During his speech, Balkenende told the veterans he was born in 1956, 11 years after the liberation. He said the Canadian soldiers reached out to the Dutch in the darkest days of that nation. And, he added, if it wasn’t for the Canadians he would have been born to famine and fear, instead of the freedom he enjoyed growing up.
“Sixty-five years is a long time, but our appreciation has not failed and will not fail,” Balkenende told the men and women. “It is my honour to stand face to face with you.”
Ironically Prime Minister Balkenende had no idea he was addressing the veterans in a historic building that will likely soon be closed. The Billy Bishop is named after First World War pilot ace William Avery “Billy” Bishop. Last year, the Billy paid $20K in property taxes for 2008, but was still struggling to come up with the $21K needed for 2009. The Billy is also now facing a 25 per cent property tax increase for 2010.
Last modified: February 17, 2010