Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Passing of Jean Béliveau - December 3, 2014

Passing of Jean Béliveau    -   December 3, 2014

Governor General of Canada

Canada has lost a great champion with the passing of Jean Béliveau.   He was graceful and powerful, both on and off the ice.   He set new standards of excellence in how we play hockey and set compelling standards of civility in how we conduct ourselves with one another.
Governor General David Johnston


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Ottawa     -     December 3, 2014

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said conerning the death of hockey legend Jean Béliveau:

On behalf of all Canadians, Laureen and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends, colleagues and many fans of Jean Béliveau, who passed away at the age of 83.

Known affectionately as “Le Gros Bill”, Mr. Béliveau was quite simply one of the most talented and gracious players to ever play the game.   His renowned skills as a centre –including his skating ability and expert stick handling –were perhaps only eclipsed by his unfailing sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct both on and off the ice.

A pillar of the Montreal Canadiens for decades, he contributed enormously as both a player and later an executive to the Habs, earning 17 Stanley cups.   He still ranks second on the team’s all-time regular season scoring list with 1,219 points and holds the Canadiens’ record with 176 career playoff points in 162 contests.   He made the All-Star Team numerous times, and won many of the leagues’ most prestigious honours, including the Art Ross Trophy, the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Hart Memorial Trophy.   “Le Gros Bill” was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.

Mr. Béliveau was a philanthropist contributing to the Alzheimer Society, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, as well as to a multitude of activities for children with disabilities, including through the Jean Béliveau Foundation.

Jean Béliveau was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1998 and a Grand officier de l’Ordre national du Québec in 2010.   He was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2001, and into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1975. He was a recipient of the NHL Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.

Mr. Béliveau will be remembered as a hockey giant who inspired a nation with his outstanding skill, humility and pure love of the game.   His legacy lives on in the records he set, the legions of hockey players that he inspired, and the deep love he shared with his home province of Quebec.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

November 11 Remembrance

On November 11, we remember the courage and dedication of the Canadian forces who have fought valiantly over the years to defend our freedoms, making it possible to live in a peaceful, democratic country where we enjoy one of the best quality of life in the world.

For two centuries, thousands of Canadians have earned respect by answering the call to fight against tyranny and evil,  - engagements such as the First and Second World War, the Korean War, Afghanistan and many other international military operations.   Those who fought valiantly in these battlefields are still honoured and remembered in places such as Vimy Ridge, Ypres, Normandy, Sicily, Netherlands, Hill 355 in Korea, and Kandahar to name a few.   Many made the ultimate sacrifice.

It is our duty to remember the Canadians who so selflessly defended freedom.   That is why the commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of the Second World War are two of the major milestones on the Road to 2017.   As we recall our proud history, let us also remember how early Canadians, First Nations and Métis people fought together in the War of 1812 to repel the American invasion.

Remembrance Day also provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the daunting sacrifices made by Canadian families who were forced to endure their loved ones being away at war.   Let us recall the unfailing support they provided to those on the front lines, the thousands of letters and care packages, and the dedication of those who worked in support of the effort back at home.

On this solemn occasion, let us celebrate the brave men and women of the Canadian Forces carrying on today in the proud tradition of their forebears, defending freedom in places such as Iraq, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Sea.

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces have the honour to wear a uniform that is recognized across the world as a symbol of courage and democracy.   The recent deadly attacks on Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo, who were targeted simply because they proudly wore this uniform, only strengthens Canada’s resolve to keep fighting against those who would deny our liberties and freedoms, and who have a complete disregard for human life.

We can never repay the debt we owe to the men and women who paid for our freedom with their lives, but we can remember their enormous sacrifices and pay tribute to their bravery and patriotism.   Lest we forget.

