In the Chamber
Click the links below to review past speeches/statements I have given in the Senate.
Mongolian Presidential Inauguration
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, today I would like to talk to you about Mongolia. I would like you to think about Siberian Russia and the part of China north of Beijing, and also think of the home base of the great Genghis Khan, from which he extended his empire to Asia and Eastern Europe.
Last week was the inauguration of the new President of Mongolia, Mr. Nambaryn Enkhbayar. I was honoured to be in Ulan Bator to participate in the ceremonies on behalf of the people of Canada and the Canada-Mongolia Parliamentary Friendship Group.
It is wonderful to witness Mongolia's rapid progression from a communist nation to a pluralistic democracy. In 1990, the democratic reform process began in Mongolia with the fall of the Soviet Union. This process led to a new constitution in February of 1992. In addition to establishing Mongolian independence, the new constitution restructured the legislative branch of government, creating a multi-party system, a unicameral legislature and a presidency.
In June of 1993, the first popular presidential election was held. Regular elections have been held every four years since, with orderly transitions in the presidency being respected.
Mongolia is strategically important for many reasons, honourable senators, but the two most often cited are its mineral deposits and its geographic location between Russia and China. It is also close to other countries in the east of which honourable senators will be aware.
Located in Mongolia are rich deposits of copper, coal, gold and many other minerals and metals. In fact, mining represents more than 40 per cent of Mongolia's export earnings and has become its largest industry. Canadian mining companies have invested more in Mongolia than any of the other G8 countries. These Canadian mining companies have trained large numbers of Mongolians and continue to do so. In addition, they have made substantial contributions to local public services in Mongolia, such as the creation of schools and hospitals. To many Mongolians, they are model corporate citizens and they are a welcome economic partner.
Mongolia is also of interest to Canada due to its unique location, as I have indicated, between Russia and China, and close to North Korea.
China's resource needs are such that Mongolia has a natural, wealthy and willing market just south of its border, similar to Canada. However, Mongolia wishes to replicate the Canadian strategy of purposely building political and economic links with a wide variety of nations throughout the world in order to avoid becoming entirely dependent on their larger neighbours to the north and south. They call this their "third neighbour policy."
Honourable senators, Mongolia's evolution as a democracy is a model and is deserving of our continued support. I urge you to keep that country in mind as it builds its democracy.
Sixty-First Anniversary of D-Day
Sixty-first Anniversary of D-Day
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators will be aware that 2005 is the Year of the Veteran, marking the sixtieth anniversary of the end of World War II.
I rise today to commemorate the courage and sacrifice made by Allied soldiers during one of the most important battles of the Second World War. D-Day occurred 61 years ago yesterday. It was a day soldiers had been working, training, waiting and planning for, for years. There were battles on the eastern front, and soldiers had been fighting for some time in Italy, but Allied soldiers and officers believed that a third front was necessary.
The German army had been occupying 80 kilometres of mostly flat, sandy beach along the Normandy coast. Those German soldiers awoke on the morning of June 6 to view a vast armada posed to invade occupied France. During the night of June 5, 1944, the Allied navies — Canadian, British and American — had brought a huge invasion fleet from England. What transpired the morning of June 6, 1944, changed the course of history.
The Allied forces brought together for this battle included 155,000 soldiers, 5,000 ships, 50,000 vehicles and 11,000 aircraft. Canada's contribution — at a time when our nation's population was 12 million — consisted of approximately 35,000 men in this battle alone, comprising 14,000 soldiers, 10,000 sailors and approximately 10,000 Royal Canadian Air Force members involved with reconnaissance planes, Lancaster bombers and Spitfire fighters. There were four beaches at Normandy; two of them were taken by the Americans, one by the British and one by the Canadians. The beach taken by the Canadian soldiers became known as Juno Beach.
After a fierce day of fighting, the first line of Nazi defence had been broken. By evening, Canadian troops had progressed further inland than any of the Allied forces. It was a remarkable achievement, but that success on D-Day was costly. On that day, 340 Canadians gave lives, another 570 were wounded, some of them seriously, and a further 47 soldiers were taken prisoner.
