Pope John Paul II Day Act

An Act to establish Pope John Paul II Day

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.

This bill was previously introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session.

Sponsor

Wladyslaw Lizon  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill.

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment designates the second day of April in each and every year as “Pope John Paul II Day”.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

June 12, 2013 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.

Pope John Paul II Day ActPrivate Members' Business

February 6th, 2013 / 6:20 p.m.
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NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech.

One of the principles that is important to our democracy is the separation of church and state. People who enter the religious life do so selflessly because they believe in what they are doing. They do not seek out honours or recognition. They want their message to be heard and to reach future generations.

In order to reconcile these two principles, would my colleague find it acceptable if the day were dedicated not to Pope John Paul II, but to one of the Pope's favourite causes? In that way we could remember not just the person but also a cause that was dear to him. In that way we could maintain the separation of church and state, while honouring the causes the loved and the message that he sought to deliver.

Pope John Paul II Day ActPrivate Members' Business

February 6th, 2013 / 6:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that this is not a religious bill. John Paul II was the head of the Catholic Church, but he was a man who reached out to everybody. He was the man who made some of the biggest changes in this world in recent history.

Therefore, it was not only the values he represented, but his courage as a person, his outreach to everybody regardless of cultural or religious background. It was outstanding. He embraced everybody.

Pope John Paul II Day ActPrivate Members' Business

February 6th, 2013 / 6:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I personally hope that the bill does go to committee.

I recognize Pope John Paul II, with the length of term he stayed as the head of the Catholic Church, from 1978 to 2005, was the longest-serving pope. He actually visited 129 countries. When we think of Canada alone, he had been to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg.

There are world leaders of an iconic nature, and I could make reference to Sikhism's Guru Gobind Singh, and to other world leaders, such as Mahatma Gandhi, or Dr. José Rizal from the Philippines.

My question for the member is, does he see the value in terms of Canada recognizing these world iconic leaders and in essence somehow expressing that acknowledgement through recognition? He has pointed out one of the ways in which that may be done. This is one of the reasons I personally do not have any objection to it going to committee.

Pope John Paul II Day ActPrivate Members' Business

February 6th, 2013 / 6:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are many important and significant people in the world. If we looked at John Paul II as a person and not as the head of the church, we would have to recognize the huge impact he made on this world, especially Europe, which was under strict communist regime that many people thought would never end in our time. I can speak to that because I personally experienced it.

I was present at the first visit of Pope John Paul II to Poland, in 1978. I do not think I fully understood the meaning of his simple words “be not afraid”. I do not know how it happened, but people truly lost fear, which was the main tool in the state to control people. This happened, thanks to him. Now we have a free and democratic Europe. We have ended a cold war that lasted for so long.

Pope John Paul II Day ActPrivate Members' Business

February 6th, 2013 / 6:25 p.m.
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NDP

Peggy Nash NDP Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased today to rise to speak about Bill C-266, an act to establish Pope John Paul II Day. I want to thank my colleague, the member for Mississauga East—Cooksville for introducing it to the House.

As the first Polish Pope and a global force for peace and inter-faith dialogue, John Paul II remains today an important figure in the hearts of people around the world. I am happy to stand today to support the motion.

As the member of Parliament for the electoral district of Parkdale—High Park, I am honoured to represent so many members of the Polish community in Toronto. They are a people that through generations of hard work have built one of the most vibrant and community oriented neighbourhoods in our city. From the Canadian Polish Congress national office to the St. Stanislaus-St. Casimir's Credit Union, the Copernicus Lodge, St. Casimir's Church and St. Vincent de Paul, our neighbourhood is home to many landmarks in Toronto, built by generations of Poles in the west end of our city.

Every year, families from Parkdale—High Park mark proud moments such as Polish Constitution Day and Polish Independence Day. We commemorate the terrible tragedy of the Katyn massacre by laying a wreath at the Katyn monument at the foot of Roncesvalles. We come together in joyous celebration at the Polish annual street festival on Roncesvalles. Over the years, these meaningful community events have helped me understand the lasting importance and influence of Pope John Paul II in the lives of the Polish community, but also to respect his global achievements.

The Polish community knows intimately the role that Pope John Paul II played in bringing hope and democratic reform to Eastern Europe. Canada's recognition of Pope John Paul II would send a profound signal that Canada stands with global leaders who speak out against oppression. Most importantly, it would signal that as Canadians we support leaders who use compassion, diplomacy and goodwill to advance the principles of democracy.

