Harper pays Canada Day trib­ute to mil­i­tary

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA - BY JEN­NIFER DITCH­BURN

Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper paid trib­ute to mem­bers of the Cana­dian Armed Forces on Wed­nes­day dur­ing a rainy Canada Day cel­e­bra­tion on Par­lia­ment Hill.

“I re­cently met some of these he­roes who de­fend this coun­try,’’ Harper told the um­brella-tot­ing crowd.

“In the Baltic and in Eastern Europe, they are sup­port­ing our friends and al­lies who face Rus­sian ag­gres­sion. And, in Iraq and in Kuwait, they are fight­ing the ter­ror­ists there, to keep us safe here.’’

He went on to ref­er­ence the shoot­ing of hon­our guard Cpl. Nathan Cir­illo last Oc­to­ber.

“As we saw right here in our Par­lia­ment, this threat is ev­ery­where to­day,’’ said Harper, who took in the fes­tiv­i­ties with his wife Lau­reen and two chil­dren.

“But we have faced great threats many times be­fore, and we have over­come them. And we shall over­come them once more. So, let’s hear it for the brave men and women of the Cana­dian Armed Forces.’’

Harper was joined by Gov. Gen David John­ston and other dig­ni­taries for a noon show cel­e­brat­ing the coun­try’s 148th birth­day.

When the show be­gan, the skies opened on the crowd, which the RCMP es­ti­mated about 34,000.

The wet weather meant there was no air show this year. The on­stage en­ter­tain­ment was to fea­ture pop artists in­clud­ing Kiesza, Magic and Shad, as well as a trib­ute to Sir John A. Mac­don­ald per­formed by ac­tors.

NDP Leader Tom Mul­cair’s is­sued a Canada Day state­ment that hinted at the elec­tion on the hori­zon.

He was ex­pected to at­tend events Wed­nes­day across the Greater Toronto Area, a crit­i­cal cam­paign bat­tle­ground.

“We have many rea­sons to be proud to be Cana­dian, but much work re­mains to be done,’’ Mul­cair said.

“The NDP has a clear vi­sion to build a more sus­tain­able so­ci­ety. Cana­di­ans can count on the NDP to bring con­crete pro­pos­als to Ot­tawa to make life more af­ford­able for fam­i­lies and make Canada a fairer coun­try.’’

Lib­eral Leader Justin Trudeau was also spend­ing the day in the GTA and south­west­ern On­tario.

He is­sued a hol­i­day state­ment that lauded Canada as “a place of fair­ness and of op­por­tu­nity; a place where peo­ple from ev­ery imag­in­able coun­try and cul­ture, who speak ev­ery lan­guage, live and work, and build and thrive to­gether.’’

Thou­sands of peo­ple braved rain showers to celebrate Canada Day on Par­lia­ment Hill in Ot­tawa, Wed­nes­day.

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