House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was first.

Topics

Information Commissioner

10:05 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Pursuant to section 38 of the Access to Information Act, I have the honour to lay upon the table the report of the information commissioner for April 1, 2002 to March 31, 2003.

This report is deemed permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates.

Juno Beach Centre
Routine Proceedings

June 3rd, 2003 / 10:05 a.m.

Winnipeg North—St. Paul
Manitoba

Liberal

Rey D. Pagtakhan Minister of Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State (Science

Mr. Speaker, as Minister of Veterans Affairs, I declare June 6, 2003, a day of recognition to commemorate the official opening of the Juno Beach Centre in Courseulles-sur-Mer in Normandy, France. The day coincides with the 59th anniversary of D-Day and the start of the Normandy campaign to liberate western Europe from the Nazi tyranny, and a day it shall be. Almost 1,000 Canadian veterans will gather there with our Prime Minister to pay tribute to Canada's contributions during the Second World War. It equally will be my honour to join them on Friday at this historic beach on this historic day.

Declaring this coming June 6 a special day gratefully acknowledges the dream and the hard work of the Juno Beach Association to see this centre established. I commend the association, and particularly its president, Mr. Garth Webb, for their dedication and determination.

I applaud Canadian benefactors nationwide who contributed--businesses, provincial governments and individual citizens--for their charitable spirit toward the realization of this dream. The Government of Canada takes pride in being able to provide significant support to this laudable endeavour.

I would like to thank Halifax councillor Mr. Brian Warshick and colleagues in the House, particularly the members for Haliburton--Victoria--Brock and for Dartmouth, for conveying to me their interest in today's ministerial declaration. How fitting and proper indeed it is to issue one.

D-Day at Juno Beach brought Canada to centre stage internationally during the Second World War, just as the battle of Vimy Ridge did during the Great War. On D-Day, 340 young Canadians lost their lives on Juno Beach. More casualties followed in the 10 weeks it took to cross the countryside of Normandy. Five thousand and twenty-one Canadians paid the supreme sacrifice.

The numbers alone are telling. What brings us greater sorrow is knowing we lost them in their prime. They never returned home. They missed the opportunity to raise their own families. But all of them, together with their comrades who were fortunate to return, including those on the home front, raised the banner of freedom and peace.

The Juno Beach Centre aims to memorialize for future generations the life lessons of this epic battle. It aims to teach future generations about the heroic role Canada played during the Second World War, not only in Normandy, but also in other places such as Hong Kong and Italy. It aims to remind the older generation and to teach the younger about the war effort on the home front: that all three of Canada's military services, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Navy, and the Canadian Army proved themselves to be a better match against the powerful enemy forces they met, and that the Merchant Navy, for its heroic part, carried the troops and the landing crafts in which the troops stormed the beaches.

On this Friday, June 6, I ask all Canadians to pause and reflect, to remember those gallant Canadians, to remember that they served their country with valour so that we and our children and our children's children might live in freedom and peace and to remember that they helped shape our nation. To them we owe our never-ending gratitude as a people. To them we owe a duty to carry forward their life stories and their love for Canada and her values. This we pledge to do today, tomorrow and forever.

Juno Beach Centre
Routine Proceedings

10:10 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, there is something unique about the event to which we will be travelling on Friday. It is unique in the way that the emphasis for this development came not from governments but from the veterans themselves.

The veterans saw that there was a compelling need to preserve the memory and to tell the story of Canada's military and civilian contributions during World War II. To date there has been no significant Canadian memorial anywhere that ranks these achievements, not until a select group of veterans got together and went ahead and built this fine facility, which will be officially opened Friday, June 6, one year ahead of the 60th anniversary of June 6. I am indeed very proud to recognize this 59th anniversary and I am indeed proud to be able to represent Her Majesty's loyal opposition.

This is a dream come true for thousands of veterans. We in the House of Commons have many people to thank. Mainly we thank the veterans of Canada, and we also say thanks for the provincial help, as the minister has mentioned, and the federal help. Let us also remember that there was one unarmed group of the military there and that was our Merchant Marines. We shall never forget that. Let us also pay tribute to the groups of individuals, the businesses and the corporations that also gave money for this event.

I knew some of the men who went on the Juno raid in 1944. One of the interesting things is that last year at this time we visited Dieppe and some of the returnees who were not slaughtered at Dieppe were also on this raid, as well as those from north Africa and the Italian campaign.

It is an honour and a dream come true and this monument will serve for many generations.

