Kamloops MP's outcry helps avoid Remembrance Day wreath gaffe
October 16, 2017 - 2:43 PM
KAMLOOPS - When Kamloops MP Cathy McLeod learned the federal government would only pay for two wreathes for her to lay at cenotaphs in her riding on Remembrance Day she immediately expressed her concerns with the minister responsible.
McLeod says on Remembrance Day she normally ensures wreaths are laid at 11 cenotaphs throughout Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo to pay her respects on Nov. 11.
Along with the services in Kamloops and Tk’emlúps, she says there are ceremonies from Westwold to Clearwater and Blue River to Pine Grove.
"If you live in Ottawa obviously there's one major location, but when you represent a rural riding, which many of us do, there are cenotaphs throughout, and important services, and I think they all deserve a wreath from the Government of Canada to be laid on behalf of the people of Canada," McLeod says.
She says as long as she's been an MP she's laid wreaths at the many cenotaphs in her riding and was quite upset the government was going to get in the way of properly honouring war veterans.
McLeod received the news about the wreath limit from Veteran Affairs Minister Seamus O'Regan on Friday and let him know she thought it was a mistake.
O'Regan defended the change on social media saying MPs were only getting two paid for by taxpayers but could purchase more from their local legions if needed.
But this morning, Oct. 16, she woke up to an email saying the ministry had decided not to limit MPs to a pair of wreathes for Remembrance Day.
"I guess the minister realized he has made a big mistake," she says. "There was some significant backlash brewing and he has retracted the decision... I think he saw the error of his ways."
McLeod says she was just one of many MPs who reached out to O'Regan after the word got out about the two wreath limit which is why she feels the change of heart came so swiftly.
"If it was a budget cut it was foolish and I think the minister perhaps recognized a storm was brewing."
— This story was updated at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 to say that McLeod does not personally visit all 11 cenotaphs.
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