Alistair MacGregor, MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, introduced Private Member’ Bill C-292 this week, which would annually mark Oct. 22 to commemorate the Canadian Armed Forces’ members who have made the ultimate sacrifice while on Canadian soil during peacetime.
The bill is widely supported among local veterans’ groups.
Similar to the recognition that fallen armed service members receive every year on Nov. 11 to commemorate soldiers who have died while in armed conflict overseas, MacGregor’s bill seeks to distinctively honour the more than 2,400 armed forces members who have lost their lives in non-combat roles on Canadian soil.
On Oct. 22, 2014, Corporal Nathan Cirillo, a Canadian soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, was shot and killed.
Since then, every year, Bob Collins, a former member of the Queen’s Own Primary Reserve infantry regiment in Winnipeg, and current member of RCL Branch 134 (Malahat), stands at attention at the Cobble Hill cenotaph on that day.
Currently, the Malahat Legion is Canada’s only branch that commemorates Oct. 22 as a day to recognize Canada’s service members who have died during peacetime.
“MacGregor’s bill helps bring honour and awareness to the growing list of Canadian service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice while on Canadian soil,” Collins said.
“They deserve to be remembered as more than another statistic, but as husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, and, of course, as heroes. Having a day marked to honour these men and women will allow us as Canadians to show our appreciation and gratitude for the sacrifices they and their families have made.”
MacGregor’s bill seeks to annually mark Oct. 22 as “Canadian Armed Forces Members’ Day”.
The bill also calls for the Canadian flag on the Peace Tower in Ottawa to be lowered at half-mast every year, on Oct. 22.
“Every year, on Remembrance Day, Canadians are proud to honour the Canadian service members who have fallen in combat, in conflicts around the world; however, what’s often overlooked is the number of service men and women who have sacrificed their lives during peacetime while on Canadian soil,” MacGregor said.
“Since 2013, more than 54 members of the Canadian Armed Forces have died as a result of PTSD alone. It is my honour to introduce Bill C-292 and bring greater awareness to the sacrifices these brave Canadians and their families make during peacetime.”