Canadians mourn tsunami victims at ceremonies

by Canadian TV News Staff
Date: Sat. Jan. 8 2005 11:51 PM ET

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Canadians congregated Saturday to observe a national day of mourning for victims of the disaster Prime Minister Paul Martin called "a tragedy of a million griefs."

Martin was joined by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, and several hundred politicians, diplomats, religious and ethnic leaders at the interfaith ceremony at Ottawa's Civic Centre.

"In Canada, such is the nature of our country that the impact of Asia's deadly waves echoes here in the grief of those who have lost family members and the anxiety of many who still await word," Martin said Saturday afternoon.

Family members who lost loved ones were flown to Ottawa where they privately met with Martin before the afternoon ceremony, CTV's Rosemary Thompson reported.

"We in developed nations are looking out on the world and our people are coming to grips, some for the first time, with the true disparity of wealth, of promise and, all too often, of fortune and providence," Martin said.

"We have a window on the precarious nature of so many lives. We have a window, and it can be unsettling to look through it."

Representatives from several religious groups, including Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities, lit white candles and offered readings and prayers in honour of the victims.

"We pay our respects to the people who perished in this disaster and convey our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to those who have suffered the loss of their families and friends," said Dr. Ervad Soli Bamji, priest of the Zoroastrian religion.

He called on Canadians to continue donating funds for tsunami relief.

"We the youth in Canada join the young people throughout the world in times of great tragedy and sorrow that has touched thousands of families," said 11-year-old Fiona Marlow who represented the Indo-Canadian community.

"We light this candle of hope to symbolize our faith in humanity as well as the hope and goodness that will surely prevail."

A moment of silence followed Clarkson's address.

For the full text of the CTV report Click here

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