“Canadians pause to remember the exodus of Vietnamese refugees after the fall of Saigon to Communist forces on April 30, 1975. We commemorate the lives lost and the suffering endured on their harrowing journey to freedom, and celebrate the safe haven they found in Canada. 

“More than 800,000 refugees fled in small, unseaworthy boats. They faced constant peril that took the lives of at least a quarter-million people. More than 60,000 Vietnamese refugees settled in all 10 provinces and two territories. Never before had Canada welcomed so many refugees in so little time.

“Our nation is now home to more than 300,000 Vietnamese Canadians – three proud generations that contribute to our shared growth and prosperity in many spheres, including the economy, politics, the arts, science and sports.

“To honour their perilous journey to freedom, April 30 is also a day to celebrate the values of democracy and human rights, the rule of law, and a new beginning in Canada.

“I encourage all Canadians to reflect on the inspiring voyage of the Vietnamese ‘boat people,’ which is an important part of our nation’s history.”