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View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
NDP (QC)
View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
2019-06-04 14:16 [p.28495]
Mr. Speaker, the riding of Hochelaga is full of talent.
Since we often pay tribute to men, today I want to honour Hochelaga women, like Victoire Du Sault, who became the first female shoemaker in Quebec around 1890. She launched the shoemaking business on which the Dufresne family of Hochelaga built its fortune. Then there is Mary Travers, a very popular singer from the 1930s who performed under the name La Bolduc. She raised a family on Létourneux Street and was the first woman in Quebec to make a living as a singer. There is also Diane Dufresne, a big international rock star, and Louise Harel, an MNA, minister and party leader who is active in provincial and municipal government.
I could also name plenty of less-known women who founded, supported and exported our many community organizations, such as Jeannelle Bouffard, Jacynthe Ouellette, Manon Bonin, Anne St-Pierre, Monique Blanchet, Johanne Cooper, Nicole Forget Bashonga, Manon Bouchard, Edith Cyr, Jeanne Doré, Jacinthe Larouche, Sylvie Boivin, Barbara Jomphe and Fabienne Larouche. There are many other incredible women in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, but I do not have time to list them all in one minute.
View MaryAnn Mihychuk Profile
Lib. (MB)
View MaryAnn Mihychuk Profile
2019-06-03 15:42 [p.28422]
Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions related to indigenous artifacts.
The petitioners ask that we try to retain these artifacts in Winnipeg. Residents from Kildonan—St. Paul and other Canadians call on us to find a home for these artifacts in Winnipeg.
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
2019-05-16 15:06 [p.27954]
Mr. Speaker, yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike. A hundred years ago, more than 30,000 workers started the largest strike in Canadian history. It was a passionate fight, born on the streets of Winnipeg, for workers' rights and better working conditions.
“Bread and roses, bread and roses”. Today we remember the progress we have made thanks to the labour movement. Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour remind the people's House of our commitment to organized labour?
View Rodger Cuzner Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Rodger Cuzner Profile
2019-05-16 15:06 [p.27954]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Winnipeg Centre for his obvious passion for working on behalf of Canadian workers. With the 100th anniversary of the 1919 Winnipeg Strike, I want to thank those pioneers for what they did.
Unions matter. Unions represent people, people who work hard, support their families and contribute to their communities and to the national economy. Unions fight for the middle class and have been a driving force behind historic progress made for workers.
Our Prime Minister and our government stand with workers today and every day.
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2019-05-15 14:17 [p.27828]
Mr. Speaker, it was a general strike. On May 15, 1919, the call was made for all workers to put down their tools at 11 a.m. The first to strike were the female telephone workers, who failed to show up for their 7 a.m. shift.
Today is the 100th anniversary of the 1919 Winnipeg strike. I want to acknowledge the importance of the labour movement in Canada. Unions matter. Unions represent people, people who work hard, support their families and contribute to their communities and our economy.
Today I thank those pioneers. The labour movement has been essential to promoting fairness and inclusion in our economy. Unions fight for the middle class and have been the driving force behind the exceptional progress made on behalf of women, LGBTQ workers, indigenous workers and workers with disabilities.
When we were elected, we committed to being a real partner with labour. We stand by that commitment, and we will keep working on behalf of the workers and Canada's middle class.
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Robert-Falcon Ouellette Profile
2019-05-06 15:12 [p.27404]
Mr. Speaker, I would like to table a petition on behalf of a citizen, Randolph Shrofel, who talks about how the Canadian coat of arms is found on all documents and buildings and should represent all the founding peoples of Canada.
He is calling on the Government of Canada to change the coat of arms of Canada to reflect the contributions of indigenous peoples.
View MaryAnn Mihychuk Profile
Lib. (MB)
View MaryAnn Mihychuk Profile
2019-04-10 15:41 [p.26939]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition from citizens of Kildonan—St. Paul and of Canada, who point out that artifacts are maintained presently by Parks Canada and regional facilities, including in Winnipeg, and that the removal of these will cause great hardship for researchers and people interested in history and cultural artifacts. They ask the government to commit to maintaining regional facilities for artifact storage and curation in Manitoba.
View Michael Chong Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, the story of the Dutch in Canada begins well before Confederation. In fact, it starts in 1614, south of the border in what is New York State. In 1614, Dutch settlers established trading posts at New Amsterdam, which is present-day New York City, and at Fort Orange, which is present-day Albany, New York. They named their new colony New Netherland.
Today, scores of places in present-day New York trace their roots back to Dutch names, places like the Bronx, Brooklyn, Broadway, Harlem, Wall Street, Long Island, Staten Island, Rensselaer, Stuyvesant and many more.
The flag of New York City is a Dutch flag, the Prince's flag, introduced in the 17th century. During the 17th century, thousands of Dutch immigrants moved to the new colony. They settled in present-day New York City, up the Hudson River valley into upstate New York, in present-day New Jersey and in present-day Connecticut.
These Dutch immigrants brought with them ideas that have endured to this very day. They were ideas that laid the foundation for Canadian and American societies, ideas such as diversity, tolerance and religious freedom.
New Netherland, like the Netherlands of the 17th century, was a haven for religious diversity. For example, in 1655 the rule of religious freedom was upheld and full residency was granted to Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews in New Amsterdam. As a result of the Flushing Remonstrance in 1657, full religious freedom was granted to the Quakers. In the 1640s, two religious leaders, both women, took refuge in New Netherland: Anne Hutchinson and the Anabaptist Lady Deborah Moody. A direct line can be traced from that religious freedom in the Dutch colony of New Netherland to the freedom of religion enshrined in the Canadian and American constitutions.
When the Treaty of Westminster transferred the colony from the Dutch to the British Crown in 1674, thousands of Dutch remained as loyal subjects of their new sovereign. New Netherland was renamed the Province of New York and New Amsterdam was renamed New York City.
A century later came the American Revolution. Some of the Dutch sided with the rebels, while others remained loyal to the British. By this time, many of the Dutch had been anglicized, after having been in the new world for some two and a half centuries. After the American Revolution, those loyal to the British fled the 13 colonies and headed north to the Maritimes and to present-day Ontario. They were people like Joseph Ryerson, the father of Egerton Ryerson, the founder of Ontario's public education system.
Subsequent to that first wave of Dutch people fleeing the revolution came many more waves, some from the Netherlands directly and others via the United States, and they have made big contributions to this country. They included people like the painter Cornelius Krieghoff, composer Allard de Ridder, photographer Jason van Bruggen, film director Patricia Rozema, actress Sonja Smits and author Aritha van Herk. Many Dutch Canadians have contributed to government, such as the first Surveyor General of British North America, Samuel Holland. They have contributed to business, as exemplified by Sir William Cornelius Van Horne, the builder of Canada's transcontinental railway. They have contributed to our national pastime, hockey, with players like Joe Nieuwendyk, Trevor Linden and Steve Yzerman.
Today over a million Canadians identify themselves of Dutch origin, and today that story has come full circle: I am one of those million Canadians of Dutch origin.
I am here today because my Dutch mother and her family were liberated by Canadian soldiers 74 years ago this May 5. Some 7,600 Canadians died in the liberation of the Netherlands. They died in the canals, the fields, the little villages and cities of that country. They never came home. Thousands of Canadian war graves dot the Dutch countryside. They died so that my mother and her family could live, and we will never forget.
The motion in front of us today says:
That, in the opinion of the House, in recognition of the sacrifices made by Canadians in the liberation of the Netherlands, as well as the contributions made to Canada by those of Dutch heritage, the government should recognize every May 5 as Dutch Heritage Day to honour this unique bond.
This motion captures the Dutch story on the North American continent and the unique bond that ties the Canadian and Dutch people together. This motion recognizes four centuries of history on this continent and the continued ties that bind our two peoples.
The Dutch continue to this day to have tight ties with this country, both across the Atlantic and north and south of the border. I was in Washington several weeks ago and I met with representative Bill Huizenga from western Michigan. He, too, is of Dutch origin, and his wife is a Canadian also of Dutch origin from Brampton, Ontario. They spend every other Christmas with her family in Peel Region. There are thousands of stories like that throughout the country. The Dutch have worked hard to settle the country over many years and have contributed greatly in all facets of our national life.
This country is made up of a diversity of different groups, people from all origins, all religions, all races and all walks of life. That legacy that we have been granted in this country of religious freedom, tolerance and diversity is one of the greatest contributions the Dutch have made to our society and that south of the border.
In the 17th century, it was the Dutch who were a haven for persecuted religious minorities and remained so for many centuries thereafter, whether it was Quakers fleeing the United Kingdom; whether it was Huguenots fleeing the south of France; whether it was independently-minded philosophers, like René Descartes or other thinkers who were at odds with the church doctrine at the time. Those ideas were adopted by the Dutch in their new colony in the new world. They were further continued after the transfer of that colony and subsequently into the American Constitution and so, too, within ours. These ideas infused the way we treated religious minorities on this continent prior to confederation and afterwards.
For all those reasons, I encourage members of the House to support this motion and to recognize the contributions made over many centuries by people from the Netherlands.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
2019-04-04 18:33 [p.26714]
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to speak to Motion No. 207, a motion put forward in this House by the member for Chatham-Kent—Leamington, to designate May 5 as Dutch heritage day.
I was really moved, in particular, by the previous speaker's story of what it took for his mother's side of the family to make its way to Canada and establish a new life in Canada.
The story of my existence is very similar in terms of the struggles of my grandparents to come to Canada. My grandparents, Pierre and Gonnie Gerretsen, were two young newlyweds living in Hilversum, which is about 20 minutes outside Amsterdam, in Holland. They too had great hopes for their lives and what they could accomplish and the family they could have. They owned a small corner store, which I have had the opportunity to visit on a couple of occasions, where they sold various goods to people in the neighbourhood. They had three children: my father, who is the middle child; an older brother, Peter; and a younger sister, Marijke.
Their story really changed a lot during the Second World War. When the Germans finally decided to invade Holland, as the previous speaker mentioned, many Dutch males were taken away from their families to work in factories and fight the war on behalf of the Germans. What ended up happening to my grandfather is that he spent a considerable amount of time, like many Dutch men at that time, hiding from the Germans to make sure that he was not going to be ripped away from his family.
When my grandfather was finally liberated, it was the Canadian soldiers who were liberating Holland. He saw these Canadian soldiers marching through the streets and liberating his country, and I am convinced that it was at that point that he determined that he wanted to move to Canada.
A number of years later, in 1954, my grandparents, who were in their 30s at that time, took their three young children and boarded a boat to go to another part of the world that was not easily accessible at the time. Later in life, I met Joke Gerretsen, who is my father's cousin, who recounted that when they stood on the dock to watch their cousins leave, their mother said that they would never see them again. They left to go to another part of the world in an era when it was not easy to get on an airplane and be in another part of the world. They came here, and after a short period of time, ended up in Kingston.
As the previous speakers have said, the Dutch people have contributed immensely to Canadian culture. I will talk about a couple of personality traits I saw in both my grandfather and my grandmother. In particular, the Dutch were very resourceful people. Having very little money, my grandfather purchased a piece of former prison farmland in the Kingston area that he was going to build a house on. Not having a lot of money to buy the materials to build the house, he went to another site, where they were tearing down other houses to build a shopping centre, and he literally disassembled a house, piece by piece, and used those materials to build the house that is still standing today and that my aunt lives in. It just shows their resourcefulness.
