Mr. Speaker, it appears that the first Mothers' Day celebrations go back to the days of ancient Greece and were in honour of Rhea, mother of the gods. As for the Romans, they celebrated the matraliae day, from the Latin mater , which means “mother”.
However, it was in the 17th century that the English instituted a day to honour mothers, one Sunday during the year, and it was under Napoleon that such a day was instituted in France. In America, Mothers' Day first made its appearance toward the end of the 19th century, when that day was a day to mark peace.
In the same spirit, it was during World War I that this day truly became part of our traditions. Back then, it was a day whose objectives were somewhat vague. It was a day when, with peace in mind, we would pay tribute to the distraught mothers who were separated from a son away at war, or worse, mothers who had lost a son. It was also a celebration of maternal fertility, which really was a poorly disguised attempt to encourage them to contribute to the war effort and then to repopulation.
I am taking this opportunity to salute and thank my mother, to whom I owe everything, including life and a determination to excel, and I also wish a very happy Mothers' Day to all mothers.