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Military making a difference: Wallin 0

By Ray Spiteri, Niagara Falls Review

Pamela Wallin, chairwoman of the Senate's National Security and Defence Committee and member of the Veterans Affairs, was the keynote speaker at an event hosted by the Garrison Community Council of Niagara. The event was held at the Scotiabank Convention Centre on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 in Niagara Falls.
(MIKE DIBATTISTA/NIAGARA FALLS REVIEW)

Pamela Wallin, chairwoman of the Senate's National Security and Defence Committee and member of the Veterans Affairs, was the keynote speaker at an event hosted by the Garrison Community Council of Niagara. The event was held at the Scotiabank Convention Centre on Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 in Niagara Falls. (MIKE DIBATTISTA/NIAGARA FALLS REVIEW)

NIAGARA FALLS - 

It doesn’t always get the headlines.

It’s not the image most people see when they think of soldiers.

But Canada’s brave men and women in the military are not only protecting Canadian freedoms around the world, they are also providing hope to the downtrodden where freedom has long been only envisioned in dreams.

The Canadian military has built more than 50 schools in Afghanistan since war broke out following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Senator Pamela Wallin told more than 100 local dignitaries and veterans at the Scotiabank Convention Centre Monday.

“(When the mission started) no girls were going to school. Now the girls are going to school, millions of them. They are taking the veil from their faces and they are feeling what freedom feels like.”

She told the crowd the Canadian military has helped countless Afghan’s go from nothing to Grade 3 literacy skills in nine weeks.

“It makes me a little bit optimistic what might happen in that country,” she said, adding there remains a lot of work to do.

Wallin, chairwoman of the Senate’s national security and defence committee and member of the veterans affairs and international trade committee, was the keynote speaker during a lunch event hosted by the Garrison Community Council of Niagara. The group’s goal is to build a greater understanding of the Canadian Forces through engagement and participation with the local military community.

A well-known former journalist, diplomat and entrepreneur, Wallin is an honorary colonel of the Canadian Air Force. She became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2007 and a year later was appointed to the Senate. She serves on several corporate boards.

John Richmond, co-chairman of the Garrison council, said the event allowed veterans and military families to hear Wallin and meet with her one on one.

He said it also allowed his growing organization to seek Wallin’s assistance on projects the group is working on, including community outreach projects and a potential partnership with a legion to set up a homeless shelter for Niagara veterans.

“We want to see how it fits into veteran affairs,” said Richmond. “We’re not soliciting funds. It’s simply moral support and guidance. One of our primary principles is citizen involvement, so this will be a project for the citizens of Niagara.”

ray.spiteri@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @RaySpiteri

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