Mr. Speaker, 90 years ago on April 9, 1917, during World War I at Vimy Ridge, 100,000 Canadian soldiers fought shoulder to shoulder for the first time in international battle under the Canadian flag and under a Canadian commander.
Canadians representing all of Canada's regions fought together and prevailed together. On that day, Canada truly became a nation; indeed, earning a signature on the Treaty of Versailles.
That Canadian victory was historic, given that over the previous three years 200,000 allied soldiers died in failed attempts to take the strategic Vimy Ridge.
By their extraordinary planning and execution, the Canadian corps took the Ridge but, sadly, nearly 4,000 Canadian soldiers lost their lives and thousands more were wounded. This battle is now seen as a turning point in the first world war.
Today's military men and women serve us with tremendous honour and distinction. We are proud of them as we are of all our veterans of both war and peacetime.
As of 2003, April 9 became an official military heritage date in Canada after the enactment of my former Bill C-227. This coming Easter Monday, April 9--