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ACVA Committee News Release

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Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs
House of Commons / Chambre des communes
Comité permanent des anciens combattants

For immediate release


NEWS RELEASE


Veterans Affairs Committee Tables Unanimous Report on the Protection of Monuments Honouring Canadian Veterans

Ottawa, June 13, 2022 -

Today, Mr. Emmanuel Dubourg, Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, tabled a report containing three recommendations aimed at preventing disgraceful incidents such as those that occurred early on in the protests during which truckers stopped their vehicles on the streets of downtown Ottawa last winter. Protesters parked their vehicles on the National War Memorial, danced on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, used the monuments as public toilets, and engaged in other acts of desecration.

On March 1, 2022, the Committee adopted a motion “unilaterally and unequivocally [condemning] the desecration of any War Memorial in Canada, including the National War Memorial, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument in Ottawa. The Committee calls upon law enforcement to continue their investigations of these incidents and will report this motion to the House.”

“I am very pleased that all members of the Committee have agreed to condemn these deplorable incidents,” said Mr. Dubourg. “The Government of Canada must do everything in its power to protect the integrity of these sites. However, this increased protection must not come at the expense of accessibility. Every Canadian must feel absolutely secure and free to visit any of these monuments. This is the best way to show that the sacrifices made by those they honour still mean something.”

The report notes the severity of the laws and regulations under which such actions are punishable. Police and the courts have the necessary tools. As for penalties, the Committee believes that alternative forms of conflict resolution would more likely have a positive impact in terms of both deterrence and awareness. As a result, they have prepared a statement in this regard.

As for prevention, the Committee recommends improved planning and coordination the response to such incidents, or when the circumstances increase the risk of these kinds of incidents occurring, such as during demonstrations or large public gatherings.

The National Capital’s monuments see an estimated one million visitors each year. Given the importance of these monuments, temporary protective measures should be put in place when the situation poses an immediate risk to their integrity, but the government should resist any measure that would permanently restrict access to these sites.

The Committee would like to thank all those who contributed to this study.

The report is available online on the Committee’s website.

For more information, please contact:
Cédric Taquet, Clerk of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs
Tel: 613-944-9354
E-mail: ACVA@parl.gc.ca