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Canadian Coast Guard - Golden Jubilee

 

Hon. Michael L. MacDonald: Honourable senators, I rise today to recognize the Golden Jubilee of the Canadian Coast Guard as we marked, this past month, the fiftieth anniversary of this historic institution.

The Canadian Coast Guard is playing an integral role in safeguarding our Canadian waters. Operating within Canada's waterways and oceans, from the Atlantic to the Pacific and north to the frozen waters of our Arctic, the Coast Guard remains a true symbol of our nation's security and sovereignty.

Created on January 26, 1962, by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, the Canadian Coast Guard has grown into an organization that now employs roughly 4,500 Canadians and operates a fleet of 116 vessels and 22 helicopters.

We have asked the men and women, both past and present, of the Canadian Coast Guard to safeguard Canada's oceans and waterways. Given the immensity of our coastline, this task is a challenging mandate. It is, however, a challenge that these men and women have executed with impeccable skill and integrity for 50 years, including people such as my own brother Allister, who served for many years, and my late Uncle Sam and late Uncle Charlie, both of whom were captains in the Coast Guard.

With the celebration of the Golden Jubilee, it is essential not only to commemorate and honour the past but also to consider the future. The Government of Canada has, since 2005, committed $1.4 billion to the Canadian Coast Guard — funds that will ensure the Coast Guard fleet is adequately outfitted with new and highly capable vessels, such as the new Hero-class mid-shore patrol vessels currently being built in Halifax, and the construction of the polar icebreaker CCGS John G. Diefenbaker, set to become the new flagship of the Canadian Coast Guard.

It is with this funding that our government has and will continue to invest in the future of this distinguished organization. Certainly, with the celebration of our Coast Guard's historic anniversary, there is perhaps no better time to set the stage for the future.

Honourable senators, we, as Canadians, take great pride in this land we call home, and we take great pride in the safety and security that we are so fortunate to have. It is for this reason that I rise today to recognize the Golden Jubilee of our Canadian Coast Guard and to thank the men and women who have served, and who continue to serve, in safeguarding our waters.