- In 1992, after five decades of struggle, Canadian Merchant Seaman were officially recognized as Veterans. The sacrifices and contributions made by our Canadian and Allied Merchant Navy Veterans resulted as the mainstay of the Allied Forces victories in both Word War I and World War II.
- During the Second World War, the Canadian Merchant Navy losses (alone) were 1 in 8. Out of the 12, 000 WWII Merchant Navy Veterans, there are only 500 (approximately) that remain, with an average attrition rate of 12 per month.
- In 2003, Bill C-411, An Act to establish Merchant Navy Veterans Day, is passed by Parliament, and Vice-Admiral R.D. Buck, Chief of the Maritime Staff, Royal Canadian Navy, acknowledges the importance of this initiative, and establishes a new era of co-operation with the (newly created) Merchant Navy Commemorative Theme Project (MNCTP), the Canadian and Allied Merchant Navies, and the Royal Canadian Navy.
- In 2004, the first Merchant Navy Veterans Day ceremony was held at the National War Memorial in Ottawa (under Bill C-411), followed by a reception located at the prestigious Senate Foyer (hosted by Senator Joseph A. Day). The event was set in motion by the MNCTP, in collaboration with Colonel John Gardam, the Office of Senator Joseph A. Day, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Conference of Defence Associations, Veterans Affairs Canada, and various veterans organizations.
- Today, the MNCTP continues to preside over the annual MN Day of Remembrance ceremony held in Ottawa, and is in the process of developing a Global Maritime Promotion Integration Strategy (GMPIS) entitled: Allied Merchant Navy Promotion and Commemorative Celebrations (AMNPCC).
WHAT IS THE MERCHANT NAVY COMMEMORATIVE THEME PROJECT (MNCTP)?
- The Merchant Navy Commemorative Theme Project (MNCTP) is a an initiative dedicated to educating Canadians and the international community on the sacrifices and contributions made by the Canadian and Allied Merchant Navies during WWI & WWII, and to promoting them as part of Canada’s, and indeed the world’s rich maritime heritage. The AMNPCC is the next phase.
- The AMNPCC consists of a series of proposed programs, projects, products, and special events aimed at unifying our people through a common understanding of our history. We must also ensure that the forgotten stories of our Merchant Navy are told alongside those of the Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force, and the Canadian Army.
- To this end, the Colonel John Gardam Lifetime Achievement Award was created to recognize excellence in character, loyalty, and devotion of the highest order in service to Canada, and a long time and enduring commitment to bringing awareness and support to the cause of the Canadian and Allied Merchant Navies. The first time recipient of this award was presented to Vice-Admiral Ron Buck, Vice-Chair of the CDA, on February 20, at the 2015 CDA/CDA Institute Annual General. Meeting.
- The AMNPCC is intended to be the foundation for building a global partnership of shared themes and common values among participating nations, governments, private sector and non-for-profit organizations, educational institutions, the general public, and more.
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