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Statements in the House of Commons

Statements in the House of Commons

Hon. Joseph Volpe (Eglinton—Lawrence, Lib.): 

Mr. Speaker, today kicks off National Volunteer Week in Canada. This week gives us occasion to both recognize the work done by volunteers and to get involved in charitable work ourselves.

It is estimated that in Canada, some 12 million volunteers give their time to 161,000 charitable organizations, which generate $112 billion a year for our economy.

Volunteers are selfless in their actions, noble in their intentions, and they enrich the lives of people who they will never meet.

I would like to thank everyone at Volunteer Canada, which helps coordinate volunteers across the country.

Most importantly, I want to thank all of Canada's volunteers, like the individual men and women affected by the flood in Manitoba who have not thought twice about lending a helping hand to a neighbour in need. Thanks to all of them.

Mrs. Ève-Mary Thaï Thi Lac (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, BQ):   

Mr. Speaker, on the occasion of National Volunteer Week, April 19 through 25, I would like to draw attention to the exceptional contributions of the women and men volunteers who are committed to helping their communities. They embody the “passion for action ” the Fédération des centres d'action bénévole du Québec has chosen for its slogan.

There are many different ways of getting involved, of course. Some act locally, addressing such issues as poverty, health, rural development and the promotion of human rights. Others choose to address international issues. It is also reassuring to know that we can count on thousands of committed volunteers during our election campaigns. 

I would like to pay tribute to these thousands of devoted volunteers who not only play an essential role in preserving our democracy, but also focus their efforts on improving the lot of their neighbours in these difficult times.

Mr. Tony Martin (Sault Ste. Marie, NDP): 

Mr. Speaker, every day in my riding, hundreds of men, women and young people volunteer, bettering the lives of others and the communities in which they live.

This being National Volunteer Week, I salute them: farmers doing business plans for an abattoir; 450 people signing up for the Scotties national curling championship; Rotary Club and Sault College volunteers baking cookies for Easter Seals; neighbours building school playgrounds; hospice, soup kitchen, minor sports, and church volunteers; and the list goes on and on.

Volunteer Canada notes that volunteering is crucial in a time of economic crisis. I wonder how many realize that our federal elections bring together the largest experience of volunteering in the country. I salute those volunteers from all parties that nurture our democracy.

Volunteers help build our social fabric. They create a vital sense of belonging to a society where neighbours care about each other and work for the common good.

I thank our volunteers. Let us invest in the voluntary sector.

Mr. Tim Uppal (Edmonton—Sherwood Park, CPC): 

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to honour one of my constituents, Mr. Walter Tomaszewski, a volunteer firefighter with the Fort Saskatchewan Fire Department for the last 62 years. Mr. Tomaszewski started in April 1947.

Walter was a soldier from 1942 to 1945, fighting for Canada and the Allies in World War II. While stationed overseas, Walter met Alice, his future wife of 62 years. Walter and Alice have raised seven children, all in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.

After the war, he attended Alberta College, where he became a bookkeeper.

Walter no longer responds to emergency calls, but he does attend every Tuesday evening practice and is the department's historian.

I want to take this moment to recognize Mr. Tomaszewski's contribution to the community of Fort Saskatchewan and to his country. It is people like Walter who make me proud to be a Canadian.



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