Mr. Speaker, on February 21 I had the honour of attending the Eastern Townships' Gala du Mérite organized by the Sherbrooke newspaper, La Tribune. Among the honourees were a professor from Bishop's University, a young farmer from Bury, an athlete from Coaticook and several other deserving individuals and volunteers.
In rural settings, volunteerism is crucial to the survival of leisure activities, culture and sometimes even the communities themselves. This was clearly demonstrated the day after the gala, when I visited a small village of 768 residents, Saint-Isidore-de-Clifton. I received a very warm welcome and had the pleasure of speaking with elected officials, elementary students, business people, ordinary residents and volunteers. I was quite moved by the vitality of such a small village.
Furthermore, it is not the only municipality in my region that depends on its volunteers. The town of East Angus was created on March 14, 1912, and, thus, will be celebrating its centennial next week. The celebration will last for the rest of 2012. These festivities would not be possible without the hard work of dedicated volunteers. I would like to congratulate them on their courage, their tenacity and their pride, and I wish East Angus another 100 years of prosperity and community spirit.
Long live the volunteers in my riding.