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Canadian Naval Centennial

OTTAWA – Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff made the following statement today commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Canada’s Navy:

“May 4, 1910 was an historic day in the formation of our country's identity when the naval services protecting Canadian waters ceased to be British, and became Canadian.

Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier’s dream of a Canadian Navy became a reality when his government introduced the Naval Service Bill on January 12, 1910. Despite opposition, at its third and final reading on May 4th, the bill received Royal Assent and established the Canadian Navy. King George V granted use of the term “Royal” the next year.

The initial plan created a Department of the Naval Service under the Minister of Marine and Fisheries and called for a fleet of five cruisers and six torpedo-boat destroyers. The Canadian Navy received its first warships that same year when HMCS Rainbow and Niobe were acquired from Britain.

Today we celebrate the navy’s success, but to also remember its history. Despite its modest beginnings, Canada’s navy has provided a vital service protecting our coastline, and participating in international missions.

It played an important role in the Second World War by assuming responsibility for the northwest Atlantic. By the end of the war, Canada had the third-largest navy in the world. It also played significant roles in the Korean War, providing military support, but also humanitarian aid. During the Cold War, Canada’s navy helped NATO allies track Soviet submarines and long-range aircraft. More recently, the Canadian navy has been deployed during conflicts in the Persian Gulf, the former Yugoslavia and East Timor.

On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and our Parliamentary Caucus, I congratulate the Canadian Navy on a hundred years of excellent service and I thank all who served for their commitment and dedication.”

Office of the Leader of the Opposition    5/4/2010


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