Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino
Editor: Canada’s mission in Afghanistan represents our nation’s greatest military undertaking in decades. Over 40,000 Canadians participated in the effort, making sacrifices many of us can never comprehend. 158 Canadians military members paid the ultimate sacrifice. A diplomat, aid workers, a contractor and a journalist were also killed working in Afghanistan.
That is why our government has made May 9 a National Day of Honour for all those who fought for Canada. Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces members, and the families of fallen Canadian soldiers will be honoured with a fitting tribute on Parliament Hill.
My department has led efforts to ensure that young Canadians also have the opportunity to honour Canadian heroes in their own communities.
Our government has also worked with important stakeholder groups to ensure their participation in this important event. The True Patriot Love Foundation (TPL), an organization which aims to honour the sacrifices of CAF members, has been working closely with our government.
TPL has written that they are “honoured” to participate in this “unprecedented” event. While a columnist writing for The Star criticized our partnerships with the private sector and not-for-profits, I know Defence Minister Rob Nicholson and I are proud to work with such great organizations.
I also want to commend corporate Canada, which has stepped up to the plate by providing financial support including air and group transportation. Our government has also guaranteed to ensure families have all their costs covered to attend the Day of Honour.
An event like the National Day of Honour is bigger than any one individual or government. All segments of Canadian society — from government, to the private sector, to educators and students — now have the opportunity to pay tribute to Canada’s men and women in uniform.
On May 9, we will ensure that Canada’s heroes of the Afghanistan mission know that a nation stands behind them.
Minister of Veterans Affairs