Minister Joly Launches New Funding for Community Support, Multiculturalism, and Anti-Racism Initiatives

Press release on the implementation of the increased funding in the 2018 Budget. Interesting that they have kept part of the Conservative approach of having an events stream, not just projects, along with a new stream supporting on-line capacity building. Also of note the use of “radicalized” rather than “visible minorities”:

Diversity is Canada’s strength and a cornerstone of Canadian identity. We are a stronger and more successful country because of our diversity. Unfortunately, too many Canadians face barriers and challenges that prevent them from fully participating in society and the economy. The Government is taking action to fund community-led projects and events that address these challenges, such as the elimination of racism and discrimination, in order to build a stronger and more inclusive society.

Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Multiculturalism, announced three new funding streams that will strengthen diverse communities and support anti-racism initiatives across the country. The government is investing a total of $51.9 million over 3 years, which includes $21 million in new funding for community-led projects, events and capacity building initiatives.

The Projects component will fund community-led activities that work toward the elimination of discrimination, racism and prejudice, with a priority for those supporting Indigenous Peoples and racialized women and girls.

The Events component will fund local events that promote intercultural and interfaith understanding as well as celebrations of a community’s history and culture, such as heritage months recognized by Parliament.

The Community Capacity Building component will fund projects that will help recipients promote diversity and inclusion by strengthening the online and social media presence of organizations, establishing their communication strategies as well as enabling them to recruit and train volunteers.

Quotes

“Although Canada is a welcoming and diverse country, our government knows that we can always do better. That’s why we are proud to launch funding for initiatives that will celebrate our diversity, embrace our differences and address issues of racism and discrimination. By encouraging mutual understanding between all Canadians, programs like this will help build a society where everyone feels a true sense of belonging and can fully participate in their communities.”

—The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Minister responsible for Multiculturalism

“This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Multiculturalism Act. To mark this occasion, we are renewing our commitment to the principles of pluralism and inclusion contained in this important statute. By supporting projects, events and initiatives that combat racism and discrimination, we are reinvesting in our communities and fostering Canada’s diversity, which is our greatest strength.”

—Arif Virani, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Multiculturalism)

Quick Facts

Those interested in applying for funding under these new initiatives are encouraged to contact Canadian Heritage at pch.soutienauxcommunautes-communitysupport.pch@canada.ca.

In Budget 2018, the Government of Canada announced $23 million in new funding over two years to tackle racism and discrimination, with a focus on Indigenous Peoples and racialized women and girls. This funding included $21 million to support funding resources for anti-racism and community support, and $2 million to engage Canadians on a new anti-racism approach.

The government is investing a total of $51.9 million over 3 years, which includes the $21 million in new funding for community-led projects, events and capacity building initiatives.

The Government of Canada remains committed to meaningful, evidence-based and community-involved whole-of-government initiatives in the pursuit of equality and growth for all Canadians.

Canada is continuing to combat the inequity and exclusion that prevents some Canadians from participating fully and equitably in our society.

Source: Minister Joly Launches New Funding for Community Support, Multiculturalism, and Anti-Racism Initiatives

Budget 2018 invests millions in multiculturalism – iPolitics

Further to yesterday’s entry, Canadian Press article:

With one eye on ultra-nationalist movements appearing around the world, the Liberal government boosted funding in this week’s federal budget to address issues of anti-immigrant sentiment and racism bubbling up at home.

Funds for multiculturalism programs, initiatives for the Black Canadian community and a new centre to better analyze and collect data on diversity and inclusion were all included in Tuesday’s budget, a clear acknowledgment on the part of the Trudeau government that the current global climate is putting the prime minister’s “diversity is our strength” mantra to the test.

“Recent domestic and international events, like the rise of ultra-nationalist movements and protests against immigration, visible minorities and religious minorities, remind us that standing up for diversity and building communities where everyone feels included are as important today as they ever were,” the budget said in laying out the overarching goals of the funding.

The first piece: $23 million more over two years for multiculturalism programming that includes the formation of a new, national anti-racism plan, but that will also be spent through community organizations to assist with integration efforts in tandem with the Liberals’ decision to increase immigration levels over the next three years.

Details will be made public in the coming months, said Heritage Minister Melanie Joly.

Joly said diversity and inclusion are fundamental for the government.

“We decided to really invest.”

Concerns about integration routinely surface in research conducted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

“As much as participants valued diversity, many were concerned with our society’s ability and willingness to accommodate so many diverse cultures and whether our model of accommodation is entirely successful,” read a report on focus groups held last year ahead of the release of the immigration plan.

“A few general population participants were concerned with how some parts of Canada might be ‘losing their identity’ because of the volume and concentration of immigrants. They were also concerned with racism among some locals and how Canadian society is challenged by individuals who are not open to cultural diversity or who discriminate against specific ethnicities.”

It’s not all just talk. Following white nationalist protests in the U.S. this last summer, there was a sudden surge in activity by similar groups in Canada, though never on the same scale.

The second big piece for Joly’s department is $19 million over five years to support youth at risk and for research in support of more culturally focused mental-health programs in the Black Canadian community.

The specific allocation for that community represents the results of a concerted lobbying effort by the newly formed Federation of Black Canadians, along with members of the Liberal government’s own Black caucus, who’ve mounted a full-court press to draw more attention to a suite of issues facing.

Donald McLeod, an Ontario justice who heads the steering committee helping the federation get off the ground, said in his view, the money being allocated is part of a far bigger pot.

He also counts $214 million earmarked in the budget to remove racial barriers, promote gender equality and combat homophobia and transphobia, all issues that affect the quality of life for Black Canadians.

While the budget may reference the current global climate, McLeod said he sees the funding as reflective of a domestic moment in time.

“We need help,” he said. “And so I think because we need help it’s a voice that’s been echoing in the halls, in organizations, in supermarkets, in places of business, in educational facilities, so that, no matter where you go, you’re continuously hearing the fact that we need help.”

The funds for Black Canadians are also linked to an announced by Prime Minister Trudeau earlier this month that Canada will endorse the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent, obliging the government to take strides to ensuring the full and equal participation of Black Canadians.

The third major tranche of money comes via $6.7 million over five years to give Statistics Canada the ability to better analyze and collect data on diversity and inclusion.

That, along with the anti-racism strategy that will be built by Heritage, reflect two of the recommendations from a recent House of Commons committee study on combating Islamophobia and systemic discrimination and racism.

via Budget 2018 invests millions in multiculturalism – iPolitics

Budget 2018: Rebuilding Multiculturalism and Evidence-Based Policy

After the neglect over the past two years, the government is investing in the multiculturalism program (essentially restoring or more the previous cuts) along with targeted initiatives for Canadian Blacks.

Equally, if not more significant, the creation of new Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics will improve the quality and quantity of diversity-related data, with more data disgraced by race (likely defined as the different visible minority groups).

Both initiatives respond largely to some of the more substantive recommendations of the Canadian Heritage committee report on M-103:

Strengthening Multiculturalism and Addressing the Challenges Faced by Black Canadians (p184) – $42 million

Diversity is Canada’s strength and a cornerstone of Canadian identity. Recent domestic and international events, like the rise of ultranationalist movements, and protests against immigration, visible minorities and religious minorities, remind us that standing up for diversity and building communities where everyone feels included are as important today as they ever were.

To provide support for events and projects that help individuals and communities come together, the Government proposes to provide $23 million over two years, starting in 2018–19, to increase funding for the Multiculturalism Program administered by Canadian Heritage. This funding would support cross-country consultations on a new national anti-racism approach, would bring together experts, community organizations, citizens and interfaith leaders to find new ways to collaborate and combat discrimination, and would dedicate increased funds to address racism and discrimination targeted against Indigenous Peoples and women and girls.

As a first step toward recognizing the significant and unique challenges faced by Black Canadians, the Government also proposes to provide $19 million over five years that will be targeted to enhance local community supports for youth at risk and to develop research in support of more culturally focused mental health programs in the Black Canadian community. In addition, with the creation of the new Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics, announced in Chapter 1, the Government is committed to increase the disaggregation of various data sets by race. This will help governments and service providers better understand the intersectional dimensions of major issues, with a particular focus on the experience of Black Canadians.

Evidence-Based Policy (p 56)

In order to properly address gender inequality and track our progress towards a more equitable society, we need to better understand the barriers different groups face. The Government of Canada intends to address gaps in gathering data and to better use data related to gender and diversity.

