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Record of Discussion – Commemoration Advisory Group Teleconference

Thursday, August 31, 2017
1500 – 1600 (EDT)

In Attendance

Commemoration Advisory Group Members

  • Linda Brunet, Encounters With Canada
  • Steven Clark, Royal Canadian Legion
  • Dr. Stephen Harris, Directorate of History and Heritage, Department of National Defence (Co-chair)
  • Michel Houle, Veterans UN-NATO Canada
  • Ray Kokkonen, Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association
  • Lieutenant Colonel Jim Mills, Team Lead National Commemorations, Canadian Joint Operations Command, Canadian Armed Forces
  • Gerry Wharton, The Army Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada
  • Dr. Lee Windsor, University of New Brunswick Gregg Centre

Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs

  • Ben Charland, Stakeholder Relations

Veterans Affairs Canada Officials

  • Hélène Robichaud, Director General, Commemoration, Veterans Affairs Canada (Co-chair)
  • Michel Bourque, Director, Policy and Planning, Commemoration Division,/
  • Katherine Spencer-Ross, Director, Stakeholder Engagement and Outreach
  • Sheila Bolger, Analyst, Stakeholder Engagement and Outreach


  • Derrill Henderson, National Council of Veteran Associations in Canada and Hong Kong Veterans Association of Canada


The Veterans Affairs Canada Co-chair welcomed and introduced Lieutenant Colonel Jim Mills as the Commemoration Advisory Group’s new Canadian Armed Forces member.

Ben Charland, Minister’s Office Stakeholder Relations, confirmed that the newly appointed Minister O’Regan supports the work and efforts of the advisory groups.

Terms of Reference

Members were provided with revised terms of reference for the Commemoration Advisory Group. They were informed that the terms of reference for each of the six advisory groups have been adjusted to improve clarity around roles and responsibilities as well as to include a code of conduct. Members requested minor adjustments to the terms of reference and agreed to sign the code of conduct.

Lieutenant-Colonel Sam Sharpe Plaque

Members continued discussions regarding Minister Hehr’s request to identify a suitable location for the commemorative plaque honouring Lieutenant-Colonel Sam Sharpe. Lieutenant-Colonel Sharpe was a member of Parliament who, after serving in the First World War, suffered from mental health issues and died as a result of suicide in 1918. The Group recommended to the Minister that The Royal (formerly the Royal Ottawa Hospital) be engaged to discuss the possibility of installing the plaque in their state-of-the-art mental health facility located in the Nation's Capital.

National Memorial to Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan

An update was provided regarding the site selection for the National Memorial to Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan. Members were advised that, on September 12, 2017, at the request of Veterans Affairs Canada, the National Capital Commission’s Board of Directors will consider granting federal land use approval for the site west of the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

Forward Agenda

The Commemoration Advisory Group will receive an update regarding the outcome of the September 12, 2017, meeting of the National Capital Commission’s Board of Directors. A meeting will be organized at a later date to consider other matters.

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