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CANADA DAY : ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY- EIGHT BIRTHDAY

Honourable senators, I am thrilled today to stand in recognition of Canada's one hundred and forty-eighth birthday, as we count down towards our one hundred and fiftieth.

We are a relatively young country, but we have much to be proud of. Canada Day is a special time to celebrate who we are as a people and reflect on the journey that brought our country to where it is today.

It is important to remember that the greatness of our country is directly related to the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, past and present. Their courage in World War I, World War II, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq and Ukraine has enshrined the freedoms that we hold so dear.

When Canada joined her Commonwealth allies in battle in 1914, our population was beneath 8 million. It is astounding that 650,000 brave young Canadians joined in the defence of freedom in Europe, and by extension, our freedoms here at home.

Our casualties were startling: Over 68,000 would never return, and 170,000 suffered injuries that changed their lives forever.

This experience, resilience and perseverance gave rise to a new Canadian pride and identity. It might well be called the "Canadian dream," a dream that was born on our shores but then cultivated at battles like the Somme, Passchendaele and Vimy.

Canada has never shied away from helping others, and we realize that peace around the globe is also necessary for our peace here at home.

Let us all commit, as proud Canadians, to refocusing our minds and hearts towards the ultimate sacrifice made by our own Armed Forces. They have contributed to the cause of a safer world and a more secure future here at home.

I firmly believe that for Canada the best is yet to come. May our country continue to be strong, proud, independent and free.

God bless Canada.