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

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

You have 10 seconds.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Oh, have a nice day, Mr. Chairman.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

Thank you, Mr. Tilson.

Ms. Sitsabaiesan.

May 15th, 2012 / 12:50 p.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

And thank you to all of you for joining us today.

Last week we heard from a Calgary funeral director that when it comes to the funeral of a fallen Calgary police officer, the protocol is so tight that oftentimes they aren't able to accommodate the wants or wishes of the family.

When it comes to your protocol manuals, is there room to deviate from the manual that you currently follow to make room for accommodations for newer or different customs that the family may want? I'm thinking of newer Canadians, families who may be choosing cremation rather than burials. Do your manuals allow for the family's wishes?

12:50 p.m.

LCol Marcel Beaudry

The Manual of Drill and Ceremonial has a chapter on funerals and religious services. For the funeral, it lays out exactly what is authorized according to the rank of the deceased. It does have a short section on cremation, but basically it is all built on the traditional coffin, with a service in the church or the chapel with the coffin present.

But you can always scale down from the full monty, if you wish. If the family wants to have a more simple service, it is very easy to scale down to meet the family's wishes, and in fact it is written into the manual that the family's wishes will be respected as much as possible.

12:55 p.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

I'm just thinking of someone who is perhaps a Hindu. We don't use chapels, so if your entire protocol is based on a chapel service or a church service...what do you mean by saying not allowing for the full monty or to water it down for someone who doesn't want that specific service? I would think that somebody who serves our country who is of the Hindu or Islamic or Bahá'í faith, or is Catholic or Christian or whatever it may be, that they've all paid the same price and the family should have the equal amount of respect or dues paid or honour paid to that person.

Is there leeway for the family's wishes?

12:55 p.m.

LCol Marcel Beaudry

Absolutely. In the chaplaincy of the Canadian Forces, we currently have chaplins of the Muslim and Jewish faiths, as well as the Christian faiths. Beyond that, it's not really my area of expertise, but certainly we do turn to the chaplaincy to guide us. We will offer the family whatever we have in our ceremonial that appeals to them.

12:55 p.m.

NDP

Rathika Sitsabaiesan Scarborough—Rouge River, ON

That's really good to hear.

Mr. Beaudry, you also mentioned that you have a one-and-a-half-inch binder or a two-inch binder of protocol for this event and that type of event. You mentioned three different types of events. Does it make sense to have a national protocol manual that brings everything together?

Mr. Clark or Mr. Heiter, I don't remember who was reading it in your testimony, but I think you mentioned the Lament and the Rouse and how the order is different between the Legion's practices versus the military's practices. So if we were to bring together and create a national protocol manual, how would we know which to follow, and would that even make sense? Does it make sense to bring together all of the practices and traditions and protocol that all the different facets of the honourers of our heritage have been practising over the years? Does it make sense to bring it together into one manual and say this is how we do it in Canada?

12:55 p.m.

Director, National Remembrance Day Ceremony, Royal Canadian Legion

Steven Clark

I wouldn't say that it should be this is how we do it. This is how we suggest that perhaps you proceed, realizing that there are variances.

I did say with regard to the way we do the commemorations that it differs from the military. The military, on September 12, 2011, did put out a CANFORGEN, which did acknowledge that there are variances when it comes to the order of service, so that in certain circumstances you can have the Lament before the Rouse on the military side. So in fact they have recognized that, and I think any manual or any reference that Canadian Heritage does would also have to be cognizant of those variances that do exist.

There needs to be an established procedure, but that established procedure cannot be rigid. It has to allow for those variances that respect traditions but that also respect the conditions locally.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

Thank you, Ms. Sitsabaiesan.

That concludes our committee meeting. Thank you to our witnesses for appearing today. The input you gave us was most helpful for our study.

The committee is adjourned.