Le Centre culturel islamique de Québec—Victims of TragedyPublished on 31 January 2017 Hansard and Statements by Senator Dennis Dawson
Hon. Dennis Dawson:
Honourable senators, I had no idea that the first words I would speak upon returning to this chamber after a long absence would be about such a sombre subject. Yet, I want to thank my colleagues for their support this past year.
What happened just a few streets away from my home caused me to rethink my plans, and it is with great sadness that I add my voice to those who attended vigils for the victims last night. Setting aside partisanship, politicians of all stripes were united in condemning Sunday’s events at the Centre islamique de Québec. I would like you to join me in commemorating the victims. We must name these people. They lived in my neighbourhood and I would like to name them, Your Honour, because these are actual people we are talking about.
Azzeddine Soufiane, 57, was a pillar of Quebec City’s Muslim community. He was a butcher who owned his own shop; he had three children and mentored Muslims arriving in the Quebec City area. Khaled Belkacemi, 60, was a professor at Laval University along with his wife. These people were pillars of Quebec City’s Muslim community. Aboubaker Thabti, 44, was a pharmacist and had two children. Mamadou Tanou Barry and Ibrahima Barry, both originally from Guinea, had children under the age of 13 and worked in information technology for the Government of Quebec. Finally, Abdelkrim Hassane, 41, had three children under the age of 10 and he was also employed by the Government of Quebec.
I want to thank two people in particular, Salma Ataullahjan and Mobina Jaffer, who tried to educate me on all things Muslim in Quebec City. We had a conference a few years ago with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and they had the opportunity to sensitize me to the Muslim community that lives practically across the street from my house. I want to thank them for that, because there is a lot of ignorance on our part.
I, the little guy from Quebec, did not have as much sensitivity as I have learned to have because of the contributions these two colleagues have made toward me in the past.