moved for leave to introduce Bill C-449, An Act respecting a Canada-Portugal Day.
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to introduce this bill which seeks to declare June 10 as Canada-Portugal Day in appreciation of the Portuguese Canadians' contribution in Canada and in celebration of the friendship between Portugal and Canada.
On June 10, in Canada and throughout the world, persons of Portuguese origin remember their cultural roots by celebrating the life of Luis de Camoes, the author of Os Lusiadas, the epic poem about the history of Portugal prior to 1500.
Portuguese Canadians have a long history in Canada. Back in the 15th century, on the south and east shores of Newfoundland and the Strait of Belle Isle, Portuguese fishermen caught cod and dried them ashore. Names of Portuguese origin are found along the Atlantic coast of Canada. Canada and Portugal continue to work together and the first annual meeting of the Canada-Portugal committee on fisheries cooperation took place in Lisbon March 16-17, 2006.
In the 1950s, many Portuguese immigrants came to Canada to farm and helped construct railways. Since then, thousands continue to arrive to build our cities and towns. Today almost half a million people of Portuguese descent call Canada home.
With the declaration of June 10 as Canada-Portugal Day, Parliament will recognize and express gratitude for the contribution of the Portuguese Canadian community to Canada.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)