Already there and also on their way there are groups of Merchant Marines. The House on May 19 gave first reading to Bill C-411, which would enact a Merchant Marine Navy Day on September 3 every year. I would be grateful, and I think the Merchant Marines who were there would be grateful, if the House would have both second and third reading of the bill, and I would ask for unanimous consent. Then they could have their day recognized while they are there and by the time they return.

Juno Beach Centre
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

The Deputy Speaker

I would say respectfully to the members, particularly on the subject matter presently before the House, that the Chair would appreciate a little more clarification. My understanding is that presently we are dealing with the minister's statement. We do not have a motion as such before the House, which the member has referred to with regard to unanimous consent. I wonder if the member for Souris—Moose Mountain would clarify things.

Juno Beach Centre
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Roy H. Bailey Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I will not include it as part of my remarks to the minister. Later on a point of order I will make a motion at that time.

Juno Beach Centre
Routine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois joins with the minister and all other colleagues to commemorate the events of June 6, 1944. It is easy for me to speak about that day because my father, who took part in the liberation of Holland, told many stories about those events.

Of course, he did not take part in the landing in Normandy. DUring this landing, Canadian troops set foot in Europe for the first time. They expected strong resistance since the Nazis had built a whole series of bunkers and put barbed wire and guns on the beach in anticipation of the landing. Quebeckers and Canadians distinguished themselves during the battle.

We must remember that the Americans landed on Utah and Omaha Beaches. The British had three divisions, which landed on Sword and Gold Beaches, and on Juno Beach in the middle. Canadians and Quebeckers played a heroic role in breaking through enemy lines; unfortunately, a great number of them lost their lives. There were 14,000 Canadians under the command of General Keller. At the end of the day, there were 1,074 casualties, including 359 killed in action.

It is important to remember our veterans, and I believe that the younger generations today does not know what sacrifices those people made. It is important to commemorate this event every year, and also to have an interpretive monument at Juno Beach to explain to future generations how important those who fought for our freedom really were.

We will therefore take part in any event held to honour veterans because, as I just said, they fought and died for the values of our societies—of Europe, Canada, and the United States. These people knew the importance of freedom, including the freedom of speech. They also knew that we live in a democratic system and were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, to risk their lives to protect these values.

Therefore, when an event such as June 6, 1944 is to be commemorated, we must clearly state that we are in full agreement. Many people risked their lives and many lives were lost. They were people who could have stayed at home and they could have said, “I just want to live a quiet life with my family”.

Yes, of course, there was conscription, and we cannot overlook this fact. Quebeckers said no to conscription, and yet, many Quebecers went overseas to serve and do their duty. My father was one of them, along with the 14,000 Canadians mentioned earlier, undoubtedly several thousand from Quebec.

And so, I think this is the appropriate thing to do. Let us commemorate, let us make sure that the history is known, so that the next generation knows that the quality of life we enjoy today, and the fact that we live in a democratic and open world, where there is freedom of expression, are due in large part to these soldiers, who landed on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944. The war in Normandy was difficult. We lost many soldiers there, in order to preserve the values of which I have just spoken.

In conclusion, we in the Bloc Quebecois, along with all the parties in this House, are going to commemorate the these people's actions. Lest we forget.

Juno Beach Centre
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Loyola Hearn St. John's West, NL

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Progressive Conservative Party it is an honour to pay tribute to the people who, 59 years ago, not only gave their lives but also participated fully in the freeing up of what we call today in the west, the free world. I wish to congratulate the minister on his statement and on the initiative of the Canadian government in involving itself in commemorating such a tremendous occasion.

I doubt if there is anyone in the House who directly or indirectly has not been touched by some involvement in the second world war. When we were going through the darkest days, as Churchill said, when things looked pretty grim for Europe, when we saw nations like France, Italy, and others under the control of the Germans, the future looked very dim for Europe and consequently the western world. But it was the Canadians who did what Canadians always do. When our friends are in need, when they are in trouble, Canadians are there by their side. That is the way it always has been. That is the way it always should be.

In this case, 14,000 Canadians--and we can only imagine what it was like in those days--came from the farms of western Canada, from the outlying regions of eastern Canada, and from Quebec, to cross the ocean to participate in a battle in a strange new world, and to do it so heroically. The Norman invasion turned a page. From that day on we started to move toward freeing Europe, and by doing so, freed the western world.

It is an honour and a pleasure that we pay tribute to the people who participated in that great battle, that great war. It is something that we should pass on to our children and grandchildren because we who have this great freedom in this country should never forget those who paid the price to give it to us.