(sources PMO files)

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Berlin Wall

Twenty-five years ago, in one of the most pivotal moments of the 20th century, the government of the former socialist state in Eastern Germany (controlled by the USSR), as a result of mass demonstrations by millions of its citizens, announced that travel restrictions were lifted, and that citizens could visit the Federal Republic of Germany in the west, effectively breaching the concrete wall separating East and West Berlin.   This marked the triumph of freedom over evil, which saw of millions of Eastern Europeans deprived of their rights and liberties.

We recall the tremendous celebrations that resulted when this symbol of socialist oppression finally came down.   We remember the jubilation of families reunited when many experienced freedom for the first time.

Tourists can now walk over the base cobblestones that mark the path where the wall once stood.   It was a physical symbol of a failed evil political ideology, which sadly still has supporters within Canada.

Let us also pause and remember those unfortunate souls who were killed at the Berlin Wall in their attempt to flee tyranny.

In the Canadian War Museum, there is a piece of the Berlin Wall on display.   In Montreal, there is a section of the old wall on display, lest we forget.   Those remnants remind, that while good ultimately conquers evil, there is a price to pay for freedom; freedom is not free.   Mindful of this lesson of history, we must remain vigilant in the defense of freedom.   It seems each generation is called upon to defend freedom from an emerging threat.

We join Germans in commemorating this important anniversary.   May the stories of those who struggled to bring down the Wall continue to inspire, as we work together to champion human rights and freedom around the world.

(sourced from PMO files)

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Canada Attacked

Canada is shocked by the shooting in Ottawa on Oct 22, 2014

We remember those who should be remembered.

The intent of the murderer who shot the reservist soldier, who was providing ceremonial guard to the Tomb for the Unknown Soldier, arose from unreasonable religious resentment and mental disturbance, according to the electronic trail.

Prime Stephen Harper said that Canada would not be intimidated.  He said the government will take all the necessary steps to keep Canadians safe.  He condemned the second brutal attack this week, especially the cold-blooded murder of Nathan Cirillo.  The incidents were direct attacks on Canadian values.

We now review whether we as a society are prepared to give up some of our freedoms in order to provide more protection.  We must admit that, we are at war with an enemy that considers its way of life can only flourish if ours is extinguished.  It was not our choice or intent, but we are at war whether we like it or not. 

Canadian values, as for example described in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the Canadian Constitution, and the Bible, are clearly opposed and denounced on many jihadist web sites.  Freedom is not free.  Democracy and the rule of reasonable law will always have to be defended by each generation.

Let us be reminded of the goodness of Canada, and be thankful, while each resolves to live up to our blessings.

Saturday, 4 October 2014


Saturday October 4, 2014
The great unveiling was today.  The federal and provincial governments partnered with the City of New Westminster, and with the help of many others, dedicated a national landmark on the spot of a memorable news photo.

On October 1st, 1940, the British Columbia Regiment marched through New Westminster on their way to fight in WWII.   Claude Dettloff of  'The Province' newspaper was set up to photograph the soldiers coming down 8th Street.  With the click of a button at the perfect moment, he snapped one of the most famous war photos in history: "Wait for Me Daddy."

In that moment, little Warren “Whitey” Bernard broke free from his mother's embrace to reach out to his father, a soldier marching off to war.  This photo went "viral" for its time.   It was featured on the Oct. 21st cover of Life magazine in 1940, and was displayed in every school throughout British Columbia during the war.  Later, Whitey was used to travel and raise war bonds.

To commemorate this iconic photo and the soldiers who fought in WWII, the city of New Westminster unveiled a memorial.   Edwin and Veronica DamDeNogales won a competition to create the statue.  (Together, the DamDeNogales have 25 permanent works worldwide and have participated in over 70 exhibitions.)

