Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in the discussion on Bill C-376, an act to designate the month of April as Sikh heritage month.
I want to begin by acknowledging my Sikh colleagues on both sides of the House who share their culture with us day after day. I am a French Canadian from the greater Charlevoix region. In my region, there are very few members of the Sikh community. However, working with them reflects what it means to live in Canada surrounded by other communities.
I was very surprised to learn that more than 500,000 Sikhs live in Canada and that they are the second largest Sikh community in the world. I wanted to point that out because we work alongside them every day. There are Sikh colleagues across the way as well, which means we also fight against them. However, it is not the Sikh community that we take issue with, it is the Liberals. It is important to make that distinction. I appreciate my colleague sitting to my right. I cannot name him, but he is Sikh as well.
I am very pleased to share this moment with them. Seeing all the different faces that live in Canada, living alongside them and learning to get to know them is how we open ourselves to the world. For Canadians, it is very important to be open to the rest of the world. That is one of our fundamental values. Canada is a very welcoming country, and we want it to stay that way. I will not say any more, for I am getting off track.
I fully support designating the month of April as Sikh heritage month. I hope that, every year, when we celebrate Sikh heritage month, they will share with us their culture and what makes them unique. Everyone knows that French Canadians from the Quebec City area eat poutine. I would love for Sikhs to share their cuisine and their music with us so that we can learn to know who they are.
As I said, I am not from one of Quebec's urban centres, so I had little opportunity to interact with Sikhs. Learning about their culture and lifestyle is a new experience for me. Their religion is not the same as mine. We believe in different gods, but we are not different. What makes each one of us different is our lived experience, our history and our culture.
I think this is an excellent bill because I believe it reveals another aspect of who we are as Canadians. We are Canadian, and Sikhs are Canadian. They are members of the Sikh community. I am a member of the French-Canadian community. I am a woman. The Sikh MPs who are here right now are men, but there are Sikh women parliamentarians, too.
Today, we are talking to one another in a spirit of friendship. We are learning about one another in a spirit of friendship. This is the kind of legislation that helps us be open to the world and gain a better understanding of where people come from. What I would also like them to do, when we get to celebrate Sikh heritage month, is tell us about their heritage and about their own culture, which is different than mine. I would like to learn about some of their musicians and discover what kind of music they listen to. These are the types of exchanges we should have because I want to discover this community.
I have a friend in this place and I know a little about him. By working together, we will end up understanding one another. Often, we are afraid of differences because we do not understand them and we do not want to learn more, and so, I would like to acknowledge the Sikhs who work here, who are elected officials. I thank them for being part of our daily lives.