Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the tragic event on Saturday, which saw the president of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, and 95 other passengers die in a plane crash near Smolensk, Russia. The group had been on its way to a memorial service in remembrance of the massacre of Polish military officers by Soviet secret police 70 years ago in the Katyn forest.
Over the last century, the Polish people have suffered from a long list of tragedies, including the Nazi invasion in 1939, the deportation and murder of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto, the Katyn massacre, and the loss of independence under the Soviet Union. Adding to that list was Saturday's dreadful plane crash, which not only claimed the life of the president, but also the lives of many family members of the victims of the Katyn massacre as well as a cross-section of Poland's political, military, business and religious leadership.
It is my hope and belief that with this most recent tragedy, the strength and character of the Polish people will sustain them through the difficult days and weeks ahead as it has so many times in the past.
On behalf of my constituents, my party and all Canadians, I offer my deepest condolences to the people of Poland and the worldwide Polonia.