William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD


Norm Van Tassel: 1998
Norm Van Tassel at the Korean Veterans Association unveiling of the Korea Veterans Cairn: Winnipeg, Manitoba 1998
My fellow veterans and supporters of the veterans’ movement – this is a wonderful and well deserved tribute to a great man, my friend: Rifleman Norm Van Tassel. Norm has inoperable pancreatic cancer and has less than 6 months to live – he is going out like a trooper – he needs our prayers


Mr. Gary Doer

I’d like to recognize Norm Van Tassel, who is in the gallery today. He is joined in the gallery today by veterans of the Second World War, Korean War and the United Nations peacekeeping missions.

Mr. Van Tassel is a Korean war veteran and the only Manitoba recipient of the distinguished Silver Star. In 2002, Mr. Van Tassel was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal. He was a driving force for the creation of the memorial to peacekeepers on Memorial Boulevard.


Ms. Bonnie Korzeniowski (St. James):

Mr. Speaker, there are people who do great deeds in life, but not all of them are heroes. I would like to recognize a person who is undoubtedly a hero of our age. Norm Van Tassel is a Korean War veteran and past president of the Korea Veterans Association Unit 17.

As a member of the board of directors for the Last Post Fund in Winnipeg, Norm was involved in a successful fundraising initiative that supported the building of a columbarium in the Brookside Cemetery Field of Honour. It was created in 1999, to commemorate those servicemen from Manitoba who were killed in Korea and those in the Canoe River train wreck on their way to serve in Korea.

Norm was recognized for his continued outstanding contributions to fellow veterans when he was awarded the Korea Veterans Association’s highest award, the distinguished Silver Star, the only one issued in Manitoba. In 2002, Norm was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in recognition of his work on behalf of the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping. He has been instrumental in the creation of the Sgt. Tommy Prince Unit of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 4 in St. James.

Norm worked diligently with me and the Member for Assiniboia (Mr. Rondeau) in the creation of a memorial for peacekeepers’ work in the past, present and future on Memorial Boulevard. The memorial acts as a constant reminder of Canada’s role in developing and participating in peacekeeping missions. The memorial also looks to our future involvement and the sacrifices that Canada will be making towards keeping the peace.

It isn’t every day that we get to take stride beside great heroes. We often come to know them through stories and history books. It is through the patient advocacy and personal valour that a person like Norm Van Tassel becomes a great hero of our age. The guidance and forethought that a person like him provides to each and every one of us makes us wiser and more aware of the world we live in. I know that I have always looked to Norm as a friend and trusted voice on veterans’ issues. It has been a pleasure to work with this great Canadian.

I would ask that all honourable members join me in congratulating Norm Van Tassel for his exemplary service to his country, his province, and his community. Indeed, we will remember them.