Air Force Day on the HillPublished on 9 May 2017 Hansard and Statements by Senator Joseph Day
Hon. Joseph A. Day (Leader of the Senate Liberals):
Honourable colleagues, as I have done in the past, I rise today to thank the men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force for their service and to invite each of you to do the same tonight at Air Force Day on the Hill, a reception sponsored by the Royal Canadian Air Force Association.
The Royal Canadian Air Force was created almost 100 years ago, in 1920. On April 1, 1924, it became known as “The Royal Canadian Air Force.” Shortly after, it became a separate service equal in status to the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Navy.
But the history of Canadians’ military service in the air goes back to before the time that we had our own national air force; 25,000 Canadian pilots served with the Royal Flying Corps, as part of the British Empire flying service, during the First World War, 1,600 of whom died during their service.
So it is indeed a service that has been a fundamental piece of the evolution of the Canadian Armed Forces as a whole and in supporting Canada’s role on the world stage.
For almost 100 years, in peace and war, the RCAF has served the country while it continues to contribute to the effectiveness and the recognition of our military forces throughout the world. Canadian pilots played a significant role in the Second World War as the fourth largest Allied air force, with more than 215,000 personnel by late 1944, 215,000 in the air force alone.
They have also served in the Korean War, in NATO operations and in UN peacekeeping missions in the Middle East and Asia. Of course, our air force is a key component in the surveillance of continental security, in close military cooperation within the North American Aerospace Defence Command, commonly known as NORAD.
Today, with approximately 13,000 Regular Force and 2,400 Air Reserve personnel, the RCAF continues to provide responsive and effective air power in our Armed Forces, for example, in search and rescue missions.
Air Force Day on the Hill is an exceptional occasion for an enriching experience of knowledge and learning, an opportunity for parliamentarians to meet RCAF personnel and aerospace industry professionals in a friendly and informal setting. The reception will take place today, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in room 256. I look forward to seeing you there.