From my experience, the Dutch are also extremely friendly and outgoing. My father, who served a long time in politics, both at the municipal level and later in the provincial legislature, credits the first time he was elected to my grandmother, Gonnie Gerretsen. She had a small hair salon in the basement of their house and would tell the ladies who came to have their hair done that they had better vote for her son John. He credits his first city council win to that.
They also have a reputation, and I think many Dutch people are extremely proud of it, for being a little bit frugal. There is some truth to that. I have witnessed that. I will tell members how it has benefited Canada.
Back in 1984, the Dutch community in Kingston decided it was going to build a not-for-profit seniors home. As a lot of Dutch people were getting to the age of retirement, community members wanted a seniors home, so they built an apartment building they called the Dutch Heritage Villa in Kingston.
To build it, they accessed some money from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. They were so successful at building this home under budget that they tried to return leftover money back to CMHC. One of the things I find so remarkable about that particular project is that even when they built it, with the intention of having retired Dutch seniors move into this home in Kingston, they never planned to have it be exclusively for Dutch heritage. They wanted everybody to live there, anybody who was interested in living with them.
One of the things I found the most impressive about both my grandparents is that as much as they were Dutch, and as much as they knew where their heritage and roots originally began, they were equally proud to be Canadian. My dad tells a great story from 1994, when the World Cup was happening in the United States. There was an exhibition game played in Toronto between Canada and Holland.
My dad took my grandfather to this exhibition game, and my grandfather showed up there with the Dutch flag, ready to support the Dutch team in this World Cup exhibition game. As soon as he walked in and saw the Dutch on one side and the Canadians on the other, my grandfather put down his Dutch flag and said that he would be supporting Canada. He said that he lived in Canada now and this was the team he would be supporting.
This is not just the story of Dutch people moving to Canada. This is the story of Canada. Canada is such a young country, at 151 years old. What makes Canada so unique is that it has had the opportunity to see people come from throughout the world to establish new roots in Canada. Unlike some other parts of the world that have become more of a melting pot, in Canada we encourage people to celebrate those differences and the diversity we have.
Last weekend, I was at an event put on by members of the India-Canada Association of Kingston. They talked about the heritage of India and it being 5,000 years old. A lot happens in 5,000 years. When we think of Canada, which is 151 years old, it is a new country. What ends up happening is that our heritage is those various different places we have come from throughout the world. The reality is that unless we are of indigenous descent, we are all immigrants and have all come here throughout the last 151 years to establish new roots in this country.
I am extremely proud to speak and vote in favour of this motion. It gives me great pride to stand here today and talk about my Dutch heritage, as I know other members have. I look forward to voting on this when it comes before the House next week.
View Cheryl Gallant Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, as the member of Parliament for the beautiful riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke in the upper Ottawa valley, it gives me great pleasure to rise in the House to support Motion No. 207 to recognize every May 5 in Canada as Dutch heritage day.
It also gives me great pleasure to congratulate the member for Chatham-Kent—Leamington, a southwestern Ontario riding, for putting forth this motion. Parliament will be losing a great member of Parliament, as the member for Chatham-Kent—Leamington has announced his intention not to run in the upcoming federal election.
It has been a pleasure serving with such a fine member of Parliament and true gentleman. I can think of no better tribute to make to recognize the contributions of the member opposite to the people of Canada, as we recognize the contribution Dutch people have made to our Canadian heritage, except to pass Motion No. 207.
Before I continue my comments, I must declare a conflict of interest. My roots are in the riding of the member who sponsored the motion.
I was raised in Blenheim, and I worked the fields in Dover and Chatham before leaving to obtain a post-secondary education, eventually following my heart to the upper Ottawa Valley, which I am thankful to call home. Many of my family members reside in the Chatham area to this day.
The motion is about recognizing the Dutch people in our home communities, families like the Van Hoofs, the Rooks, the Jansens, the Vandergragts, the Van der Gallens, the Van Bavels, the Devries, the Van Der Ploegs, the Vandersleens, the Van Gentevoorts and the Stoops, founders of Steqcan, a farm equipment manufacturer in Westmeath. This is just to name a few.
The history of the Dutch in Canada actually starts south of the border, when the Dutch began to settle in the Hudson Valley in the 17th century, as my colleague mentioned earlier. Many of the local, familiar names in southern Ontario today date back to the Dutch united empire loyalists, who emigrated in 1783 and 1784 as refugees from the American Revolution. Names like van Alstine, Van Eck, Van Dusen and Van Ten Brock date from that early period of Dutch migration.
My family was part of the large migration of Dutch people who came to Canada in the aftermath of World War II. The story of my Dutch grandparents is my personal heritage moment, which I intend to share. It is representative of the reason May 5 deserves to be recognized as Dutch heritage day in Canada.
My maternal grandparents, Arnoldus Jacobus Geelen and Elisa Huberdina Geelen-Thiesen, emigrated from Holland, arriving in Quebec City on May 15, 1952, with 10 children, the youngest but a few weeks old. They had heard about life in Canada from friends and relatives who were already here. They said it was good, and my family was not disappointed.
They found the people friendly from the very first as Canada became home to all of them. Family members were understandably nervous about uprooting their growing children and moving to an unknown land with different customs, languages and food. This experience is no different from what the current generation of emigrants to Canada feel today when they arrive in this land.
Our Dutch immigrants made a point of not clinging to old country ways, and their children saw to that. The children in the Geelen family quickly learned English, and more quickly than my grandparents.
Now, most of the people in the Netherlands speak English. Today, the Netherlands ranks second after Switzerland for English proficiency among non-native speaking countries.
Back in the 1950s, when they arrived, they learned from grade-one readers, and my parents and their siblings were quick to correct their parents when they got a word or phrase wrong. My mother said she soon lost the taste for Dutch food too, and my grandmother learned to cook in the Canadian way.
I do not think anyone can really put into words why a family emigrates.
The Netherlands is known for its farming and its special practices. Currently it is the world's second-largest agricultural exporter, with specialty crops like tulips, chicory and sugar beets. Given the Netherlands' small land base and high population density, they have to plan carefully to maximize what they have. For example, if a Dutch farmer cannot easily access a patch of land with machinery to cut hay, he will use that as pasture land for livestock.
Dutch farmers like my family were attracted to Canada because they wished to farm the way this country does it. In Holland, they might have a farm of 20 acres, but it was broken up into many fields far distant from each other, and there was constant moving of machinery from one area to another. Some of the fields were less than an acre in size.
In Holland, the house and stables were all under one roof, with the living quarters quite separate. The animals were not in the house, but the house and barns were connected. The building was 100 feet long and 30 feet wide.
During the Second World War, more than 100 German soldiers and their officers billeted themselves in my grandparents' home. War is always a frightening time. As their home was near the German border, and the allied forces were firing on the German troops just over the border, the family was right in the middle of a war zone. The night one of my aunts was born, grenades and bullets filled the sky, and it was too risky for anyone to bicycle to bring the midwife. Someone went on foot for her, and my Aunt Nellie was born in the basement of the home.
One evening, in early January 1945, the Germans nailed notices on all the doors in Velden, the area of Holland my grandparents were from. It said they were to evacuate their homes in the morning. They walked and rode in carts to a town in Germany and were put on a train. My aunt said there was horse manure in the cars and no seats or windows. No one knew where they were going. In addition to my grandparents and their children, they had been giving shelter to three other families who had lost their homes, and all were evicted from the home.
They were taken to Groningen, in northern Netherlands, where they were billeted in homes. There were seven in the family, too many to be placed with one family, so the family was split up, which was very hard on everyone.
My grandparents returned to their home months later to find it in shambles. It was empty and dirty. Everything had been taken, even the sewing machine. The spirit that carried them through wartime deprivations and worry may well have been the factor contributing to the tremendous feeling of unity in the family and the desire to seek a fresh start in a place like Canada.
My grandparents left Holland for Canada with 10 children and the allowable $200 to their name. The ship the family was piled into was the SS Waterman, a troop transport ship from the war, complete with bunk beds, which they had to share. There were four in one cabin and nine females in another cabin. My grandmother remembered being seasick the whole time.
They landed in Quebec city. My mother remembers, through the eyes of a child, a big glass building and getting on a train. The train took the family from Quebec City to Thamesville. They had no food on the train. My grandfather bought loaves of white sliced bread at a train stop. They had never had sliced bread before.
Their Uncle Ben, who had been in Canada, met the family at the train station in Thamesville, Ontario. He brought the new arrivals to his old two-storey house. His family lived at the back of the house, and my mother's family at the front.
School was hard because they did not know the language, their clothes were different, and they had no money. However, by working industriously together, by 1961 my grandparents were able to purchase a 100-acre farm of their own. The children were expected to help on the farm after school and on holidays, and everyone received an equal education. From there, the family has prospered several generations later.
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Anita Vandenbeld Profile
2019-04-04 18:52 [p.26716]
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Chatham-Kent—Leamington for bringing this motion to the floor of the House. It is a tremendous pleasure for me to speak in favour of the motion to make May 5 Dutch heritage day, every year in Canada, a day that I grew up knowing as Liberation Day.
It is also very fitting that today we are debating this in the House of Commons on the 70th anniversary, to the day, of the founding of NATO, as Canada and the Netherlands were among the first 12 signatories of that treaty.
I am also a daughter of Dutch immigrants. I grew up eating hagelslag and chocoladevlokken on my sandwiches, oliebollen on New Year's Eve and singing Sinterklaasliedjes and Roodborstje tikt. This was part of my identity growing up as a proud Canadian but also with the Dutch traditions and the culture and the food that my parents brought with them. That is the beauty of being Canadian, because we can have both. What immigrants bring with them is something that enriches the Canadian identity and the pluralism that we enjoy as Canadians.
I also grew up with something else. I grew up inheriting from my parents a deep appreciation for our freedom, for our democracy, for everything that Canada stands for, including the history that we have of always being outward-looking in the world and engaging, where necessary, in order to protect democracy and freedom in other parts of the world so that we can protect it here at home as well. I also inherited an incredible appreciation for those Canadian soldiers who went to the Netherlands, who died there and who sacrificed so much, again because my family would be able to live in freedom.
As a daughter of Dutch immigrants I feel both. I am of course Canadian and I am so proud of what Canada has done historically. My father was five years old when World War II ended. He was born in 1940. He grew up for five years in Deventer in the war. The very first time my dad got a chance to eat a candy was during the liberation when the Canadians came through the streets and they were throwing candies to the children. My dad tasted a candy for the first time because it was given to him by a Canadian soldier.
My mom was a kindergarten teacher in the Netherlands in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Every Wednesday afternoon they did not have classes. She would bring all the kindergarten students to the graveyards where the Canadian soldiers were buried and every four- and five-year-old child would lay flowers on the graves of the Canadian soldiers once a week. This is the deep appreciation that I grew up with, and Canadian children today should have that same deep appreciation because that is why we are all living in the world that we are living in today and in the country that we are living in.
