Reception Hosted by the City of Dieppe (France)
Dieppe, France, Sunday, August 19, 2012
It is an honour to be here in Dieppe and to walk in the footsteps of brave Canadian soldiers who came here 70 years ago.
We lost so many on that day.
But I am pleased to see that the sacrifice they made has not faded from our collective memory. Indeed, the memory of battle is but one of many links that we share with Dieppe—links that date back centuries.
It is here that Samuel de Champlain—the first governor of New France—would often launch his travels to what would later become Canada. Today, many Canadians— particularly in New Brunswick, but also across Canada—can trace their connections back to this place.
I have often talked about countries finding common ground on which to work together, practicing a sharing of knowledge and ideas across borders and disciplines. For many years, Canada and France have worked together in this way, but here in Dieppe, we share a different bond, a special bond, based on history and a deep sense of camaraderie.
The Second World War in particular brought with it many hardships and tragedies—over 900 Canadians, young soldiers, lost their lives here in the Dieppe raid. They fought valiantly in the name of freedom, but were brutally rebuffed that day.
Yet, they did not lose hope.
Two years later, Canadian soldiers were back, the liberation of Dieppe complete. And with that, we cemented the bonds of friendship that have remained to this day.
Collaboration can take many forms, and when we work together—in education and innovation, on the seas and on the land—we are building a smarter, more caring world.
That is one reason why it is so important to remember anniversaries such as this one. We remember and honour those who gave their lives. We remember so that we never take for granted the relationship that has grown between our people. And we remember so that we may pass on the lessons of one generation to the next.
In fact, it is the young people, from Canada and from Dieppe, who will define what our relationship will be. To them, I say: listen to the stories of the veterans with us today. Learn from them and learn from each other. Our hopes rest in your hands. I have no doubt that, many years from now, Dieppe and Canada will still be celebrating our close bonds.
Thank you, the people of Dieppe, for your hospitality, for your service, for your friendship and for your remembrance.