Over 1,800 Canadians shared their thoughts on how we can evolve our remembrance programming. Several themes that emerged from the analysis of the consultations include:
We heard that commemorative efforts should highlight both diversity as well as commonalities in service in a balanced way. While many participants shared an interest in increasing the awareness of diversity of those who served, some felt overemphasizing diversity may distract from the shared experience of service. Participants also called for further recognition of the diversity (service types [army, navy, air force, police security], gender, race, sexuality, and Indigenous representation, etc.) and the variety of ways all Veterans have contributed to CAF missions and security and peacekeeping operations. Other suggested areas of focus include transparency of messaging surrounding sexual misconduct and racism and recognition for living Veterans—not only those who died in service.
Participants supported the continued recognition of Veterans of the World Wars and Korean War but noted the scope of remembrance should place greater emphasis on post-war conflicts, operations and service. For example, a significant number of participants mentioned Cold War service (as part of NATO deterrent forces stationed in Europe), international United Nations peacekeeping missions and other CAF international missions as service that could be commemorated. Participants also supported recognizing and commemorating domestic operations such as the defence of North America, sovereignty protection, search and rescue, and emergency disaster relief. Generally, support for the CAF around the world programming was strong. Some Veterans noted that their service and sacrifice should be recognized not only through public events, but also through improving benefits and support programs.
We heard many different ideas for engaging Canadians in remembrance. Participants want to learn about Canada’s military history through personal and compelling Veteran stories and interactive digital experiences such as social media platforms, short video clips, live-streaming of commemorative events, and interactive digital experiences (virtual memorial or battlefield tours), and that these formats may speak to younger generations. Participants encouraged more interaction between Veterans and youth, with a focus on active youth participation in commemorative events and activities. To evolve remembrance, participants suggested VAC should increase collaboration with stakeholders, schools and other organizations (such as museums) to improve educational tools and learning initiatives. Some participants noted that making Remembrance Day a statutory holiday in all provinces would allow more Canadians to commemorate.