Mr Speaker it is with great sadness that I rise today to inform the House of the death of Charles Roach. As my colleague from Scarborough-Rouge River pointed out yesterday, Charles was a great community leader in Toronto who fought for human rights, social justice and founded the annual Caribana festival. Charles passed away last night after a long battle with cancer. Though he is no longer with us, his work for a more just and equal Canada will live on well past today.
Over his 57 years in Canada, Charles proved himself to be an exemplary Canadian citizen – in every way but name. Charles wanted very much to become a Canadian citizen. He never received it because he wanted to swear his citizenship oath of allegiance to Canada directly rather than to the British crown.
I ask today that the government of Canada honour this great man and grant Charles Roach’s last wish by awarding him posthumous Canadian citizenship. His commitment and contribution to our great country speaks for itself–this would be our way to say thank you to him.