This includes proposing $6.7 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, and $0.6 million per year ongoing, for Statistics Canada to create a new Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics. The Centre will maintain a public facing GBA+ data hub to support evidence-based policy development and decision-making—both within the federal government and beyond.

The Centre will work to address gaps in the availability of disaggregated data on gender, race and other intersecting identities to enrich our understanding of social, economic, financial and environmental issues. The work conducted at the Centre will include collecting, analyzing and disseminating data on visible minorities to understand the barriers different groups face and how best to support them with evidence-based policy.

As part of the Government’s commitment to address gaps in gender and diversity data, the Government is also proposing to provide $1.5 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, and $0.2 million per year ongoing, to the Department of Finance Canada to work with Statistics Canada and Status of Women to develop a broader set of indicators and statistics to measure and track Canada’s progress on achieving shared growth and gender equality objectives.

Budget 2018 also proposes to provide $5 million per year to Status of Women Canada to undertake research and data collection in support of the Government’s Gender Results Framework. One of the first projects this would support is an analysis of the unique challenges visible minority and newcomer women face in finding employment in science, technology engineering and mathematics occupations. This research will fill important gaps in knowledge as to how to achieve greater diversity and inclusion among the high-paying jobs of tomorrow.

Recognizing the importance of poverty data in evidence-based decision- making by all levels of government, the federal government additionally proposes an investment of $12.1 million over five years, and $1.5 million per year thereafter, to address key gaps in poverty measurement in Canada. This includes ensuring that poverty data is inclusive of all Canadians, data on various dimensions of poverty are captured, and the data is robust and timely

Luc Portelance and Ray Boisvert: It’s time for Canada to get serious about national security

Overview of the security agency perspective from Luc Portelance and Ray Boisvert. Challenge to the rest of government and society lies with counter-radicalization efforts, as they flag below:

Radicalization prevention begins at home, in our communities and across various levels of government. Furthermore, the development of counter-narratives to violent extremism must not be seen as the exclusive domain of security agencies. Counter-radicalization is a long-term battle of ideas that can only be won through collaborative action across society, and more specifically by applying proven commercial marketing strategies.

With the move of the multiculturalism program back to Canadian Heritage, there is an opportunity for the program to play a larger role in such policy discussions and initiatives than was the case recently at CIC/IRCC (as was done previously before the move to CIC/IRCC).

Source: Luc Portelance and Ray Boisvert: It’s time for Canada to get serious about national security | National Post

Ministerial Mandate Letters: Mainstreaming diversity and inclusion, and point of interest from a citizenship and multiculturalism perspective

With the Mandate letters now public, two good pieces by Susan Delacourt (You’ll be judged by how you treat others, Trudeau cabinet warned) and Paul Wells (Justin Trudeau repeats himself) on the template used to guide  Ministers on the government-wide priorities and the expected and broad code of conduct.

Delacourt notes:

Working well with others — including people in the media — is now officially part of the job description for Canadian cabinet ministers.

The “mandate letters” given to every minister are setting a new bar for co-operation in Justin Trudeau’s government, according to one letter obtained in advance of the expected public release.

In fact, if the sheer word volume in these letters is any indication, co-operation seems to be the top item on the to-do list of Trudeau’s team.

Ministers are being warned that they will be judged by how well they treat a whole raft of people — everyone from business to labour, stakeholders and citizens, and yes, the opposition and the media too.

“Members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, indeed all journalists in Canada and abroad, are professionals who, by asking necessary questions, contribute in an important way to the democratic process. Your professionalism and engagement with them is essential,” the letter states.

….One group of people is singled out as well in the mandate letters for special treatment from government. “No relationship is more important to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples,” the letter states.

 The notable feature of these mandate letters, as mentioned, is the amount of words devoted to culture change of the kinder, gentler sort. “Open by default” is an operating principle.
 Wells analyses further:

Possible explanations for this outbreak of boilerplate include (a) a particularly wonky form of Tourette’s; (b) a desire to put most of the country to sleep before we get to the good stuff; (c) the PM and his advisers actually think the repetitive stuff is worth repeating. I’m going to go with (c). So while many colleagues will focus on what changes from letter to letter, let’s pause here to look at what doesn’t. 

