This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #67 of the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was health.

Topics

InfrastructureOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question.

We are continuing to work with the Province of Quebec to finalize agreements that will get projects off the ground.

In Quebec City yesterday, our colleague, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, announced an agreement with Quebec to invest over $2.75 billion in the province over the next two years. That money will create jobs now, tomorrow, and in the future.

Our government is taking action and getting real results, not just for Quebeckers, but for all Canadians.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

To commemorate the 65th anniversary of D-Day, I wish to draw to the attention of hon. members the presence in the gallery of Mr. Stanley Fields, a veteran who landed on Juno Beach on D-Day and served Canada until the end of World War II.

Members will be interested to know that prior to joining the armed forces, Mr. Fields served as a page in the House of Commons when Mackenzie King was prime minister.

Presence in GalleryOral Questions

3:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

3:05 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

It being 3:07 p.m., pursuant to order made on Tuesday, June 2 the House will now proceed to statements by ministers.

D-DayRoutine Proceedings

3:05 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, dear colleagues, Mr. Fields, on Saturday, June 6 Canadians from across our great country will gather to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Later today veterans and their families and grateful others will begin their pilgrimage to France to visit the graves of our fallen heroes and honour their sacrifice.

It is appropriate for the Canadian House of Commons to mark this historic occasion. In so doing, we again pledge ourselves and the country to honour the promise made in the act of remembrance. We will remember them.

Let us each in our own way learn of the great deeds and the sacrifices made by Canadians and Allied men and women, so-called average Canadians, performing extraordinary acts of courage and commitment.

There are few who would dispute that the events of June 6, 1944, were to be one of the most significant events of the 20th century. In marking its anniversary, we must not forget other military actions which equally cost Canadians and Allies dearly.

For personal reasons, I think particularly of the Italian campaign, which resulted in the liberation of Rome, 65 years ago tomorrow, June 4.

On June 5, the following message was transmitted on BBC radio.

The long sobs
Of the violins
Of autumn
Wound my heart
With a monotonous
Languor.

Those cryptic words borrowed from the French literary giant Verlaine signalled by Churchill to the French underground and the allied forces that the D-Day invasion was about to begin.

The 6th of June is one of those pivotal dates, landmark dates, etched in the minds and memories of veterans and those who served and their families. It is also etched in stone on hundreds of cenotaphs across our country and on bleached dignified tombstones throughout Europe, for most of Europe had languished under the iron fist and the racist rule of Hitler. D-Day and the campaign that followed in Normandy would at a long last signal the beginning of the end of the enemy who was making its last desperate stand in the European theatre of war.

Sixty-five years ago—perhaps Mr. Fields was here—the prime minister made a statement to the members of this House in which he said the following:

At half-past three o'clock this morning the government received official word that the invasion of western Europe had begun. Word was also received that Canadian troops were among the allied forces who landed this morning on the northern coast of France. Canada will be proud to learn that our troops are being supported by units of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force. The great landing in western Europe is the opening up of what we hope and believe will be the decisive phase of the war against Germany. The fighting is certain to be heavy, bitter and costly.

Indeed, the toll was costly. The headstones of Beny-Sur-Mer and other Canadian cemeteries, the monuments to those who died at sea, the Books of Remembrance housed here in the House of Commons, in the Memorial Chamber of this building, are stark testimony to the heroism and sacrifices of our armies, airmen and women and navy. A great history was written that day.

Humanity entered into a great debt when a previous generation embarked on the D-Day mission. That debt is our duty to never forget the deeds of those who gave their all on Juno Beach.

In the days that followed June 6, the fighting continued to be bitter and costly. Units across the country were involved. From my home province, the North Nova Scotia Highlanders worked with Quebec's storied Sherbrooke Fusiliers and suffered severe losses over two days combatting the elite 12th SS Panzer Division.

Far too many young Canadians died that day on Juno Beach. In the 10 bloody weeks that followed, soldiers from the First Canadian Army—with vital support from the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Navy—battled a powerful enemy and suffered and inflicted heavy losses. Nearly one-third of the soldiers involved in the fighting never saw their beloved Canada again. On August 3, when the Normandy campaign ended, the enemy had suffered a crushing defeat, mainly thanks to the efforts of Canada's land, sea and air forces.

Those who survived the war returned home, raised families, got on with their lives and built a new Canada. Without effort, what they did on Juno Beach might fade with the passage of time. New generations may not know what happened on June 6, 1944. It is our responsibility to tell their story, our story, our history, our legacy.

I compliment our veterans who have been so generous in sharing their individual histories. It is difficult for some, impossible for others, and that is understandable. Yet their story, our story, must be told, and it is through the marking of these anniversaries that the next generation learns of its heritage.

I praise our heritage minister for the attention that he is giving to this important task.

Our Prime Minister will be in France to mark this anniversary. The Minister of Veterans Affairs is leaving today for France and will lead a delegation of Canadian veterans returning to Normandy. He will travel with them to the places where they fought and to other locations as well. They will gather in war cemeteries and in front of Canadian cenotaphs. They will pay tribute to those who gave their young lives for our freedom. I know that all Canadians will think of them that day.

Two young ambassadors will accompany the veterans and listen as they tell their stories. When they return, they will be able to talk about what they saw and heard. They will share the veterans' stories with others and keep the torch of remembrance burning for future generations.

As we pause to commemorate those Canadians of the Normandy campaign, I also want to bring attention to another deserving group: the men and women of today's Canadian Forces. The first Sunday in June has been declared Canadian Forces Day.

I would like to take a moment to recognize the sacrifice and accomplishments made here at home and around the world by our current men and women in uniform. They carry on the proud tradition of answering the call of their country to serve, to stand for our values and to defend freedom and democracy and human rights whenever that call comes.

I consider it a distinct honour to rise in this place, to be with members of Parliament in this storied chamber to pay respect to veterans. As the Minister of Veterans Affairs said yesterday in the other place in an eloquent and stirring address to senators as well as a large assembly of veterans who were there:

--of all Canadians, no one owes our Veterans more than Parliamentarians do. It is only because [our veterans] have served our country that we as Members of Parliament and Senators can serve--freely, in a truly democratic country.... And, when our world leaders gather in France later this week, they will recognize that. It has been said that great countries are those that produce great people. And no nation has produced finer men and women than Canada. Our troops have always been the best in the world.

Going overseas has been a way of helping us understand the great debt that we owe our country's truest heroes. That is why it is so important that we do go back to the shores of Normandy, as a Canadian delegation will this week, to see how other nations still remember what it was like to have their countries occupied by a foreign army. They pass down the memories from generation to generation as powerful reminders so that the peace and freedom within their borders will never be taken for granted.

I would like to share a story with colleagues of the House. The Minister of Veterans Affairs and I were in Afghanistan just 10 days ago and we met with the Dutch commander of Regional Command South in Kandahar province, General de Kruif. Upon meeting him and hearing that we were Canadian, he insisted on telling us a story. He explained that whenever he returned to Holland, to his family, after serving in Afghanistan, he would meet people who would ask him, “Why are Dutch soldiers serving in Afghanistan today?” He said, “I would always respond the same way, with a question: Why was Canada in Holland during the second world war?”

All these years later, the Dutch, the French, the Belgians, many throughout Europe and around the world whose nations were once occupied, have not forgotten. They know instinctively that when the world calls, Canada answers, as we have today, because this is the Canadian way. It is the way it has always been and always will be.

This is the heritage, the national identity we have inherited from the D-Day and Battle of Normandy veterans for a way of life they stood up to protect, but their service came at a terrible price, a price paid with many young lives cut short and so many comrades buried on distant lands.

Finally, I would like to close by saying it is impossible for any of us to say thank you enough to those who fought on June 6. What we can do is remember, and we do.

D-DayRoutine Proceedings

3:20 p.m.

Etobicoke—Lakeshore Ontario

Liberal

Michael Ignatieff LiberalLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, 65 years ago, 14,000 Canadians waded through the murky Channel and into enemy gunfire at Juno Beach. Many were cut down before they reached the shore.

On this day, in this House, we celebrate our country’s hard-won victory during the Allied invasion of Normandy.

In June 1944, Juno Beach was one of the most heavily defended stretches of shoreline on the coast of Hitler's fortress Europe. The 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, reinforced by the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade, were given the task of capturing it, and they did so.

What happened 65 years ago on Juno Beach, and on the American and British beaches that flanked it, began the push toward Berlin that ended the most terrible war in human history.

Today we celebrate Canada's role in that victory. We celebrate our troops, whose valour earned a place in history. We remember the 359 Canadians who perished among the dunes and the surf, and the men whose bravery tipped the balance of war.