Juno Beach Centre
Routine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Musquodoboit Valley—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the New Democratic Party, provincially and federally across the country, it gives me great pleasure to thank the minister, the government, and all those people who will be attending and those who will remember the activities of what happened on June 6, 1944.

The father of my colleague from the Bloc, the member for Saint-Jean, was a liberator. I was born in a country that his father and many others liberated. I am the by-product of what happens when we fight for peace, freedom and democracy around the world. On June 6, 2003, we will be commemorating that magnificent symbol of what the interpretation centre will mean, not just to what happened on that particular day but the story and the events of that particular day.

At the legion in Windsor, Ontario, bookmarks are given to guests when they visit which says “Let peace be their remembrance”. This is what this interpretation centre should do, not only tell the story but encourage people to work for peace around the world so that we do not have to go through this terrible event again.

I wish to recognize our Sergeant-at-arms, himself a veteran, who served his country and his colleagues. We do this in remembrance of the sacrifice that he made, and those who could not come back from that terrible day and the events of the war as well.

I would like to remember the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and those veterans who fought in the service of the British empire who are now part of Canada. They too served their country with valour and distinction. I want to mention two people in my area of Nova Scotia who have worked so hard to bring this day to fruition: Mr. Doug Shanks, a veteran and a member of the legion who worked very hard to raise funds so that we could have this interpretation centre, and Councillor Brian Warshick of the Halifax regional municipality, who worked tirelessly to bring this day to fruition. He has advised me to advise all Canadians that on June 6 we should pause and reflect upon what happened on that day, and how the turn of the war came about. I encourage all Canadians to pause and reflect on June 6 upon what happened on that particular day.

On behalf of the New Democratic Party, federally and provincially, it gives me great pleasure to travel with the veterans affairs minister and others in the House, and in a non-partisan way to participate this Friday in an event that should be commemorated for many years to come. To all those veterans and their families who paid the ultimate sacrifice, I wish to express my thanks and wish them all the best. May God bless them.

Committees of the House
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present the 32nd report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs regarding the report of the Electoral Boundaries Commission for Nova Scotia. This report and related evidence will be forwarded to the commission for its consideration.

I would like to thank the subcommittee that worked on this report and all the members who made presentations to it.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition that calls on the federal government to scrap the gun registry because as of January 1, 2003, thousands of Canadians, through no fault of their own, now possess unregistered firearms. Anyone who tries to register a firearm is now exposed to federal prosecution. It is recognized that nine out of ten provinces as well as MPs, senators and the Auditor General of Canada all agree that the Canadian firearms registry is out of control.

My petitioners call upon Parliament, the Department of Justice and the Government of Canada to declare an immediate amnesty for all unregistered firearms or, in the absence of an amnesty, to scrap the firearms registry altogether.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Dave Chatters Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to present a petition today on behalf of the Muslim community in Fort McMurray. It is protesting the war in Iraq and urging the Canadian government to urge the United States to pull its troops out of the country and get on with the humanitarian efforts to rebuild the country.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I rise today to present a petition on behalf of my constituents. The petitioners wish to draw to the attention of the House section 13 of the Canada Post Corporation Act that discriminates against rural route mail couriers who do not have the same pay or working conditions as other mail couriers with Canada Post. The petitioners ask that Parliament repeal that section of the act to allow for parity and equality.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Janko Peric Cambridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36, I have the privilege to present to the House a petition with 100 signatures from concerned citizens of my riding of Cambridge.

In Canada one child in four dies before birth as a result of induced abortion. More than half of all Canadians believe that human life deserves protection prior to birth. The petitioners call upon Parliament to enact legislation to protect Canadian unborn children.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

John Herron Fundy Royal, NB

Mr. Speaker, I am presenting a petition on behalf of Mr. Brian Holmes of Ontario regarding aerial spraying. Mr. Holmes has collected signatures from across the country from concerned Canadians who believe that chemicals used in aerial sprayings are adversely affecting the health of Canadians.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to stop this type of high altitude spraying. The petition has been duly certified by the clerk and I present it at this time.

Petitions
Routine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Peter Adams Peterborough, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from citizens of Peterborough area and elsewhere who are concerned about acrylamides. Acrylamides are dangerous toxic substances known to cause cancer in mice and which are formed from sugars. The petitioners point out that potatoes and grains contain these precursors in huge amounts, and that the concentration in fries exceeds 600-fold to 700-fold those allowed for these substances in drinking water in the United States.

The undersigned citizens request that Parliament legislate that all labels on processed foods be required to show the concentration of acrylamides therein.