Karol Wojtyla, who would come to be known as Pope John Paul II, was born in Poland in 1920. The course of Pope John Paul II's life was deeply intertwined with major historical shifts in his country.

As the Polish community in my riding, and all those who have migrated from another country know well, the welfare of the people at one's birthplace or those who share one's language and culture is never forgotten, even after many years. Though Pope John Paul II was seated at the Vatican in Rome, his early experiences with Nazi and then Communist violence in Poland motivated him to take an active role in pressing for religious freedom and democratic reform in Eastern Europe and around the world.

Karol Wojtyla was raised in an era marked by tremendous political turmoil and suffering. During his first year of university the Nazis invaded Poland, jailed Jewish professors and closed classroom doors. Desperate to support himself and his father, he found work in a quarry. In the following years, his father and last living parent passed away and he devoted himself to religious study.

Under the Polish Communist Party he saw first hand the aggressive way in which religious freedom was extinguished. The Polish Communist Party tried to neutralize the influence of the Catholic Church. Church schools were nationalized, monasteries and seminaries were shut down, Catholic hospitals and nursing homes and charities were closed; church leaders were blackmailed, persecuted and harassed; and priests were recruited as informants on other priests. By 1953, a thousand Polish priests were in jail.

His experience, first of Nazi violence, and later the total control of the Polish Communist Party, left him with a deep understanding of the ways in which violent dictatorships affect the lives of ordinary people. He saw that first hand.

Later, when Pope John Paul II, he went on to speak about his experiences at the United Nations. He reached out to the diplomats there to end political abuses and to view any threat to human dignity as “a form of warfare against humanity”. He went on to say that he had come from the country on whose living body Auschwitz been constructed.

From Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines to Jean Claude Duvalier in Haiti to Sese Seko Mobutu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pope John Paul II was vocal in his recriminations of dictators around the world. He was also an outspoken critic of the South African apartheid regime and the Iraq war.

In addition to speaking out against oppression, he also took the initiative in building positive forums of international and interfaith co-operation. In 1985, Pope John Paul II founded World Youth Day, seeking to inspire and engage youth in community development on a global level.

Canadians have long been committed to the same values that Pope John Paul II so strongly advanced on the world stage: democracy, diplomacy and dialogue. Historically, Canada has often played the role of mediator and peace broker on the world stage. Pope John Paul II served as an excellent example of what can be accomplished when global leaders commit to pursuing these principles and putting them to action.

I understand that some people may say they do not agree with every opinion that was expressed by Pope John Paul II. Some people will say that we should perhaps not be dedicating a day to a religious figure. I would argue that when we consider the global narrative of the life of John Paul II as an international force of hope, of justice and dialogue, it seems fitting for Parliament to celebrate his legacy. Above all, I am in the House to represent my constituents, and I know what Pope John Paul II means to so many of them.

Parkdale—High Park is the heart of the Polish community in Toronto, home to community organizations, newspapers, and a strong community fabric that has made it one of the most vibrant community oriented neighbourhoods in Toronto.

In our community, Pope John Paul II represents not only an important figure in the history of the Roman Catholic Church, but also a remarkable geo-political leader who spoke up for freedom and democratic change in eastern Europe and around the world. It is for that reason I will be supporting the bill.

Pope John Paul II Day ActPrivate Members' Business

February 6th, 2013 / 6:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour again to stand here. I say again because the last time the bill came in the House I spoke on it briefly as well. I want to thank the member for Mississauga East—Cooksville for bringing this to the floor of the House of Commons. In the last session it was brought in by the member for Brampton West, Andrew Kania. I want to quote from his speech, but I will get to that in a few moments.

I want to reiterate what was said earlier about the true inspiration of a man who travelled this world seeking out peace, seeking out ways to bridge the gap between the human dynamic, between us and those people we may not agree with or those people we find ourselves in constant conflict with. He was a man who was situated in a position that was clear to the world where he was, which was the head of the Catholic Church, situated in Vatican City, yet he managed to bridge the gap between so many different factions of people, their religion as well as nations around the world. As someone said earlier, the man visited 129 countries in the existence of his 27 year rule as the leader of the Catholic Church. It is absolutely incredible.

I am not Catholic, but I sure am inspired by the actions of this individual as a world leader at a time when the world needed it, from the late 1970s until his passing in 2005. It is an honour to be here tonight and talk about this. I will be supporting the bill.

