Evidence of meeting #31 for Canadian Heritage in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was heritage.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Steven Clark  Director, National Remembrance Day Ceremony, Royal Canadian Legion
  • Steven Heiter  Secretary, Dominion Ritual and Awards Committee, Royal Canadian Legion
  • Marcel Beaudry  Inspector of Canadian Forces Colours and Badges, Department of National Defence
  • Guy Turpin  Directorate of History and Heritage 3, Department of National Defence
  • Warrant Officer Alain Grenier  Directorate of History and Heritage 3-2, Department of National Defence

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash Davenport, ON

It's a bit of a concern for us on this side. We've spent a considerable amount of time studying protocol, and there has been an assumption, or obfuscation, on the part of the government that we don't have a proper protocol for folding the flag. Today we're hearing that we already have one.

The problem is that when you go on the Heritage Canada website and you click on “Folding the National Flag”, it only says “Directions for folding the National Flag of Canada are coming soon.” But if we already have a way of folding the flag, why is that not simply put on the Heritage Canada website? I think that's something that you guys can send little notes back to your folks to work on.

That flows to one other question.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

I have a point of order. Is it the member's supposition that we shouldn't be studying anything because it might not be on the website?

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash Davenport, ON

No.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

Paul Calandra Oak Ridges—Markham, ON

That is his job and that's the job of the committee.

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash Davenport, ON

Is this debate or a point of order?

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

No, it's not a point of order.

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash Davenport, ON

All right. Fair enough. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

The government is talking about establishing some kind of national protocol handbook. How would it work if other jurisdictions were establishing protocol for your organization? Say the Canadian military was going to write the protocol for the Legion or vice versa, or let's say the protocol office in Parliament was going to write the protocol for everybody, how is that going to work? Would that be cool with you guys if someone else wrote your protocol?

12:45 p.m.

Director, National Remembrance Day Ceremony, Royal Canadian Legion

Steven Clark

May I answer that?

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash Davenport, ON

Sure.

12:45 p.m.

Director, National Remembrance Day Ceremony, Royal Canadian Legion

Steven Clark

No. We would appreciate the guidance that a reference would provide. However, we would still have to fall back on our own internal practices and policies if we had a specific question. It would be advantageous to have information available. But that information should still acknowledge that there may be uniquenesses, depending on the different concerns that organizations may have.

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash Davenport, ON

Thank you so much.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

Thank you, Mr. Cash.

Next is Mr. Tilson.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Dufferin—Caledon, ON

To echo Mr. Simms, I think you've put out a wonderful book, and I agree that all members of Parliament should have it. I had a question last year from a constituent on how you dispose of a flag that's worn or not of any use, and we called the local Legion. I didn't know you dispose of it privately by burning, which is interesting, but that's the protocol. So the constituent was pleased to hear about that, and did that.

I also want to congratulate...I guess it's the Legion. We have a family cottage, and when I was a young boy we had a flag on a flag pole. At sunset and sunrise I had to raise the flag and lower it. Sun or pouring rain, I had to do that. I remember asking my dad, why do I have to do this in the pouring rain? He said, because that's the etiquette.

I'm glad to see that it's not contrary to etiquette to have the flag flying at night. I wish you had done that years ago.

I have a quick question about the schools. This would be to the Legion representatives. Everyone...well, not everyone, but people talk about educating the youth to appreciate what has gone on by our soldiers in past conflicts—it's not as much, but it happens. Many—and I'm speaking specifically of your Remembrance Day services—of the Remembrance Day services in my riding—and I don't have as many as Mr. Simms, but I have quite a few—are organized by Legions. Two in particular, in the towns of Orangeville and Shelburne, have outstanding ceremonies for anything they do, and I'm sure they have this book and follow it. Others are municipalities, service groups, and more particularly the schools. Schools individually have services.

My question is, do you encourage your members, the local Legions, to attend municipalities or schools and make suggestions as to what the appropriate protocol is to conduct a Remembrance Day service, or any other service for that matter?

12:50 p.m.

Director, National Remembrance Day Ceremony, Royal Canadian Legion

Steven Clark

The Legion recognizes that the importance of educating youth on remembrance is paramount. We do a couple of things—and then I'll get back to your specific question.

The first one is a remembrance contest that we have every year. Every year we encourage Canadian students to show us what remembrance means to them. They can do this through a literary composition, a poem or an essay, or they can do it through artistic means, a black and white or a colour poster.

This has been going on since the early 1950s. For the last six years, anyway, we have had at least 100,000 students across the country who participate in this contest on an annual basis. We encourage our Legion branches in all the communities across the country to go into the schools to talk remembrance with the students, particularly around the remembrance period but not exclusively at that time—to talk about remembrance, what remembrance means to them, talk about the contest, and to also talk about remembrance ceremonies.

Quite often schools would like to have observances during the remembrance period but cannot take a full hour out of their schedule to hold a commemoration. How do they do that? The Legions are able to offer guidance on how to do that.

Another way we promote remembrance to youth is through our teachers' guide. Effective the first of May of this year, on our website at legion.ca, we have a new interactive multimedia teachers' reference, so that a teacher can go onto the site, and if they want to know how to commemorate properly or how they should do certain things, they're able to use this as a resource.

We also work closely with our partners in Veterans Affairs Canada in getting information out to all of our schools. We've been working with them for a number of years on promoting remembrance to students. Collectively, we realize this is an important issue, and we have undertaken these initiatives to achieve the goal of ensuring that remembrance is perpetuated.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Well done. That's good news.

Do I have any time left?