More than 300 families of military members from Quebec and Ontario united on Parliament Hill on Sept. 10 to demonstrate to the government the important role military families have in supporting the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
“For a first gathering of this kind, we were very pleased with the response from military families. Every day, they play a crucial role in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF); one that isn’t recognized enough. We hope the government takes notice and more than that, makes sure military families are recognized in upcoming defence policy,” said Marie- Claude Michaud, Executive Director of the Valcartier Military Family Resource Centre.
The major goal of this picnic was to ensure the Department of National Defence (DND) recognizes the integral part military families play in CAF missions. This demand stems from the public consultations the DND held earlier this year to form future CAF policies and objectives.
MFRCs also wanted to be recognized by the government as the official providers for military families and in doing so provide them with required resources to carry out their duties; concrete actions to demonstrate DND’s commitment to military families; and the creation of an intergovernmental body to establish a strategy to deal with the challenge of military families and have that adopted by the prime minister and all levels of government.
“This gathering is really energizing. It’s wonderful to share with other military families and to feel all this support. As a military family, we experience the full depth of the impact of military life, such as multiple moves across Canada and abroad as well as all that that entails for ourselves and our children… and of course, the worry about our spouses getting injured—or even killed—in the line of duty,” stated military spouse Geneviève Trudeau- Sénécal.
The picnic was supported by several government officials and dignitaries, including ex-senator Lucie Pépin.