PARIS, Oct. 18, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of
Veterans Affairs, today joined counterparts from 22 countries at an
international ministerial seminar on the centennial of the First World
War in Paris, France. The meeting, hosted by Minister Kader Arif,
Minister for Veterans at the Ministry of Defence in France, provided an
important opportunity to build ties with international counterparts on
a key, historic joint initiative, to coordinate national and
international programs on the centennial and to develop a common
approach to international ceremonies that will take place beginning in
2014. The ministers also discussed plans for the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, on June 6, 2014.
Minister Fantino took the opportunity, alongside key commemorative
partners and in the company of D-Day Special Advisor, Major-General (R)
Richard Rohmer, to unveil the Government of Canada's international
plans to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of the Second World War. The plans reflect commitments made
in the Speech from the Throne to honour key milestones in Canadian history in the lead up to the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation in 2017.
"The 100th anniversary of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of the Second World War represent a unique opportunity for
Canadians to reflect on our country's long and proud military history,"
said Minister Fantino. "Throughout this period, the Government of
Canada, in collaboration with partners in Canada and abroad, will carry
out a variety of commemorative initiatives marking the tremendous
sacrifices and accomplishments of all those who served during these
With the beginning of the centennial of the First World War in 2014,
Canada will participate in the Bastille Day Military Parade in France.
In 2015, the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli will be marked with
commemorative ceremonies in Turkey. A highlight in 2016 will be the 100th anniversary of the Battles of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel. Centennial
events will culminate with the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge where thousands of students are
expected to join in honouring Canada's Veterans of the First World War.
Battles related to Canada's Hundred Days, which led to the Armistice,
will also be commemorated during this period.
Canada will also take part in marking significant anniversaries of the
Second World War including both the 70th and 75th anniversaries of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, and the 75th anniversaries of the Dieppe Raid, Victory in Europe Day, the Italian
Campaign and the end of the Second World War.
"Some 1.1 million Canadians served in uniform during the conflict,
proving their valour time and again against the enemies of freedom,
democracy and the rule of law," said Minister Fantino. "Canada's
Veterans made incredible efforts—storming the beaches of France,
braving the difficult terrain of Italy and withstanding punishing
conditions on land, sea and air. I look forward to having Canadians
join together with people around the world in remembering their
Minister Fantino also reiterated the Government of Canada's commitment
to establish a permanent Visitor Education Centre at the Canadian
National Vimy Memorial to be completed by April 9, 2017, the centennial
of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Earlier this year, the governments of Canada and France signed a Canada-France declaration recognizing the importance of preserving the memory of the conflicts of
the 20th century. The Ministerial Seminar is a result of this joint commitment.
The First World War (1914-1918) and the Second World War (1939-1945) are
among the most important chapters in world history. Both of these 20th century global conflicts touched the lives of countless families and
communities across Canada and Newfoundland. Sadly, more than 110,000
Canadians and Newfoundlanders lost their lives during the two World
Wars. The 100th and 75th anniversaries of these great wars will provide all Canadians with
opportunities to celebrate their proud heritage and, more importantly,
to honour those who served and continue to serve our country to uphold
the values of peace, freedom and democracy.
For more information on Canada's role in the First World War and the
Second World War, visit veterans.gc.ca.
Veterans Affairs Canada's support and services offer the right care at
the right time to achieve the best results for Veterans and their
families. Find out more at veterans.gc.ca
SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information:
Media Relations Advisor
Veterans Affairs Canada
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs