NOVA SCOTIA HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Committee Room 1
Canadian Army Veteran Motorcycle Units (2nd C.A.V., Eastern Canada)
Printed and Published by Nova Scotia Hansard Reporting Services
VETERANS AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
Mr. Gary Burrill (Chairman)
Mr. Jim Boudreau (Vice-Chairman)
Ms. Michele Raymond
Mr. Howard Epstein
Ms. Lenore Zann
Hon. Wayne Gaudet
Mr. Harold Theriault
Mr. Alfie MacLeod
Mr. Chuck Porter
[Ms. Michele Raymond was replaced by Mr. Leonard Preyra.]
[Mr. Howard Epstein was replaced by Mr. Mat Whynott.]
[Hon. Wayne Gaudet was replaced by Hon. Michel Samson.]
[Mr. Alfie MacLeod was replaced by Mr. Eddie Orrell.]
Ms. Kim Langille
Legislative Committee Clerk
Canadian Army Veteran Motorcycle Units (2nd C.A.V., Eastern Canada)
Mr. Tony Lynch,
2nd C.A.V., President
Mr. Mike Burke,
2nd C.A.V., Sergeant at Arms
Mr. Roger Mailman,
Sergeant at Arms. Battle of the Atlantic Unit
HALIFAX, THURSDAY, MARCH 8, 2012
STANDING COMMITTEE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS
Mr. Gary Burrill
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. I want to welcome especially our guests to the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs this morning from the CAV motorcycle units. I want to welcome Tony Lynch, Roger Mailman and Mike Burke. As we mentioned just before the meeting, our purpose is that through this committee the government of our province should be aware of every aspect of the life of veterans in our province, so we really appreciate toward this end that you’ve come talk about the work and the mission of the CAV.
Just before we begin our meeting I’ll ask the members of the committee to introduce themselves and perhaps I can get you to introduce yourselves to us and we could begin with the presentation.
[The committee members introduced themselves.]
MR. CHAIRMAN: So our normal drill would be to have your explanation and presentation and then to have a conversation and discussion about that. At the end of that, whenever that is, we have some committee business to deal with and we’re not under any serious time constraints about that, other than our overall meeting has to end at 11:00 a.m. I would ask you to introduce yourselves and then give us that presentation.
MR. TONY LYNCH: My name is Tony Lynch, President of 2nd CAV, I’ll explain that a little later on. I’m currently posted to Moncton, New Brunswick, still serving. I apologize for the scruffiness, but I’ve been on sick leave for a while and one of the grandkids said I should do this.
MR. MIKE BURKE: I’m Mike Burke, Sergeant-at-Arms for 2nd CAV of the East Coast. I’m from Nova Scotia, I’m the senior position in 2nd CAV in Nova Scotia.
MR. ROGER MAILMAN: I’m Roger Mailman, Sergeant-at-Arms of Battle of the Atlantic which is the unit that represents Halifax in Nova Scotia. I live in Porters Lake and am originally from Guysborough County.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Welcome, and we look forward to your explanation and the discussion about it when you’ve finished. The floor is yours.
MR. LYNCH: I’ve put together a PowerPoint, unfortunately this was not what I had anticipated. We have one put together by our national president and our national Webmaster called “Riding with Heroes” which is quite professional compared to what I’ve done, so please bear with me and I’ll try to keep this up to their standard.
This is a World War II poster that our current crest was derived from. We have this in English and French and I should mention now that the CAV, Canadian Army Veterans, Veteran Armée canadienne, is in every province across the country including Québec where we have a very strong showing. So if I say CAV, you can read that as CAV/VAC.
This is the more stylized and modernized version of the World War II poster and it still represents the rider and I’ll explain a little bit more about him. This is the current crest. Our initial crest was only in green and we’ve since gone to tri-colours to basically show respect for the other branches. We have a blue for the Air Force and/or Navy, depending on if you’re a blue water sailor. We’ve just come up with, in the last year, with a black crest for the Navy as well. It’s optional. Navy guys wear green. One argument from Navy guys was, we ride our bikes on land, why shouldn’t it be green?
