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Ontario Hansard - 10-October2006

Mr. Frank Klees (Oak Ridges): Ontario is the first province to officially recognize the historic and ongoing contributions to our society of Canadians of German ancestry by proclaiming the day following Thanksgiving Day in each year as German Pioneers Day.

I was privileged today to attend a flag-raising ceremony in front of the Legislature in honour of this occasion. Among the honoured guests in attendance were Dr. Klaus Rupprecht, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Toronto; Karl Ruppert, the president of the German World Congress; and Mr. Gerry Meinzer, the founding president of the German Canadian Congress.

The emigration of settlers of German origin to Canada began with the coming of the first Loyalists at the end of the 18th century. In the 1820s, people of German origin in Ontario made up a full 70% of the entire population of Ontario.

Famous German Canadians included Fathers of Confederation William Steeves and Sir Charles Tupper, Canada's sixth Prime Minister; Prime Minister John Diefenbaker; and Governor General Ed Schreyer.

As a proud German Canadian, and on behalf of John Tory and the official opposition, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our German community for its pivotal role in the historic and continuing development of Ontario -- socially, culturally, economically and politically -- on this German Pioneers Day 2006.

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