File photo: Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a news conference at Rideau Cottage, as efforts continue to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), in Ottawa, on April 24, 2020 Reuters
‘Bangladesh and Canada will work alongside one another to build a better world for everyone’
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the independent and democratic Bangladesh was built based on Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s love for his people.
“Something we are able to celebrate [50 years’ of independence] today because of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s vision for independent and democratic country, one which built on his love for its people,” he said in a video message marking the birth centenary of Bangabandhu and the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence.
The video message was played during the grand ceremony at the National Parade Square joined by President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina along with visiting Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in person.
The Canadian prime minister said Bangabandhu’s vision became a reality because the founding father of Bangladesh put his people first. “My friends, today is a time for reflection and celebration. We reflect upon the legacy of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman — 100 years after his birth — and celebrate 50 years of independence,” he said.
Mentioning that Bangabandhu reminded of the power that individuals bring to creating lasting change, Trudeau said: “As we face some the greatest challenges of our lifetime, we, leaders and citizens, must to do the same”.
Together, he added “we can build a more resilient and better world for generations to come”.
Speaking about the birth centenary celebration event, the Canadian prime minister said it is still great to be celebrating the event virtually since the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the plan for this event.
“I want to thank Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the invitation and the opportunity to help mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of her father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. I also want to congratulate everyone on 50 years of the independent Bangladesh,” he said.
Recalling his first visit to Bangladesh as a child in 1983 with his father, Pierre Trudeau, who was prime minister of Canada then, he said: “That time, my father and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had already forged a strong relationship — one that was rooted in Canada’s early support for an independent Bangladesh.”
And since then “our two countries have maintained a lasting bond based on strong people-to-people ties and common interests”, Trudeau said, adding: “But Bangladesh is much different today than when I first visited with my father.”
He added: “Over the past 50 years, your country has made incredible progress. You have spurred economic growth, reduced poverty, increased access to education and health resources and built new opportunities for your people.”
Noting that Bangladesh has gone through a remarkable economic and social transformation, the Canadian prime minister said Canada has been there as a partner every step of that way.
“We have contributed to Bangladesh’s growth and supported key areas of development, including women’s economic empowerment, skills for youth, and children’s health and education,” he said.
Expressing his firm commitment to continuing that work, Trudeau said: “We will work together to help meet the needs of the world’s most vulnerable and to face the challenges of today and tomorrow that includes dealing with the health and economic impacts of the global Covid-19 pandemic and making sure that everyone has access to safe and effective vaccine.”
The two countries will continue to work alongside one another to fight climate change, advance peacekeeping, support the rights of women and girls, and build a better world for everyone, he added.
The Canadian prime minister wished a successful celebration of the centenary and golden jubilee events saying: “On behalf of the people of Canada, I wish you all a good centenary event and golden jubilee independence celebration.”