House of Commons Hansard #67 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tobacco.

Topics

D-Day
Routine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore
Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, 65 years ago, 14,000 Canadians waded through the murky Channel and into enemy gunfire at Juno Beach. Many were cut down before they reached the shore.

On this day, in this House, we celebrate our country’s hard-won victory during the Allied invasion of Normandy.

In June 1944, Juno Beach was one of the most heavily defended stretches of shoreline on the coast of Hitler's fortress Europe. The 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, reinforced by the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade, were given the task of capturing it, and they did so.

What happened 65 years ago on Juno Beach, and on the American and British beaches that flanked it, began the push toward Berlin that ended the most terrible war in human history.

Today we celebrate Canada's role in that victory. We celebrate our troops, whose valour earned a place in history. We remember the 359 Canadians who perished among the dunes and the surf, and the men whose bravery tipped the balance of war.

As we commemorate D-Day, we pay tribute to a great generation, one that is slowly leaving us with the passage of time. We make to them a simple promise: that their story will be our own and that their memory will never fade.

The sacrifice of war is a national endeavour. The remembrance of war must be no less.

Today we celebrate not only the Canadians who fought at Juno, but also the tradition of which they are part. Our servicemen and women have always stood ready to lay down their lives to defend our freedom—and the freedom of others: from Vimy Ridge to Juno Beach to Kandahar.

We honour those who served at Normandy—and on all the battlefields of our shared past.

Today in this House we feel the weight of a shared responsibility. We recall the parliamentarians who came before us, who provided civilian leadership in times of crisis, and who stood in this place to send Canadian troops into battle.

We recognize that for our soldiers in Afghanistan, that responsibility falls on our shoulders. While there may be differences in this House about the mission, our respect and our support for these soldiers transcends all our divisions, all party lines, and all sides of the House.

As we remember the invasion of Normandy, the fight for European liberation and the still ongoing struggle to protect our common humanity, our respect for our military tradition, incarnated by the word “Juno”, transcends all time, transcends all generations.

Today, 65 years after Juno Beach, we stand together here in this House as one, proudly, in admiration.

D-Day
Routine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to rise here today to speak on behalf of the Bloc Québécois, in commemoration of the Normandy landing.

The Normandy landing began in a rather special way, with a verse from Verlaine. The BBC broadcast a coded message indicating that Allied troops would be landing the next day. That message was as follows:

The long sobs
Of the violins
Of autumn
Wound my heart
With a monotonous
Languor.

That was the signal that the next day, 24 hours later, many soldiers and all their equipment would be landing in Normandy.

People say that it was probably the largest military landing in history. Some 156,000 men landed on the beaches of Normandy that day, including 15,000 Canadians with many Quebeckers among them. They brought with them 6,000 vehicles, 900 tanks and 600 guns. It was an incredible operation. Seven thousand boats, including 4,000 landing craft were also used, as well as 130 war ships. Twelve thousand planes were used to ensure air support and the success of the landing, and 5,000 tonnes of bombs were dropped.

We need to keep in mind that weapons at that time were not as precise as today, and so the plan was for a massive bombardment. That was the doctrine of the day, anyway. Before the landing, air strikes were used to break down resistance so that the Allies landing on those beaches would be less of a target for enemy fire.

I also need to point out that this invasion was a long time in the planning. In Casablanca in January 1943, Winston Churchill met with Roosevelt and Stalin to analyze the war, which was not going at all well at that point. Moreover, the Germans were engaged in the siege of Leningrad, and everyone agreed that it was very important to open up a second European front to divide the Germans. The Russians had adopted a very good tactic by letting the German forces penetrate far into their territory, but a second European front was necessary and that was what the Allies agreed to. A year after came the Normandy landing.

A person needs to try to put himself into the skins, the minds and the hearts of the men who were headed for the Normandy beaches. The Channel crossing was a very difficult one because the weather conditions were very bad. To put ourselves into that scenario, there we are in a landing craft headed for the beach, with bullets whistling all around us, shells landing in the water right beside us. When the landing craft hits the beach and the ramp door opens, afraid or not, seasick or not, terrified or not, we have to move out. Many of our comrades may already be lying on the beach dead or dying, and it is terrible.

A lot of things go through a soldier's head at such a time. They think of family and friends, they think of the importance of protecting democracy and freedom. They carry out their duty at the risk of their lives. These people must be saluted. We must remember the sacrifices they made, some of them the ultimate sacrifice.

As I said earlier, the night before the landing, there were air strikes on German positions. The Germans were therefore considerably weakened, but they were still there waiting for the Allies when they landed.