  • “Real change—in both what we do and how we do it.” … Now, these letters come from Trudeau and his staff and appear over his signature, but it’s nearly a deadlock certainty that public servants were involved in the process, and one of them will have said: Prime Minister, if you evoke “a personal commitment” to this stuff and then tell ministers they “will be held accountable for our commitment,” you’re elevating it way beyond the realm of pious nostrum. You’re making it sound like you mean it. Repeating it 30 times in letters to 30 ministers is like tracing a line in the sand, then scraping it a yard deep.
  • “Track and report on the progress of our commitments.” …., idealism and political self-interest become nearly synonymous: Trudeau wants to be able to meet voters in, probably, 2019, with a bunch of check marks next to his 2015 promises. And again, by publicly repeating that goal, he is offering up a jumbo hostage to fortune if any promise proves impossible to keep.
  • “No relationship is more important to me and to Canada than the one with”— Actually, it’s interesting here to try to guess how this sentence ends. Important relationships. Hmm. The one with . . . the United States? The United Nations? Hard-working families? Nope. Again in every letter, Trudeau elevates the relationship with “Indigenous Peoples” above every other in his personal hierarchy of priorities…..
  • “Observe the highest ethical standards in everything you do.” …“As noted in the Guidelines, you must uphold the highest standards of honesty and impartiality, and both the performance of your official duties and the arrangement of your private affairs should bear the closest public scrutiny. This is an obligation that is not fully discharged by simply acting within the law.”Expect opposition members to quote that last sentence back to Trudeau and his ministers any time one of them lands in hot water. “It’s legal” is not, in Justin Trudeau’s own judgment, a sufficient defence for poor conduct.

Diversity and Inclusion commitments:

Turning from the general to the specific with respect to citizenship and multiculturalism, what is striking are the two paragraphs, again to all ministers, mainstreaming the Government’s diversity and inclusion agenda with a commitment to end divisive politics and practices and renewed emphasis on employment equity for women, indigenous Canadians and minority groups in political appointments:
Canadians expect us, in our work, to reflect the values we all embrace: inclusion, honesty, hard work, fiscal prudence, and generosity of spirit. We will be a government that governs for all Canadians, and I expect you, in your work, to bring Canadians together.
You are expected to do your part to fulfill our government’s commitment to transparent, merit-based appointments, to help ensure gender parity and that Indigenous Canadians and minority groups are better reflected in positions of leadership.

The specific commitments for each Minister will, of course, be reflected in the performance management agreements of Deputy Ministers, which in turn will cascade down to all levels of management. Hence, these are the ones that will be met given their priority.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister

The specific commitments track the party platform commitments in immigration and refugees. On citizenship, the mandate letter expands on the platform by including repealing the revocation provisions of the C-24 Citizenship Act and the ‘intent to reside’ provision.

In other words, very surgical changes rather than more sweeping changes. For example, no mention of reversing the expansion of knowledge and language requirements from 18-54 to 14-64 year olds, nor reversing the sharp increase in citizenship fees (from $100 to $530), nor improvements in due process (oral hearings in cases of misrepresentation).

While not in the list of commitments, presumably the Minister will revise and rebrand the citizenship study guide, Discover Canada, with more inclusive substance and language, given the overall priority mentioned above.

The specific commitments are below:

As Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, your overarching goal will be to reopen Canada’s doors to welcome those who want to contribute to our country’s success. Canadians are open, accepting, and generous – qualities that should be reflected in Canada’s immigration policies and in our approach to welcoming those seeking refuge from conflict and war. Our communities are strengthened when we come together to welcome newcomers who want to build a better Canada and to help those in need.
In particular, I will expect you to work with your colleagues and through established legislative, regulatory, and Cabinet processes to deliver on your top priorities:

  1. Lead government-wide efforts to resettle 25,000 refugees from Syria in the coming months.

  2. As part of the Annual Immigration Levels Plan for 2016, bring forward a proposal to double the number of entry applications for parents and grandparents of immigrants to 10,000 a year.

  3. Give additional points under the Entry Express system to provide more opportunities for applicants who have Canadian siblings.

  4. Increase the maximum age for dependents to 22, from 19, to allow more Canadians to bring their children to Canada.

  5. Bring forward a proposal regarding permanent residency for new spouses entering Canada.

  6. Develop a plan to reduce application processing times for sponsorship, citizenship and other visas.

  7. Fully restore the Interim Federal Health Program that provides limited and temporary health benefits to refugees and refugee claimants.

