Mr. Speaker, June 2 marked 11 years since the election of myself and the rest of the class of '97. Reflecting on those years, I realize how fortunate I have been to represent the great people of southern Alberta and the tremendous opportunities I have had while performing those duties.
None of these opportunities can compare to have been able to associate with our men and women serving in the Canadian Forces. Two weeks ago, as chair of the Standing Committee on National Defence, I and ten of my colleagues had the opportunity to visit Afghanistan for the second time.
It was truly an inspiration to witness the courage and dedication of our men and women as they carry out the mission that has been assigned to them. I witnessed the focused determination of personnel, both civilian and military, as they continue to do what needs to be done in a country ravaged by war. The progress they have made in the 16 months since our last visit is remarkable.
Though it will take time to sort out the complex problems that still exist in Afghanistan, those proudly wearing the maple leaf on their shoulders and carrying it in their hearts continue to be leaders in rebuilding Afghanistan.