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 protocol.

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

12:35 p.m.

Maj Guy Turpin

Actually, last week we signed off on a sample of a new Canadian national flag to be put on caskets, specifically for burials of military personnel. We went through a process with our acquisitions folks, and it will be in the Canadian Forces supply system within the next couple of months.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

That's the way the Department of National Defence folds flags. Are you aware of other ways, such as in the police departments? What we're looking for is the Canadian way. If we followed what the Department of National Defence does and kind of made it the Canadian way, would you see that as stepping on anyone's toes? Would that cause problems for other organizations that have protocols you're aware of?

12:35 p.m.

Maj Guy Turpin

The folding of the national flag policy was established hand in hand with the Department of Canadian Heritage. On matters of the national flag, everything is done in concurrence with Canadian Heritage.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

We could actually call that the Canadian method of folding flags for ceremonial purposes.

12:35 p.m.

Maj Guy Turpin

That is my understanding.

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

We already have one. It's just a matter now of making sure that it's communicated to everyone who will be performing some sort of ceremony with the flag.

In my riding, I've had several soldiers pass away in Afghanistan, and I've attended several ceremonies. We have several Silver Cross mothers. When a soldier passes away, one of the protocols I've been very impressed with is the support you give to the families, from the time of the passing right through to the ceremony. Is that something that's developed over time, or has that been a tradition in Canada for years?

12:40 p.m.

LCol Marcel Beaudry

We have an organization, the director general of personnel and family support services. They're responsible for supporting military families. They're also responsible for non-public-fund activities, such as CANEX, and support to the troops overseas. This has certainly evolved over time, and it has become more important with the campaign in southwest Asia, that's for sure.

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

There are several other protocols that I think the Department of National Defence does very well. When we have soldiers returning from overseas, they're often met by soldiers at the airport.

I was travelling with a couple of people from the United States who were very impressed by how we welcome soldiers home.

Are you aware of other countries that do this? Or is this more of a Canadian tradition of supporting our troops from home when they're returning home, whether they're alive or they've passed away?

May 15th, 2012 / 12:40 p.m.

Chief Warrant Officer Alain Grenier Directorate of History and Heritage 3-2, Department of National Defence

I don't know any other country that does that. I know that we've been doing it since Afghanistan. As for other countries doing the same thing, I'm not sure.

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

What led to that protocol being developed? I personally have been impressed by it. Not a lot of Canadians probably know about it until they see it.

What led to that being developed?

12:40 p.m.

LCol Marcel Beaudry

I think it was simply a matter of the exercise of leadership. It was felt that we had to show appreciation for the sacrifices the troops made. It was impressed on all of the leadership, from the top down, that leaders at the appropriate level will be present when the troops come back home.

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

I think involving some of those traditions and new protocols on some sort of national protocol website or a whole process would be advantageous. It would allow the Canadian military to show the good things they are doing in terms of supporting our troops.

Do you see any drawbacks in having some national protocols set by our government?

12:40 p.m.

LCol Marcel Beaudry

There are some protocols available on the Canadian Heritage website, for example, on the treatment of the national flag and national symbols. How much further that should be expanded is really not for the Canadian Forces to say.

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

Thank you, Mr. Armstrong.

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Thank you.