I remember his first words from October 16, 1978, when he said, “Dearest brothers and sisters, we are still all grieved after the death of the most beloved Pope John Paul I. And now the imminent cardinals have called a new bishop of Rome. They have called him from a far country, but always near to through the communion of faith and in the Christian tradition”.

Those were the first words of the new pope, Pope John Paul II, formerly Karol Józef Wojtyla, the first Slavic pope in the history of the Roman Catholic Church and a pope who reigned 27 years.

I am very honoured to speak to designating this day. We have honoured other world leaders, including those religious leaders such as the Dalai Lama and others. We have also honoured great leaders of certain nations. Let us put John Paul II in the category of each and every one of those as a world leader, a religious leader, a leader of faith, a leader of nations and a leader in the world of diplomacy, which is a huge thing to do over his 27 years. Some credit him with the fall of communism, but his roots were within the community in Poland. That made him put in the very distinct position of understanding through the years of growing up in Poland.

These are a couple of things Canadian journalists had to say after the passing of Pope John Paul II. Eric Margolis described going into the central committee headquarters in Moscow after the election of John Paul II and this is what he described. He said, “I was the first Western journalist inside the KGB headquarters in 1990. The generals told me that the Vatican and the Pope above all was regarded as their number one, most dangerous enemy in the world”. He is one of the architects of the defeat of communism, there is no doubt it. He must be remembered not only for his religious ties and role, but for his worldwide historical influence.

In terms of his role in the fall of communism, this is another comment from James Caroll who is not only a writer but a former priest. He says, “What is the greatest most unexpected event of the 20th century? Isn't it that the Soviet Empire was brought down non-violently”. One the largest empires this world has ever seen was brought down non-violently. He went on to say, “Isn't John Paul II's story part of that”? It is a big part of that. What came from that was his desire to see impoverished people were able to fulfill dreams, the dream of feeding their own families, of worshipping as they so choose to do.

He became such a large part of the world dialogue on peace that everywhere he went world attention followed him. People knew he was the type of individual to bridge the gulf between warring factions and those who conflicted with each other. That is the big reason we are here today; it is to honour a man. However, it is not just a national honour, but an international honour in this national forum. As I said earlier, the Soviet Union fell without one bullet being fired.

Pope John Paul's trip to Poland, in 1979, is described by Timothy Ash as the “fulcrum of revolution which led to the collapse of communism”. He said:

Without the Pope, no Solidarity. Without Solidarity, no Gorbachev. Without Gorbachev, no fall of communism.

In fact, Mikhail Gorbachev himself said, “It would have been impossible without the Pope”. He credits Pope John Paul II for being the key factor in the fall of the Soviet Union.

There is another major accomplishment by John Paul II. Nobody will agree with everything that any leader ever does, which is to be expected, but he did bridge the divide between the Roman Catholic church and other religions, as I mentioned earlier.

In October 2003, the Anti-Defamation League issued a statement congratulating Pope John Paul II on entering his 25th year of the papacy and essentially complimented him for his role in bridging the divide between the Jewish faith and the Roman Catholic church.

Immediately after the death of John Paul II, the same Anti-Defamation League issued a statement that Pope John Paul II had revolutionized Catholic-Jewish relations, saying, “...more change for the better took place in his 27-year papacy then in the nearly 2,000 years before”. What a statement from the Anti-Defamation League, that he accomplished in 27 years what could not be accomplished to that extent in the 2,000 years prior.

There are other examples of his attempts to bridge with other faith communities. In terms of the Muslim community, Pope John Paul II, when in Casablanca on August 19, 1985 during his journey to Morocco, said:

Christians and Muslims, we have many things in common, as believers and as human beings. We live in the same world, marked by many signs of hope, but also by multiple signs of anguish. For us, Abraham is a very model of faith in God, of submission to his will and of confidence in his goodness. We believe in the sane God, the one God, the living God, the God who created the world and brings his creatures to their perfection.

He reached out to the Muslim community, once again, in 1986. He said:

The Jewish religion is not “extrinsic“ to us, but in a certain way is “intrinsic” to our own religion. With Judaism therefore we have a relationship which we do not have with any other religion. You are our dearly beloved brothers and, in a certain way, it could be said that you are our elder brothers.

This was an amazing compliment from that man. Let us face it, he was extremely brave to be saying these things. No other Pope had said this prior to him. This was a man who was obviously sincere in his belief in the church and the Roman Catholic faith, but he was so sincere in his attempts to bridge the gulf between what conflicts us that he was willing to put himself on the line to say these things. It was controversial at the time, and I remember when it happened, in the mid eighties.

