ESSA TOWNSHIP -- Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer stopped by Angus to visit Peacekeepers Park on Thursday to celebrate all that peacekeepers have done.
“We’ve had a proud history of participating in many U.N. missions to preserve peace and to help stabilize regions,” said Scheer. “We promote fundamental human rights around the world, and I think that’s something that’s part of our proud Canadian tradition.”
National Peacekeepers' Day, celebrated on Aug. 9, is an official remembrance day for Canadian veterans of military peacekeeping activities.
When asked what Peacekeepers Day means to him by BarrieToday, Scheer was candid about the respect he has for veterans and active military members.
“It’s obviously recognizing all the sacrifices made by Canadians over the years. Those who served, and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. (It’s important to) honour that sacrifice and be there with the families who lost a loved one,” said Scheer. “The best thing we can do is pay tribute to, and attend ceremonies like this, to make sure future generations of Canadians carry on that same legacy.”
Scheer was taken on a tour of the park by Barrie-Innisfil MP John Brassard, event organizer Fern Taillefer and Essa Township Mayor Terry Dowdall before speaking to the generous crowd that gathered for the ceremony.
While there are many Peacekeepers Parks across Canada Scheer could have chosen to visit on Aug. 9, he pointed to the Angus fixture as noteworthy.
“Brassard invited me and asked me to adjust my schedule to take part in this ceremony... it’s very special. I understand this is the only one with a LAV (light-armoured vehicle) and the proximity to Base Borden... has a very important place in this region. So, I wanted to make sure I could attend,” said Scheer.
After the tour and the crowd sang Oh, Canada, Scheer delivered a speech to the crowd.
“We can never be thankful enough to our brave soldiers and the sacrifices they and their families make to protect us at home and abroad,” he said in his speech. “On Peacekeepers Day, it’s not just about recognizing those who have helped protect Canada and our way of life, but those who have answered the call to help protect peace around the world.”
After the speech ended, local members of the military, local politicians and family members of fallen soldiers took turns placing wreaths on the Peacekeepers Park memorial, a wall that contains the names of 283 Canadians who served.