCO recognized February 21 as International Mother Language Day.
Every year, I host an International Mother Language Day event in my riding. I do so in part because I see in it something fundamentally Canadian, because what allowed us to be and what keeps us as one is a respect for the importance of our mother languages, because the culture of our first nations is carried forward on this land in the form of over 60 distinct languages, and because we are home to languages spoken all over this world, including Bengali, the preservation of which inspired a day that, through this bill, we can make Canadian.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)