REGINA — A video promoting Canada as a harmonious nation was premiered on World Religion Day Jan. 28 at Luther College, University of Regina, to an audience of invited guests. The Regina observance of World Religion Day was moved to Luther College from Beth Jacob Synagogue this year to accommodate the viewing of the video.
Initiated by the Regina Multi-Faith Forum and produced by Access Communications Regina, Highway to a Harmonious Canada featured children representing a variety of cultures speaking briefly about a harmonious and inclusive nation. Each held up a familiar highway sign with an inclusive message added: a stop sign that read “Stop Racism,” a yield sign that read “Yield to the Rights of Others,” and so on. Segments of the video showed the children playing and participating in prayer together, and showed short performances, also by children, from a variety of cultural organizations.
Brenda Anderson of the Regina Multi-Faith Forum was master of ceremonies for the event. “We have all been inspired by the children in the video,” she said. “This will be an education resource for schools. Access Communications will also be playing it, and we are planning a major event sometime in March to an invitation list that will include many dignitaries.”
Krishan Kapila, one of the founders of the Multi-Faith Forum and current president of Multi-Faith Saskatchewan, co-chaired the video project along with Gagan Deep Singh. Both said the road to getting the video produced was long and fraught with obstacles, but, Singh observed, “a divine hand kept us going.”
The video is 45 minutes long and will be made available to the public. “Access Communications is giving us 60 DVDs and we will give one to each school division,” said Kapila. The cultural organizations that took part in the project will each receive two DVDs for their own use. Access donated its services, some funds were received from the Canada 150 Communities Fund, and some from arts foundations. There was virtually no cost to the forum itself.
Speaking on behalf of Regina Multi-Faith Forum, Rev. Uttam Barua, a Buddhist monk, said, “We are one tree with many branches. Our goal is one. We are all Canadian. We understand and respect each other.”
“Why did we come to Regina?” asked Kapila. “We are accepted; we can live together. We are one, maybe of a different colour. We must help and communicate with others. That is how we grow. Religion is very important to all of us.”
World Religion Day was established in 1950 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is in the United States. It has since spread around the world, and is usually celebrated on the third Sunday in January.