MP Report by Jay Hill, M.P.
Those constituents who have been following my weekly newspaper columns throughout the past 16 years know there are two days of the year that even beat out December 25th as my favourites: Remembrance Day and Canada Day.
The two ceremonies are closely linked as occasions for all Canadians to pause and take stock of what makes our country so great and the people to whom we owe tremendous gratitude for our way of life.
While we are currently facing significant challenges arising from the global recession, it is our strengths as a nation and as a people that will ensure we not only persevere, but emerge stronger than ever!
As we have for generations, Canadians know that there is no better time than when facing adversity, to gather together in the spirit of patriotism on the streets of villages, towns and cities across Canada. I know this will be the atmosphere I can look forward to this year as I take part in Fort St. John’s annual Canada Day parade.
A great deal of preparation goes into July 1st events as volunteers put in many hours to organize parades, picnics, barbeques, tributes, kids’ activities and fireworks. These volunteers include some of the proudest Canadians … our veterans and those currently serving in the Canadian Forces.
As your family makes plans for Canada Day, please remember to find ways to honour and thank our vets and troops for their sacrifices which allow us the freedom and privilege to gather in celebration on July 1st every year.
My thoughts especially go out to those troops serving overseas who can’t be home to celebrate Canada Day with their family and friends. You can send them messages of appreciation, and boost their morale, via the Canadian Forces “Write to the Troops” Internet message board at www.forces.gc.ca.
You can also take time to learn more about our veterans and their service to Canada. The first-person accounts of our Second World War vets are being preserved through the website www.thememoryproject.com.
The Dominion Institute of Canada is recording the oral history of these ageing vets, along with a digital record of their artifacts and memorabilia. If you know a vet in your community who should share their story with Canadians, please go to the sign-up page on the Memory Project website.
The Dominion Institute, which was founded in 1997, continues its mission to broaden appreciation and knowledge of Canada. Throughout the past several years the Institute has come up with many fun and innovative ways for Canadians of all ages to learn about our country. Test your knowledge at www.dominion.ca.
The Dominion Institute also conducted a national survey on what Canadians felt were the 101 people, places, symbols, events and accomplishments that most define Canada. You’ll really enjoy viewing the results at www.101things.ca.
Ultimately, I hope that Canadians, especially our youth, will take the time to explore ways to meaningfully appreciate our great nation, not just on July 1st and not just the days preceding Canada Day but throughout the year.
Happy Canada Day!