Ottawa, ON The Hon. Andrew Scheer, Leader of Canada’s Conservatives and of the Official Opposition, today released the following statement:

“Today is the 80th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland, which started the Second World War. On September 1, 1939 Adolf Hitler sent his troops into Poland, a week after signing the Non-Aggression Pact with the Soviet Union that divided Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence. During the first few days of the invasion, the German Army was able to destroy the Polish Air Force and capture much of the Polish Army.

“Sixteen days after Germany invaded Poland from the west, the Soviet Army launched its own invasion from the east, which led to the death of nearly a million innocent Poles in just the first few weeks of the occupation. Poland’s initial defeat in its defensive war of 1939 did not break the spirit of the Polish people, who formed the biggest underground movement in Europe in order to defend their country.

“On September 10, 1939, Canada joined the Second World War, serving in six battles and becoming instrumental in ensuring the Allied victory. At that time, for a country with only 11 million people, Canada’s contribution to the War was incredibly significant as more than one million Canadians and Newfoundlanders served in the military. Of these military troops, over 45,000 gave their lives and another 55,000 were wounded. By the end of the War, Canada had become a major military power with one of the largest navies in the world, the fourth largest air force, and an army of six divisions.

“The Second World War remains one of the darkest and most traumatic events in world history. Then as now, Canadians stood for freedom, human rights, and the dignity of all.

“Let us never forget the Canadian and Allied heroes who fought in this war, fighting for democracy and fundamental human rights.

“On behalf of Canada’s Conservatives, I encourage all Canadians to take the time to educate themselves about the history of World War II and Canada’s valiant role in the Allied victory.