National Philanthropy DayPublished on 7 November 2013 Hansard and Statements by Senator Terry Mercer
Hon. Terry M. Mercer:
Honourable senators, last year, on November 22, Bill S-201, An Act respecting a National Philanthropy Day, received Royal Assent. Canada was the first country in the world to officially recognize this very important day — a day where we honour and thank the thousands of volunteers and donors in this country for the hard work they do and for the effect they have on our society.
National Philanthropy Day occurs every year on November 15. Next Friday, in over 100 communities around the world, tens of thousands of people will say thank you. They will say thank you to the senior who helped serve meals to the homeless. They will say thank you to the child who collects pop cans in order for a friend to afford a new wheelchair. They will say thank you to the company that has donated millions of dollars to help fund new research into curing cancer. Events will include award ceremonies, luncheons and seminars where people will be recognized for their work in improving their communities and making the world a better place.
Honourable senators, according to statistics, almost half of Canadians volunteer, giving over 2 billion hours of their time annually. That is the equivalent of over 1 million full-time jobs. The fact remains clear that without volunteers we definitely would not have the society we have today.
Two weeks ago I had the honour of accepting an honorary degree from my alma mater, Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. During my address to the graduates, I challenged them to volunteer for their church, synagogue, mosque, food bank, community centre, hospital foundation or their local schools.
The needs are endless and fortunately there are millions of people willing to help by giving their money, talent and time to solve some of society’s biggest problems. I challenge all of you here to do more of the same. Share your talents with the world because your community does need your time and your energy.
Honourable senators, philanthropy is simply love of mankind. Albert Einstein once said, ‘It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.’ I encourage all honourable senators to join in a celebration in their communities next Friday to thank the volunteers who give back to the world.