“As we reflect tomorrow on those who made sacrifices for Canada’s many freedoms and those who continue to serve our country, Polish Canadians will also reflect on their own history fighting for the same values.
“Polish Independence Day is the most important national holiday in Poland. For people of Polish descent, today is a celebration of their longstanding commitment to freedom and democracy.
“On November 11, Poland marks 96 years since it achieved independence, following 123 years of occupation by neighbouring powers. In the decades that followed, Poland would again find itself struggling against tyranny, both at the hands of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Throughout this difficult period, Canada is proud to have been a refuge for many Poles and others escaping persecution.
“On this day, it is also important to remember that it is thanks in large part to the determination of the freedom-loving Polish people that we were able to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first partially free elections in Poland in June, and the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin Wall earlier this week.
“Here in Canada, we are extremely proud of the contributions Polish Canadians have made to our country since first settling here more than 155 years ago. In addition to Canada’s proud military history, I encourage all Canadians to learn more about the sacrifices borne by our Polish allies in our common fight for freedom.
“As Minister for Multiculturalism, I extend my best wishes for a happy National Independence Day to all Polish Canadians.”