Mr. Speaker, hundreds of thousands of Canadians came to Canada from Hong Kong, and 70 years ago this month many of them lived through the Battle of Hong Kong, my father being one of them. It was in that battle that the Royal Rifles of Canada and the Winnipeg Grenadiers defended the Crown Colony from an attack by the Japanese in the first combat engagement of Canadian troops in the Second World War.
Seventeen days of battle ended on Christmas Day, 1941. There were 290 Canadians killed, and 493 were wounded. There were 1,600 Canadians captured; in the three and a half years that followed, they lived in appalling conditions in prisoner of war camps. Hundreds died in that captivity.
Years later my father moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, home of the Winnipeg Grenadiers. Years later I met one of those Hong Kong veterans, Mr. George MacDonnell, who was taken prisoner of war in that battle. He survived and worked as vice-president at General Electric after the war and later as a deputy minister in the Government of Ontario. He currently lives in Toronto.
That truly was the greatest generation. Mr. MacDonnell and his comrades sacrificed so that my family and I could live. My family and I will never ever forget.