OTTAWA, ON – Today the Honourable Erin O’Toole, Member of Parliament for Durham, and the Honourable Pierre Poilievre, Member of Parliament for Carleton, called on the government to go ahead with the planned Memorial to Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan.
O’Toole and Poilievre were the ministers of Veterans Affairs and of the National Capital Commission, respectively, who announced the site and process for the monument’s construction last year. Today, they returned to that site to urge the government to not cancel the monument.
“We are concerned with the prospect that the Liberal government is wavering on the National Memorial to Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan,” O’Toole said. “The erection of this monument should be above politics and given that a Liberal government began this mission, we believe it is critical for Canada to complete this important memorial project.”
First announced in November 2014, the National Memorial to Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan commemorates the deep gratitude and respect Canada has for the more than 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces members who served in-theatre. One hundred fifty eight Canadian Armed Forces men and women lost their lives, as well as three civilians, and 2,000 soldiers were injured. On Friday, March 4, 2016, the media reported that the Liberals were wavering on whether the project would be completed.
“As Canada’s longest war and our largest military deployment since the Second World War, it is important that we recognize the bravery, heroism, and exceptional service of our brave men and women,” said Poilievre.
The Liberals have already cancelled the Community War Memorial Project, which helped cities and towns across Canada receive federal funding to commemorate their towns’ contributions to Canada’s military, including erecting and restoring cenotaphs.
“We call on the Liberal government to clarify where they stand on the National Memorial to Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan,” O’Toole said. “This memorial has already had its location picked, the budget set, and the unveiling date has been announced. To cancel this memorial now would do a disservice to the thousands of Canadians who served and our fallen and wounded.”
- The National Memorial to Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan was first announced in November 2014 and subsequently re-announced in May 2015. It commemorates Canada’s deep gratitude for our Canadian Armed Forces members who served in Afghanistan.
- The location chosen for the National Memorial to Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan and the National Victoria Cross Memorial was Richmond Landing, where there is already the Royal Canadian Navy Monument.
- The Memorials were part of a 2.8 kilometre Memorial Route between Cartier Square Drill Hall and the Canadian War Museum. The Route was intended to connect current and future planned sites of significant memorial value together for visitors to remember the sacrifices millions of Canadians have made.
- The National Victoria Cross Memorial was announced alongside the Afghanistan Memorial. Its purpose is to recognize the 99 men and women who have been awarded the Victoria Cross, Canada’s highest honour. It will be located with the Afghanistan Memorial.