I’m honoured today to rise on behalf of Ontario’s New Democrat Caucus to pay tribute to Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and one of Hamilton’s fallen sons.
A year ago, all of Canada was shaken and saddened by the tragic loss of Corporal Nathan Cirillo of Hamilton's Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders regiment.
I have had the pleasure of representing this part of Hamilton as both a city councilor and now as MPP, and have spent many Remembrance Days with these incredible reservists.
The outpouring of support in response to this tragedy a year ago made me proud to be a Hamiltonian and a Canadian. I was proud to witness the spontaneous outpouring of support from my community in Hamilton, and across the country, for Corporal Cirillo and Warrant Officer Vincent. The strength and resilience of my community and of Canadians is an inspiration.
A beautiful monument appeared outside of the armoury in downtown Hamilton and crowds of people gathered to witness the procession on James St. North and show their support. Even her majesty the Queen was quick to write to the family and hold an audience with members of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders regiment.
Corporal Cirillo’s family didn’t want people to mourn his death, but rather to celebrate his life. And so, last night in Hamilton at sunset, our community held a commemorative ceremony to celebrate Nathan's life.
Those who knew him say that he was fearless. That he had a passion for service and a passion for the army. And – perhaps most importantly – that he was a kind and loving father.
All of our thoughts and our prayers go out to his family.
We are grateful for the brave men and women, like these two soldiers, who give their lives in service to our country. Their deaths are a stark reminder that our men and women in uniform put themselves in harm’s way, even when we don’t necessarily expect it.
New Democrats across Ontario to say thank you to those women and men who serve, who have served and who, in some cases, have given their lives for our country. We owe them an enormous debt of gratitude and a debt of gratitude to veterans and to their families. We know that without their sacrifice we would not be standing here today, enjoying the freedoms that they fought for and which we all hold so dear.
Today, New Democrats join with all members of this House to say thank you to the loyal and courageous soldiers who have and will continue to risk their lives for our safety, for our freedom and for our democracy.
We all stand in solidarity with our fellow Canadians to proudly say thank you to Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent.
We will never forget your service and we will never forget your sacrifice.