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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

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative 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 Conservative 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 Conservative 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 Conservative 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 Conservative Rob Moore

Thank you, Mr. Armstrong.

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Armstrong Conservative Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, NS

Thank you.

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Rob Moore

Mr. Cash.

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair, and my thanks to you all for being here.

It's an honour for us to hear of the work that you do, and we all feel that it is greatly important work, especially the Remembrance Day ceremonies, which are particularly moving, right across the country.

I wanted to clarify a couple of things about the flag folding. I think it was Major Turpin who said that there is an agreed way in which we fold the flag, a Canadian way.

12:40 p.m.

Maj Guy Turpin

That's correct.

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Was that established through a conversation between Defence and Canadian Heritage, or how was that arrived at?

12:40 p.m.

Maj Guy Turpin

I'm not au fait with the background. But I understand that according to Canadian Heritage, the flag would be folded in a rectangular fashion.

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

I just want to make sure I understand this. You said the Canadian flag is the domain of Canadian Heritage; Defence takes it cue from Canadian Heritage in how the flag is folded. Is that right?

12:40 p.m.

Maj Guy Turpin

We work in partnership, but ultimately the national flag belongs to Canadian Heritage.

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

For how long has this been established, this way of folding the flag?

12:45 p.m.

Maj Guy Turpin

I don't know. I would have to look it up and get back to you.

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Was it within the last year?

12:45 p.m.

Maj Guy Turpin

Oh, no.

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Has it been around for a long time?

12:45 p.m.

Maj Guy Turpin

I would have to look up what we have in our files, but it's definitely more than a year.

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Fair enough. So if someone was wanting to know how to fold the Canadian flag in the way the Government of Canada suggests, is that information available?

12:45 p.m.

Maj Guy Turpin

It will be in one of our publications shortly. As for Canadian Heritage, I would have to see if they have something on their website.