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Remembrance Week augments November 11: Wilson

(November 10, 2016) Ever since I was a child going to school in Alliston, I've held a real fondness for our veterans and their contributions to Canada.

As a youngster, leading up to Remembrance Day each year, I would learn about the sacrifices Canadians made in the First World War, Second World War, and the Korean War.

We owe so much to those Canadians who fought and died at places with names such as Hill 70, Vimy Ridge, Dieppe, Juno Beach and Kapyong.

In the late 1980s, my respect and admiration for Canada's military and the fine work it does grew even more when I was an assistant to The Honourable Perrin Beatty, who was then the Defence Minister.

As a country, we can take great pride in our military and the many roles its members have played, be it combat, disaster relief efforts, or peacekeeping.

Whatever the need – at whatever the time in history – these men and women have risen to the occasion, serving with distinction.

Not so long ago, we saw countless examples of this during the War in Afghanistan, a conflict that claimed the lives of almost 160 Canadians. I know we'll see new displays of bravery, compassion and tenacity in the years ahead, whether members of our military are responding to a crisis here at home or overseas.

Given the admirable military service of so many Canadians over the years, and given that so many paid the supreme sacrifice – more than 100,000 lives were lost in the two world wars alone – it was my tremendous honour to introduce the Remembrance Week Act in the Ontario Legislature at the end of October.

The legislation, jointly sponsored by Liberal MPP John Fraser, and NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo, passed second and third reading on November 2.

The act notes: "The people of Ontario must never forget the extraordinary courage and profound sacrifice made by the men and women who bravely and unselfishly gave their lives for Canada in wars and in peace support operations."

Furthermore the act states: "As a gesture of respect for them, it is appropriate to proclaim the week preceeding Remembrance Day in each year as Remembrance Week and to unite in honouring their memory by observing two minutes of silence on Remembrance Day itself."

You can read more about the act by visiting here: Remembrance Week Act, Bill 55

As people well know, Remembrance Day ceremonies and events in this province don't just happen on November 11 each year. They also happen in the days leading up to Remembrance Day.

These special activities are held in schools, community halls, churches – you name it. So, it's fitting that we now have the Remembrance Week Act.

I want to stress that Remembrance Week does not detract from the importance of Remembrance Day, but rather it augments the occasion.

As a nation, we owe so much to Canadians who have defended our country against evil and tyranny. Their contributions must never be forgotten.

Jim Wilson is the Progressive Conservative MPP for Simcoe-Grey.

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