As we commemorate D-Day, we pay tribute to a great generation, one that is slowly leaving us with the passage of time. We make to them a simple promise: that their story will be our own and that their memory will never fade.

The sacrifice of war is a national endeavour. The remembrance of war must be no less.

Today we celebrate not only the Canadians who fought at Juno, but also the tradition of which they are part. Our servicemen and women have always stood ready to lay down their lives to defend our freedom—and the freedom of others: from Vimy Ridge to Juno Beach to Kandahar.

We honour those who served at Normandy—and on all the battlefields of our shared past.

Today in this House we feel the weight of a shared responsibility. We recall the parliamentarians who came before us, who provided civilian leadership in times of crisis, and who stood in this place to send Canadian troops into battle.

We recognize that for our soldiers in Afghanistan, that responsibility falls on our shoulders. While there may be differences in this House about the mission, our respect and our support for these soldiers transcends all our divisions, all party lines, and all sides of the House.

As we remember the invasion of Normandy, the fight for European liberation and the still ongoing struggle to protect our common humanity, our respect for our military tradition, incarnated by the word “Juno”, transcends all time, transcends all generations.

Today, 65 years after Juno Beach, we stand together here in this House as one, proudly, in admiration.

D-DayRoutine Proceedings

3:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to rise here today to speak on behalf of the Bloc Québécois, in commemoration of the Normandy landing.

The Normandy landing began in a rather special way, with a verse from Verlaine. The BBC broadcast a coded message indicating that Allied troops would be landing the next day. That message was as follows:

The long sobs
Of the violins
Of autumn
Wound my heart
With a monotonous
Languor.

That was the signal that the next day, 24 hours later, many soldiers and all their equipment would be landing in Normandy.

People say that it was probably the largest military landing in history. Some 156,000 men landed on the beaches of Normandy that day, including 15,000 Canadians with many Quebeckers among them. They brought with them 6,000 vehicles, 900 tanks and 600 guns. It was an incredible operation. Seven thousand boats, including 4,000 landing craft were also used, as well as 130 war ships. Twelve thousand planes were used to ensure air support and the success of the landing, and 5,000 tonnes of bombs were dropped.

We need to keep in mind that weapons at that time were not as precise as today, and so the plan was for a massive bombardment. That was the doctrine of the day, anyway. Before the landing, air strikes were used to break down resistance so that the Allies landing on those beaches would be less of a target for enemy fire.

I also need to point out that this invasion was a long time in the planning. In Casablanca in January 1943, Winston Churchill met with Roosevelt and Stalin to analyze the war, which was not going at all well at that point. Moreover, the Germans were engaged in the siege of Leningrad, and everyone agreed that it was very important to open up a second European front to divide the Germans. The Russians had adopted a very good tactic by letting the German forces penetrate far into their territory, but a second European front was necessary and that was what the Allies agreed to. A year after came the Normandy landing.

A person needs to try to put himself into the skins, the minds and the hearts of the men who were headed for the Normandy beaches. The Channel crossing was a very difficult one because the weather conditions were very bad. To put ourselves into that scenario, there we are in a landing craft headed for the beach, with bullets whistling all around us, shells landing in the water right beside us. When the landing craft hits the beach and the ramp door opens, afraid or not, seasick or not, terrified or not, we have to move out. Many of our comrades may already be lying on the beach dead or dying, and it is terrible.

A lot of things go through a soldier's head at such a time. They think of family and friends, they think of the importance of protecting democracy and freedom. They carry out their duty at the risk of their lives. These people must be saluted. We must remember the sacrifices they made, some of them the ultimate sacrifice.

As I said earlier, the night before the landing, there were air strikes on German positions. The Germans were therefore considerably weakened, but they were still there waiting for the Allies when they landed.

We cannot forget the navy. There were 109 ships ensuring that the German navy did not make it out of the harbour. The Allies could not afford to have the German ships intervene and derail the battle. The work was done. We also cannot forget the minesweepers. Since the Germans had scattered mines all along the coast, the Allies had to make sure they were not caught by these mines.

The battle is more or less the same today. I agree with those who spoke before me: the Bloc Québécois naturally has reservations about some current missions, like the one in Kandahar, but we have never questioned the dedication, bravery and courage of the soldiers. That must be said loud and clear. I am happy that there are many witnesses here today, and I hope that there are many people watching us. We have never questioned the work of the soldiers, even though we have some reservations about the mission.