When I was growing up, there was our next-door neighbour. His name was Ernie. He was a curmudgeonly old man. He was very grumpy and if we went on his lawn, he barked at us a bit. We were 10 or 12 years old and we did not like him very much, but my parents told us to always treat Ernie with the greatest respect. We were not allowed to say one bad word about Ernie because Ernie was at D-Day, and Ernie was a scout with the Canadian forces. He was the first Canadian soldier who crossed over the bridge and entered the city, Deventer, where my father was living with his family at the time.
My father's father and his grandfather were in the Dutch resistance. Ernie was the first Allied soldier to make contact with the resistance to prepare the ground for the liberation of Deventer, so my parents taught me that, no matter what happens, I have to honour and respect Ernie and all the other soldiers who did so much for us as a family but also for our country and for the Netherlands.
There are over one million Canadians today, including several in this House whom we have heard from, who are of Dutch heritage. I am very proud to be one of them. A hundred and forty thousand of them came after World War II, like my parents. My dad was the oldest of four children. When he was 20 years old, as a young piano tuner in the Netherlands, his parents decided to make that change, to get on a boat.
They arrived at Pier 21 with all their furniture, including the bed that my mom and dad still sleep in today. The furniture that came on the boat in April 1960 is still in the family today. Five years later, my mom, a 19-year-old kindergarten teacher, travelled to Canada on her own. Young 19- or 20-year-old girls of Dutch heritage could not live by themselves in Calgary at that time, so she boarded with a Dutch family by the name of Vandenbeld.
Three years later, my mom and dad were married. It was my dad's family that she was boarding with for those years. I am so proud that both of my parents come from the Netherlands, that they are part of that proud tradition and that they passed that along to me.
In my riding, there are many people of Dutch heritage. There is even, I am so proud to say, a Dutch grocery store on Merivale Road in my riding, where people can buy snoepjes and all kinds of Dutch treats. That is very special, but it is even more special because we know that Dutch Canadians have contributed so much to this country.
Today is about celebrating Liberation Day and what Canada has done for the Netherlands, but also the contributions of Dutch Canadians, and not just Dutch Canadians but all immigrants, to the fabric of our society. From the beginning, when indigenous peoples taught the settlers how to survive in this land, this country has been made by wave after wave of successive immigrants. All have opened their arms and welcomed the groups that have come after, and my family is no exception.
I talk about the liberation of the Netherlands. I am the chair of the human rights subcommittee, and when we look at what is happening in the world today, the human rights abuses, the genocides and the horrible things that are happening in the world, I am so proud that Canada is a country that is contributing to ending those kinds of things.
My mom used to tell this story. Just before she was born, when her older sister was a little girl, their farm was a safe house for Jewish families during the war. One day, German soldiers expropriated the home. There was a family in the barn, and her older sister had to climb through the attic to the barn so she could warn the family that the place had been taken over by the German soldiers. My great-grandfather and his brother were both put into concentration camps because they were union leaders and part of the Dutch underground, the Dutch resistance. They were political prisoners at that time.
I grew up reading Anne Frank and understanding that this is an incredible part of Canadian history. We have always stood up for what is right and what is just, against the atrocities of Hitler and the atrocities that are still happening in the world today, because human rights, democracy, freedom and equality are Canadian values. They are also Dutch values. These are the values my mom and dad, Herman and Maria Vandenbeld, instilled in me when I was growing up.
I am so proud I am the daughter of Dutch immigrants. I am proud of the deep friendship between Canada and the Netherlands, and I am very proud to support this motion today to make May 5, every single year in Canada, Dutch heritage day.
View Dave Van Kesteren Profile
CPC (ON)
Madam Speaker, it is my privilege to wrap up what has been a wonderful experience. I cannot begin to express my thanks and appreciation to all my colleagues, both on this side of the House and on the other side.
Listening to the member for Ottawa West—Nepean telling her marvellous stories reminded me of some of the experiences I had in my own house. My wife is here with me today. She can testify to how her family would protect Jews on the farm as well. My father was a member of the Dutch underground.
This motion has two stories. The first story is about our brave troops, the ones that my colleague so eloquently told us about, and how they died and were left on the shores and in the ditches of the Netherlands. They gave their lives so we could experience this tremendous freedom and place we love so much, Canada.
It is also the story of brave immigrants, not just the Dutch. All of us have so many different ethnicities in our ridings, those who have come from other lands. We have heard about the challenges and the hardships they faced and yet they rose to the top. As a result, Canada is a better country for it.
I had the opportunity to visit with a friend of mine, someone I grew up with. He lived across the road when we were kids. He told me about his dad and mom, Henk and Allie Zantingh, coming to this country in 1957, with their 11 children. He worked for a fruit farmer a little south of Chatham and picked apples for 50¢ an hour.
Clarence said that his first memory of his parents were seeing his dad cry. His dad was experiencing what so many immigrants experience. He was crying and wondering how he was going to make it. Clarence's mother put her arms around him. They were sustained by their faith and by their hope for a better day. Today, I would suggest that there may be as many as 100 offspring of my friend's family and they are all great contributing members of our society.
I share with all members in this place our deep appreciation for this country, for the opportunities that are granted to us as citizens. I know I speak for all Dutch immigrants, as well as all the other immigrants in the country, who are so thankful they are here and so thankful they can contribute to the country as well.
I look forward to the vote that will take place on my motion. I thank all members for their contributions.
View MaryAnn Mihychuk Profile
Lib. (MB)
View MaryAnn Mihychuk Profile
2019-03-19 13:09 [p.26133]
Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition from citizens in my riding and all of Manitoba, including the communities of Brandon, Swan River, Pine Falls and Beausejour.
The petition points out that when local indigenous cultural artifacts are removed, it irrevocably damages the diverse regional and cultural traditions that have created a multicultural Canada and that the forcible removal of cultural property from the reach of indigenous communities is an act of colonization, which is wholly incompatible with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action. This petition calls for western and indigenous artifacts to remain in Winnipeg.
View MaryAnn Mihychuk Profile
Lib. (MB)
View MaryAnn Mihychuk Profile
2019-02-27 14:06 [p.25849]
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.
View Georgina Jolibois Profile
NDP (SK)
moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.
She said: Mr. Speaker, today is indeed a good day. Today I am proud to rise on behalf of my constituents in Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River to present my private member's bill for one last time in the House of Commons.
This was a journey that began what feels like ages ago, and there is a sense of comfort as this stage of our work together on this comes to an end.
It is not lost on me, and it should not be lost on all our hon. colleagues in Parliament, that it was not too far from here that Canada's system of residential schools was created. It was in these halls that political leaders from across Canada decided that the cultures of first nations, Métis and Inuit people had no place in Canada. It was in the chambers not too far from here that leaders spoke for hours about how first nations, Métis and Inuit people were not deserving enough to speak their own languages. Not too far from here a Canadian prime minister stood with the backing of his party and decided that first nations, Métis and Inuit people needed to be silenced, separated and struck down.
Today I stand here with a small amount of pride and a great amount of humility knowing that history is back on the course of justice. Today is the result of countless hours of consultation with my elders, with my constituents and with the history of our people. Today is another step toward our multipartisan effort to fulfill the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to action number 80. Today's bill is the product of a multi-party effort to best honour the legacy of residential schools, to honour survivors and to think about how to do right by indigenous people in Canada for generations to come.
I want to thank the members of the Canadian heritage committee for the thoughtful consideration and time they put in to making my bill happen. No single individual or political party can claim ownership of how we proceed on our path toward true reconciliation. Reconciliation is a goal that we all have an obligation to work toward and reflect on. This includes not only us as members of Parliament, but also our staff and everyone who works for the Government of Canada.
My bill will affect those of us in the federal service, because it was this government that decided to persecute and oppress the first nations, Métis and Inuit people across Canada. It is a tragedy that we all must atone for, and we must all work together toward fixing the systemic racism that is so commonly found in Canada's colonial government.
I do not want to give the impression that today is the end of our journey toward reconciliation. In the grand scheme of things, we have achieved very little on our journey. Everyone will shake hands and pat each other's backs after today, just as they did after the heritage committee, and claim victory in the name of political points. However, working on reconciliation is not a political platform. It is a moral obligation to do the right thing.
It is also worth noting that our work on the national day of truth and reconciliation is far from over. When I first proposed my bill, it was clear to me after my consultations that June 21 should be a statutory holiday. June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day, is a day that has been chosen by first nations, Métis and Inuit people in Canada because there is spiritual significance for many related to the summer solstice.
Knowing this, the Government of Canada funds nationwide celebrations from coast to coast to coast. The government provides the funding for first nations, Métis and Inuit people to publicly celebrate who they are, where they come from and where they will be tomorrow. These celebrations would take place anyway, but that the government has a system for non-indigenous people to participate in our celebrations is well thought out and welcome.
However, such a funding system is not currently in place for the national day of truth and reconciliation. The government has made a public commitment that this holiday will be taking place this year, but we have yet to see any action on what the government plans to do on this new holiday. This is particularly important because our intention was never to just give federal employees another day off work; it was intended to be a day for federal employees to engage with the first nations, Métis and Inuit communities that surround them so they could better understand the system of oppression that still exists.
An empty commitment from the government is not acceptable. Without clear guidance from the government, done with the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous people, this holiday will mean nothing if federal employees are not engaged in a meaningful way with the history and legacy of residential schools. I, along with my colleagues in the New Democratic Party, call on all members of Parliament to put the work in and make sure that this holiday is meaningful.
There is also concern, and I have heard this from a number of my constituents, that limiting this holiday to just employees of the federal government is not a comprehensive response to call to action number 80. I fully recognize the limits of the federal government. We do not have the ability to legislate for the provinces in this matter, but I believe that we should do everything within our power to talk to our friends within the provincial governments to take up this call to action themselves.
It was not just the federal government that carried out the harm against first nations, Métis and Inuit children in residential schools. Provincial education boards and employees were directly responsible for much of the harm that has been caused. Everyone who has a seat in this chamber has an obligation to reflect on this holiday but also an obligation to have difficult conversations with their friends, families and their own elected representatives so that all people across Canada will have the time to appropriately think about the impact of residential schools that continues to be felt. We owe that to survivors. We owe that to victims. We owe that to Canada.
My last concern is likely the most important concern I have, and it has to do with the scope of the holiday. I first proposed June 21 as the date of this holiday, because National Indigenous Peoples Day is inclusive of the overwhelming majority of first nations, Métis and Inuit people from across Canada. Changing the holiday to September 30 and renaming it the national day of truth and reconciliation would not be harmful on its own, but it does make me wonder about those indigenous people who have had their culture taken from them by the federal government outside of residential schools.
In particular, I think about the survivors of boarding schools and day schools who are still waiting for the government to listen to their stories. I think about all the children who were taken from their families as part of the sixties scoop, forever taken from their families, their cultures, and their languages. Yes, this day of reconciliation would be good, but would it be inclusive of their truth and stories? I very much look forward to continuing to have these discussions with people across northern Saskatchewan, and I invite all members of Parliament to open their hearts and their ears and invite these stories to come into their lives.
I have expressed these concerns in the past to committee members, and they have provided me with assurances that these are conversations the government wants to have. It is with great honour that I accept my job as the member of Parliament for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River to hold the government to account and make sure that it meets the full intention of what this holiday would work so hard to achieve. It is not a small task, and it must be taken seriously and with the highest amount of respect. I will be watching, indigenous people will be watching and all of Canada will be watching.
At this point, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the amendments to the bill and speak to why the bill should pass through this chamber and head over to the other place.
