Mr. Speaker, on the occasion of his retirement I want to honour General Rick Hillier for his tireless work in rebuilding our armed forces, his fearless dedication to the men and women in uniform, the pride he has helped instill in all Canadians, and his eternal optimism as a Leafs fan.
General Hillier is a soldier's soldier first and foremost. I know that the men and the women of the forces will miss him. He spoke out for the needs of every soldier on the line and worked tirelessly with our government to ensure those soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen were equipped with the tools they so badly needed after, as he so accurately put it, “a decade of darkness”.
Today, the level of respect and pride our citizens have for the Canadian Forces and the recognition for excellence around the world are in no small part due to General Hillier's revitalization of our military and the dignity of those who choose to serve.
That the overpasses along Highway 401 in Ontario are filled with ordinary people standing there just to pay their respects to our fallen soldiers is an incredible testament to the place of honour our military has today.
General Hillier, for your dedication and leadership, your country and this airman thank you.