The Honourable George J. Furey, Q.C.
Speaker of the Senate
Your Excellency…Mrs. Park,
Esteemed representatives of the South Korean government,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Members of the House of Commons,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honour to be here with you all this evening and to bring to you best wishes on behalf of the Senate of Canada.
Your Excellency and Mrs. Park, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your kind generosity in hosting this special occasion. Karen and I have been looking forward to hearing Ms. Lucille Chung’s performance and we very much appreciate the opportunity to join all of you in observing National Day and Armed Forces Day in South Korea.
On October 1st, the Republic of Korea will celebrate Armed Forces Day, which honours the sacrifices of the brave men and women who have served, and continue to serve, your great country. It is on this day in 1950, at the height of the Korean War, that South Korean military forces broke through the 38th parallel.
As we prepare to celebrate South Korea’s Armed Forces Day, I am proud as a Canadian to honour and remember the sacrifices that Canadian troops made in the Korean War more than half a century ago.
Altogether, more than 26,000 Canadians served in the Korean conflict from 1950 to 1953 — and another 7,000 Canadians served in the Korean theatre between the cease-fire of 1953 and the end of 1955.
Much like South Korea, Canada, too, has a rich and proud military history. Since our Confederation in 1867, members of our armed forces have repeatedly deployed overseas and fought courageously on land, air and sea.
Canadian forces have also participated in a number of peace, humanitarian relief, and other non-combat military operations around the world in recent decades…and we continue to contribute militarily to the UN and military alliances such as NATO and NORAD.
For over 50 years, Canada and South Korea have enjoyed positive and mutually-beneficial relations…and the recently ratified Canada-South Korea Trade Agreement has helped solidify this friendship: Korea is Canada’s 7th largest merchandise trade partner and 15th largest services trade partner. I very much look forward to watching this friendship continuing to grow and flourish.
In closing, I would like to emphasize the significance of sharing these special occasions with each other – for in doing so, we have the opportunity to build upon our alliances and honour those who made our freedoms possible.
It is indeed an honour and pleasure to be here…and I wish you all a wonderful evening.