On a personal note, I come from Newfoundland and Labrador. The Pope visited the little island of Newfoundland, and with him came an incredible sense of patriotism in our own province. Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and Jews who lived in Newfoundland all said the same thing. We could not believe the Pope was actually coming to our little piece of the earth. In this little corner of the earth that we call our own in the north Atlantic, the weather is not great, and the Pope did experience that. We were so proud that this man of great international and historical significance was there. Why? He wanted to be there because he wanted to spread the word. He wanted to take the word of God and bring it around the world. It was the word of God, yes, but also peace, love and happiness. It was an incredible honour.

It is a mild gesture that we could make in this House to pass this bill.

I would like to quote from my former colleague Andrew Kania, who spoke eloquently when he brought the bill to the House. He said many things about how the pope would travel the world, as I mentioned earlier, and how he tried to bridge the gap between other religions. He said:

This was a pope who will go down in history as not only one of the greatest popes, but one of the greatest world leaders, somebody who did try to reach out to different communities and different religions and show respect. He did not go around saying that the Roman Catholic Church was right and other religions were wrong. He went around saying let us work together and try to be good, help and respect one another and show love and compassion.

A love and compassion that we still feel to this day as if he were still with us. In many respects he is still with us, and that is one of the chief reasons why we should pass the legislation.

Pope John Paul II Day ActPrivate Members' Business

February 6th, 2013 / 6:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Ted Opitz Conservative Etobicoke Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my friend and colleague the member for Mississauga East—Cooksville for bringing this important legislation before us today.

As the member for Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor said, this is an international type of bill. It is not just a Canadian or a Polish or a Catholic bill. I would like to thank him for his comments because I really enjoyed what he had to say on communism.

I would also like to thank Mr. Chris Korwin-Kuczynski, a long-time former deputy city councillor, former deputy mayor and retired honorary navy captain, for his dedicated campaign to see the bill brought before Parliament. I would also like to thank Fathers Gil, Blazejak and Filas for their generous support and faith, and Ms. Danuta Gumienik and Mietek Lotakow for their dedication and assistance in making sure that the bill reached us here on the floor today.

The member for Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor also talked about the fall of communism and the ideas, and why John Paul II was such a threat to totalitarianism. It was because ideas are the enemy of tyrants. Mikhail Gorbachev went on to say one other thing, which is remarkable given that he was one of the main adversaries of John Paul and his mission to bring freedom and democracy to the earth. He said that Pope John Paul II's “devotion to his followers is a remarkable example to all of us”.

I fully support the bill and everything that it represents. In fact, I am the seconder of the bill and proud to be so. The bill is not just about Blessed John Paul II being Polish or Catholic, though there is no doubt special meaning for the Polish community, especially Canadians of Polish heritage and Catholics generally. It is truly about the inspiration that he left as his legacy to all peoples of all faiths in all lands in the world and in Canada.

Blessed John Paul stood for values that are shared by diverse peoples across this planet: justice, democracy and forgiveness. John Paul II held the value that all people are equal and should be free to practice whatever religion they choose, no matter where they are in this world. These values are not only Christian values, but they are shared by many religions around the world. For Canadians, he practised the values of freedom, democracy and human rights the world over and promoted that everywhere he went. He was not just solely focused on the Catholic church but was also influential, as we have already discussed, on the world stage building bridges between all faiths.

It was already remarked that when he visited Israel he addressed them as “my older brothers”. That was absolutely significant and historic.

He reached out to the Eastern Orthodox church and the Muslim faith. A goal he had was to form a coalition of faith. When he visited the Umayyad mosque, which was a former Christian church where John Paul the Baptist is believed to be interred, he made a speech calling for Muslims, Christians and Jews to live together. As he continued to visit mosques and places of worship of many faiths around the world, he did so in order to reach out for understanding and to build those bridges between those faiths.

One of his major accomplishments was inspiring a peaceful revolution in Europe that resulted in the downfall of communism on that continent, which began in his native Poland with the rise of the solidarity trade movement, and it was through those words “be not afraid”. Those were meaningful and impactful words. Those uplifting words resulted in human rights and freedom being brought to Poland and subsequently to now all former Iron Curtain countries that made up the Soviet bloc. He did this not with a sword or rifle but by using words and by using ideas, which, again, were the enemy of tyrants.

He did this simply because those who suffered through communism imagined the changes that they wished to see, which he promoted, and they did it by being not afraid. They dared to imagine and they dared to aspire. It inspired those who had lost hope that they would ever see political freedom in their lands, and they found hope through solidarity. History tells us what happened later on: communism fell.

John Paul II had close ties to Canada. He made separate visits here. He went to the Arctic in 1987, just that visit, because he had promised to go there and was not able to do it on a previous visit. He made a special attempt to do that and he succeeded. There is also a special meaning to the pope for me. There is actually only 20 days difference in age between my dad and the pope. In fact, my dad will be 93 on April 2.

The two of them had very similar histories in Poland. Both of them were 19 when the war began. My father, obviously, subsequently became a soldier, and John Paul followed his faith. That was important.

In 2002, the military did a very special thing for me. They allowed me, as part of a four-person military team, to assist with World Youth Day for almost an entire year, to help plan World Youth Day and bring 800,000 people to Canada.

This was a post 9/11 world. All the youth of the world came, and they were not just Catholic. They were of all different faiths. It was important to see the numbers of different faiths that came here.

As a Canadian solider at the time, with Polish immigrant parents, from the Parkdale area of Toronto and St. Casimir's Polish Catholic parish, this was a massive honour for me personally. It was a huge responsibility to get it right and ensure that the close to a million people from around the world who arrived here to celebrate with Pope John Paul II were able to do so safely and were able to celebrate with all the other youth of the world.

The atmosphere was absolutely electric. To have the honour of being so close to the Pope, as close, in fact, as I am to the member for Brampton West right now, was something that was inspiring. To be able to talk to him, to be able to hold his hand, to be able to have a conversation with him in Polish was something that was inspiring to me and to the kids he was able to inspire.

What the Pope often said was, “You are the salt”, and “You are the light”. He referred to the youth as being those. They reacted to that. “[D]o not be afraid” was something he repeated quite frequently on the stage.

What he said to them was:

You are young, and the Pope is old, 82 or 83 years of life is not the same as 22 or 23. But the Pope still fully identifies with your hopes and aspirations.... I have seen enough evidence to be unshakeably convinced that no difficulty, no fear is so great that it can completely suffocate the hope that springs eternal in the hearts of the young. You are our hope, the young are our hope.

It should be noted that the Canadian World Youth Day was the last one he attended. He was the originator of World Youth Day, which happens every year in Rome and about every four years in a different country around the world.

Having stood mere feet from His Holiness at that time, I could see his courage. I could see the incredible suffering in his eyes, because he was so pushed down by the serious illness he had.

It is important that all of the members know that he lived his life as he spoke it. He showed nothing but courage by sitting there, by suffering as he did, to make sure that he came to Toronto. To make sure that he came here and to make sure that he inspired those young people was absolutely monumental. I came away absolutely inspired, having met Papa.

The Pope was a brilliant man who reached out to millions of people beyond the borders of the church. By supporting this bill, we show all Canadians that we have not forgotten this great man and we honour those values he inspired in us all. He was a man who travelled with a staff in his hand and wore the shoes of a fisherman. He was a man who brought hope, peace and comfort to so many all around the world. He was a man who, with his words, through his deeds and with his faith, brought us all together with his message of hope.

He was a man who will be remembered long after the rest of us have been forgotten. He was a man who made this earth a more human place for us all.

Pope John Paul II Day ActPrivate Members' Business

February 6th, 2013 / 6:55 p.m.
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NDP

Raymond Côté NDP Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will not hide the fact that I am speaking today with a somewhat troubled heart. I want to speak to the proposal from the member for Mississauga East—Cooksville.

I have long admired His Holiness Pope John Paul II. However, as the member for Beauport—Limoilou, I will not be supporting the idea of establishing a day in his honour.

As a devout Roman Catholic, I strive to follow Christ's example in my everyday life. But following that example is sometimes difficult, as evidenced by many events in His Holiness's life. Before I go any further, I would like to remind the House that Christ said that he did not come to bring peace to the world, but a sword.

I feel I can take the liberty of quoting Christ in the House because His Holiness Pope John Paul II came to Canada in 1984, when I was 17. It is no secret that it was an absolutely extraordinary moment. It moved people. Pope John Paul II had a strong personality; he had a real charisma, almost a magnetism, and he thrilled the crowds. It was incredible to see him in action.

