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George Baker

The Hon. George  Baker, P.C. Senator George Baker is the former MP for the riding of Gander - Grand Falls (Newfoundland and Labrador). He was first elected to the House of Commons in 1974, and was re-elected at every subsequent federal election. Since March 26, 2002, he has served in the Senate of Canada, representing the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Statements & Hansard

Motion to Extend Wishes of Appreciation to Canadian Navy

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Statement made on 27 May 2010 by Senator Catherine Callbeck

Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck:

Honourable senators, this motion stands in the name of Senator Rompkey, but he has agreed that I speak today.

Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise to endorse the motion put forward by Senator Segal to recognize the one hundredth anniversary of the Canadian Navy. The motion conveys the best wishes and sincere appreciation of gratitude, appreciation and respect to the members of the Canadian Navy on this significant milestone. It pays tribute to the courage, competence, loyalty and determination of the men and women who have served offer the past century. They can all take great pride in that century of service to the people of Canada.

In paying truth to the outstanding contributions by the Canadian Navy, both in times of peace and times of war, I want to pay special tribute to those men and women who died in the service of their country and in the pursuit of peace. We remember their valour and their sacrifice in the cause of peace and security. In that same spirit, I also offer our thanks to the veterans of the Canadian Navy for the part they played in service to their country.

The people of Prince Edward Island, a province surrounded by water, have a special affinity to the Canadian Navy. There is a strong seafaring tradition in the province, where many have made their livelihoods as fishers and seafarers. That is why so many Islanders, volunteer to serve in the navy over the past 100 years. They brought with them their love of the sea, the call of the adventure and their dedication to serve.

There is also a long and proud tradition in the naval reserves on Prince Edward Island. HMCS Queen Charlotte was established in 1923, and over the years, thousands of Islanders have been recruited and trained as reservists. HMCS Queen Charlotte stands today overlooking the Charlottetown harbour. Its members continue to maintain the high standards that the navy has come to represent. They too are celebrating the navy's one hundredth anniversary and have a number of special events planned for this year in communities across the province.

Prince Edward Island cities also have the special honour of being namesake cities for ships in Canada's fleet. HMCS Summerside is a Kingston-class coastal defence vessel. It was launched in 1998 and officially commissioned in July 1999. The ship's sponsor is Mrs. Theresa Gallant of Summerside, a dedicated volunteer in her community. Mrs. Gallant always considered the crew as part of her family and hosted many large barbecues for the men and women who serve aboard the ship when it comes to port in its namesake city.

This is the second vessel to use the designation of HMCS Summerside. The first, launched in May 1941, was a Flower-class Corvette, launched in May 1941 and officially commissioned in September 1941. She was engaged in the convoying of merchant ships in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and later in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. She remained in service until 1945.

Honourable senators, I have a special attachment to Prince Edward Island's other namesake ship. In October 1994, I was honoured to be invited to become the sponsor of the tenth of 12 Canadian patrol frigates to be delivered to the Canadian Navy. I was at the shipyards in Saint John, New Brunswick when HMCS Charlottetown was launched and officially named for the capital city of Prince Edward Island. As sponsor, I had the pleasure to crack the bottle of Champagne across her bow. His Honour, the Speaker knows how special this ship is because he had occasion to visit her.

Almost one year after the launch, following the completion of sea trials, HMCS Charlottetown was commissioned in the city for which it was named. The people of Prince Edward Island warmly welcomed the captain and crew of the ship when she made her impressive entry into the harbour. Hundreds of people were on the wharf and at the water front in Charlottetown awaiting her arrival. They had the opportunity to tour the frigate and meet members of the crew. HMCS Charlottetown has returned several times since her first visit.

HMCS Charlottetown is the third to carry the name Charlottetown. The first Charlottetown was built in the early days of the Battle of the Atlantic during the Second World War. It provided escort duties to convoys across the Atlantic. In September 1942, she was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine in the St. Lawrence River with the loss of nine crew members, including her captain.

The second HMCS Charlottetown was commissioned in April 1944 and she, too, took up escort duties in the Atlantic. Fortunately, the ship and her crew survived and she was paid off — retired — in British Columbia in 1947.

HMCS Charlottetown is part of a proud tradition of ships named for Prince Edward Island's capital city. Since her launch and commissioning, the people of Prince Edward Island have had a special attachment to the frigate and her crew. Members of the crew continue to come to Prince Edward Island to participate in fundraising. They have earned the respect and admiration of people of the province who follow the movements of the frigate with great interest.

Since she was commissioned, HMCS Charlottetown has seen lots of action. She certainly embodies her motto, "All Challenges Squarely Met." She has taken part in many sovereignty and fishing patrols in Canadian waters along with international missions. Those international missions have included deployments to Europe with the Standing NATO Force Atlantic. In 2001, HMCS Charlottetown became the first East Coast warship to become fully integrated into a United States carrier battle group to enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions and sanctions against Iraq. She also saw action in the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and the waters off the coast of Iran and Pakistan as part of Canada's marine contribution to the campaign against terrorism.

This year, the crew of HMCS Charlottetown is engaged in training and readiness inspections, both locally in Halifax and out at sea. This preparation will allow HMSC Charlottetown to continue to protect Canada's interests here at home and around the world.

The activities of HMCS Charlottetown demonstrate the continued contributions of the Canadian Navy to bring about greater peace and security in the world. The professionalism of her officers and crew exemplify the high standards that the Canadian Navy maintains and upholds. As sponsor, I commend and congratulate the officers and crew of HMCS Charlottetown for their dedicated service to this nation and its people.

The Canadian Navy continues to play a vital role. Canada is surrounded on three sides by oceans. The Canadian Navy plays an active part in protecting Canada's sovereignty and ensuring that this country continues to contribute to peacekeeping efforts around the world. The deployment of a naval vessel to Haiti earlier this year to aid earthquake victims is a further demonstration of the varied roles the Canadian Navy plays around the world.

Honourable senators, I am pleased to join in supporting this motion. As the Canadian Navy celebrates its one hundredth anniversary, I encourage all Canadians to express appreciation and best wishes to all our navy personnel.

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