Some thirty members of the Royal Canadian Air Force took on Parliament Hill on May 9 as part of the 11th annual Air Force Day on Parliament Hill.
“This year’s event holds great significance as we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. Since the First World War, Canadian airwomen and airmen have been woven into the fabric of our great nation, and have had a significant role in the growth of Canada’s identity as an independent, innovative, and self-determining nation. From wartime service, to former military pilots turned bush pilots opening up the Canadian north, to today’s involvement in coalition operations, the RCAF has proudly participated in building our nation. We find this year’s focus on RCAF members making great achievements in innovation and space particularly fitting, forward-looking, and positively inspiring for all Canadians,” said Minister of National Defence Harjit S. Sajjan, and Veterans Affairs Minister and Associate Minister of National Defence Kent Hehr, in a joint statement.
The annual Air Force Day on Parliament Hill is a nonpartisan, informal event aimed at engaging the decision makers of Canada with members of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).
“Parliamentarians and decision makers at the highest levels have enough of a challenge in their responsibilities, especially in regards [to] procurement of the kinds of tools and equipment personnel need to do their jobs; whether it be the Canadian Armed Forces, or the RCMP, or the Canadian Coast Guard.
“It helps put them [lawmakers and RCAF members] together so that they can meet with each other and share ideas in a venue that offers them the opportunity to do so without any other challenges,” said LCol.(ret’d) Dean Black, Executive Director of the RCAF Association, the organizing body of Air Force Day on Parliament Hill.
In the afternoon, once the Senate is sitting, Senator Joseph Day, the sponsor of the event, takes the floor and shares a short presentation recognizing the RCAF. The RCAF commander and a few members of the Air Force are in attendance.
“It’s a very short event, but it’s an important one, nonetheless. The commander of the RCAF is very happy to receive that acknowledgment and share it with the rest of the 14,000 members of the Canadian Air Force,’ added Black.
A reception with industry leaders, government officials, and RCAF members is held shortly after.
Black says the event serves as a gateway for future meetings and arrangements for government officials to learn more about various topics affecting Canada’s Air Force.
Air Force Day on Parliament Hill, overall, gives parliamentarians and government officials a chance to honour and recognize the contributions made by the airmen and airwomen of the RCAF.
“We are both deeply grateful to our airwomen and airmen, past and present—and their families—for their invaluable contributions, perseverance, and sacrifice. They are most deserving of this special recognition. Please join us in celebrating the professionalism, dedication, and contribution of the members of your Royal Canadian Air Force,” continued Minister Sajjan and Minister Hehr’s statement.