Mr. Speaker, today I invite Canadians to celebrate Commonwealth Day. This year marks the 52nd year of the creation of the Commonwealth, an association built upon common traditions, a shared language and, most important, a shared commitment to fundamental principles of human rights and democracy.
The theme for this year's celebration is “A New Generation”. The theme was chosen to cast the spotlight on the youth of the Commonwealth and on the challenges and unprecedented opportunities that our rapidly changing world offers them.
The combined population of the Commonwealth is about 1.7 billion, half of whom are under the age of 30. Our challenge will be to ensure that these young people benefit not only from this period of tremendous growth and change but also from strengthened links across the Commonwealth and strengthened democratic institutions at home.
Let us celebrate Commonwealth Day as a symbol of this diverse yet close knit community of which Canada is a strong and committed member.