Mr. Speaker, it is with great honour and humility that I rise on behalf of the New Democratic Party to mark Remembrance Day.
Over 80 years ago from this coming Remembrance Day, the terrible guns of the first world war fell silent on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Unfortunately, that was the end to only one horrible chapter in a century that has been the most violent period in human history.
In this century in Canada alone, something like 1.5 million young Canadians have volunteered to serve in our military and merchant navy. More than 116,000 gave their lives in World War I, World War II, Korea and in other conflicts.
Speaking personally, I note with pride that both my father and my grandfather were among those volunteers, in the Royal Canadian Navy and the 1st Canadian Mounted Rifles respectively. They were fortunate to be able to return to their families. Others were not so fortunate.
Today, with great respect and sadness, we recognize the ultimate sacrifice offered by those who were killed and the terrible pain of loss and separation suffered by their loved ones and friends who saw them no more.
Remembrance Day is marked to ensure we never forget those who gave their lives for all of us, those who survived but were willing to give their lives, and those who though they returned had already given the best years of their lives.
We remember those who were taken as prisoners of war and who suffered terribly. As someone from Winnipeg, I am particularly mindful of those from the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Winnipeg who were captured at Dieppe or those of the Winnipeg Grenadiers who were captured during the fall of Hong Kong. Every Canadian city has similar stories to tell, and sadly so.
Furthermore, let all of us in the House hope that soon we will achieve complete justice for our merchant navy veterans. Let all of us in the House find ways to finally recognize those Canadians who fought fascism in Spain. Let all of us in the House, as Aboriginal Veterans Day approaches, remember the 7,000 aboriginal Canadians who served in two world wars and Korea.
Let all of us in the House give thanks on this day for the continuing service of so many veterans through their participation in the very important work and activities of the Royal Canadian Legion and other veteran's organizations. We urge all Canadians to observe the two minute wave of silence being promoted by the Legion on November 11.
Let all of us in the House also remember on this day those many Canadians who have served as peacekeepers and peacemakers in far off corners of the world. They also put their lives on the line for peace and we hope they are the only kind of veterans we will ever have in the future.
Finally, as a parent, I believe Remembrance Day must always be addressed to our youth and our future. It is now their lives we need to protect through remembering war.
If anything, let Remembrance Day give all of us more strength and vigour in working for peaceful and democratic solutions wherever humanly possible so that after a century, where not just military but civilian casualties have put the human race to shame, we can enter the new century with new hope for a peaceful future.