Mr. Speaker, on August 27, 1952, the federal government authorized the expropriation of the 720 square kilometre area in southwestern New Brunswick, now occupied by CFB Gagetown. Three thousand residents, including 720 families in 20 rural communities, were forced to leave their homes.
On December 3, 1952, Colonel A.J. Brooks, member of Parliament for the riding of Royal, rose in the House and stated:
--it came as a great shock to the people in [Western Queen's county] to read in the newspaper that their homes [farms, communities, churches, schools, friends, societies and cemeteries] were to be taken from them and that this was to be a military area.They are splendid people; they are people whose ancestors lived in that section of the country for four and five generations.
Some of those ancestors were my Irish ancestors in that regard. Fifty years later, former residents and descendants will gather to reflect on their heritage and celebrate their once proud communities.
I invite all members of Parliament to join the thousands of former residents and their descendants from all across North America for the 50th anniversary of this tragic event.