Tom Beaulieu - Highway of Heroes

November 4, 2013
Ministers' Statements and Speeches

(November 4, 2013) - Mr. Speaker, as we prepare to commemorate Remembrance Day, I am pleased to confirm the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is designating a section of Highway 1, from the Alberta border to Enterprise, as the NWT Highway of Heroes.  This designation will serve as a reminder of the sacrifices made by Northern soldiers, police officers, firefighters, emergency medical and rescue personnel, and other first responders who have died in the line of duty.

Recognizing our Northern heroes demonstrates our government’s commitment to the Assembly’s vision of Believing in People and Building on the Strengths of Northerners.  Our first responders are committed to keeping our communities sustainable, vibrant, and safe, and we honour them for their service and sacrifices.

Mr. Speaker, the Highway of Heroes is an initiative to honour Canadians who dedicated their lives to keep our communities and residents safe. This social movement started in 2002 when people of all ages and walks of life began gathering as a sign of respect along overpasses crossing Highway 401 between Trenton and Toronto.  Sadly, this length of highway is travelled by convoys of vehicles that carry a dead soldier's body--with his or her family--from Canadian Forces Base Trenton to the coroner's office at the Centre for Forensic Sciences in Toronto. 

In August 2007, the tribute received formal recognition when this segment of freeway was renamed the Highway of Heroes.

Since then, other Canadian provinces have similarly dedicated stretches of their highway networks with special significance to the men and women who serve our great nation. After considerable consultation with the RCMP, Canadian Armed Forces, and representatives of our fire, rescue, and ambulance services, the highway between the Alberta border and Enterprise was chosen as our own Highway of Heroes.

Mr. Speaker, the GNWT and key stakeholders have developed special highway signs for installation along the roadway between Enterprise and the Alberta border recognizing it as the NWT Highway of Heroes.  These signs will remind travellers of the sacrifices our soldiers, police officers, and first responders have made.

The GNWT, Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP and the NWT Fire Chiefs are holding a dedication ceremony, three kilometres south of Enterprise this Friday at 2:00 PM. The signs will be unveiled and the highway dedicated to honour all fallen soldiers, police officers, firefighters, rescue and medical personnel, and first responders who serve their nation and their community. I invite Members to attend the ceremony to honour those who contribute to our safety through their service as members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Fire Departments, and emergency responders.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.