Thank you very much.
I'd like to clear up a couple of things that Mr. Lemieux said. He said that adding the word “legal” was an amendment. No amendments have been made to this bill. The bill is in its original form that was submitted to the House. The current Holidays Act lists Canada Day and Victoria Day as legal holidays, and lists Remembrance Day as a holiday. That is where the interpretation that it could be seen as a lesser holiday than the other holidays...because it is worded differently in the Holidays Act that was passed in 1972.
I certainly agree with the Legion with respect to Victoria Day. Not many people use it to observe or revere our longest-serving monarch, but it also might surprise people to know that several provinces do not celebrate Victoria Day, or they celebrate by a different name and for a different purpose.
Canada Day is the only one that is universally agreed on by all the provinces and territories. Certainly, all the provinces can choose to do their own thing with respect to Remembrance Day because they're the ones that have the power to make statutory holidays.
I was very glad to hear Ms. Gallo, after questions from Mr. Valeriote, say that if it was clear that it didn't create a statutory holiday, their position would likely change because the reality is that this doesn't impact the school boards in forcing anybody to close. That was one of the primary reasons why I did not consult school boards across the country, because statutory holidays are at the provincial level.
There were wide attempts to get in touch with the Legion. My office wrote a letter to every Legion branch in the country. We sent letters to different veterans organizations. We were out on the Internet asking questions and consulting with people all over the place. I even spoke to Canadian Forces members while I was on my honeymoon on a ship in Alaska. I found it very interesting that serving members of the navy were choosing to go on cruises for their vacations. It just shows how much they love the sea.
Certainly, there were many attempts to get in touch with Dominion Command. Mr White asked me last week if I could forward him some of those communication attempts, and I do have some emails. They're not going to be submitted to committee because they're not in both official languages, but the communications started on September 6, 2013, and they were primarily through Bruce Poulin. I don't have ready records of the phone conversations that took place, but there were several attempts over a six-month period to speak to Dominion Command before the bill was tabled.
Mr. Blais, you've spoken about the equality of other federal holidays. Maybe the word “legal” is one of the big, confusing things that exist here. My proposal in the bill is to add “legal” to Remembrance Day. On the flip side, we could remove the word “legal” from the other two, and then they'd all just be listed as national holidays. Do you think that would help alleviate confusion?