Honour Canada’s D-Day contributions


June 7, 2016


QUEEN’S PARK – Occasionally, all three parties put aside their differences and come together in the Legislature to pay tribute to important events in history. The anniversary of D-Day, one of the most significant battles of the Second World War, was one of the occasions.

On June 6, 1944, Canadians were part of the Allied offensive on Normandy, France. With air and naval support, the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division and the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade were tasked with taking Juno Beach, one of the areas with the toughest opposition.

Leader Patrick Brown delivered a tribute on behalf of the Official Opposition, telling the tale of how his father was born during a bomb raid in the United Kingdom during the Second World War.

“There can be no doubt that the D-Day landings, which took place exactly 72 years ago, stand as one of the most important historical turning points of the 20th century,” Brown said in the Legislature. “Not only were the D-Day landings among the most complex and challenging military engagements in history; they were also a defining moment for our country and the beginning of the end of a brutal and horrific war.

“We now know that the success of Operation Overlord, by no means certain at the time, would seal the fate of Nazi Germany. We also know the special responsibility that was placed on Canadian shoulders during the operation. Our allies tasked Canada with taking Juno Beach. It was a task that our air, sea and land forces took with valour and determination.”

Canadian forces suffered 5,500 casualties at Normandy. On the first day alone, 359 Canadians had lost their lives on Juno Beach, 574 were wounded and 47 were taken prisoner. Canadian forces made it further inland that day than any other nation.

Brown paid tribute to the veterans who fought in Europe, their contributions to the battle and to Canada after returning.

“So it is my privilege to stand here to express my sincerest gratitude to the veterans who are among us, and to those who have since passed away, for the sacrifices that they made for the cause of justice and liberty,” he said. “We know that without this sense of duty and responsibility, our world would be a much darker place today.”

MPP Toby Barrett, whose father spent the Second World War on the North Atlantic, stresses the importance of these historic events.

“Without the sacrifices of generations before us, Ontario and Canada wouldn’t be what they are today,” he said. “It’s a sad state of affairs that many young people don’t know the significance of D-Day and the role Canada played in both the First and Second World Wars. These tributes in the Ontario Legislature are one way we can pay tribute to our veterans.”

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For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or toby.barrett@pc.ola.org