HALIFAX: April 12 was the 102nd anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, so the timing was perfect for Cape Breton-Richmond MLA Alana Paon to introduce the Time of Remembrance Act.
The act designates November 1-11 as a time to remember the dedication and sacrifice of veterans and members of the Canadian Forces. The bill regarding the act is now tabled until the fall sitting of legislature.
“The lead up to Remembrance Day really should be enshrined in law because the amount of education the legion members do to help the general public understand the importance of Remembrance Day is incredible,” Paon said, talking with The Reporter last Wednesday.
“Why not give it a formal name and why not enshrine it in law?
“We should give it its rightful place.”
The MLA said she remembers being a child and having veterans come to her school, educating youth on Canada’s military history. That tradition continues today, she said, noting that she marvels at the impact veterans have when visiting schools.
“I go to ceremonies prior to Remembrance Day and watch the faces of the school children looking up at veterans telling their story,” she said. “It’s extraordinary to see how children respond.
“There’s an incredible amount of work leading up to Remembrance Day, and if I can help enshrine that, it’ll be my great pleasure.
“We’re losing our connection to the past, as we don’t have many world war veterans any longer, and I think we have to keep alive the importance of the sacrifices they made on our behalf.”
Canada’s military history is long and impressive, Paon noted, adding she comes across many veterans in her travels. She said many of them are having a tough time. Health care is an issue all across Nova Scotia, she said, but there are specific health care problems related to veterans that are very unfortunate.
“I know some veterans apply for assistance and can’t receive it,” she said. “The widows of veterans also contact my office for assistance because they’re having a very rough time.
“It’s difficult for me to see anyone who served their country and put their life on the line to protect our rights and freedoms, to see any of them struggling, especially when they become an elder in the community.
“It’s important that we keep alive the importance of the sacrifices they made on our behalf, and moving forward help veterans from other wars – the Korean war, the Afghan wars – that we give them our assistance.”