Canadians take great pride in the people, places and events that shape our history and identify our country.
We are inspired by the bravery of our soldiers at Normandy and moved by the words of John McCrae's "In Flanders Fields." We are amazed at the vision of Louis-Joseph Papineau and Sir Wilfrid Laurier. We are enchanted by the paintings of Emily Carr and the writings of Lucy Maud Montgomery. We look back in awe at the wisdom of Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir George-Étienne Cartier. We are moved to tears of joy by the humour of Stephen Leacock and tears of gratitude for the courage of Tecumseh. We hold in high regard the determination of Emily Murphy and Rev. Josiah Henson to overcome obstacles which stood in the way of their dreams. We give thanks for the work of the Victorian Order of Nurses and those who organized the Underground Railroad. We think of those who suffered and died at Grosse Île in the dream of reaching a new home. We think equally of the more than a million people who flowed through Pier 21 in Halifax and not only survived but thrived in the building of Canada.
These are defining moments of our history. These are our greatest inheritance. These are the stories and the histories that we hold in trust for future generations.
The National Historic Sites of Canada System Plan will provide even greater opportunities for Canadians to understand and celebrate our national heritage. We shall build on the strong foundation of our past and address the imperative for constant improvement to the system to ensure that it truly reflects the diversity of our nation and fully represents the manifold of our history.
In that regard, I have charged the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada to do more to mark the historic achievements of Canada's Aboriginal peoples, women and ethnocultural communities. We can, and indeed must, do better.
The Board and I share the commitment to recognize and tell with pride the contributions made by all those who came before us in shaping our remarkable and cherished country of Canada.