Mr. Speaker, on June 6, 1944, now known to history as D-Day, Operation Overlord, the long awaited invasion of Northwest Europe, began with the Allied landing on the coast of Normandy.
Canadian soldiers were responsible for Juno beach in the centre of the British front. The task was huge. The Germans had turned the coastline into a continuous fortress with guns, pillboxes, wires, mines, and beach obstacles. The outcome of the war would largely depend on the results of this assault.
More than 14,000 Canadians landed in Normandy on D-Day. Inevitably, the cost of human life was considerable. The Canadian assault force suffered 1,074 casualties, of which 359 were fatal.
Today, as we recognize the 59th anniversary of D-Day, hundreds of Canadian veterans and family members are returning to the northern shores of France for the official opening of the Juno Beach Centre.
This interpretive centre has been designed to commemorate the more than one million men and women who enlisted in the Canadian armed--