Remembrance Week in Oakville North-Burlington

“On November 11th, we remember and honour the thousands of brave men and women who fought for our freedoms. Their selflessness is the reason we as Canadians, and others around the world, live in freedom and peace today. To all who made the ultimate sacrifice, we pledge to keep your memory eternally alive and to never forget that sacrifice. Lest we forget.” – MPP Effie Triantafilopoulos

Royal Canadian Legion Oakville Branch 486 Parade

On Sunday November 6th I had the honour of participating the Remembrance Day parade and service organized by the Bronte Royal Canadian Legion – General Chris Vokes Branch #486, with MPP Stephen Crawford, Oakville Mayor Rob Burton, Oakville councillors, and Defence Minister Anita Anand. MPP Crawford and I laid a wreath at the Bronte Cenotaph on behalf of the Ontario Government.
It was an honour to speak with veterans and our local 540 Golden Hawks Royal Canadian Air Cadets. Be sure to take time to thank active service members and veterans in your communities today.

Royal Canadian Naval Ships Memorial Service

A sunrise ceremony took place this morning at the Royal Canadian Naval Ships Memorial Monument in Burlington where I laid a wreath on behalf of the Ontario government with MPP Natalie Pierre. Our community honoured all who fought for our freedoms and paid special tribute to those who served in the Royal Canadian Navy and especially remembered those sailors who were lost at sea.
“There are none braver than those who go down to the sea in ships,
Leaving behind loved ones to fight for God and Country,
Not knowing whether they will return, or “cross the bar”.”

Remembrance Day Service at Trafalgar Memorial

This morning, I had the honour of participating on the 11th hour of the 11th month, at the Trafalgar Memorial Remembrance Day Ceremony. Joining veterans, community members, MP Pam Damoff and Oakville councillors Jeff Knoll, Marc Grant, Pavan Parmar and Jasvinder Sandhu, we commemorated the brave Canadians, including the 700 men and women from Trafalgar Township who served  and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives to defend the freedoms that we hold so dear.
In my remarks, I mentioned that I had the privilege to be part of a delegation of Canadian and Australian parliamentarians who visited the Portianos Military Cemetary on the Greek island of Lemnos. We were there to honour veterans of the Galliopi campaign during World War I. Galliopi was an Allied offensive with soldiers from many different nations including Canada. 352 Commonwealth soldiers including soldiers from Australia, New Zealand, Britain, India and Egypt were laid to rest in the cemetaries of Limnos. Seven of these were Canadian soldiers and two were Canadian nurses.
There were a total of 70 Canadian nurses, known as the Angels of Mercy, who in 1915, were working at two of the Canadian stationary hospitals consisting of 1,220 beds and caring for the soldiers in terrible, unsanitary conditions.
Matron Jessie B. Jaggard from Nova Scotia and Mary Frances Elizabeth Munro were the first two women to die in wartime while serving in the Canadian army. Their graves lay on Lemnos, largely forgotten, except for the Greek Red Cross who laid flowers on their graves every year; until Canada’s then-Ambassador to Greece, Robert Peck discovered their story. He was so moved by the sacrifice they made, that with the support of the Canadian government and the Commonwealth War Graves Memorial, he was able to dedicate a plaque to all the nurses who served on the island. I had the honour of visiting the memorial and laid a wreath in honour of the two selfless nurses and all the other nurses who served in extremely harsh conditions.
I would also like to thank Ambassador Peck for bringing the history of these courageous Canadian nurses to light. We reflect on their sacrifice and we will never forget them.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of renowned soldier, doctor and poet Lt. Col. John McCrae. In 1915, McCrae  was stationed in Belgium when the Second Battle of Ypres began, in which poison gas was used for the first time in the war. When French colonial troops fled, Canadians held the line, forever enshrining their bravery on that battlefield. It was during this battle that McCrae wrote the immortal poem:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
His poem became an inspiration for the annual poppy campaign, which supports veterans. Be sure to wear your poppy today, to show your thanks to those who fought for us.

Royal Canadian Legion Oakville Branch 114 Parade

A Remembrance Day parade and service was organized by the Oakville Royal Canadian Legion Branch #114. Oakville community members gathered and celebrated our Canadian heroes as parade members laid wreaths at George’s Square Veterans’ Memorial.