February 17, 2022 – On Tuesday, February 15, Global Dignity Canada convened political figures, partners and friends for a virtual press conference to kick-off Canada’s inaugural National Kindness Week.
Introduced as a private members bill by Senator Jim Munson, Bill S-223, the Kindness Week Act, received Royal Assent on June 3, 2021 to become law in Canada, designating the third week in February as National Kindness Week.
The press conference included remarks from Senator Munson, as well as Michael Barrett Member of Parliament for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, and Emmanuella Lambropoulos, Member of Parliament for Saint-Laurent, who were both instrumental in passing the Kindness Week legislation through the House of Commons.
The press conference was moderated by Giovanna Mingarelli, Chair of Global Dignity Canada and Jeff Turner, Senior Manager, Indigenous Partnerships and Special Projects at Algonquin College and former Vice President of Kind Canada, and included remarks from Shmuel Bulka, son of the late Rabbi Reuven Bulka, founder of Kind Canada, and Jamie Bell, Manitoba Chair, Global Dignity Canada.
The inspiration for the Kindness Act bill, the late Rabbi Reuven Bulka, founder of Kind Canada, started the first Kindness Week in Ottawa 14 years ago. “For my father, making kindness week national was never the end – it was a means to the end,” said Schmuel Bulka, speaking of his father Rabbi Bulka, “the goal was to create a kinder Canada, a kinder world.”
With the adoption of Bill S-223, Canada is now the first country in the world to pass kindness week legislation. “Imagine being the first country in the world to have a kindness week. Imagine the possibilities of more acts of kindness in our homes, in our schools, in our institutions and in the private sector,” said Senator Jim Munson, who introduced the legislation. “Now more than ever we need acts of kindness and empathy.”
The timeliness of Canada’s first National Kindness Week, among the ongoing turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, was a common theme among press conference speakers. “It is the perfect time for Canadians across all walks of life to take a moment and to try to empathize and be kind to folks they might have disagreements with,” said Michael Barrett, continuing with the importance of Canadians, “to carry on in that spirit of kindness and community that has seen us through the pandemic that we’ve experienced, and continue to experience.”
Speaking to her inspiration to support the Kindness Week Act, Emmanuella Lambropoulos explained, “when it was introduced to me I jumped on the occasion to push this forward as soon as possible,” continuing with “I knew that this aligned perfectly with my values and that this would help make Canada a better place for everyone.”
Closing out the series of speakers, Jamie Bell left attendees with a sense of inspiration for a kinder future, stating “today, let’s continue to honour Rabbi Bulka’s vision by working together to support those new beginnings for this next generation. Thank you all for supporting the hard work that went into creating this National Kindness Week legislation, and for the exciting and inspiring experiences that I’m sure we’re going to see in the years to come.” He closed his remarks with the profound quote, “this year is the first time, next year it will be a tradition.”
A full recording of the press conference is available here.