EDMONTON, May 14, 2013 /CNW/ - On behalf of the Honourable Steven
Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister for La Francophonie,
and the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, the Honourable
Tim Uppal, Minister of State for Democratic Reform and Member of
Parliament for Edmonton-Sherwood Park, and the Honourable Laurie Hawn,
Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre, today announced a Government
of Canada investment of $5 million to support the construction of a
permanent Visitor Centre at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in
France. Construction of the Centre is expected to be completed by April
2017, the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
"Our nation paid dearly at Vimy Ridge," said Minister Blaney. "Brave
Canadians made an incredible sacrifice that Easter Monday morning in
April 1917. Our impressive victory that day was not only felt on the
battlefield, but it also helped change the course of the war and define
our country. Our Government is proud to be working with the Vimy
Foundation to establish a permanent Visitor Centre at the Canadian
National Vimy Memorial. Our mutual goal is to educate all Canadians—and
friends of Canada—of the sacrifices and achievements of Canadians
during the First World War."
"Our Government is committed to encouraging Canadians, young and old, to
remember and honour those who have served our country," said Minister
Uppal. "The establishment of a permanent Visitor Centre at Vimy Ridge
will help all Canadians who visit those sacred grounds to come away
with a renewed sense of honour and respect for the great efforts and
sacrifices made during the First World War."
The construction of a permanent Visitor Centre at Vimy will be realized
through financial support from the Government of Canada and the Vimy
Foundation. The Vimy Foundation will raise funds through donations from
the private sector and individual Canadians. The Vimy Foundation is a
registered Canadian charity with the mission to preserve and promote
Canada's First World War legacy as symbolized with the victory at Vimy
Ridge in April 1917.
"Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, our Government is committed to
building a lasting legacy to honour the sacrifices of Canadian Veterans
who helped to shape our nation" said Minister Flaherty, while visiting
the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France. "The construction of a
permanent Visitor Centre at Vimy honours our commitment to commemorate
the courage and sacrifices of Canadians in the First World War."
"I think often of the sacrifices of fellow Canadians on Vimy Ridge that
morning so long ago," said the Honourable Laurie Hawn, Member of
Parliament for Edmonton Centre. "Our Government is proud—I am proud—of
the efforts to create a permanent place where visitors to Vimy can
appreciate the significance of that sacred place to each and every
"Today is a big day for all Canadians," said Christopher Sweeney, Chair
of the Vimy Foundation's 2017 Committee. "We look forward to working
with the federal government and other stakeholders, both in Canada and
France, in the lead up to the centennial of Vimy Ridge in 2017. The
opening of this education centre will be the highlight of national and
international celebrations of what we, as Canadians, accomplished
together at Vimy almost 100 years ago. Lest we forget."
The 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge is part of the Road to 2017, a
Government of Canada initiative that begins in 2014. The aim of the
initiative is to commemorate significant milestones that helped shape
Canada, leading up to our nation's 150th birthday in 2017. One of these milestones was the Canadian victory at
Vimy Ridge in April 1917, which is thought to have been a key turning
point in defining the young country as a nation. The battle came at a
heavy cost: 100,000 Canadians who fought there suffered approximately
11,000 casualties, nearly 3,600 of them fatal.
To learn more about the Vimy Foundation, please visit vimyfoundation.ca. For more information about the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the Canadian
National Vimy Memorial, please visit veterans.gc.ca.
2013 is the Year of the Korean War Veteran—Canada proudly remembers the
heroes of the Korean War and their brave fight to uphold freedom,
democracy and the rule of law. For more information on Canada's role in
the Korean War, visit veterans.gc.ca.
SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information:
Media Relations Advisor
Veterans Affairs Canada
Jean-Christophe de Le Rue
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs