Mr. Speaker, tonight I would like to celebrate my son's 15th birthday. It is actually tomorrow morning, but I was in labour by this time. I wish Christian a happy birthday. I know he is watching and I look forward to spending the rest of the summer with him. He is also a great basketball player.
Today I am honoured to speak to this bill. My father-in-law Mario Vecchio would be proud of me. He is a resident of Cancun, Mexico. He is a resident of Latin America although he lives in both Brazil and Mexico.
Canada's population includes a large population of Latin Americans. Many cultural celebrations take place, including different festivals and dances. Whether at the Mexican festival in London, Ontario or at the Latin American Film Festival in Vancouver, B.C., there is always a lot to do when it comes to the Latin American culture, including lots of things to do with food and dance.
One of the greatest impacts to Canada is something we see every summer. I am sure many parents here and across Canada go to the soccer field throughout the summer. I usually spend four nights a week and a lot of time on weekends at the soccer field.
For years, we have been inspired by the love of soccer, not only through our European ancestors but also from our friends to the south. Children fill our soccer fields at night throughout the summer and on weekends pretending to be the greatest soccer players in the world, including Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi or Hugo Sanchez. Children run down the field, scoring goals, then raising their shirts after their goals, imitating some of the greatest athletes from Latin America.
This influence also was highlighted today with the announcement that Canada, Mexico, and the United States will be hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup. I congratulate all the groups that worked together to put this bid forward. It will be very exciting and great for Canada.
It is just about soccer though. In Canada, we have been impacted by Latin American music and arts.
Last spring, I had the opportunity to travel with the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development to both Argentina and Chile. Although we were there to study poverty reduction strategies, we had the opportunity to embrace the culture as well.
In Chile, we were entertained by traditional dancers. Like all other peoples, Chileans manifest their character through celebrations and rituals and revel through their folk dancing. The minister and I had the opportunity to watch some of the incredible performances while there.
Today we also see these types of dances being performed throughout Canada. We see a lot of people dancing, such as ballroom dancing, for which my husband and I took lessons. If anyone wants to see me dance later, I will do that. It is definitely not a highlight. The Trote is a traditional dance of the Highlands. The dancers trot and turn, whipping their hands and scarves in the air. The minister and I both had a chance to see it.
We also had a chance to see the Guaracha Campesina. This dance is a mixture of Columbian and Cuban dances and became popular in the 1940s. The dancers move in time to the music but they do not have any physical contact with other dancers, something we do not see very much anymore.
Then there is the Tamure, which is one of the most popular dances on the island. It has many free-flowing, fast leg, and pelvic movements. The Tamure is an allegory of fertility and it is thought to be related to traditional Tahitian dances.
Food is also a great part of the Latin American culture. Although people from Alberta will disagree with me on this, and I apologize to all of my Alberta colleagues, but a trip to Argentina is supposed to be all about the country's legendary steak.
I want to tell a story about my trip to Chile and Argentina. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not eat fish and seafood. While there, I only ate fish and not eat red meat. While I was on this trip, I enjoyed a lot of Chilean salmon and everything that was fish and seafood. I managed to get through it thanks to my husband, who kept telling me I could do it. I also enjoyed key lime salmon, especially with a couple of glasses of wine.
Chimichurri is Argentina's go-to condiment. It is a green salsa made of finely chopped parsley, oregano, onion, garlic, chilli pepper flakes, olive oil and a touch of acid such as vinegar or lemon.
Through the arts, we also learned of their leaders and celebrities, including Eva Perón.
Eva Perón used her position as the first lady of Argentina to fight for women's suffrage and improving the lives of the poor. She was born in Los Toldos, Argentina and moved to Buenos Aires in the 1930s, where she became a successful actress. In 1945, she married Juan Perón, who became president of Argentina the following year.
Eva Perón used her position as first lady to help people and became a legendary figure. Unfortunately she died in 1952. Since her death, though, Perón's life continues to fascinate people around the world. The story of a poor girl who became a prominent political power has been the subject of countless books, films, and plays. Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Weber wrote the hit musical Evita, which was based on Perón's life. Madonna played Perón in the 1996 film, with Antonio Banderas portraying Che Guevara.
While I was touring Argentina, I also had a chance to see her gravesite. It was fascinating, because it is very unlike what we see in Canada, where there are vast plots of land and many people are buried. There, it was a very small compact area. All of the gravesites were pushed together and all enclosed in a cement wall. All of the monuments were extraordinarily tall and beautiful. It was absolutely a wonderful piece to see. Knowing that one of the greatest women in Argentina was laid to rest in Buenos Aires, I knew that so much had been done in that country through the movements with which she was involved.
Now I will talk about Mexico. I am fortunate to have a father-in-law who lives in Mexico. Whenever we are down there, he has us take part in some of the culture. Whether it is the food or hospitality, Mexico is all about the tourism industry. In Mexico, family is the most important element in society and many of the families living outside of the cities are very large. They are very conscious of their immediate family members and extended families, even close cousins and friends. Their families are much larger than here. Everybody is auntie or an uncle and seem to be related.
It is not only about Mexican food; it is also about the Mexican drink. Anytime people are in Mexico, I am sure a bit of salt and lime will help them with the tequila that they are expected to have a swig of. It is made of agave cactus, which is well suited to the climate of central Mexico. Soda is also popular in Mexico, though I find it very pricey. I also learned that sometimes one just had to do what one's father-in-law says. Although he calls me is his bossy daughter-in-law, one day a year I allow him to tell me what to do. He makes me squeeze lime on squid and swallow it. It is absolutely horrendous. He tells me that I am supposed to chew it, but I do not believe that. I do not think anyone can chew squid. Learning to eat raw food and sometimes living things is crazy.
All of these things we have adopted, food, the dance, festivals, and sports, as part of our Canadian culture. We have taken part in many of the festivities. Latin American heritage month would be October, when we would celebrate Latin America and its heritage. Latin Americans are a huge part of our culture here. I believe I am the 26th Conservative to speak to this bill tonight, which is very important to the Conservative caucus as it was put forward by senator Tobias Enverga. I thank his family very much for sharing him with us during his time in Parliament. He had an incredible impact on everybody and a wonderful smile that made everyone feel welcomed.
In honour of all Latin Americans, let us dance, let us eat, let us celebrate the culture of the Latin American countries, and let us all vote in favour of this tremendous bill.