When I introduced my bill here a few years ago, I proposed that June 21 be the statutory holiday, for reasons I outlined previously in my comments today. At that time, the Assembly of First Nations, the Congress for Aboriginal Peoples, the Government of the Northwest Territories, and many other prominent indigenous organizations and people across this country all called for the creation of June 21 as a statutory holiday recognizing National Indigenous Peoples Day.
I do not view amending this bill to make September 30 a national day of truth and reconciliation as a bad thing, so long as the government adequately addresses the concerns I raised earlier in my comments. What I was hoping to achieve with my bill was to begin a national conversation about a holiday honouring survivors and the legacy of residential schools, and today's debate shows that this is something we have achieved together.
I am very happy to see that the democratic process worked and that we had a public conversation, through the committee process, about this holiday. As the Minister of Heritage himself has said, imperfect bills are presented and amended through the committees of this House. That is how our democracy is supposed to work, and with regard to this bill, it has worked.
At committee, we heard from elders, national indigenous organizations, indigenous women's organizations, labour unions, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and a number of chiefs from across Canada. The overwhelming response from them was that September 30 should be a day of truth and reconciliation.
There are a number of people across Canada who may be upset that this bill has been changed, and with them I empathize. I put forward the best case I could for June 21 and National Indigenous Peoples Day, but after a lot of thinking and a lot of consultation, we have, in my opinion, really and truly identified an appropriate date for this holiday to take place. My door is always open to continue having this conversation, because it is far from over. It is my commitment to my constituents to always be there to listen.
One of the best lessons I have taken away from this consultation process is the idea that there is a difference between days of celebration and days of mourning. June 21 as an established day of celebration has its place. A day of truth and reconciliation cannot be included within existing celebrations. For this reason, I welcome the amendments to the bill.
As I have said before, September 30 has become more and more recognized across the country as a day to reconcile with our history. In both northern Saskatchewan and here in Ottawa, I was very encouraged to see so many people in orange shirts saying to the world that what happened to first nations, Metis, and Inuit children and families was unacceptable. I am so encouraged by the work of others to improve the lives of indigenous children across Canada. I am inspired by people like Dr. Cindy Blackstock, who has dedicated so much of her life to working towards child welfare in Canada. I also think often about the work that elders, friendship centres, indigenous culture camps and educators do across the country to bring young people back into the culture of their family. I think about Kevin Lewis, who runs a program like this in northern Saskatchewan.
I also think about the indigenous activists in Canada who have fought so hard to make sure that indigenous voices are heard by this government. I think of the indigenous women who refused to stay idle when the government threatened their land and indigenous sovereignty. I think of the stolen sisters, who remind us every day of generations of indigenous women who continue to live on in our hearts. I think of people like Colleen Hele-Cardinal, who worked almost single-handedly to make sure that survivors of the sixties scoop see the justice they are owed.
I say all this to remind the members of this House of the context in which our debate today takes place. First nations, Métis and Inuit people have been fighting so hard for so long for their people. To establish this day of truth and reconciliation is not to pat ourselves on the back. It is to give ourselves the opportunity to learn more about their work and how we can incorporate their ideas so that indigenous people can have justice and tell survivors of residential schools that what we have done to them will never happen again.
The calls to action put forward by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are not a checklist of things to be achieved. Completing just one call to action is not a step towards progress. Until the day all calls to action are completed, we have very little to celebrate. Today we feel good, but tomorrow we must work harder. Today we look toward a brighter future, but tomorrow we must work harder to make life better for first nations, Métis and Inuit people in Canada.
On September 30, we will remember and honour the past and future, but on every other day of the year we must fight to reverse the injustices committed against the indigenous people in Canada.
View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
NDP (QC)
View Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet Profile
2019-02-26 19:23 [p.25839]
Mr. Speaker, I will begin my speech by acknowledging that the land on which we are gathered today to speak to the important bill introduced by colleague from Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River is part of the traditional unceded territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin people.
I think it is especially important to point that out because, from a reconciliation perspective, I want every elected member of the House to remember that historical fact during this evening's debate.
Call to action 80 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada states:
We call upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish, as a statutory holiday, a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.
It is in this context that my colleague introduced her bill to make National Indigenous Peoples Day a statutory holiday in Canada. As everyone is well aware, there are currently no federal statutory holidays dedicated to indigenous peoples. National Indigenous Peoples Day does exist and has been celebrated on June 21 since 1996, but it is not recognized as a statutory holiday under the Canada Labour Code.
Bill C-369 calls on the federal Parliament to show some leadership and set an example for the provincial and territorial governments that have not yet created this statutory holiday, in response to the call to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Reconciliation is not an indigenous issue, it is a Canadian issue. To achieve true reconciliation, we may be called upon to re-examine all aspects of Canadian society.
That is why the commission is calling on all levels of government in Canada to take concerted action and measures across the entire country and in all communities in the interest of reconciliation with first nations, Métis and Inuit.
To achieve that goal, merely recognizing the existence of these peoples is not enough. We must also recognize their history, their rights, their cultures and their languages.
By passing Bill C-369, the House of Commons would be sending a clear message about its intention to create space for reconciliation.
Once established, this national holiday would serve as a reminder to us all of what it really means to have a treaty-based nation-to-nation relationship. It would be an expression of respect for the historic and cultural importance of first nations, Métis and Inuit.
The people we wish to recognize by creating this statutory holiday are the first inhabitants of this continent, who arrived when the glaciers disappeared from these lands.
When the first French settlers arrived, indigenous people helped them survive by showing them how to adapt to the environment and the harsh climate, which was unfamiliar to the first Europeans to set foot in North America.
Of course, the bill would not tackle all the socio-economic problems faced by indigenous people, which my party raises all the time in the House.
In passing, I would like to mention the atrocious and intolerable living conditions found in too many indigenous communities throughout the territory that we now call Canada. The federal government continues to drag its feet. We need a targeted housing strategy for indigenous people.
Naturally, the creation of a holiday must be accompanied by significant action to improve living conditions for indigenous peoples in Canada. However, dedicating a holiday to indigenous peoples would provide a time and space for reflection on our colonial history and its lasting effects on the rights of first nations, Métis and Inuit peoples across Canada.
For example, this holiday could become an opportunity to organize events to commemorate and raise awareness about victims of residential schools and Canada's colonial system, the effects of which still weigh heavily on indigenous peoples today.
My colleague's bill is not a new idea. In 1982, the National Indian Brotherhood, now known as the Assembly of First Nations, launched a campaign to have National Aboriginal Day recognized as a national holiday.
It was not until 1996 that June 21 was proclaimed National Aboriginal Day by then governor general Roméo LeBlanc.
This date was chosen after consultations with indigenous peoples and statements of support from numerous groups, some of which wanted the summer solstice to become National Aboriginal Day.
When my colleague originally introduced this bill, she also asked that National Aboriginal Day, June 21, be designated a federal statutory holiday.
At the time, the national day for truth and reconciliation was not clearly defined. Since 2016, Orange Shirt Day has become the appropriate day to commemorate the legacy of residential schools and honour their survivors. The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, which was in charge of studying Bill C-369, consulted first nations, Inuit and Métis, and they all agreed that September 30 should be considered the day of commemoration. The bill was amended to designate that date as the national day for truth and reconciliation.
As I said earlier, other governments in Canada have responded to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to action 80 by making National Indigenous Peoples Day a statutory holiday. It is a statutory holiday in the Northwest Territories and has been a holiday in Yukon since May 2017.
In June 2017, my colleague from Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River introduced the bill we are debating today to get the federal government on board. In September 2017, provincial NDP MPP Michael Mantha introduced a bill in the Ontario legislature entitled An Act to proclaim Indigenous Day and make it a holiday.
The federal government has stated many times that its most important relationship is its relationship with indigenous peoples. The government also committed to responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action in a spirit of reconciliation and healing. Elected officials in other governments get it. This bill gives the government another opportunity to move from words to action.
Inspired by the commission's call to action 80, this bill would give hope to indigenous peoples by fostering awareness of the consequences of residential schools and paying tribute to residential school survivors and victims of foster family abuse, as well as their families and their communities.
In addition, a statutory holiday would give Canadians an opportunity to better understand and acknowledge our shared history, which is a crucial component of reconciliation. This bill gives the federal government, as well as the House of Commons, a chance to participate in the reconciliation process by designating a day to reflect on our dark colonial past and to pay tribute to the contributions, heritage, and diverse cultures and languages of indigenous peoples.
Long before the environment became a topical issue, indigenous people respected the environment and took a sustainable management approach. They developed democratic political and social systems. They understood the importance of forging alliances, and their diplomatic structure played an important role in the early days of settlement. We also have a lot to learn from their customs, including sharing and showing profound respect for elders. Many prominent indigenous figures and indigenous-led projects have helped give them a voice and earn recognition for indigenous contributions, heritage and cultures.
Kondiaronk, also known as Sastaretsi, sacrificed his life to help put an end to devastating wars by signing the Great Peace of Montreal in 1701. In Quebec, Wapikoni Mobile helps young people and gives them a voice. That is how Anishinabe rapper Samian found fame. Cindy Blackstock advocates on behalf of indigenous children who have been abandoned by the Canadian government. Melissa Mollen Dupuis, an Innu from the North Shore who co-founded the Quebec chapter of the Idle No More movement, advocates for environmental protection and for access to education, health care and adequate housing.
New Democrats are not the only ones who support the creation of a statutory holiday to recognize indigenous peoples. The Assembly of First Nations has been calling for this for years. Bobby Cameron, the chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, has supported this measure since 2017. Robert Bertrand, the national chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, has also publicly expressed support.
I would like to conclude my speech by reading an excerpt from the farewell message of our friend Paul Dewar, who was taken from us too soon. At Paul's celebration of life, indigenous leader Claudette Commanda talked about how Paul had been given an eagle feather, which represents honesty, integrity and authenticity, and she thanked him for what he had done for her people.
Paul said:
Ottawa, don’t stop now. Let’s show our strength together. Let’s embrace the vision of Algonquin elder William Commanda for an authentic and organic future, rooted in the wisdom of the Indigenous people upon whose land we reside.
View Andy Fillmore Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Andy Fillmore Profile
2019-02-07 14:11 [p.25397]
Mr. Speaker, this year Province House, home to Nova Scotia's legislature, turns 200 years old. I quote:
It stands, and will stand, I hope, to the latest posterity, a proud record of the Public Spirit, at this period of our History: And as I do consider this magnificent work equally honorable and useful to the Province, I recommend it to your continued protection.
Those are the words of Lord Dalhousie, governor of Nova Scotia, at the opening of Province House 200 years ago.
More than the symmetry of its Palladian architecture, its locally quarried sandstone or the fine quality of its ornamental plasterwork, Province House has been an esteemed home to history for two centuries. It is where Joseph Howe fought for freedom of the press. It is where Nova Scotia peacefully established the first responsible government in the British Empire. It is where we joined Confederation in 1867.
It is where future generations of Nova Scotians, again in the words of Lord Dalhousie, will continue in “this magnificent work”.
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
NDP (ON)
View Tracey Ramsey Profile
2019-01-31 14:05 [p.25092]
Mr. Speaker, as Black History Month begins, the theme across Canada this year is “Black Canadian Youth: Boundless, Rooted and Proud”, highlighting the importance of providing youth with positive role models, celebrating the achievements of people of African descent throughout Canadian history and learning what we can from their stories of overcoming.
