Mr. Speaker, I want to talk to you about international development week but before, I wish to offer my condolences to the family and friends of Father Guy Pinard, who was assassinated yesterday while celebrating mass in Rwanda.
A native of Shawinigan, Father Pinard spent several years of his life helping the poorest of the poor in Rwanda. I had the opportunity today to speak with the Rwandan minister, Dr. Charles Muringande, who indicated his government's intention of ensuring better safety in the area of the country where this crime was committed and to make sure that such reprehensible acts can be avoided in the future.
Be that as it may, Father Pinard's death is a great tragedy. With him we have lost a courageous man. He will be greatly missed in Rwanda as well as here in Canada.
I will now talk to you about international development week. In the next few days, Canadian men and women will have the opportunity to learn a little more about the outstanding efforts made by our fellow countrymen and countrywomen and their partners in developing countries.
Every first week of February, we have an opportunity to thank the international development workers for the future they are preparing for our children and all the children of the world. Until February 8, throughout the country, community and educational activities will highlight the challenges facing developing countries and the opportunities development represents for Canada.
This year's theme, "The World Ahead", is about our shared future. It is about a world where better health, education and economic opportunities in developing countries mean increased peace and increased prosperity for all, for the world. It is about seeing today's development partners not only as tomorrow's trading partners, but also as today's neighbours in the global village. It is about the hundreds of thousands of men, women and children worldwide who are creating that shared future right now.
An increasing number of Canadians, particularly young men and women, are getting involved in international development. During
recent visits, I met with people and discussed with them the work they do in developing countries.
By setting up medical clinics, building water supply systems, cleaning up the environment or enacting human rights legislation, they create links that bring nations of the world closer to one another. Their action has an immediate impact but also contributes to ensure a better future.
Every day Canadians are making a contribution to development: innovating, adapting and learning from their partners. Throughout international development week we will see and hear about the exciting work that they are doing. It is work worth recognizing and worth celebrating. I invite all hon. members of the House to join me this week to reflect on the challenges of international development and to salute the Canadians who are helping to build the world ahead. As I said previously, that is the theme of this year's development week.
During international development week, I invite my colleagues in the House and all Canadians to "Think of the World".