MP Report by Jay Hill, M.P.
“Truly Blessed at Christmas”
As we gather with family, friends and neighbours to celebrate Christmas and look forward to a brand New Year, we have so much to be thankful for. Yes, it HAS indeed been a difficult year in many respects but this important holiday has a way of putting things in perspective and sorting out the truly “important” things in life.
Just the fact that we CAN be with family is a blessing. In fact, many families of Canadian soldiers are truly missing their loved ones serving in Afghanistan.
As my colleague Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson pointed out this week:
“It is at times like this that we understand how truly blessed our nation is to have so many courageous Canadians willing to sacrifice everything so that we can live in peace and freedom.
This is what nations around the world think of when they see our Red Maple Leaf, or when they see “Canada” on a brave soldier’s uniform. They know that when the cause is just, Canadians will be there.
When the world calls, Canada answers, because that is the Canadian way. It always has been and it always will be. Thousands of Canadian soldiers are answering the world’s call this Christmas. They are serving in some of the world’s most troubled places, like Afghanistan. And we are thinking of them, their families and those who have lost loved ones.
We will never forget that this country we love was built by generations of ordinary men and women doing truly extraordinary things. They have earned the right to be called our nation’s truest heroes.”
After having served Christmas dinner to Canadians soldiers in Afghanistan in 2006, they continue to be very much on my mind each Christmas.
As I said, the year has not been without challenges. Far too many workers in Prince George-Peace River and throughout the country have lost their jobs or seen their family income drop due to the global economic recession.
Canada’s economy still has a long way to go but we can be thankful that we didn’t take the kind of hit that our neighbours south of the border have suffered. For the first time in a generation, the United States unemployment rate is nearly 2% higher than Canada’s. While Canada gained 80,000 jobs last month, considerably higher than the market expectations of a 15,000 job increase, the U.S. lost 11,000 jobs.
What’s more, Canada’s Gross Domestic Product grew by 0.2% in October, the second consecutive monthly increase. It’s a fragile recovery, but worthy of generating some hope for the coming weeks as we gather around the table this Christmas.
It’s not typical for me to quote economic statistics in my annual Christmas column but it is traditional for me to convey a message of hope and to focus on the importance of being with loved ones through the holiday season.
On behalf of my wife Leah, my children and my staff, I wish you and your family and friends a very, merry Christmas filled with hope, love and happiness.