Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister for his speech this morning.
As a rule I am a more than cheerful type of individual, but as I approach November 11 this year, I approach it with a great deal of sadness, sadness because of events that have happened during the past year, sadness that affects people from coast to coast, and of course, I am sad because of the lack of compassion that has been shown in recent weeks.
I found a clear definition for compassion in the dictionary: “pity inclining one to help or be merciful”. I know full well that this government has ignored some 23,000 widows. In turn, that ignores their families. In turn, that ignores their children. I know that all the members opposite have received letters on this, although maybe not as many as I have.
I am going to be saddened when I stand before a crowd in Kipling, Saskatchewan, because I know some widows there who are living in a pitiful condition because this government has not enough compassion to honour these people, these wives who cared for those brave men when they came home. Now, when they are alone, we cannot recognize them.
Another sadness comes over me when I think about the national institutes that refused the Royal Canadian Legion the right to put poppies in their establishments in this past week. That is a disgrace in Canada. I hope that this government reprimands those businesses and reprimands them well. I hope it does not allow this insult to stand in regard to those people who have died and those who are still living. They ordered them to take out the poppies; people could not even leave the baskets there and have money dropped in. That is a disgrace.
I am very pleased that the government has seen fit to lower all flags on all federal government buildings to half-mast on November 11. After that happened, I wrote to every province in Canada suggesting that they should do the same thing for their provincial buildings. Guess what? I received responses from about half of them. I am not very proud of that at all.
As we approach November 11, there are some things I can say that I am happy about. I am happy that the schools across this country are showing more attention to this day than they have in the past. We have outlived the days of television showing that Billy Bishop was not a good pilot and that the Royal Canadian Air Force dropped their bombs in the ocean and ran home. We watched that on Canadian television. We watched it bring our veterans down to the lowest point. I hope we are above that.
I am particularly glad to see that this week has been named Korean War Week by the minister. I am happy about that, because it took the government and this country years to call it a war. They simply called it a police action.
There is another point that saddens me on every morning that I drive in here. Fifty years ago, Canada was promised a war museum. The soldiers were promised a war museum. The military was promised a war museum; we had one million people in uniform and they were promised a war museum. Fifty years have passed after about five different promises. What saddens me today is this: we are the last of all the allied countries to build a national war museum. That is a disgrace.
In closing, I would like to encourage each member, each of the schools listening in and each of the branches of the Royal Canadian Legion to take in the show entitled Two Minutes of Silence--A Pittance of Time . It is a beautiful production and I encourage everyone to see at it.