Mr. Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
September 8, 2013
It is with great pleasure that I welcome all the Canadian Merchant Navy Veterans in attendance today; as well as Senator Joseph Day; the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans; Diplomatic Corps; and other honoured guests to the 10th Merchant Navy Veteran's Day of Remembrance.
The Canadian Merchant Navy Veterans have come a long way in their efforts for recognition of their contributions to Canada. It was not until 1992, and after five decades of struggle that Canadian Merchant Seamen were officially recognized as Veterans. In 2003, Bill C-411, An Act to Establish Merchant Navy Veterans Day was passed by Parliament and a year later the first Merchant Navy Veterans Day ceremony was held at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.
Twelve thousand WWII Merchant Navy Veterans supported the war effort by ensuring the flow of munitions, supplies, and men between North America and Europe. In commemoration of their efforts, a ceremony and reception will be held recognizing the brave Merchant Seamen who sacrificed their lives to preserve democracy and freedom for Canada. I would also like to take this opportunity to commend the work being done on the Merchant Navy Commemorative Theme Project. When complete, your national initiative will help to educate Canadians about the valuable contributions made by the Canadian and Allied Merchant Navies.
I believe that it is important to recognize and commemorate the sacrifices made by the Merchant Navy Veterans. In a dangerous job, where one-in-eight lives were lost, the Merchant Navy Veterans valiantly and dutifully served their country. It is essential that those actions continue to be honoured and remembered by Canadians for generations to come. Through this Day of Remembrance, the memory of all Merchant Navy Veterans shall continue to endure.
Please accept my warmest welcome and I hope you all enjoy today's celebrations at the National War Memorial in Ottawa!
Originally signed by Justin Trudeau
Justin P.J. Trudeau
Member of Parliament for Papineau