Mr. Speaker, this year, Winnipeg's Festival du Voyageur celebrated its 50th anniversary. We came together to commemorate the heroes of the fur trade. Some voices, though, have not been heard, and once again, I stand to bring attention to Canada's first female voyageur: Marie-Anne Gaboury. This remarkable woman broke generations of convention and made her own place in the world. Refusing to stay in Montreal, she joined the fur trade and spent five years travelling across the prairies, then made Winnipeg her home.
Fearlessly trekking through thousands of kilometres of forest and prairie, she hunted bison, traded and heroically saved another voyageur from an attacking grizzly bear. She was remarkably intelligent, learning four languages at a time when few people were literate at all.
She did everything her male colleagues did and more, yet history remembers her only as the grandmother of a famous man. Today I challenge all members to honour her memory and celebrate all the voyageurs who helped build our nation.