Thank you for your very kind introduction.

Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen, good evening.

Magandang gabi po sa inyong lahat.

Familiar faces, huh!

My wife, Rosemer – the beauteous Rosemer Enverga, and I take pleasure to be with you all in any gathering, or celebration, as we do again tonight.

On a personal note, let me tell you something. I have three things of very close kinship with you at the Scarborough Ontario Seniors Association or SOSA:

First, I Live in Scarborough, too – your organizational and membership homebase;

Second, I know most, if not all, of you, through the years that we have been either partying, or working together on various projects, functions, celebration and events;

And the third is in a year, or two, I will be OFFICIALLY joining your ranks; and this is if I take on an EARLY RETIREMENT by reason of age.

On a serious note:

As your only Filipino-Canadian senator in the Upper House of the Canadian Parliament, I am happy to share with you the information that the government of our Prime Minister Stephen Harper supports the health and well-being, not only of the senior population here in Canada, but across the globe.

Yes, our government is committed to continuously find ways to help Canada’s seniors remain active, engaged and informed. One such example is this very gathering that you – directors, officers and members of SOSA – are doing. For example, what greater activity tonight aimed at keeping us fit and healthy than what I’m sure of to follow after the little formalities we have; and that is what you and I love doing most; and that is BALLROOM DANCING!

You know, the Harper government has announced late last year funding for five international research projects to help keep seniors active.

Those projects reflect a diverse range of important issues facing seniors, such as hearing loss, assisted living technologies, continence, mobility in urban areas and care in residential facilities.

Those present here tonight are lucky that none of these issues face them at the moment. But as we all age, one or more of these issues must be addressed likewise, hence, work now in these areas are of paramount importance and concern.

The incumbent Conservative government is pleased to support the research projects in the areas I mentioned, which will provide new information to guide policies, practices and programs to enhance the quality of life of seniors and their families.

I will no longer deal on the specifics of the government funding on these research projects, but only want to say that the funding was coursed through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, or CIHR. As the CIHR said: “The significance of the Canadian contribution to the international teams working on these projects is a testament to the excellence of researchers in the area of aging in Canada, and their ability to connect globally and benefit from others’ experiences.”

The work I just cited was just one example of what the government is doing on issues of interest to seniors, but I will no longer take so much time on the details of everything we are doing for the seniors’ sector because, just like all of you, I’m into more of an ‘action’ person, rather than a ‘talk’ person. So, what better activity could we do related to seniors’ fitness and health than to start the evening off by DANCING!

Again, thank you so much and greeting everyone a HAPPY HEARTS’ DAY!