However, I was elected to represent my constituents, just as my 307 colleagues represent Canadians across this country. Canada is vast and beautiful. It is multifaceted and its people have various faiths. I think we need to convey the message that we will maintain freedom of conscience for everyone in our country, no matter what they believe, and that includes those of different faiths, agnostics and non-believers.

I believe that establishing a day in Pope John Paul II's honour would send the wrong message. However, I understand why my colleague, who is of Polish descent, would introduce this bill in the House. Pope John Paul II was a hero who lifted the hearts of the Polish people; he was an inspiration. He also freed a people from unbearable oppression.

I think that the Catholic Church certainly has the ability to maintain and promote the work of John Paul II. I do not think it is the role of the Canadian government to do so. I do not want to get into a comparison of every pope in the succession of popes since Saint Peter, but I must admit that I am partial to recent popes. Take the example of John XXIII, who created the Second Vatican Council, and Leo XIII, whose letter, the encyclical Rerum Novarum, was the cornerstone of the Church's social doctrine, which flourished over a good part of the 20th century.

As I said, with a somewhat troubled heart, I had the pleasure of reading a number of encyclicals by His Holiness John Paul II. At the time, I even defended some of the pope's positions to my friends and acquaintances because the pope was very controversial in Quebec at that time. I remember how very divided people were. I remember theologists from Laval University spoke out against positions taken by His Holiness, particularly with respect to contraception.

This obviously had some unfortunate consequences. Regardless, I do not want to dwell on that. Those debates are over. I also do not want to bring up painful memories about His Holiness, because he did some very good work.

As I said, I do not believe it is the role of the government to recognize a specific pope among all of the popes in the 2,000-year history of the Catholic Church.

To support my position, I want to quickly talk about 12 other popes I greatly admire. There is obviously John XXIII, who created the Second Vatican Council, at the very beginning of his pontificate at the end of the 1950s, to the surprise of everyone, including the bishops and the Roman Curia. This council was truly a defining moment for the Catholic Church in the 20th century. It enabled His Holiness John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who was on the council at the time, to shape their ideas, make a name for themselves and make a contribution.

I will go further by saying that the pope that I admire the most is Leo XIII, who wrote and advocated the Rerum Novarum over 120 years ago. The Rerum Novarum was also a turning point for the Catholic Church at the time. This work is so significant that, on its 100th anniversary in 1991, His Holiness John Paul II recognized it in his encyclical, Centesimus Annus. His Holiness John Paul II recognized and supported social and economic justice, values that I share as a politician and a human being.

I will continue to speak about this well-known social doctrine of the Catholic Church, which His Holiness John Paul II also lived by, and to cite its noble tenets.

First, there is human dignity, which the Catholic Church did not necessarily recognize before this encyclical and before the church's social doctrine movement, which took off in the early 20th century.

Second, there is the common good. We are all part of the greater human community. We therefore have to think about all of our brothers. This was one of Christ's teachings. We are all responsible for our brothers and sisters in our society.

Third, is the principle of subsidiarity, according to which we must recognize that every human being on this earth and in our society makes an inalienable contribution that cannot be disputed.

Finally, there is also solidarity.

The fact that His Holiness John Paul II was a strong supporter and defender of these great values is a source of pride for the hon. member.

However, the fact remains that, as elected officials, we must make difficult choices. That is what I am doing. Although it breaks my heart a little, I think I am doing the right thing and I am calling on my colleagues to do the same. We need to think long and hard before moving forward with this.

Pope John Paul II Day ActRoutine Proceedings

September 19th, 2011 / 3:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Conservative Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-266, An Act to establish Pope John Paul II Day.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today as the member for Mississauga East—Cooksville to introduce my first private member's bill in the 41st Parliament. The bill is an act to establish Pope John Paul II day.

Pope John Paul II was born in Poland on May 18, 1920 and died in Rome on April 2, 2005. He was elected as the 264th Pope and Bishop of Rome on October 16, 1978. He was a pope who was hailed as the people's pope. He visited Canada in 1984, 1987 and in 2002. He established World Youth Day in 1985. Despite his increasing age and frailty, Pope John Paul II continued to travel and visited 129 nations during 104 trips abroad.

Pope John Paul II humanized the papacy and managed to connect with thousands from different religions that gathered wherever he visited. He helped end communism in eastern Europe and made a great contribution to world peace and freedom.

At his end, millions, including many Canadians, went to Rome affirming the last time how greatly he had altered the nature of the papacy and the world's expectations of a pope.

His Holiness John Paul II was a people's pope and this bill recognizes this and his contribution to Canadians and all people in the world.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)