Phil's Editorials
Remembering the Battle of Vimy Ridge - Week of April 6, 2015

April 06, 2015

On April 9th, Canadians remember the courage and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, who during the First World War, triumphed over the German army at Vimy Ridge.

While it was a remarkable victory – indeed, it was the first time the four divisions of the Canadian Armed Forces fought together as a unit – it came at a great cost.  With thousands of casualties, including 3,600 lives lost, it was the heroism of all our troops that was one of the driving forces in creating a new and stronger sense of Canadian identity here at home.

This instrumental moment in history has created a special friendship and connection between Canada and France.  The Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France sits atop Hill 145, and is a tribute to all the brave men and women who served their country.  It also reminds the world of the high price paid for the peace and freedom that countries like Canada and France enjoy today.

Today, our Conservative Government continues to stand behind our men and women in uniform, while ensuring they have the support they deserve.  We’re supporting 17 existing and 9 soon-to-be opened front-line mental health clinics across Canada.  We’re working with the Military Family Resource Centers to support medically releasing Veterans and their families.  And, we’re creating new monthly financial benefits totalling thousands of dollars each year for seriously injured Veterans.

We are enhancing the Earnings Loss (EL) Benefit for part time Reserve Force Veterans. As well, we have proposed a new financial benefit, the Retirement Income Security Benefit, which would provide Veterans who are moderately to severely disabled as a result of their service to Canada with continued support in the form of an income supplement beginning at age 65.

We’ve also invested $2 billion to enhance the New Veterans Charter in support of seriously injured Veterans.  And we’re honouring Veterans by giving former Canadians Armed Forces personnel priority in federal public service employment opportunities.

This is on top of ensuring the sacrifices and heroism of our past Veterans are not forgotten by a new generation of Canadians.  For the 95th anniversary of Vimy Ridge in 2012, our Government joined 5,000 youth and other dignitaries at the Vimy Memorial in France to pay their respects.

Our Government is proud to pay tribute to those who fought in this historical battle, just as we are proud to honour all of the heroes who have kept and continue to keep our country safe.