Premier Marks Victory in Europe Day [intro by the Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor]

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Premier Marks Victory in Europe Day [intro by the Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor]

Lieutenant Governor Dowdeswell >> Good morning, bonjour, bojou On this day, 75 years ago, cities and towns across the Western world erupted in joy Citizens filled public squares shoulder to shoulder, to celebrate peace in Europe and triumph over evil And although war in the Pacific would continue for several more months, there was an overriding sense that human civilization, forever changed, was beginning a new chapter Today, three quarters of a century later, many have cast the tragedy and disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic we face in warlike terms [Speaking in French: As we face this crisis, let’s be inspired by what generations in the past have done. Working together, they persevered.] For everyone, man, woman, and child, soldier, doctor, nurse, industrialist, and volunteer, had a role to play When the war was finally won, with diligence and dedication, they began building a better future for themselves and their children For us And today we honour them We remember those who never returned from battle And we also pause in gratitude for the six Canadian Armed Forces members killed just recently in a helicopter crash Their lives of service cut much too short All of them continue to inspire us, and never more so than in such challenging times As we begin to emerge from this pandemic, we dare to dream not of a new normal, but a better normal Let us make the most of humanity’s resilience and pray that we may be worthy of the legacy of those we honour today Lest we forget N’oublions jamais [Bagpipe music] Master of ceremonies >> Please rise and pay your respects for O Canada [“O Canada” plays] Master of ceremonies >> Good morning, Premier Ford. Speaker Arnott, Brigadier General, and all Ontarians joining us

virtually in today’s celebrations marking the official declaration of the end of hostilities in Europe in 1945 My name is Major Sacha Paul and I say welcome to the day of ceremonies I would now call upon the Honourable Premier Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario, to say a few remarks to honour this occasion Premier Doug Ford >> Thank you, Major Paul Before I start off, I just want to thank the men and women that serve I absolutely love the men and women that serve our country Thank you from the bottom of our heart Good morning It’s an honour to be here today with Speaker Ted Arnott and Brigadier-General Mialkowski to celebrate VE Day 75 years ago, the world witnessed one of the most important events in modern history, the victory of the allied forces over Nazi Germany Canada played a pivotal role in helping to secure that victory and liberate Europe from the Nazis On that day, Canadians from coast to coast to coast flooded the streets to celebrate each year The war in Europe had finally come to an end and our soldiers could come home For that moment was bittersweet, while more than 1 million Canadians answered the call, 45,000 made the ultimate sacrifice They gave everything in the service of their country, and today we honour those Canadian heroes They fought for their homes and their families for Queen and country, for our freedoms and the way of life Whether it was storming Juno beach on D-Day or freeing the Netherlands from Nazi occupation, Canadian troops became known for their raw courage, grit, determination, in the face of adversity So today, and every day, we honour them We honour and thank our veterans and we salute our men and women in uniform who are actively serving as part of that rich tradition and legacy While we cannot mark this historical occasion together in person today, we come together in our own ways to pay tribute It can be as simple as a moment of silence, remembering a loved one who served, or calling a veteran to thank them Their heroism and bravery continue to inspire us today Because we know no obstacles, no threat is too great when we stand united as Canadians, for their sacrifice we will never forget And thank you, and God bless our veterans and God bless the people of Ontario Major Paul >> I will now ask the Honourable Ted Arnott, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly to say a few words Speaker Arnott >> Premier, Brigadier-General Mialkowski, friends, it is my great honour on behalf of all 124 members of provincial parliament, opposition and government alike, to join you here this morning at our provincial seat of government, standing strong and bold as a lasting symbol of democracy and liberty, the very same values which motivated a generation of Canadians to volunteer, risking their lives far from home in the service of their country The years have passed, but we gather still, and we do so today to acknowledge their courage and valour and remember their sacrifice In the spirit of John McCrae’s urgent exhortation, “To you from failing hands we throw the torch, be yours to hold it high.” We now carry that torch of remembrance When we look back back, we know the history of our country was not preordained It didn’t just happen It unfolded as it did, leaving us to become one of the most

