Mr. Speaker, today Canadians of Filipino heritage celebrate an important date in the history of their community. It was 115 years ago that the Filipino people, under the leadership of Emilio Aguinaldo, proclaimed independence from Spanish colonial rule.
Today, Canada is proud to be home to one of the largest Filipino communities in the world. Last year, Canada welcomed a record number of immigrants, visitors and students from the Philippines, with the number of immigrants increasing 146% since 2004. Canadians of Filipino heritage have made enormous contributions toward building our country. In 2012, our Prime Minister travelled to the Philippines and met with President Benigno Aquino, an historic moment in the relationship between our two countries.
Today and in the coming weeks, Filipinos across the country will celebrate independence day with family and friends, including on Parliament Hill and in my city of Mississauga.
On behalf of the Conservative caucus, I invite all Canadians to join in wishing all Filipino Canadians a happy Philippine independence day.