Stephen Harper Celebrates Vietnamese Lunar New Year In Mississauga, Ontario

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Prime Minister Stephen Harper shakes hands with Vietnamese-Canadian Senator Thanh Hai Ngo at a celebration hosted by the Vietnamese Association of Toronto marking the Vietnamese Lunar New Year ringing in the the year of the snake in Mississauga, Ont., on Saturday, January 19, 2013. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim) | CP

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - Prime Minister Stephen Harper is celebrating the Vietnamese new year.

Harper spoke to a crowd of thousands of people of Vietnamese background Saturday in Mississauga, Ont., to help ring in the year of the snake and mark the contributions of Vietnamese-Canadians.

He says immigrants from Vietnam have helped make Canada better with their talents, skills and determination.

The Vietnamese lunar new year, called Tet, begins Feb. 10 and is the year of the snake.

Harper won some of his biggest applause when he brought up Canada's diplomacy with the government of Vietnam.

He says Canada will continue to engage the country's Communist regime on issues of human rights and democracy.

"As we engage in Vietnam, front and centre in our relationship will always be not only the furtherance of peace and prosperity but also freedom, democracy and human rights for the people of Vietnam," Harper said.

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