  8. Establish an expert human rights panel to help you determine designated countries of origin, and provide a right to appeal refugee decisions for citizens from these countries.

  9. Modify the temporary foreign workers program to eliminate the $1,000 Labour Market Impact Assessment fee to hire caregivers and work with provinces and territories to develop a system of regulated companies to hire caregivers on behalf of families.

  10. Lead efforts to facilitate the temporary entry of low risk travelers, including business visitors, and lift the visa requirement for Mexico.

  11. Work with the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to repeal provisions in the Citizenship Act that give the government the right to strip citizenship from dual nationals.

  12. Eliminate regulations that remove the credit given to international students for half of the time that they spend in Canada and regulations that require new citizens to sign a declaration that they intend to reside in Canada.

Canadian Heritage Minister

Noteworthy for what is not in the letter: any mention of multiculturalism following its transfer back to Canadian Heritage after some eight years at the former CIC.

This will give the bureaucracy time to implement the machinery changes (time-consuming at the best of times) and re-integrate and rebuild policy and related capacity that was dispersed and weakened at CIC.

For better and worse, it will give officials a freer hand in this reintegration process and the more important policy reflections on how multiculturalism can better reflect the diversity and inclusion agenda, lost somewhat at CIC under then Minister Kenney.

This would start with a review of the priorities enunciated in 2010, where language (e.g., inclusion) and substance (e.g., employment equity, racism and discrimination):

  • build an integrated, socially cohesive society;
  • help federal and public institutions respond to the needs of a diverse society; and
  • engage in international discussions on multiculturalism.

The first opportunity to reflect this change will be the February tabling of the Annual Report on the Operation of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, with the Ministerial message and overview (the report will cover the 2014-15 fiscal year period and thus report on the previous government’s initiatives).

However, there is a risk that the lack of political direction (and ‘supporting minister’) will undermine the ability for the multiculturalism program to play an effective policy role in the government’s overall diversity and inclusion agenda.

The overarching  commitment in the mandate letter:

As Minister of Canadian Heritage, your overarching goal will be to implement our government’s plan to strengthen our cultural and creative industries. Our cultural sector is an enormous source of strength to the Canadian economy. Canada’s stories, shaped by our immense diversity, deserve to be celebrated and shared with the world. Our plan will protect our important national institutions, safeguard our official languages, promote the industries that reflect our unique identity as Canadians, and provide jobs and economic opportunities in our cultural and creative sectors.

The one commitment related to, but much broader than multiculturalism, is with respect to reinstating the court challenges program (it provided funds to groups that need funding to contest specific policies):

  1. Work with the Minister of Justice to update and reinstate a Court Challenges Program.

Roles of Other Ministers

The Minister of Justice is expected to:

  1. Review our litigation strategy. This should include early decisions to end appeals or positions that are not consistent with our commitments, the Charter or our values. [e.g., the citizenship niqab case, cuts to refugee healthcare]

  2. Support the Minister of Canadian Heritage to restore a modern Court Challenges Program.

  3. Work with the President of the Treasury Board to enhance the openness of government, including supporting his review of the Access to Information Act to ensure that Canadians have easier access to their own personal information, that the Information Commissioner is empowered to order government information to be released and that the Act applies appropriately to the Prime Minister’s and Ministers’ Offices, as well as administrative institutions that support Parliament and the courts.

The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has no commitment with respect to softer approaches to countering violent extremism (e.g., research, working with communities, deradicalization) although this can be implied from the overall inclusion messaging.

Link to all mandate letters:

ministerial mandate letters

#Multiculturalism Transferred Back to Canadian Heritage: Impact

CM_Table_12_Transfer_to_CICThe Order in Council announcing the reversal of the 2008 transfer to CIC as part of then Minister Kenney’s Package:

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, pursuant to paragraph 2(a) of the Public Service Rearrangement and Transfer of Duties Act, transfers, effective November 4, 2015,

(a) from the Department of Citizenship and Immigration to the Department of Canadian Heritage the control and supervision of those portions of the federal public administration in the Citizenship and Multiculturalism Branch within the Department of Citizenship and Immigration that relate to multiculturalism; and

(b) to the Minister of Canadian Heritage the powers, duties and functions of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration relating to multiculturalism.

