Senator Cardozo pays tribute to the Honourable Mobina S.B. Jaffer

By: The Hon. Andrew Cardozo

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Hon. Andrew Cardozo: Honourable senators, it is indeed my pleasure to join in the tributes to Senator Mobina Jaffer this afternoon. I’ve had the good fortune to know her over many years — decades, in fact — as we worked to advance issues of immigration and diversity, albeit from different parts of the country, long before either of us were in the Senate.

In this chamber, Senator Jaffer has often spoken about the important role of Ismailis in Canada — her community — who are followers of His Highness the Aga Khan. In that spirit, I want to take this opportunity to highlight a few attributes of this community, both worldwide and in Canada.

In global terms, it is a small community that punches well above its weight and does so because of its global outlook and generous and ethical leadership, which Senator Jaffer has often highlighted for us.

Ismailis are a branch of Shia Islam, led by Prince Karim Aga Khan, the forty-ninth leader of this branch of Muslims. The Aga Khan Development Network, a noted international development agency, works to eliminate global poverty, promote pluralism and advance the status of women. It is primarily focused on improving the quality of life of people of all faiths in key regions of Asia and Africa.

The Aga Khan is an honorary citizen of Canada and has a long history of visiting Canada and working with Canadians. I particularly appreciated one of his sentiments when he was commenting about the diversity of Canada. He famously said, “The world needs more Canada.”

Senator Jaffer has faithfully talked about His Highness on his birthday each December and highlighted the important work he does worldwide. Indeed, the Aga Khan has worked with Canadian governments over many years. Most notably, he worked with prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau to bring in Asians being expelled from Uganda in the early 1970s, which included one Mobina Jaffer and her family. He opened the Ismaili Jamatkhana in Burnaby with prime minister Brian Mulroney in 1985. He worked on pluralism with prime minister Jean Chrétien in 2002. Notably, prime minister Stephen Harper awarded him honorary Canadian citizenship in 2010. He has continued to be a source of global advice and friendship to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. These, of course, are historical dates which are also featured in Senator Jaffer’s calendar.

On a personal note, Mobina, thank you for your advice, guidance and encouragement to me over the last year and a half since I was appointed to the Senate. Senator Jaffer, thank you for your service to Canada and for highlighting the great contributions that Canadian Ismailis make to this country.

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