Mr. Speaker, on May 13, 1953 the first officially recognized Portuguese immigrants arrived in Halifax on pier 21. This means that 2003 marks the 50th anniversary of official immigration from Portugal to Canada. I rise today to offer congratulations to the approximately 360,000 Canadians of Portuguese origin on Portugal's national day and to commemorate this historic occasion.
Portuguese Canadians have sewn a beautiful thread through the multicultural tapestry of Canadian society. Whether it is listening to the music of famous Portuguese Canadian Nelly Furtado or witnessing the achievements of the Portuguese Canadian Coalition for Better Education, it is clear the Portuguese Canadian community is thriving. On this historic day, I am honoured and pleased to congratulate the Portuguese community for 50 years of flourishing in Canada.
Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to represent my party and our leader at the luncheon you held today for the Prime Minister of Portugal. I say to other colleagues further down to my left that they should look at his political record and his willingness to lead a centre right coalition to form the government of Portugal.