In our region of Windsor-Essex, we have a powerful history of more than 30,000 former enslaved people of African descent who freed themselves and made their way to freedom in Canada, sometimes with help from Underground Railroad operatives but often relying on their own intelligence, critical thinking, courage and determination.
Mary Ann Shadd, born a free person of African descent in Delaware, moved to Windsor in 1851, where she opened Windsor's first black school. She is the first woman in Canada, and the first woman of African descent in North America, to publish a newspaper, the Provincial Freeman.
Elijah McCoy, who was born to formerly enslaved parents in Colchester in 1843, went on to become one of North America's greatest inventors, with 57 patents in his name.
This year, we lost former New Democrat Dr. Howard McCurdy, who was Canada's second black member of Parliament.
This month, as we celebrate, I encourage all Canadians to learn about our rich black history by sharing stories of incredible Canadians.
View Randy Boissonnault Profile
Lib. (AB)
View Randy Boissonnault Profile
2019-01-31 14:18 [p.25095]
Mr. Speaker, tomorrow is the first day of Black History Month.
It is a time to reflect on the remarkable contributions made by black Canadians to our country, a time to learn from their diverse lived experiences and to share their stories.
The Shiloh Centre for Multicultural Roots in Edmonton has done award-winning work in bringing some of these stories to life. With funding from the Alberta Human Rights Commission, its documentary titled The Roots explores the lasting legacy of black settlers who fled racism in the United States to settle in the Prairies.
This project has helped researchers to discover an entirely new scholarly body of research that sheds light on this important community in Alberta and across the Prairies.
On Monday, the Shiloh Centre was awarded the Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Community Programming. May this project inspire us all to be vigilant in our efforts to end discrimination against black Canadians once and for all.
View Dave Van Kesteren Profile
CPC (ON)
moved:
That, in the opinion of the House, in recognition of the sacrifices made by Canadians in the liberation of the Netherlands, as well as the contributions made to Canada by those of Dutch heritage, the government should recognize every May 5 as Dutch Heritage Day to honour this unique bond.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I will begin my speech by saying what a rare privilege it has been to serve as the member of Parliament for the riding of Chatham-Kent—Leamington these past 13 years. As I begin my final year, I would like to thank them as well as my family, and especially my wife Faye, who is here this morning in the House, for the support and encouragement they have given me throughout these years.
However, I rise today to submit my private member's motion, Motion No. 207.
Today in Canada, approximately one million people can trace their roots to the Netherlands, and they can be found right across Canada. There were three main waves of Dutch immigration that made their way to Canada from Holland. The first wave, from 1892 to 1911, saw a small group of men come across from the United States where they had first emigrated to from Holland. The lure of free land and the opportunities of the new frontier brought them to Alberta, and a few years later, approximately one hundred people followed them. They joined with Hungarians, Icelanders, Romanians, Chinese people, Ukrainians, Jews, Mennonites, Doukhobors, Britons, Belgians, Americans and Poles, who were told that the land was free and if you worked hard you would prosper.
The next wave of Dutch immigrants came in the period between 1923 and 1930. Some in this group went out west but the majority came to Ontario. It is estimated that from these two groups, approximately 25,000 Dutch immigrants entered Canada. In my riding of Chatham-Kent—Leamington, families like the Lugtigheids, Bruinsmas and the Vellingas can trace their roots to this group.
The last group, or third wave, came after the Second World War. This was the largest group of immigrants, numbering over 140,000 people who came between 1947 and 1960. They settled across Canada in every province except Newfoundland. The first part of that group came mainly from the agricultural sector. Large families like the DeBrouwer, Postma, Hoekstra and Vandersluis families came to my riding and worked on farms, as well as many others who did the same across Ontario, the maritime and western provinces. The Eking family was one of those who settled in the Maritimes and the Viersen family is an example of those arriving out west.
My wife Faye's parents were in the latter part of that group. Harm and Antje Dekens arrived in 1952 as newlyweds and came to Orangeville where they met their sponsors and employers, Harry and Margaret Brown. Although they were employees, they were treated like family and remained close friends throughout their lives. Like many other Dutch immigrants, Harm, or Harry as he became known, soon saw the opportunities that this county offered. He bought a farm in Acton and started work at Ontario Steelworks in Milton, Ontario, working day and night to establish himself and his young family while Ann cared for the children at home. His work ethic at the factory propelled him to the position of general foreman, but his love for farming culminated years later in establishing Harry and Ann as successful dairy farmers.
Their story could be duplicated hundreds of times over so that today across Canada Dutch immigrants are found farming on some of the most successful farms in the country, having passed down their skills to the first, second and even third generation of farmers. Labourers continued to arrive working in construction and factories as well as professionals, filling the need for thousands of occupations across Canada.
Along with these immigrants, Canada also paid for the passage of nearly 2,000 Dutch war brides and their children. Dutch Catholics and Protestants of the reformed tradition all had their links to their creeds and traditions. Today, we find a large string of Christian grade schools, high schools and even accredited post-secondary schools across Canada. The rate of assimilation is almost complete with Dutch immigrants. In the 2016 census, 104,505 people reported Dutch as their mother tongue, down 11,000 from 2011.
We share many things with the Dutch as a nation. Both countries practice the parliamentary system of government. Bilateral trade is flourishing between the two countries. The Netherlands is Canada's fifth largest trading partner. In 2016, trade in goods between the two countries was estimated at $6.5 billion and in 2017 that climbed to $7.5 billion.
Many Canadian and Dutch companies and institutions co-operate in areas such as urban planning, health care, agriculture and green energy. In my riding, where one finds the largest collection of greenhouses in North America, we have benefited greatly from the Dutch, who are the largest greenhouse growers in the world and leaders of greenhouse technology globally.
Today in Canada, 30% of all immigrant-run greenhouses are operated by Dutch immigrants. In my riding, families like the Verbeeks, Devries and Geertsemas would be examples of this group. One quarter of all immigrant-run nursery operations are run by Dutch immigrants. My brother Charlie and his wife Colleen Van Kesteren were examples of this skilled group.
The two countries enjoy visa exemptions and as a result Dutch citizens can travel visa free for up to six months in Canada, which has become a travel destination for Dutch tourists since 90% of Dutch citizens today can speak English.
We have entered into many bilateral agreements in the past with the Dutch as well, such as the UN ban on landmines in 1996. We fought side by side in Afghanistan. We co-operate in many foreign aid projects in third world countries. All in all, it is a bond of friendship that continues to grow as both countries mutually participate in a world of shared values.
However, our greatest bond began back in 1940 during World War II when the Dutch royal family took refuge in Canada and lived in Ottawa during the war. The Nazis had overrun Holland and after bombing Rotterdam to oblivion the Dutch government surrendered, facing the threat of the same bombing of all of their cities. The future Queen Juliana gave birth to her daughter Margriet in an Ottawa hospital, where the room was designated Dutch soil, and later that day the Dutch flag flew up on the Peace Tower, the first and last time a flag other than the Canadian flag has flown there.
Then as destiny would have it, Canadians found themselves fighting for the liberation of the Netherlands in 1944 and on May 5, 1945, after fierce fighting, Holland was made free once again. Seventy-six hundred Canadians died in the nine-month campaign to liberate the Netherlands, a tremendous sacrifice in the cause for freedom in battles such as the Battle of the Scheldt and the Liberation of Arnhem. At Randstad, where the people suffered from the horrific effect of war, 18,000 died from starvation and it would have been a far greater number were it not for Canadians who both collected food and provisions at home and Canadian airmen who dropped thousands of packages in Operation Manna.
In appreciation, the Dutch began to send tens of thousands of tulip bulbs every year, the Dutch national flower, followed by thousands more by the Dutch royal family. The donations became an annual tradition, resulting in the Canadian Tulip Festival here in Ottawa.
Each year, Canadian Veterans make a pilgrimage to the Netherlands and lay poppies at the graves of their fallen comrades. Each year, Dutch children along with their parents lay flowers and tend the graves of the cemeteries and memorials like Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery, Groesbeek Memorial, Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery, Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, Holten Canadian War Cemetery, Jonkerbos War Cemetery, Liberation Forest, Kamp Westerbork, The Man with Two Hats, and Uden War Cemetery.
Today, as then, “Thank you, Canada” is heard both in the Netherlands and by the many Dutch immigrants who have made this country their home.
On October 25, Prime Minister Mark Rutte addressed the Canadian Parliament, the first Dutch prime minister to do so. At the beginning of his speech he honoured World War II veteran Mr. Don White, a member of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, who helped liberate the Netherlands from Nazi occupation.
The prime minister said that this is what Don wrote to his parents on April 17, 1945:
We have liberated a number of Dutch towns and you never saw anything like it in all your life. Once the Germans have been driven out and you enter the town, the people come out and put up their flags and royal colours. They crowd around the cars so badly you can hardly move. Your car is just one big bouquet of flowers that has been given you. The girls kiss you and the men shake your hand off. There is a lot so happy they cry.
The prime minister continued:
Don and his comrades risked their lives so that we could be free. He survived, but more than seven thousand six hundred young Canadian servicemen did not. They made the ultimate sacrifice, and the Netherlands is their final resting place. So yes, we feel deeply connected with Canada, and we are forever grateful to those brave Canadian soldiers who carried the light of freedom to our country in its darkest hour.
This we will never forget.
Thank you, Canada.
My parents came to this country in 1953 with five children. They came to a strange land with a different language and customs, a land wide open and vast, so different from the one they left. They arrived in May 1953 at the docks of Pier 21 in Halifax and were issued a train ticket to Chatham, Ontario, where they were greeted at the CP train station by the Van Rynes, their sponsor family, with whom they shared a small house, together with the Van Rynes' five children, for a month until my parents found a one-bedroom house they rented in the country. Life was challenging, to say the least. They were not always treated kindly by their neighbours, who I am sure were suspicious of these intruders.
Times were tough for Canadians as well, and resentment flared up when newcomers challenged them for jobs. Memories of the war were fresh. Some people had lost loved ones fighting in their land. However, they were not unique in their attitudes toward immigrants. There were Italian fathers who laboured for years in places like Sault Ste. Marie before they could bring their families to Canada. There were Polish families, Czechoslovakians, Belgians, Hungarians, Romanians and Germans, many of them refugees, all struggling with the strange customs and difficult language.
This is a land of immigrants. Every group in southwestern Ontario, from the highland Scots to the Irish and then later on to the Europeans, would have to struggle and gain their place amongst the English and French who first carved out a place in the wilderness. It is the very nature of our country. We are all immigrants, and we all owe our unique existence to this rich and diverse country.
Over time and through hard work, faith and commitment, the Dutch became Canadian. Today, the children of Dutch immigrants number amongst farmers, contractors, teachers, accountants, doctors, lawyers, business people and, yes, even members of Parliament. Each one of these consider themselves to be Canadian. Yes, they are of Dutch descent first but are foremost Canadian. Many times I would hear my mother proclaim:
[Member spoke in Dutch and provided the following translation:]
I am so thankful that I may live in this country.
[English]
I, too, am thankful that our parents chose this country, thankful that we can share in the pride of remembrance of the lives sacrificed by the men and women who fought to liberate the land of our heritage, and thankful for the bond that has grown and continues to grow between these two countries.
It has been said that the Dutch are amongst those who best integrate into new societies. Of all the immigrants I grew up with, I know of none who kept or bought homes in the old country and, with the exception of one or two, none who returned to their former home. I remember growing up hearing:
[Member spoke in Dutch and provided the following translation:]
We are now in Canada.
[English]
Dutch Canadians love this country and consider it their home. They came from a country that loves this country and considers Canadians their greatest friends. On May 5 this year, and from this year on, let us celebrate this unique bond.
It is my hope that, in the establishment of Dutch heritage day, Canada recognizes the voice of a grateful nation that says, “Thank you, Canada” and in response Canadians recognize what the Netherlands has given to us and say, “Thank you, Holland”.
View Jenny Kwan Profile
NDP (BC)
View Jenny Kwan Profile
2019-01-28 11:36 [p.24853]
Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege and an honour to stand in this new chamber today, the first member of the New Democratic Party to debate in the House of Commons in West Block. It is also fitting that in this new place, the first order of business is to debate a motion recognizing our past, our heritage and who we are.
The House of Commons, in many ways, is the physical embodiment of our democracy. Following the fire of 1916, the House of Commons in Centre Block heard parliamentarians debate and shape Canada for over 100 years.
With the motion before us, we are teaching this new place those lessons, teaching this new institution how it is that we have come to be who and where we are today. Motion No. 207 would designate May 5 as Dutch heritage day. Doing so would recognize the sacrifices made by Canadians in the liberation of the Netherlands and the past, present and future contributions made to Canada by Canadians of Dutch heritage.
It is a very fitting motion to be the first debated here, and one that I and my New Democratic Party colleagues fully support. I believe that heritage motions present us with an opportunity to not just learn about our past but to find ways to act on those lessons. They also provide us with a chance to see what those connections look like today and what we can continue to learn from those nations and cultures.
The bond Canada and the Netherlands share is a unique one that will forever tie our two nations together. Motion No. 207 would designate May 5, because it is Liberation Day in the Netherlands.
During World War II, from September 1944 to April 1945, the Netherlands were under Nazi occupation. Canadian forces led the allies' effort to liberate the Dutch people. More than 7,600 Canadians gave their lives in that effort and are forever resting in war cemeteries across the Netherlands.
On May 5, 1945, Royal Canadian Regiment General Charles Foulkes accepted the German surrender of the Netherlands. While the winter of 1945 was known as “hunger winter” and saw millions of Dutch people in suffering and starvation, the summer of 1945 was called “Canadian summer”. It was marked by weeks of parties, parades and celebrations.
The efforts and sacrifices made by the Canadian military to liberate the Dutch people is something that neither country will ever forget. However, learning this history also provides us with the opportunity to reflect on the work that still needs to be done to respect and live up to the solemn promise we have made to all our military veterans. My colleagues, the member for Courtenay—Alberni and the member for London—Fanshawe, have been tirelessly pushing the government to treat our veterans with the respect and dignity they deserve. This is something both Liberal and Conservative governments continue to fail on.
I was proud to see the member for Courtenay—Alberni's motion to have lapsed Veterans Affairs department funding reallocated and actually spent on veterans pass in November of 2018. It will result in hundreds of millions of dollars in funding actually used for service provision.
During World War II, Canada also provided refuge to the Dutch royal family, but we did not simply provide a safe haven. In 1943, the maternity ward of the Ottawa Civic Hospital was briefly declared to be extra-territorial by the Canadian government, allowing Crown Princess Juliana's child, Princess Margriet, to be born only a Dutch citizen.
While we could look back on this as just a diplomatic gesture to foreign royalty, I believe it shows much more and provides us with a lesson that becomes more important with each passing day. Across the western world, immigration, and especially refugee resettlement, has become a very divisive debate. Some people, even in this place, seek to misinform Canadians about refugees and label them drains on society that have little to offer Canada. Some even call them illegal.
The Dutch royal family shows us that refugees come from all walks of life, from the poor to royalty. When a family is in immediate danger, it may have no choice but to flee and seek asylum. As we reflect on how Canada can best contribute to finding solutions to the global refugee crisis that now sees over 65 million forcibly displaced persons globally, let us all remember Canada's humanitarian legacy and the lesson the Dutch royal family can teach us: anyone can become a refugee.
Canada can and must do better, not just in providing asylum but in showing refugees the respect and dignity they deserve by ensuring that they have access to the services needed to get on their feet and thrive here.
Our cousins, as the Dutch Prime Minister considered us in his historic address to the House of Commons in the fall, continue to innovate and make contributions to the world. According to the 2016 census, over 500,000 Canadians are of Dutch ethnic origin. The 2006 figures, which include full or partial ancestry, put that number as high as one million. Many Canadians maintain strong ties to the Netherlands. For that reason, it makes sense to look to our Dutch neighbours to see what new lessons can be learned.
Despite promising that 2015 would be the last election under first past the post, our Prime Minister abandoned that promise and refused to work with MPs on electoral reform. In a bizarre excuse for his failure, the Prime Minister suggested that proportional representation could give fringe views the balance of power in our democracy. If only he were more aware of our Dutch counterparts. The 2017 Dutch election showed just the opposite.
The Dutch PR system makes it difficult for a single party to obtain a majority mandate and forces parties to work together and compromise. Despite it winning the second most seats in the 2017 election, no other party is willing to work with the Party for Freedom, a party considered by many to be a far right, anti-immigrant, nationalist party. As a result, this extreme view holds no power, as it is not supported by the majority of Dutch people.
The PR system also helps send more women to parliament, with 36% of seats held by women. That is 10% higher than in Canada. Making every vote count may also very well improve voter turnout. In 2017, over 80% of Dutch voters cast ballots, and turnout typically hovers in the 70% range. In 2015, we saw Canada's highest turnout in over 20 years, but that was only 68.5%.
Last, despite our Prime Minister's lofty rhetoric on the environment, we know much remains to be done to even come close to meeting our Paris targets. We also know that buying a 65-year-old leaky pipeline does not help us hit those targets.
However, what we do know about are ways that will help. For example, we could be making investments in our communities to make our streets safer and more accommodating for cyclists and pedestrians. The Netherlands has long been famous for its embrace of urban cycling culture and has made significant progress in moving away from city planning around the car. This has made its streets safer, greener and more pedestrian and bike friendly.
In 2016, my colleague, the member for Courtenay—Alberni, tabled Bill C-312, an act to establish a national cycling strategy. His bill would see the federal government work collaboratively across departments and with the provinces and territories to develop and implement a national framework for improving urban cycling infrastructure and programs across Canada. I hope parliamentarians can learn from our Dutch counterparts and better embrace urban cycling. Supporting Bill C-312 would be a great first step.
Canadians can be very proud of our country's Dutch heritage and shared history with the Netherlands. I encourage all Canadians to learn more about it. It is very clear to me that we can learn many valuable lessons from this heritage and our continued close relationship. We can learn from the past. We can learn from the present. I have no doubt that there will be lessons we can learn in the future as well.
View Mark Eyking Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Mark Eyking Profile
2019-01-28 11:55 [p.24855]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in the chamber to speak on Motion No. 207.
Before I begin, I would like to commend the Speaker, the staff, the contractors and Parliament Hill security for this big endeavour to get us set up here in the time they had to do it. Just an hour ago, when we were coming in, they were still changing the bulbs and adjusting the microphones. It was great to be here for the opening just a couple of hours ago, with Algonquin first nations doing a smudging, blessing this place and wishing us all well.
I am here today to speak on a motion to establish May 5 of every year as Dutch heritage day. I share this heritage with my friend from Chatham-Kent—Leamington and many others in the chamber and, of course, millions of Canadians who have Dutch roots and live across this wonderful country. This day would recognize the significant bond between the two countries, the Netherlands and Canada, one that was established by the sacrifices of many Canadians in the liberation of the Netherlands, as well as the contributions made in Canada by people with Dutch heritage.
I am from Cape Breton, which had one of the largest per capita enrolments in World War II. Many of those soldiers are buried in Holland. I am very proud to represent the people of Sydney—Victoria in Cape Breton, who put me here in six elections in almost 19 years. Being elected as a Dutch boy to represent them is an honour, to say the least, and with the support of my wife Pam, our children and six grandchildren, it keeps the wind in my sail to be working for the riding.
In 2013, we tried to establish “maple leaf and tulip day” through Bill C-214, so I hope this motion will receive unanimous consent so that we can recognize the important relationship between our two countries.
As many in the House already know, I have always been a strong backer of strengthening the bond between our two countries. My parents are both from the Netherlands. My dad was born in Beverwijk, a town in northern Holland, and my mom was in southern Holland in a province called Brabant. She was born in the town of Moergestel. Both were from large families. They immigrated to Cape Breton in 1952, along with hundreds of others who went to my beautiful province of Nova Scotia; my colleagues from Nova Scotia here today represent many Dutch people in their ridings.
Many came to Nova Scotia. They landed at Pier 21 and saw the beautiful farmland. It was hard the first few years because they had to work on farms and become oriented. Not all of them became farmers, but a good part of them did.
My parents started a farm of eggs and vegetables, a small family farm, in a place called Millville. There were 10 of us in the family. My mom is not around anymore, but her legacy remains on the farm and with the family. The farm has over 100,000 laying hens and over 500 acres of crops. There are many grandchildren and great-grandchildren who gather together on Christmas Eve at the folks' house.
As chair of the Canada-Netherlands Friendship Group, it was a great honour to meet the Prime Minister of the Netherlands at the Ottawa airport upon his arrival last fall. I spent time with him and Ambassador Henk van der Zwan during the visit, and it was a great honour.
It is important for us to celebrate this bond between our two countries. May 5 is significant to the Dutch community because it was on that day in 1945 that the Nazi army surrendered after a brutal winter. The Dutch people were starving, as there was no food. Canadians were giving their lives, inch by inch, street by street, in the battle for Holland. It was a very brutal winter and in the spring, on May 5, as many of my colleagues have recognized, there was a tremendous celebration. On this day, people in the Netherlands and those of Dutch heritage around the world pause to commemorate their country's liberation.
The freedom of the Netherlands was achieved by the efforts of Canadian soldiers. Many paid the ultimate sacrifice. As was mentioned, more than 7,600 Canadians died in the campaign in the Netherlands. It was a tremendous sacrifice for freedom. I had the honour of visiting many of the gravesites in the Netherlands, and one really does not grasp it until going row by row. As my colleague from Chatham-Kent—Leamington recognized, there are so many cemeteries.
Many of those young men from rural communities, cities, farms, fishing wharfs and factories went over there to fight. They fought for a couple of years over there. The sad part, when we visit those gravesites, is to see that they died within weeks of the war ending. The last push to free Holland was brutal. Many died in February, March and April. However, the gravesites are kept in immaculate condition, with greenery and flowers. Dutch children visit the sites and light candles for them, so they are never forgotten.
I was over there for the 70th anniversary of the liberation and it was tremendous. Over 70 years later, the Dutch people continue to honour the sacrifices of those Canadian soldiers. It was an honour to have the Dutch prime minister address the House. He was the first Dutch prime minister to address Parliament. We were also honoured to have World War II veteran Don White in the House that day.
