From Glenn Cheriton, FatherCraft Canada

Dear Member of Parliament,

As I am sure you are aware, a Canadian soldier was shot and killed while guarding the National War Memorial in Ottawa, October 22, 2014, a mere 20 days before the Remembrance Day Ceremony.

Corporal Nathan Cirillo was a father, a single father according to news reports. Each year for the last 15 years, with no incident, I have laid a wreath from the “fathers of Canada” at the National Ceremony, until last year and this year, when “security” have blocked me from participating. Only those people and organizations approved by government and the Legion are allowed in to the wreath laying area. The Government funds and arranges for a wreath from the “Mothers of Canada”, brings in a mother of a soldier, and gives this wreath top priority, while pointedly excluding mention of or recognition that soldiers have fathers.

I suggest that this action unnecessarily politicizes this important day. In the context of the death of Corporal Cirillo, to continue the “tradition” of exclusion of fathers is an insult to those fathers who have died fighting for Canada, and a slap in the face to all veterans who are fathers and to the fathers of Canada’s soldiers.

In the context of Parliament’s vote against equality for fathers in bill C-560, continuing “sexism as usual” in the Remembrance Day ceremony adds insult to injury to Canada’s fathers.

So, I am asking that you write to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and ask that he act to include a wreath from the fathers of Canada in the 2014 Remembrance Day ceremony.

To be fair, the Prime Minister immediately acted when Captain Nichola Goddard was killed in 2006 to change the long-standing exclusion of husbands of soldiers from eligibility for the Memorial Cross, a change for which we had advocated since 1994.

There are other issues such as the difference in treatment of fathers in divorce, tax and child credit law areas. The government funds legal help for mothers but not fathers. Government funded supports such as domestic violence also exclude fathers. Perhaps this is not the time for such changes, called for in a joint Senate-Commons committee. It would need parliamentarians with substantial courage, similar to what Corporal Cirillo showed. We can meet with you to discuss these changes if you wish to truly honour both parents and Corporal Cirillo with such further action.

We can show you the social science that overwhelmingly shows the positive outcomes of father inclusion for children. Those raised without fathers show strong links with anti-social and destructive actions.

In the meantime, can we count on you to stand up for the fathers of Canada and fix a long-standing and unnecessary insult to fathers by writing to Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the Remembrance Day issue?

Thank you for your time and attention to this issue.

Glenn Cheriton

FatherCraft Canada