Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcomed Jewish Canadians to a celebration of Chanukah's eighth and final night. Assisted by Rabbi Zalman Aharon Grossbaum, co-director of the Chabad-Lubavitch Community Center in Toronto's Thornhill suburb, the prime minister lit the menorah's shamash candle.

In his remarks, Harper – who was introduced by Rabbi Mendel Kaplan, director of Thornhill's Ernest Manson Lubavitch Centre – thanked Chabad-Lubavitch for its work benefiting all Canadians and spoke about the importance of religious freedom.

"Last year there were a record 11,000 public menorah lightings in cities around the world, including our event here in Ottowa," noted the Prime Minister. "To me, this is an encouraging sign that the light of the menorah is growing stronger.

"Down through the centuries, in various places at various times, Jews have suffered terrible persecution. The hate that fuelled this persecution still stalks our world today. We must confront and resist it wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head," he continued. "I am proud that the light shines so brightly in Canada. Our peaceful, prosperous and pluralistic society welcomes people of all faiths, and we will always be a resolute defender of Jewish religious freedom in a hostile world."