Mr. Speaker, on Friday, March 12 the Polish foreign minister will deliver the ratification of Poland's accession to NATO to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Washington. This event marks one of the first steps in a truly historic process.
Our government was the first among allied nations to recognize the importance of the Polish people's desire to gain NATO membership. The government has heard the call of the Polish-Canadian community and has fully endorsed the principles behind NATO enlargement.
This demonstration of support can only increase stability in the region and strengthen the emerging democracies.
Poland's accession into NATO symbolizes the progress it has made in past years in transforming its society.
This accession also proves that Poland has now reclaimed its rightful place in the western world.
I would also take this opportunity to salute Dr. Andrzej Garlicki, the former president of the Canadian-Polish Congress, Mr. Lucien Konrad, the current president, as well as countless others who, for over half a century, have worked to attain a goal that will come to fruition within a matter of days.