Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, titled “Striking a Blow for Democracy: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution”.
As a refugee from that era, when I read the November 26, 1956 issue of Hansard it really brought back memories of the country I left.
The response of Canada was incredibly exemplary. On a per capita basis, Canada took in the highest proportion of the 200,000 Hungarian refugees who fled after the revolution. Canada took in 37,000 people.
Beyond this, the treatment of the Hungarian refugees also signalled that paradigm shift in the policy of the government in dealing with refugees. We saw examples of that in the African, eastern European, Indochina refugee movements. Clearly, we very much are at the forefront in dealing with refugees.
The minister of immigration of the day, Jack Pickersgill, is held with great love by all Hungarians for the efforts he put forth in securing their passage here.
Beyond the revolution itself, it really started to represent the first crack in the iron curtain, seeing the freedoms in the revolutions in eastern Europe, and the coming down of the Berlin wall. It is something that really strikes at the very basic desires of all people, that is, democracy and freedom.
This will be a year of commemoration and celebration and of giving thanks to Canada by Hungarians and their children for the hospitality Canadians have shown us.
Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions with all parties and I think if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for concurrence in the report.
Therefore, I move that the third report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration be concurred in.