Government of Canada to lead a delegation of 2SLGBTQI+ Veterans to commemorate the First World War in Europe

Media advisory

Ottawa, ON – The Government of Canada is leading an overseas commemorative program for 2SLGBTQI+ Veterans to commemorate the First World War, as we approach the 107th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Starting April 6 in Belgium, a delegation composed of representatives from Rainbow Veterans of Canada and the LGBT Purge – the first Veteran delegation of this kind – will follow in the footsteps of Frederick Hardy, who was sentenced to hard labour in 1916 for charges relating to his sexuality and later died in battle, across the battlefields of Europe. This important historical moment for Veterans from the 2SLGBTQI+ community will culminate on April 9 where they will see Frederick Hardy’s name on the Canadian National Vimy Memorial and participate in the annual ceremony.

The delegation’s program in Belgium will include visits to key commemorative sites including the Passchendaele Canadian Memorial, St. Julien Canadian Memorial, and the John McCrae Memorial. They will also attend the daily act of remembrance at the Menin Gate Memorial.

Once in France, the delegation will visit the Hill 70 Memorial where Frederick Hardy died in service, as well as the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial. The delegation will then participate in a variety of commemorative activities at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, including a guided tour of the visitor centre, tunnels, and trenches. Throughout the mission, stories of 2SLGBTQI+ soldiers who served in the First World War will be shared by the delegation.

The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, will join this commemorative program on April 6th for a full day of activities in Belgium before returning to Canada.

From April 3 to April 6, Minister Petitpas Taylor will participate in commemorative events, bilateral meetings and activities in the United Kingdom and Belgium. While in the United Kingdom, Minister Petitpas Taylor will visit Chelsea Pensioners, including a Canadian Second World War Veteran, at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, meet with the Honourable Ralph Goodale, High Commissioner for Canada in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and lay a wreath at the Shorncliffe Military Cemetery. While in Belgium, Minister Petitpas Taylor will meet with representatives from NATO including Irene Fellin, Special Representative for Women, Peace, and Security. At NATO, she will also meet with Alain Gendron, Ambassador of Canada to Belgium, and Ludivine Dedonder, Minister of Defence of Belgium.


Media Relations
Veterans Affairs Canada

Isabelle Arseneau
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs

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