Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I witnessed a wonderful moment in Canadian history, as the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney was awarded the Order of King Yaroslav the Wise, the highest honour the Ukrainian government can bestow. At the same time, he also accepted the Shevchenko Medal, the most prestigious honour awarded by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress. Former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker was the first recipient of this honour in 1961.
As the Prime Minister said at the event, “[Fifteen years ago] under Mr. Mulroney's leadership Canada was the first country in the west to recognize Ukrainian independence”. For that fledgling nation, for the 1.2 million Canadians of Ukrainian origin and for all freedom-loving people, it was a great moment.
Our country has been shaped by waves of immigration that have enhanced its vitality and reputation. More than ever, Canada must continue to welcome immigrants in order to remain prosperous and defend freedom here and elsewhere in the world.
Mr. Mulroney, ardent defender of freedom, we congratulate you on this important honour and thank you for making us so proud to be Canadian.