For what they did to help preserve our way of life, our freedom and the laws to which we would be subject, we have pledged that at the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.
World Environment Day
World Environmental Day
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, Sunday, June 5, marked the thirty-third annual World Environmental Day. World Environmental Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 and is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.
This year's theme is green cities. The United Nations hopes that nations will stage events on environmental issues to help those issues become more understandable to their citizens and empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development.
In addition, the United Nations wishes to promote an understanding that communities are pivotal in changing attitudes towards the environment. We have heard a lot about the Kyoto Protocol which came into force in February of this year, primarily the focus on the reduction of greenhouse gases. There was also a lot of discussion in the past with respect to energy conservation.
Honourable senators, I had the privilege of participating in the Asia-Pacific parliamentary conference on renewable energy, another area in the environmental field that is very important, and the concept of exchanges of technology and the development of new technologies in relation to renewable energies. This conference was held in conjunction with the thirteenth annual congress for Asia and the Pacific held in Gifu City in Japan.
There are many initiatives we can take with respect to environmental issues. One of them was promoted by the minister of the environment for Japan, and the program is called "Cool Biz." It is an effort to encourage the reduction in costs of air conditioning by encouraging people to remove their neckties and jackets.
We were challenged by the Honourable Senator Banks yesterday to come up with new ways of showing our environmental awareness. Honourable senators may wish to consider joining the Cool Biz program.
60th Anniversary of VE Day
Hon. Joseph A. Day: Honourable senators, it is an honour for me to pay tribute to the men and women who sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom. We regained some of that freedom 60 years ago on this very day, May 5, 1945, when German forces in the Netherlands surrendered en masse to the Canadian Forces.
Another major event occurred early in the morning of Monday, May 7, 1945, when German military representatives signed an unconditional surrender. Allied military operations came to an end almost immediately after the surrender was signed, and VE Day was celebrated throughout Canada and the Allied nations on May 8, 1945, 60 years ago.
In recognition of the efforts that led to the pronouncements of peace on May 8 and later on August 15, 1945, at the end of hostilities involving Japan, our Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Honourable Albina Guarnieri, declared that 2005 would be "The Year of the Veteran."
Throughout the year, a number of events will take place to honour our veterans, but the events happening this week are very special. They are special because we are taking the time to remind ourselves just how precious peace is, how costly peace can be to attain once it has been lost, and therefore how important it is to do our part to help maintain that peace.
The Netherlands was overrun by the Nazis in just five days in May of 1940. What took five days to perform as an act of aggression by Nazi Germany took five years to reclaim through Allied effort. This Allied effort to liberate the Netherlands cost the lives of more than 7,600 Canadians, and the people of the Netherlands have been overwhelmingly grateful to Canadians for our effort since that time.
Senator Meighen, Chair of the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, as well as other honourable senators have been in Holland this week helping many Canadian veterans commemorate the liberation of the Netherlands.
This very day marks the sixtieth anniversary of the success of that liberation effort. Our Prime Minister and other federal party leaders will be joining the over 300,000 Dutch and Canadians in ceremonies of remembrance this weekend, highlighted by a parade through Apeldoorn on May 8.
On an earlier occasion, honourable senators, I had the honour and the moving experience of visiting with Canadian soldiers at the Canadian War Cemetery at Groesbeek, in Holland, where over 3,000 Canadian soldiers lie buried under the inscription, "We live in the hearts of friends for whom we died."
The citizens of the Netherlands have not forgotten the sacrifice made by Canadians and we should not either. At home, as part of the effort to remember their fallen comrades, over 4,000 veterans are expected to attend the opening of the new Canadian War Museum as the first guests of honour. It is dedicated to the education, preservation and remembrance of Canada's rich military history. I am confident that the museum will increase awareness and understanding of the role that Canada has played and continues to play in helping to preserve world peace. I encourage all honourable senators to visit this new wonderful facility and to take the time to honour all our veterans.