MPP Anand’s thirty-fourth Members’ Statement was on the topic of “Diwali”, delivered on 16 November 2020.

See full transcript below:

“Diwali is a festival of light celebrated with excitement across the globe. Last year—I still remember—I celebrated Diwali with family and friends, gathering for large meals and grand festivities. In contrast, this year, with the rising COVID cases, I celebrated Diwali only with my immediate family at home. We virtually connected and prayed with Ram Mandir, and along with that, with family and friends. Truth be told, Mr. Speaker, it wasn’t the same. I was missing the excitement and the personal touch, the laughs and the emotions.

However, our experience wasn’t unique. Thousands of families across Ontario did the same thing, and it is the right thing to do. Self-discipline and sacrifice are our best friends in this challenging time. With the festival season fast approaching, I urge all Ontarians to stay in and stop the spread.

At the same time, I want to press that COVID cannot take away our spirit to celebrate. I encourage every Ontarian to support our local small businesses by buying and ordering food online to celebrate the festivals and by buying and exchanging gifts. To help, our government has created the $57-million Digital Main Street platform so that over 22,000 Ontarian businesses can create and enhance their online presence while generating 1,400 jobs.

Mr. Speaker, let’s keep our celebrations virtual to stop the spread of COVID-19 so that we can go back to celebrating our festivals in person as soon as possible.”