It was only fitting that Warren “Whitey” Bernard returned to Hyack Square to unveil the monument.  The unveiling took place in Hyack Square at the corner of Columbia and 8th Street, New Westminster.   The BC Lieutenant Governor, MPs, MLA's, local Mayors, WWII veterans, senior Canadian dignitaries, the Royal Westminster Regiment, as well as Claude P. Dettloff’s family attended the unveiling.  Afterwards, the public surrounded the "Wait For Me Daddy" creation for their own memory picture.  The Canadian Mint unveiled a "Wait For Me Daddy" commemorative 'toonie coin' at the event, and Canada Post released a "Wait for Me Daddy" stamp, which were dispensed at the new Anvil Centre across the street. 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Franklin Expedition ship discovered

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that the Franklin Expedition ship discovered in early September by the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition is Her Majesty’s Ship (HMS) Erebus.   Sir John Franklin, who was in command of the Franklin Expedition, sailed on HMS Erebus.   The confirmation was made by Parks Canada underwater archeologists, following a meticulous review of data and artifacts observed from the Arctic Ocean’s seabed and using high-resolution photography, high-definition video and multi-beam sonar measurements.   This announcement comes just three weeks after remains of the ship were found in the eastern stretches of the Queen Maud Gulf off the western coast of the Adelaide Peninsula.
On May 19, 1845, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror of the Royal Navy departed Greenhithe, England, on a much-heralded Arctic expedition in search of a Northwest Passage.   Under the command of Sir John Franklin, with Captain Francis Rawdon Crozier second in command, the expedition’s two ships set out with a total complement of 129 officers and men.   The two expedition ships were last seen entering Baffin Bay in August 1845.
Quick Facts
The Government of Canada’s partners for the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition included Parks Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Royal Canadian Navy, Defence Research and Development Canada, Environment Canada, and the Canadian Space Agency, as well as the Governments of Nunavut and Great Britain.   Private and non-profit partners included the Arctic Research Foundation, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society who additionally brought in The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, Shell Canada and One Ocean Expeditions as partners.   Since 2008, there have been six major Parks Canada-led searches for the lost Franklin Expedition ships, pain-stakingly covering many hundreds of square kilometres of the Arctic seabed.   The initial discovery of a ship belonging to the Franklin Expedition, made by side-scan sonar towed from the Parks Canada research vessel Investigator, was confirmed on September 7, 2014, using Parks Canada’s remotely operated vehicle.   On September 30, 2014, it was confirmed that the ship is HMS Erebus.   HMS Erebus was a Hecla-class bomb vessel constructed in 1826.   The vessel was named after the dark region in Hades of Greek mythology called Erebus.   HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were outfitted with steam engines (converted from railway locomotive engines), and had iron plating added to their hulls.
“I am pleased to announce today that the Franklin Expedition ship located by the Victoria Strait Expedition in September has been identified as HMS Erebus. The locating and identifying of this ship goes a long way to solving one of Canada’s greatest historical mysteries.”   “I would like to congratulate and pay tribute to all those involved in locating and identifying HMS Erebus. I had the privilege of witnessing the remarkable dedication and skills of the search team first-hand during this year’s Northern Tour and it has left a lasting impression. I wish them well in their search for HMS Terror.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper 

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the UN

It was never the intention of the founders of the United Nations, Canada being one of them, that ours would be a world where terrorists could get the resources necessary to sow death and destruction, but where workers and families could not get jobs and opportunities, or where mothers and children could not obtain the necessities required to live and to thrive.
The world that Canada strives for is the world that the founders of the United Nations wanted from the beginning, as boldly articulated in their declaration of 1942: I quote, a world where ‘life, liberty, independence and religious freedom’ are defended, where ‘human rights and justice’ are preserved, and where all join ‘in a common struggle against the savage and brutal forces seeking to subjugate the world.’
In such a world, there can be prosperity for the impoverished, justice for the weak, and, for the desperate, that most precious of all things, hope.  
It’s easy to look at the many problems of the world today and become despondent.  Yet, for all our failings there has been, for most of humanity, tremendous progress in my lifetime.
Therefore, I am enough of an optimist to think that, because we can create a more prosperous, fairer and hopeful world, not only should we, but indeed, I believe we will find the will to do so.    Thank you very much for your attention.