respected and appreciated nations on the earth because of the qualities of our people, our resourcefulness, our willingness to endure shared sacrifice, our compassion and most of all our character Those qualities were never more evident than during the war years from 1939 to 1945, and our role in helping to bring World War II to an end was significant We’ve never started a war, but in defence of freedom, we have always punched above our weight First in Italy in 1943, then after D-Day in June of 1944, Canadian forces faced down the Nazi occupiers, pushing first through France, then Belgium, then Holland Fighting not for conquest, but for liberty and freedom, fighting to build a better world for the generations that would follow, our generation This past week, we also observed the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands by Canadians, which has created a special friendship between our two countries unique in the world We are very grateful to the embassy of the Dutch kingdom in Canada for the gift of Liberation 75 tulips which now adorn our south lawn around our flagpoles and serve to refresh our memories of our enduring bond with the Dutch people On this day 75 years ago, as the hostilities in Europe came to an end, here in Toronto they celebrated University Avenue south of us was packed and crowds engulfed much of the downtown Today, by necessity, our numbers are diminished here Many who would want to be here with us cannot be present And we are not yet celebrating the end of our trial But remembering what happens 75 years ago in inspires in us the strength, the resolve, the resilience to confront and overcome this challenge of our time And while we must be physically apart, all across Ontario we are together in affection and in spirit May God bless the people of Ontario Major Paul >> I now request Brigadier-General Mialkowski, commander of 4th Canadian division, Canadian Armed Forces, to say a few remarks Brigadier-General Mialkowski >> Good morning, Premier Ford, Mr Speaker, ladies and gentlemen [French spoken: It is a privilege to be here with you to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands and the victory on VE Day which took place on May 8, 1945.] The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa has an article published by The Globe and Mail It describes the tidal waves of enthusiasm let loose in the streets of Toronto a few steps from here As men and women of all ages rushed outside to merge with the singing, shouting crowds that paradeed in Toronto streets As you’ve heard from the premier and the Speaker, due to COVID-19 and the requirement for physical distancing, we cannot come together in great exuberant numbers to commemorate the victory in Europe and the 75th liberation of the Netherlands Our tribute to soldiers, aviators and sailors who fought and ended the war in Europe and defeated that enemy is nonetheless heartfelt and profound [French spoken: From the fall of 1948 to the spring of 1945, more than 175,000 Canadians participated in the campaign to liberate the Netherlands. More than 7,600 of them sacrificed their lives.] The first Canadian Army, formed in 1942, played a major role in the liberation of the Dutch people Under the command of the general, the first Canadian Army was the largest army that had ever been under the control of a Canadian It brought together 175,000 Canadian soldiers and 450 additional soldiers from Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland and the United States This Canadian Army cleared the coastal areas and opened the English channel ports that were vital to the flow of supplies needed for the allied advance The first Canadian Army then participated in a number of campaigns and operations to free Belgium and the

Netherlands and help force the surrender in May of 1945 [French spoken: The Canadians who took part in the campaign to liberate the Netherlands made many sacrifices to re-establish peace and liberate Europeans] The mission was difficult and it resulted in many lives lost But the effort of our veterans were not in vain as they left a lasting legacy of peace Major Paul >> It is my honour to recite from the poem “For the Fallen” by Laurence Binyon “They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them We will remember them.” And now I ask to please rise if you’re able to and pay respects as the bugler will play the Last Post [Last Post plays] >>I now call upon Premier Ford to lay a wreath on behalf of the people and province of Ontario I invite Speaker Arnott to lay

a wreath on behalf of the Legislature of Ontario I invite the Brigadier General Mialkowski to lay a wreath on behalf of the Canadian Armed Forces, cadets and veterans There is a fourth wreath that was placed prior to the ceremony on behalf of the Consular Corps of Toronto, who represent all of Ontario’s diplomatic and international community but could not attend today’s ceremony due to restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 crisis I wish to thank all Ontarians for honouring the sacrifices made by so many people during the Second World War, so that future generations can live in peace Today we all feel a special connection to the people in all countries as we battle COVID-19 on a global scale and work towards a day we can all gather to celebrate milestones like 75 years of world peace The official party will depart at the playing of the royal anthem [Royal Anthem plays]