As I said, I had the great honour of visiting the Netherlands for the 70th anniversary of the liberation and the whole country was moved, especially when the Canadian soldiers in the parade passed by. The big parade in Apeldoorn is unbelievable. When I go back to my riding and visit one of the legions, I see pictures of those who were there during the liberation.
One of the most visible symbols of the bond between our two countries is the tulip. In 1945, the Dutch royal family sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Canada as a mark of their gratitude for Canada providing them refuge during the Nazi occupation of their country in the Second World War. Also, Canada temporarily designated a spot, I believe, at the Ottawa General Hospital, as Dutch soil, so a Dutch princess could be born there. However, the tulip tradition has continued. Each year, the Dutch royal family and government send thousands of tulip bulbs, which we see all around Ottawa, in remembrance. It has become Ottawa's celebrated tulip festival. People from all over North America and the world come here for that festival, and we enjoy it immensely.
We also have influences, such as trade, which tie the knot of friendship between Canada and the Netherlands even tighter. The Netherlands is Canada's third-largest export market in Europe and 10th globally. It is Canada's second-largest source of foreign investment, after the United States. We are also like-minded in our social values and peacekeeping.
It is important for us to reflect on the tremendous contributions of Canada's Dutch communities to our society. For example, we can look at General Roméo Dallaire's great contribution to our society and the world. His father was Canadian and his mother was Dutch. He is recognized for his human rights advocacy and his distinguished military career. My riding had the pleasure of hosting him as a keynote speaker for Sydney's 2017 Remembrance Day ceremony. He not only spoke about the special bond between Canada and the Netherlands, but how it was more important than ever that we continued to strengthen our relationship and the accomplishments that we believed could be done internationally.
Another very successful Dutch Canadian is a lady from my riding, Annette Verschuren. She grew up on a farm just down the road from me. She became president of Home Depot for Canada and Asia, and is the chancellor of Cape Breton University.
Dutch heritage day will provide all Canadians with an opportunity to recognize the great things that we have between our countries. With the intolerance seen around the world, it is more important than ever for a bond between our countries. I noticed first-hand when our Prime Minister and the Prime Minister of the Netherlands were sitting together talking, as well as in their addresses to the House. They believed that we could connect and help with peace and tolerance on the world scene, and help make things better for all around the world.
I will conclude by thanking all the veterans whose courage and sacrifice contributed to the liberation of the Netherlands, and Canadians of Dutch heritage for helping to build the great country in which we live.
View Jean-Claude Poissant Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Claude Poissant Profile
2019-01-28 14:07 [p.24873]
Mr. Speaker, I want to wish my colleagues here in this new chamber all the best for the new year.
This year, 2019, is an important year for Saint-Constant, which was founded 275 years ago. On December 8, 1744, five men and five women gave representatives of the bishop the notarial deed to the eight acres of land in New France that would become Saint-Constant. In keeping with the tradition of the time of naming parishes by associating the names of important figures to those of saints, the community was named in honour of Saint Constant and in memory of Constant Le Marchand de Lignery.
I invite all my constituents to keep an eye on the local newspapers to learn more about the special events that will be happening throughout the year and to spread the word, because, as per the theme of this year's celebrations, “Our history is your history”.
View Jean-Claude Poissant Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Jean-Claude Poissant Profile
2018-12-11 14:17 [p.24720]
Mr. Speaker, we have some special guests in the House today. We have the immense honour of welcoming 14 Filles du Roy who made Canada, more specifically the seigneury of Laprairie, their home from 1663 to 1674.
Very few people are aware of the history of these women. Sponsored by King Louis XIV to populate the colony, the Filles du Roy played an important role in the demographic and socioeconomic development of New France. Just 10 years after the arrival of 764 Filles du Roy in 1673, Canada's population tripled. That says it all.
In that sense, we might consider them, and rightly so, Canada's daughters. Next year, the Société d’histoire des Filles du Roy would like to organize an exhibition that would include a replica of the log cabins the Filles du Roy lived in. The organization would also like to make September 22 a commemorative day in Canada to mark the arrival of the first contingent of the Filles du Roy.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish my colleagues, the pages and all staff very happy holidays.
View Matthew Dubé Profile
NDP (QC)
View Matthew Dubé Profile
2018-11-27 14:02 [p.24027]
Mr. Speaker, I was and still am deeply disappointed and saddened by the demolition of Maison Boileau in Chambly. This is a reminder that elected officials at all levels of government still have a lot of work to do to prevent this type of situation from happening ever again. Cost and sustainability are challenges we must contend with.
Built in 1820 by René Boileau, member of Parliament and patriot, this house represented another reminder of our rich local history in Quebec.
One thing is certain: the reaction in Quebec is reassuring. People know that we need to demand more and better when it comes to protecting our built heritage.
I am committed to working with my counterparts at the National Assembly and with all elected officials to live up to our collective responsibility and duty to preserve our memory. I invite my colleagues to do the same.
Je me souviens.
View Scott Reid Profile
CPC (ON)
View Scott Reid Profile
2018-11-08 14:05 [p.23457]
Mr. Speaker, a hundred years ago, Canada's wartime aviators were household names. Billy Bishop, the highest scoring ace in the Royal Flying Corps, was Canadian; Raymond Collishaw, the highest scoring ace in the Royal Naval Air Service, was Canadian; so was Andrew McKeever, the highest scoring two-seater ace; so was Roy Brown, who shot down the Red Baron; so too was Alan McLeod, the pilot who became the youngest man ever to win the Victoria Cross.
Canada contributed more to the war in the air than did any other allied country. Twenty-two thousand Canadians served in the air war. Our country produced 171 officially recognized flying aces. Of the top scoring aces of all countries, on both sides, fully one-quarter were Canadian. Thousands more flew perilous artillery spotting missions, and the majority of these did not live to see the end of the war.
Ours is a glorious and tragic history. We owe it to these heroes never to let their memory lapse.
View Frank Baylis Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Frank Baylis Profile
2018-11-06 19:02 [p.23368]
Madam Speaker, it is a great pleasure for me to rise today to give my excellent speech.
Canada is built on multiculturalism. When people think about our country, they think about French Canadians, English Canadians, and indigenous Canadians, who all have their own languages, religions, cultures, and nations. That shows that the country has always been the same. Canada has been a multicultural country for over 250 years.
The French fact in Canada starts in northern New Brunswick and Acadia and crosses into Quebec, the centre of the French Canadian nation. It continues to northern Ontario and down into southern Manitoba. In fact, in Manitoba, two nations, French Canadians and indigenous peoples, united, creating a new nation with a new culture, the Métis. Canada really has been a multicultural country for centuries.
Some people might ask me what this has to do with Quebec. The idea of multiculturalism was born in Quebec and it began with Quebec's first governor, James Murray. He implemented the first treaty of peace and friendship with the Algonquin people. Approximately 28 years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada found that that treaty was still valid. James Murray also did something unique in the British empire of his day. He made sure that the right of French Canadians to their language, religion and civil code was enshrined in the Quebec Act. He gave francophone culture a place in Quebec in the Quebec Act.
The idea of a multicultural country appeared 250 years ago with James Murray. This idea was born in Quebec. We have seen this idea of multiculturalism throughout Quebec's history. We saw it in 1847 when Irish orphans were welcomed by French-Canadian families in Quebec. These people told the orphans they could keep their family name. They were integrated, they were taught French, but they were able to keep their own culture. We recognize those names today. We recognize the names O'Neil and O'Hara. Those are names of francophones. There are also names like Johnson or Ryan. Those who are interested in politics will recognize these Irish names that are Québécois too.
Take for example the flag of Montreal, which goes back to 1939, 80 years ago. On that flag there is the fleur-de-lys, which represents the French fact of the founders of the city of Montreal.
The Rose of Lancaster is also depicted to represent the English who founded the city of Montreal. That is not all. The thistle is there to represent people of Scottish origin. Lastly, the flag also has a shamrock, because the Irish also took part in the founding of Montreal, which is indeed multicultural.
That is not all. A little over a year ago, the City of Montreal changed its flag. It changed the flag because, when it was first designed, one of the great nations that took part in the founding of the city of Montreal was left out. The city decided that it was time to demonstrate that first nations should also be included as founders of the city of Montreal. The white pine, which represents peace for first nations, was therefore added to the flag.
When I look at the flag of Montreal, I see a flag that demonstrates the multiculturalism that exists between the French, English, Scottish, Irish and first nations. It is a fact that proves that multiculturalism is alive and well in Quebec. It began 250 years ago and is still alive today.
Perhaps my colleagues would like further proof that Quebec is multicultural?
I suggest they look around this chamber. There are francophones with French names among the members from Quebec. They undoubtedly represent the majority of Quebec's population. There is also a francophone member with an Irish name sitting opposite me. He is a francophone Irishman. There are also people like me, anglophones with English names. That is not all. In the House, there are members from Quebec with names of newcomers, names that originate in Asia. There is more. In the House, there is a member who is from the Cree nation, a branch of the Algonquins, who always speaks his own language and French.
We see that Quebec's multiculturalism is vibrant and that it is represented in the House. We cannot ignore that fact.
Canada's multiculturalism originated in Quebec. The fundamental idea was born in Quebec. The idea that the 1988 Canadian Multiculturalism Act affects Quebec is ridiculous. The terminology did not exist 250 years ago. The concept existed and still exists, and that is a fact.
Quebec was born with James Murray, who accepted the Hurons, and both the French and the English. This continued with the orphans who were welcomed and retained part of their culture and their names. It continued with the flag of Canada's great city, Montreal, and continues today in the House. It makes no sense to deny this fact. Quebec is multicultural.
View Mario Beaulieu Profile
BQ (QC)
View Mario Beaulieu Profile
2018-11-06 19:21 [p.23370]
Madam Speaker, I will begin by reacting a bit to the historical context that my colleague from Pierrefonds—Dollard provided because it is appalling. It is a surprisingly revisionist take on history.
First, multiculturalism, or the component of Canada's diversity, goes back further than 250 years. It goes back at least 400 years. There were the first nations, then New France. The Quebec Act that my colleague referred to was a compromise to prevent the Canadians, descendants from New France, from joining forces with the Americans, who were at war for their independence. It was not an act of generosity in the least.
Then, as soon as there was a majority of English-speaking Canadians in Ontario, there was the Act of Union, then Confederation, or the British North America Act. Then, every province that was to become predominantly English-speaking prohibited institutions from using French as a language of instruction, especially where francophones were concerned. That is why provinces like Alberta have villages today with people named Boudreault or Goudreault who no longer speak a word of French.
The multiculturalism policy was created in the 1960s. It was brought in by Pierre Elliott Trudeau in response to the commission on bilingualism and biculturalism. It is a policy that was widely criticized in Quebec because it trivialized the identity of Quebec and Quebeckers as a people.
Today, Quebeckers are a unique people in the Americas with a history, culture, vision for the economy and national language. This unique identity was shaped by all those who came here, by the descendants of New France, but also by the first nations, with whom we intermixed, the Scottish, the Irish, and all those who made Quebec their home over the years.
Multiculturalism is a model for managing diversity and newcomers. It is the Canadian way of seeing things, not the Quebec way. Quebec has developed its own integration model, which we sometimes refer to as an intercultural or cultural convergence model, that seeks to include everyone in Quebec's public space. It is a shame that our colleagues do not seem to understand that.
