Ontario Legislature marks the bicentenary of Baha’u’llah’s birth

Ontario Legislature marks the bicentenary of Baha’u’llah’s birth

TORONTO, 30 OCTOBER 2017, (CBNS)

“The fact that this bicentenary is being celebrated globally is a reminder of the transformative impact of Baha’u’llah’s teachings on the lives of individuals, families, communities and neighbourhoods, across Canada and worldwide,” said Hon. Reza Moridi, Ontario Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. He was speaking to the Ontario Legislature on October 25th in an historic recognition and celebration of the life and teachings of Baha’u’llah at the highest levels of government in Canada’s largest province.

Earlier in the day, the National Spiritual Assembly, the national governing council of the Baha’i community, co-hosted a reception in Queen’s Park. A number of Provincial Cabinet Ministers, Members of the Provincial Parliament, guests from civil society, representatives of the National Spiritual Assembly, and of Local Spiritual Assemblies, gathered at the Ontario Legislature to mark the bicentenary of Bahá’u’lláh’s birth. Dr. Moridi was the sponsor and co-host of the reception.

In welcoming those attending the reception, Dr. Gerald Filson, Director of Public Affairs for the Baha’i Community of Canada, noted the thousands of gatherings that took place around the world a few days earlier celebrating the birth of Bahá’u’lláh. Ms. Karen McKye, Secretary-General of the National Spiritual Assembly, noted the remarkable outpouring of statements from leaders around the world. Among these, she noted that Dr. Moridi’s voice was one of the first statements from Canadian leaders, disseminated by video.

Speaking at the reception, Dr. Moridi shared his personal appreciation for Bahá’u’lláh’s unifying message, and then shared a message from Ontario’s Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Following the reception Dr. Moridi delivered a Minister’s Statement and Response in the Legislature, addressing the teachings and life of Bahá’u’lláh in significant detail, commenting, too, on the persecution of Baha’is in Iran.  As a formal Ministerial Statement, the two opposition parties in the provincial parliament responded with their own comments, going into detail as well about the teachings, the diversity and global spread of the Baha’i community, and its strong presence in Canada and Ontario.

In the Minister’s statement, Dr. Moridi noted, “The Baha’i faith is a perfect example of the wonderful teachings and values about humanity, equality and diversity that add to the social fabric of Ontario. Humanity—this common identity that we share—is the benevolence that pushes us to help others and to treat them with kindness and respect.” Addressing his colleagues, he said, “Please bring these stories and teachings back to your own community so that you may enhance the lives of other Ontarians.”

Member of Provincial Parliament Raymond Cho, speaking on behalf of the Progressive Conservative Party said, “Ontario’s Baha’i community shares our deepest and most cherished values: our respect for human rights, our defence of freedom, our striving for unity, and our championing of pluralism. Mr. Speaker, these are the values that unite Ontarians of all backgrounds, and are reflected in the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh.”

Member of Provincial Parliament Jennifer French, speaking on behalf of the New Democratic Party, added, among other comments, “One of the central teachings of the Baha’i faith is the essential worth of all religions and the unity and equality of all people. So it is fitting for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to be recognizing this today. We are proud that in Ontario all faiths are welcomed and respected.”

“While today we recognize 200 years since the birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the Baha’i community recognizes every day the timeless values of the oneness of humanity, of equality, of peace and unity.”