We cannot forget the navy. There were 109 ships ensuring that the German navy did not make it out of the harbour. The Allies could not afford to have the German ships intervene and derail the battle. The work was done. We also cannot forget the minesweepers. Since the Germans had scattered mines all along the coast, the Allies had to make sure they were not caught by these mines.

The battle is more or less the same today. I agree with those who spoke before me: the Bloc Québécois naturally has reservations about some current missions, like the one in Kandahar, but we have never questioned the dedication, bravery and courage of the soldiers. That must be said loud and clear. I am happy that there are many witnesses here today, and I hope that there are many people watching us. We have never questioned the work of the soldiers, even though we have some reservations about the mission.

Once again, these soldiers courageously defend our democracy and our freedom.

I would like to thank a number of divisions and brigades that distinguished themselves at the time of the landing: the 3rd Infantry Division, the 2nd Armoured Brigade, the 1st Parachute Battalion, and the 48th Commando.

For those who lost their lives, there are words we say here each Remembrance day, and they are appropriate today: at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.

D-Day
Routine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured today to join with the Minister of National Defence, the Leader of the Opposition, and my colleague from the Bloc Québécois, to recognize and honour those brave Canadians who played such a significant role in the Allied invasion of occupied France 65 years ago this week, in June of 1944.

D-Day was the beginning of the liberation of France after four years of bitter occupation, after the fall of France in June of 1940, and the beginning of the end of the most horrific war in the history of the world.

The successful invasion of Juno Beach was part of a massive invasion of Normandy. Fourteen thousand Canadian soldiers landed on the beach, 450 landed by parachute or glider, 10,000 members of the Royal Canadian Navy were involved in the landing, and we had the support of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

It was, as the minister said, a magnificent but horrific invasion. It was successful, but many lives were lost. Fifty-four hundred Canadians are buried in Normandy. Over 1,000 Canadians lost their lives in the first six days alone of the D-Day invasion.

Let me digress a moment to talk as a Newfoundlander and Labradorian. We were not part of Canada during the second world war. We did not send our own Newfoundland regiment overseas as we had done in World War I, but Newfoundlanders participated. Over 20,000 Newfoundlanders served in World War II, 3,000 of them with the Canadian Armed Forces, including 500 women. Over 8,000 Newfoundlanders served in British regiments. Another number served in the Royal Navy. However, in the British land forces, there were in fact three Newfoundland regiments, one of which served in Normandy, the 59th (Newfoundland) Heavy Regiment, and the Newfoundland 125th Royal Air Force Squadron.

So, there was fact significant participation by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. In fact, we have to acknowledge that Newfoundland was a front in the second world war, and I will get to that a little later.

As parliamentarians, we are often asked to talk to young people, and we do talk to them, about the significance of events that occurred before they were born. This is an event that occurred before most of the members of this Parliament were born, so it is hard to find the right words to underscore the importance of what happened 65 years ago.

It is no exaggeration to say that if these brave Canadians did not do what they did then, we would not be here today, enjoying the fruits of their sacrifice in a democratic Parliament.

Let us not forget that the enemy was at the door. In 1943, over 200 people, mostly civilians, were killed by enemy action in Newfoundland and Labrador. Four iron ore carriers were sunk by a German submarine attack while docked at Bell Island, in Conception Bay, and the passenger and railcar ferry, the Caribou, was torpedoed and sank on a normal run to Port aux Basques from North Sydney.

So, we must all give thanks to those who served and honour those who lost their lives in the defence of our country and our beliefs, and who died and fought to put an end to tyranny that had a plan to take over and dominate the world and impose an ugly dictatorship.

It was a war that may not have been won, but the commitment, the determination and the sacrifice of the men and women of Canada and our allies eventually prevailed.

We must always remember the sacrifice and the debt we owe to them, and to all our soldiers who fight for our country and our ideals, including those who are serving today in Afghanistan.

D-Day
Routine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I invite the House to rise and observe a moment of silence to commemorate the 65th anniversary of D-Day.

[A moment of silence observed]

Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Order, please. It being 3.38 p.m., pursuant to order made on Tuesday, June 2, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the previous question at the third reading stage of Bill C-24.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #73

Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I declare the motion carried.

The next question is on the main motion.

Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it I believe you would find agreement to apply the vote from the previous motion to this motion.

Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this way?

Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #74

Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

The House resumed from June 2 consideration of Bill C-15, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of Motion No. 1.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Pursuant to order made on Tuesday, June 2, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at report stage of Bill C-15. The question is on Motion No. 1.