The PCO press release indicates that responsibility for the Canadian Race Relations Foundation is also transferred but makes no reference to either the Global Centre for Pluralism or the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (the previous government gave the head of the Office for Religious Freedom the lead responsibility).

Personally  interesting,  given that I managed the transfer to CIC in 2008, and have consistently written that multiculturalism was atrophying at CIC given its more operational focus on citizenship and immigration.

As I wrote two years ago in my conclusion to Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism on the longer-term impact of CIC’s departmental structure and culture on the multiculturalism program:

A functional model like CIC has advantages in creating greater clarity between the policy and operational functions, but tends to reinforce the centre of gravity and allocate resources accordingly. A business line model like PCH provides more focused policy and program integration at the business line or program level, but increases rigidity and coordination issues between business lines. While the PAA structure acts as a counterweight, over time the centre of gravity will dominate. Arguably, for integration, citizenship and multiculturalism, the lines between pure policy and pure operations (e.g., citizenship ceremony design, G&C management) are less clear than for admissibility and immigration selection. Additionally, one of the legacies of the Cullen-Couture agreement transferring immigration selection and integration funding to Quebec meant CIC was largely uninterested in using the levers in citizenship and multiculturalism to highlight federal presence in Quebec. A sharp contrast to PCH which had, and viewed itself as having, a strong role in Quebec.

In many ways, the collective impact for multiculturalism will, over time, become closer to the original Reform Party objective of 1996-97 of abolishing multiculturalism and strengthening a strong, common narrative of citizenship. The Cabinet shuffle of July 2013 and the separation of the political function, which remained under Minister Kenney, from the departmental function, under Minister Alexander, is significant in that context. While political, community-based outreach is central to electoral strategies (the “fourth sister”), as evidenced by Minister Kenney’s ongoing responsibility for this critical outreach, the substantive policy and program focus on long-term integration issues will continue to decline. This is a legitimate policy choice but it is striking just how little debate this change has provoked.

The Liberal government’s decision to reverse the transfer and restore the broader Canadian Heritage identity mandate (and no longer have the file ‘travel’ with a minister), with a strong diversity and inclusion emphasis, will reinvigorate multiculturalism, both within the department and across government more generally.

However, given the dispersal of and reductions to multiculturalism resources at CIC (now IRC), considerable rebuilding will be required.

The above table highlights the FTEs and Operations and Maintennance resources transferred in 2008 (about $12 million in Grants & Contributions funding was also transferred).

Chapter 6 of my book describes the process, resource transfers and impact (available at Lulu.com, direct link My Author Spotlight).

Source: Orders in Council – Search – Privy Council Office

Ottawa spends more on military history amid criticism over support for veterans

Seems a bit of a unidimensional celebration of Canada’s history in the lead-up to 2017:

The commemorative budget includes roughly $32-million for the Department of National Defence over seven years and nearly $50-million over three years at the Departments of Veterans Affairs for public education, ceremonies, events and remembrance partnerships, according to figures compiled by The Globe and Mail. The budget also includes several million dollars through the Department of Canadian Heritage, the figures show.

This funding is not a complete tally and is in addition to the tens of millions of dollars the Conservatives already dedicated to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, the conflict with the United States the government billed as “The Fight for Canada.”

National Defence has created a special program called “Operation Distinction” to oversee a spate of commemorations, chiefly important anniversaries of the First World War and Second World War. The initiative spans all the way to 2020, which will mark the 75th anniversary of the Second World War’s Victory in Europe Day and Victory over Japan Day.

Ottawa wants to use these occasions to build a “greater understanding that Canada’s development as an independent country with a unique identity stems in significant part from its achievement in times of war,” according to a January 2014 memo from Chief of the Defence Staff General Tom Lawson obtained under access-to-information law.

The government has made boosting appreciation of Canada’s military tradition a priority, in part to fashion a more conservative national identity. It’s cultivated an image as pro-military since taking power but in recent years has alienated a vocal group of veterans and their families, upset over what they consider insufficient federal support.

Ottawa spends more on military history amid criticism over support for veterans – The Globe and Mail.

And:

Return to old-style uniform insignia costs Canadian Forces millions