Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate half a century of diplomatic relations between Canada and Hungary. It was exactly 50 years ago, on June 11, 1964, that Canada and Hungary established diplomatic relations. Still under Soviet domination at the time, Hungary was unable to act entirely freely, but establishing diplomatic relations with countries like Canada eventually helped it to achieve independence and democracy.
The freedom fight of 1956 was a bold attempt by Hungarians to establish solidarity away from the long arm of Soviet and communist rule. Many Hungarians fled their homes afterward, and 38,000 were welcomed to Canada with warmth and compassion, where they have made a significant contribution to our national wealth.
Since 1989, the year of regime change in eastern Europe, Canada and Hungary have become close allies.
Canadian–Hungarian relations demonstrate that democracy, freedom, the rule of law and citizen-driven governance are the only solid foundations for prosperous societies in the 21st century, and indicate a strong commitment to further deepening diplomatic and commercial ties.