Statement made on 28 February 2012 by Senator Roméo Dallaire
Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire:
Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. We recently had the pleasure of attending Winterlude ceremonies and activities in Ottawa and at Jacques Cartier Park on the other side of the river.
Some of the "Stand on Guard for Canada" activities commemorated the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. It is appropriate that we teach our youth about our history and the sacrifices made to protect our country.
However, I found it difficult to accept that weapons were put in the hands of children to have them reflect on how Canada was defended. Even when we have open door days on our military bases, we never put weapons in the hands of children. We do not allow them to play, as Mr. Trépanier said, cowboys and Indians. We refuse to do so. Furthermore, we signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, which states that children under 18 should not bear arms.
Will this type of commemoration be repeated when we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the First World War?
Please click here to read the full text of the Senator's question