Mr. R. N. Thompson (Red Deer):
Mr. Speaker, I have a question of personal privilege. The purpose of my point of privilege is twofold. The first is to draw to the attention of the members of this house and the nation the fact that on Sunday, the day after tomorrow, our good friends, citizens of the free, independent, indivisible and inalienable nation of Norway, celebrate the 150th anniversary of their constitution and declaration of independence.
The Norwegian constitution is one of the oldest existing constitutions of the world and its worth and fundamental, democratic basis have withstood the test of time with only minor change. In fact it stands as an outstanding document guaranteeing the basic human and civil rights, freedom of speech and press and the just rule of law. The constitution of Norway had a dramatic birth on May 17, 1814, in the shadow of events centring around the fall of Napoleon, the result of European power politics, democratic currents of enlightenment and national awakening.
This historic milepost in the history of Norway and democratic parliamentary government will be of much interest to Canadians as we look forward to our own centennial in just three years, and even before that time the repatriation of our constitution to Canadian soil. This being Citizenship day, I am sure the thousands of loyal Canadian citizens of Norwegian stock, a number of whom are in this house, share my own keen interest.
Actually the history of Norway's government goes back more than a thousand years, the country having been unified under a monarchy about 900 A.D. This brings me to my second point. During recent months the veteran Norwegian explorer, Dr. Helge Ingstad, has unearthed definite evidence that the first European settlers on this continent were the Norwegian Vikings, the best known of whom is Leif Ericson, who some 500 years before Columbus settled on the northern tip of Newfoundland. The "Vinland" of those 20220-209
early settlements described in Nordic history has now been verified to have been near the fishing village of L'Anse aux Meadows, near Belle Isle. The foundations of the first buildings, their design, the metal tools and nails have provided archaeological proof that the first colonists of Canada arrived here approximately 550 years before the first French or English colonists. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, having regard to these historical facts, I suggest that the government give consideration to declaring May 17 a national holiday to be known as Leif Ericson day.
Subtopic: MR. THOMPSON ANNIVERSARY OF NORWEGIAN DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE