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Quotes from Mandela in Canada

Nelson Mandela had strong ties to Canada, where he found support and inspiration in his fight against apartheid.

Here are some notable quotes from visits to Canada by Mandela, who died Thursday:

"Your respect for diversity within your own society and your tolerant and civilized manner of dealing with the challenges of difference and diversity had always been our inspiration."

Nov. 19, 2001 as he became an honorary citizen of Canada

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"Although many of us were incarcerated and for many years were deprived of any real contact with the outside world, we still could hear your voice demanding our release. Your support . . . sustained us — gave us hope and encouragement even in the darkest days.''

June 19, 1990 during his first address to parliament

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"Today I stand before you as the elected representative of the South African people to thank you once again for helping us end our oppression, for assisting us through our transition and now for your partnership in the building of a better life for all South Africans.''

Sept. 24, 1998 during his second address to parliament

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"You have made me feel like a young man again with my batteries recharged. The greatest joy has been to discover that there are so many children in this country who care about other children around the world.''

Sept. 25, 1998 during a rally to more than 40,000 students at Toronto's Sky Dome

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"We were shown that those in exile will come back one day, those working underground in the country will emerge and that those who are in jail will return. It was partly because of your support. Our victory has become your victory.''

Sept. 25, 1998 at a state dinner

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Here are what some of the country's political leaders have said about him:

"Mr. Mandela, you can count on Canada in the months and years ahead, as you have in the past, as you build a country in which the democratic hopes and dreams of all South Africans can be realized, whatever their colour or whatever their creed.''

Then-prime minister Brian Mulroney on the day of Mandela's first visit to Canada.

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``Today we celebrate the magnificent achievement of democracy. The inauguration of President Mandela is a triumph of negotiation over violence, of tolerance over hatred.''

Then-prime minister Jean Chretien on May 10, 1994, the day Mandela became head of state in South Africa

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"You were prepared to die for your ideals, but thanks to your determination and your generosity, those shining ideals will live on in the hearts and minds of generations to come. And we as a country wish to extend to you our highest recognition.''

Then-Governor General Romeo Leblanc upon presenting Mandela with an honorary Order of Canada

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"It is too often said that there are too few heroes in the world. That may be, but today we are in the presence of a real hero.''

Then-prime minister Jean Chretien introducing Mandela on Sept. 24, 1998

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"With a flick of his wrist . . . Nelson Mandela could have triggered revolution and his country would be in flames. He did not. He did the opposite."

Then-Conservative leader Joe Clark as parliament voted to make Mandela an honorary citizen on June 12, 2001

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And on Thursday, in tribute after Mandela's death was announced, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said:

The world has lost one of its great moral leaders and statesmen. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years by the former government of South Africa for his part in the struggle that would ultimately end the system of apartheid. Despite his long years of captivity, Mr. Mandela left prison with his mind closed to any settling of scores and his heart open to those he had fought against.

The Canadian Press


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