Victory! - State Funeral Petition Update

November 22, 2006

Ottawa, ON

(Thanks for all who took the time to read our post on this and also took the time to sign the petition - it helped!  - AD)

Victory! - State Funeral Petition Update

Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Dear petition supporter:

You did it!

Thanks to you and the over 90,000 people who signed our petition for a State Funeral for the last veteran of the First World War, the Parliament of Canada unanimously passed the following motion introduced by M.P. Peter Stoffer on Tuesday, November 21:

"That, in the opinion of this House, the Government of Canada should honour all who served Canada in the First World War by sponsoring a State Funeral on the passing of the last Canadian veteran of this Great War."

This binding motion will ensure that at the appropriate time the family of the last veteran of the Great War will be offered a full State Funeral to recognise the service and sacrifice of their loved one and the 600,000 fellow Canadians who served under arms from 1914 to 1918.

This brings to a conclusion the Dominion Institute's public campaign for a State Funeral for the last First World War veteran.

On behalf of all the veterans, staff and volunteers at the Dominion Institute thank you for supporting for this important national cause!

Rudyard Griffiths, Executive Director

The Dominion Institute

State funeral for last war vet wins approval



The last remaining Canadian First World War veteran will be laid to rest at a state funeral, after Ottawa voted unanimously Tuesday in favour an NDP motion to bestow the honour, which is normally reserved for former heads of government.

Just three Canadian first World War veterans are believed to be still alive - the oldest being 106 years old.

While state funerals in Canada are normally reserved former Governors-General and Prime Ministers, there has been an enormous groundswell of support in recent weeks for honouring the passing of the last remaining First World War veteran with such a ceremony.

The campaign was launched by the Dominion Institute in the build up to Remembrance Day, and in just a few weeks drew more than 90,000 signatures from Canadians across the country on a petition in support of the initiative.

NDP critic for Veterans Affairs Peter Stoffer picked up the cause Tuesday by introducing a motion in the House, which required the consent of all four federal parties before a state funeral could be awarded. The motion received unanimous support Tuesday morning.

"Canada's veterans are our greatest heroes and our country's greatest volunteers," Mr. Stoffer said Tuesday. "Offering a state funeral for the last Canadian veteran of the First World War is a fitting and symbolic tribute to recognize the great personal sacrifices of those who have served and who are currently serving our country."

The move mirrors an Australian initiative that saw that country's last veteran buried in a state funeral in 2005.

In Canada, during a state funeral, the body arrives at Parliament Hill by hearse, where the deceased is brought to the centre block for a simple ceremony. After lying guarded in state for two days, the body is escorted to Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa, where the funeral service is held.

More than 60,000 Canadians died in the fighting between 1914 and 1918.


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