Once again, these soldiers courageously defend our democracy and our freedom.

I would like to thank a number of divisions and brigades that distinguished themselves at the time of the landing: the 3rd Infantry Division, the 2nd Armoured Brigade, the 1st Parachute Battalion, and the 48th Commando.

For those who lost their lives, there are words we say here each Remembrance day, and they are appropriate today: at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.

D-DayRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured today to join with the Minister of National Defence, the Leader of the Opposition, and my colleague from the Bloc Québécois, to recognize and honour those brave Canadians who played such a significant role in the Allied invasion of occupied France 65 years ago this week, in June of 1944.

D-Day was the beginning of the liberation of France after four years of bitter occupation, after the fall of France in June of 1940, and the beginning of the end of the most horrific war in the history of the world.

The successful invasion of Juno Beach was part of a massive invasion of Normandy. Fourteen thousand Canadian soldiers landed on the beach, 450 landed by parachute or glider, 10,000 members of the Royal Canadian Navy were involved in the landing, and we had the support of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

It was, as the minister said, a magnificent but horrific invasion. It was successful, but many lives were lost. Fifty-four hundred Canadians are buried in Normandy. Over 1,000 Canadians lost their lives in the first six days alone of the D-Day invasion.

Let me digress a moment to talk as a Newfoundlander and Labradorian. We were not part of Canada during the second world war. We did not send our own Newfoundland regiment overseas as we had done in World War I, but Newfoundlanders participated. Over 20,000 Newfoundlanders served in World War II, 3,000 of them with the Canadian Armed Forces, including 500 women. Over 8,000 Newfoundlanders served in British regiments. Another number served in the Royal Navy. However, in the British land forces, there were in fact three Newfoundland regiments, one of which served in Normandy, the 59th (Newfoundland) Heavy Regiment, and the Newfoundland 125th Royal Air Force Squadron.

So, there was fact significant participation by Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. In fact, we have to acknowledge that Newfoundland was a front in the second world war, and I will get to that a little later.

As parliamentarians, we are often asked to talk to young people, and we do talk to them, about the significance of events that occurred before they were born. This is an event that occurred before most of the members of this Parliament were born, so it is hard to find the right words to underscore the importance of what happened 65 years ago.

It is no exaggeration to say that if these brave Canadians did not do what they did then, we would not be here today, enjoying the fruits of their sacrifice in a democratic Parliament.

Let us not forget that the enemy was at the door. In 1943, over 200 people, mostly civilians, were killed by enemy action in Newfoundland and Labrador. Four iron ore carriers were sunk by a German submarine attack while docked at Bell Island, in Conception Bay, and the passenger and railcar ferry, the Caribou, was torpedoed and sank on a normal run to Port aux Basques from North Sydney.

So, we must all give thanks to those who served and honour those who lost their lives in the defence of our country and our beliefs, and who died and fought to put an end to tyranny that had a plan to take over and dominate the world and impose an ugly dictatorship.

It was a war that may not have been won, but the commitment, the determination and the sacrifice of the men and women of Canada and our allies eventually prevailed.

We must always remember the sacrifice and the debt we owe to them, and to all our soldiers who fight for our country and our ideals, including those who are serving today in Afghanistan.

D-DayRoutine Proceedings

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I invite the House to rise and observe a moment of silence to commemorate the 65th anniversary of D-Day.

[A moment of silence observed]

Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

3:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. It being 3.38 p.m., pursuant to order made on Tuesday, June 2, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the previous question at the third reading stage of Bill C-24.

Call in the members.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #73

Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I declare the motion carried.

The next question is on the main motion.

Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, if you seek it I believe you would find agreement to apply the vote from the previous motion to this motion.

Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this way?

Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #74

Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement Implementation ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I declare the motion carried.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

The House resumed from June 2 consideration of Bill C-15, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts, as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of Motion No. 1.

Controlled Drugs and Substances ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Pursuant to order made on Tuesday, June 2, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at report stage of Bill C-15. The question is on Motion No. 1.

Controlled Drugs and Substances ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe if you seek it you would find unanimous support to apply the vote from the previous motion to this motion, with the votes being reversed.

Controlled Drugs and Substances ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Is there unanimous consent to proceed in this way?

Controlled Drugs and Substances ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

(The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)

Vote #75

Controlled Drugs and Substances ActGovernment Orders

3:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I declare Motion No. 1 defeated.