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Cst. Abdulkadir Kh. Abdi and Conservative MP for Nepean—Carleton The Honourable Pierre Poilievre - Photo HOL
Monday, March 05, 2012
On Thursday March 1st Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird attended a fundraising event for Somalia famine relief efforts organized by the Ottawa Somali-Canadian community which raised money for the international NGO Doctors without Borders. The event which was entitled “New Dawn for Somalia” was attended by guests from different levels of government, private businesses and civil society in Canada.
In his remarks Constable Abdulkadir Abdi of the Ottawa Police Service who was spearheading the event thanked all the participants. When asked by Hiiraan Online about the reason behind the event Mr. Abdi said “seeing the famine and poverty in Somalia motivated me to undertake this effort to bring together Canadians from all walks of life in order to help those who were afflicted”. The Constable who worked very hard to make this event a reality along with colleagues and friends also said that he would continue efforts to raise Somalia’s profile.
Minister Baird who was the keynote speaker at the event reiterated Canada’s strong support for the people of Somalia and pointed out that the Canadian government and public have provided almost $145 million for the famine relief efforts in the country. The minister also talked about the recent London Conference on Somalia which he attended and stressed Canada’s support for the international effort to bring peace and stability to Somalia. The Canadian government will fund a Ugandan police unit that will deploy to Somalia to train and support the Somali Police Force.
Omar Alihashi speaking on behalf of Ottawa Somali Community - Photo HOL
The minister also spoke of the case of Bashir Makhtal, a Somali-Canadian who is imprisoned in Ethiopia. Despite progress on the case the Minister stated that there was more to be done and that he would continue to champion the case of Mr. Makhtal.
Minister Baird is a Conservative Member of Parliament from Ottawa-West Nepean which is home to a large Somali community.
Also speaking at this event was Omar Alihashi who works at the Department of Foreign Affairs. Speaking about the Somali-Canadian experience he gave a passionate speech in which he talked about the role Somalis were playing in Canada especially in public service. Mr. Alihashi expressed the gratitude Somalis have for Canada to which many Somalis immigrated following the start of the civil war two decades ago. In his speech he said “I am especially proud and honoured to serve the country that has welcomed me as a ten year old refugee fleeing civil war”.
The event was co-hosted by Pierre Poilievre who is a Member of Parliament from Nepean-Carleton and Constable Abdi and it raised nearly $30,000. A portion of the funds will be used to support Somali Hope Academy which is a school in central Somalia being championed by Constable Mohamoud Elmi, another local Somali-Canadian Police Officer who also spoke at the event. Both the official from Doctors without Borders and Constable Elmi expressed their appreciation of the support of those who attended the event.