For some Conservative members, Canadian multiculturalism is like a social norm, a religion that one must not exclude lest they be identified as racist or xenophobic. They apparently have no idea that there are other ways to integrate diversity. Quebec has a unique model. We are a minority people. We are the only francophone state in America. We are a pluralist, secular state where the rule of law prevails. We have basic values even though we sometimes shy away from the word “value”. We have our own way of doing things, and we have found ways to include newcomers in this space.
We also need to consider the Charter of the United Nations, which speaks of self-determination, the right of a people to make its own decisions. That right includes the right to ensure our economic, social and cultural development. To achieve that, we need to make our own decisions about the intercultural diversity and integration model, which conflicts with the Canadian multicultural model that was imposed on us in the 1960s.
What we want is to do our own thing and make our own decisions about integration policies. That is part of our right to self-determination as a people.
Of course, newcomers who settle in Quebec tend to want to side with the majority. As long as Quebec is part of Canada, the majority is the English Canadian majority. It is the English majority in North America. If we do not have our own model of integration, we will not be able to successfully ensure our survival as a people, to ensure our development or to thrive as a people.
That is why it is so important that Quebec be able to choose its integration policies for itself, that Canadian multiculturalism not be imposed on Quebec, so that it can thrive and manage its diversity. We do not want a model that applies to people based on their ethnic origin and promotes divisiveness and silos. As everyone knows, English Canada has a massive majority. By adopting an individualist approach that treats people based on their ethnic origin, this leads to assimilation into the majority culture.
In Quebec, we want to continue to exist as a people, as a nation. We therefore demand the right to continue to choose our integration policies for ourselves.
View Todd Doherty Profile
CPC (BC)
View Todd Doherty Profile
2018-11-01 17:59 [p.23177]
Madam Speaker,
[Member spoke in Punjabi]
[English]
I proudly rise today to speak to the bill from our hon. colleague for Surrey—Newton, Bill C-376, in recognition of Sikh heritage month. I thought I had missed this today. I was pleasantly surprised when I was asked if I would take the opportunity to speak to this.
In my riding of Cariboo—Prince George, we have six Sikh temples or gurdwaras. I spend as much as time as I can at those temples, sadly not enough because most Sundays I am travelling back to Ottawa. I wanted to rise and speak to the importance of this bill, as well as recognize the contributions of our Sikh community within our country.
Every spring, from the time my kids were very young, we have participated in an event, which is called the Vaisakhi, ringing in the Sikh new year. It really is a celebration of the spring harvest festival. I have marched in it. It is a great event that brings our community together.
Since being elected, I have had the opportunity to speak at these events. I am so proud of our community when we come together as one and we recognize and celebrate each other. I say that we come together as one, because the fundamental beliefs of Sikhism, in the sacred scripture of the Guru Granth Sahib, is the belief in one creator, divine unity and equality of all mankind. Sikhs believe in selfless service, justice, benefit and prosperity of all. Sikhism is based on the spiritual teachings of Guru Nanak, the first guru, and the nine gurus that succeeded him.
Members may be interested to know that God in Sikhism has no gender. They do not discriminate between genders.
The first Sikh who was recorded to have landed in Canada was Major Kesur Singh. He and a group of Sikh officers from the British army arrived on the shores of Vancouver, around about 1897, to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. It was shortly after that that we started to see more Sikh immigration to Canada, largely within British Columbia. They worked in our mills. They worked laying the tracks of our railroads.
In 2002, I was proud to introduce a new air service into my community of Prince George, and it was direct air service into Abbotsford. At that time, when I was in Abbotsford, I had the opportunity to visit one of the very first Sikh temples in Canada. The very first one was in the Kitsilano area in downtown Vancouver. The Gur Sikh Temple in Abbotsford has been designated a historic site. It is one of only three, I believe, historic sites in the world for Sikh temples, the other ones being in Pakistan and in the Punjab. Our hon. colleague from Surrey—Newton will correct me, if I am wrong.
I grew up in Williams Lake. The first time I attended a Sikh temple was with one of my very best friends. We were celebrating a wedding. Sikh weddings go on for what seems like weeks. It is a week of festivities, and it truly is a celebration with all families. As I was preparing for this speech I was trying to remember how old I was when we attended that wedding, but I had to have been under 10 years old. It really was a unique experience.
When I went to Abbotsford back in 2002 to introduce this new service, I was speaking to some of the community elders. They were so proud to show us the heritage site. I was not aware of this, but the langars and gurdwaras will never turn anybody away. The langars are there to feed whoever would like to attend and receive free food. They will not turn anybody away, regardless of their religious beliefs and denominations.
I have visited India a number of times, most recently back in 2017 with my wife. Actually, those were our summer holidays. One would not expect that to be a hot spot most people would circle on their map, but it was on ours. We visited members of our community's families who were there, people I have known since I was probably eight, nine or 10 years old. We went to Chandigarh and Amritsar, and we were in Ludhiana, Pandori and Jalandhar. We went to the Golden Temple. It is true that attending the Golden Temple gives one a very particular feeling. I cannot explain it, but it is there.
Aside from visiting the homes, communities and small villages of our family friends and experiencing the generosity of the people and stunning beauty of the countryside, one of the other memorable moments was visiting the Rock Garden of Chandigarh. It was started by a government employee by the name of Nek Chand, who over the course of years would secretly take household and industrial waste and turn it into art. It has grown into about a 40-acre park, and it is absolutely beautiful.
We also visited a gurdwara in Fatehgarh Sahib. Right after being elected, I went and watched an animated movie about the two sons of Guru Gobind Singh. The movie talked about their strength against men who wanted to do them harm. Fatehgarh Sahib is named after the seven-year-old son of Guru Gobind Singh, and his brother, who were buried alive a long time ago.
I wish I could have spoken longer on this. Some of my closest friends, who I call family, are Sikhs. I am so proud to stand and walk with them. I am proud to call them my friends. They silently make contributions in our community. They donate to our communities. They make sure those who are hungry get the food they need. As I said earlier, the langars are opened 24 hours a day. When people need them, they are there.
I am proud to stand and support our hon. colleague's bill, Bill C-376. Sikhs in our country have contributed to many areas within our economy and politics. Indeed, there is a lesson to be learned from their stick-to-it-iveness. It has not always been easy for Sikhs in Canada, but they love this country. My friends love this country and are very proud to call Canada home.
I urge all our colleagues to take any chance they get to visit a gurdwara in their community and attend the langar.
With that, I will cede the floor. I thank my hon. colleague from Surrey—Newton for bringing this important bill forward.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2018-11-01 18:09 [p.23178]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to support Bill C-376, an act to designate the month of April as Sikh heritage month.
I know that in previous Parliaments we have had motions on a number of different things concerning Sikh culture. I would say that one of the most important heritage moments for social justice was when the Komagata Maru incident was recognized. The incident was raised by Jasbir Sandhu and Jinny Simms in previous Parliaments. During the former Harper government, an official apology was given here in the House of Commons. It was an important part of Canadian heritage to recognize that injustice. We carry on that work.
In Windsor-Essex County which I represent, we have the fourth-largest diverse community in terms of city population. For over 100 years a number of different groups and organizations have made the social fabric of our area very special, especially given the fact that we are on the front line to the United States. Diversity and multiculturalism, especially the way we express it as Canadians, is quite unique. We see it in our streets, businesses and services. The Sikh culture in Windsor-Essex County is a very important part of that.
This proposed Sikh heritage month act also builds on the efforts that have been done in the past in Ontario. Ontario passed Bill 52, an Act to proclaim the month of April as Sikh heritage month. It received royal assent on December 12, 2013. It was a private member's bill by the former NDP MPP for the provincial riding of Bramalea—Gore—Malton, Jagmeet Singh, our current leader of the NDP. That bill was the first in Canada and also the world, which recognized the contributions of Sikhs to the community. It is nice that in Canada we are going to have a sister bill for that legislation. It shows the importance we place on educating others and recognizing the contributions made by those of Sikh heritage in Canada.
It is important to note that it takes a lot of, I guess, courage and moxie to come to a new country, to build a new life and contribute. One wants to be able to have the type of supports not only to maintain and showcase and provide links back to the home of origin but also to have those things here. That extension is very important.
As New Democrats, we believe in family reunification, for example, in immigration and visitation. It is a big issue and one that has occupied my office to make sure that people who have come to Canada also get a chance to have continued relationships with people they left behind. That includes my own family and my wife's family, as well as the families of other members. The Sikh culture and community in my riding deserve that same respect, especially due to the fact that their contributions are significant.
Harjinder Singh Kandola is the president of the Sikh Cultural Society of Windsor. We have a temple, the Gurdwara Khalsa Parkash in Windsor, as well. It is not just a place of worship. It is also a place of contribution. Most recently, I was extremely impressed by the Sikh youth in our community who donated over 1,000 items of clothing to help those in need as well as 600 items for a food bank which was very important.
What is not often known is that the population of my riding of Windsor West varies from the very affluent to the poor. It was recognized in Campaign 2020's report as being one of the places with high poverty and child poverty.
The Sikh contribution to the community and the Sikhs' philosophy when we think of Vaisakhi really emphasize traits of selflessness, love and compassion. It is connected to the actions we saw with the clothing and food donations. It is a recognition of how well this fits within the Windsor-Essex County framework for giving.
I would add that when we have discussions about Sikh heritage month, we need to understand the professionalism and contributions that Sikh members of the community have made. I know for a fact that we have seen this in the auto sector.
I cannot tell members how many times I have been impressed, whether it was with the assembly component, the engineering component or other services that are part of our successful auto sector. We have seen immigration and this contribution be very successful. We have also seen it with regard to education, health care services, and other types of contributions to our economy.
It is very important that these heritage months be part of our national framework. There have been several passed here to recognize diversity in Canada. They also provide opportunities for public education and involvement.
Prior to my work as a member of Parliament, I worked as an employment specialist on behalf of persons with disabilities and new Canadians. Part of that work included work at the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County. We had a number of newcomers to Canada from various types of backgrounds, including the Sikh community, and we had some Canadians, and we mixed them together in a program that had a 90% success rate for either returning to school or finding employment. What we found was that there were a number of prejudiced or unintended assumptions people had. In fact, we have a society where we are still dealing with racism and bigotry. There is no doubt about that. It is often faced by people who are visibly different from the majority.
One aspect of this program was to expose individuals from the school system and the employment system to different cultures and experiences they had not had before. We found that we had great success with that formula, because in that mix were individuals who were not experienced or open before, and they made assumptions about people. That is one of the reasons we have been supporting not only this particular initiative but also many others, because they help erode some of those things.
As I mentioned earlier, the opportunity we have here matches what we did in Ontario with Bill 52. I have been at the ceremonies in Windsor and Essex county, where people of all persuasions and different backgrounds in the community really enjoy having that validation. We have a flag-raising ceremony, the last one being when our mayor, Drew Dilkens, took part. It is held at City Hall Square, and a number of different people come from the community. Bill 52, with respect to Ontario Sikh Heritage Month, is very much part of that.
The member should be congratulated for bringing this to the chamber, because it now affords the opportunity for this to not just be an Ontario experience or a city flag-raising experience but a national experience. That is important, because we will see the impact not only in Windsor-Essex but also across our country.
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