Our current crest - and I keep calling it a crest, it’s not a patch, and I’ll explain that a little later - shows the dispatch rider coming out of what they call the devil’s punch bowl. During the Second World War, the dispatch riders were trained quite intensely and some of the riding they had to do was a lot more hazardous, obviously, in the training than even we do today. There is a video on the CAV Web site that shows the riders training during the Second World War. Our Web site is on my cards and anybody who wants to go to it, just go to the media and you’ll see about a seven-minute video of these guys.
This is a general overview of the CAV. We’re a veterans-based group and the veterans-based group is important; we’re not all veterans, we have retired and still-serving members, as well as veteran supporters. Veteran supporters are non-military personnel, but support the CAV ethos and our philosophy or mission.
Another important point - we’re a riding club, an RC, not a motorcycle club, an MC, which is an important distinction. If anybody has dealt with the police organizations, they’ll explain that in detail to you.
We wear a crest, not a patch and we drive that home to a lot of people because they say, oh yeah, your patch. No, it’s not a patch, it’s a crest and it’s a one-piece crest as opposed to a three-piece, which again is another important distinction if anybody is familiar with the motorcycle world. A three-piece crest, generally, part of that will claim territory and we don’t claim territory. We have no inclination to do anything remotely like that.
Another distinction is we have units not chapters. Again, if anybody has watched Sons of Anarchy or any of this kind of stuff on TV, which is great entertainment, they have chapters. Our units, based on a given community, take the name of Canadian Battle Honour and that Canadian Battle Honour comes right out of the Honours, Flags and Heritage Structure of the Canadian Forces, which is a rather large manual.
Our members ride every brand or make of motorcycle or trike; we’re not brand-specific. A lot of motorcycle organizations restrict your membership to a specific bike, generally Harley. We’ve got everything from sport bikes, every brand of Japanese and British bikes. We’ve got somebody riding the old Russian Ural with a side car. As long as you ride you’re welcome in the CAV, pretty much.
Our mission is pretty easy - ride, have fun, help others. The “help others” has a small qualifier around it; it’s help others when you can. Our focus is not to be die-hard fundraisers, if you will. We help when we can but our whole reason for being is to help our members because a lot of our members are suffering from PTSD and other things, and riding the bike is therapy for them in a lot of cases.
The helping others portion, as I say, is somewhat less simple. There are a lot of worthwhile charities and people who need help and it’s difficult to help all that should be helped due to time, our employment and a lot of other things. A few of the things that we support nationally and locally are the Motorcycle Ride for Dad, which is the fundraiser and awareness raiser for prostate cancer research. The CAV was born at a Ride For Dad about eight years ago in Ontario, when two ex-soldiers were there and recognized each other for what they were, got together and both suffering not only from physical injuries but PTSD as well. Both rode motorcycles and thought that putting together a riding group would be beneficial and over the past eight years it certainly has proved that.
ICROSS is the International Community for Relief of Starvation and Suffering, and the patron of that is retired General Lewis MacKenzie. It is basically focused on Africa and what we do is provide funds to purchase or provide used medical equipment to a lot the countries over there. There have been cases of - we know people who have been over there working on pregnant ladies with no ultrasound equipment and stuff like that. We’ve helped them get something that by our standards is obsolete but over there is a lifesaver.
The Soldier On Program, which I’m sure everybody is familiar with, and the Wounded Warrior Fund - again all national-level events. Nathan’s Ride for Hope started out as a ride for the son of one of our members who was diagnosed with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy. It’s a pretty nasty one, the child probably wouldn’t make it past 16 or 17 years in most cases. We’ve pushed that ride out to all our units and for us it has become a national event.
Fisher House, in Landstuhl, Germany, you’ll see a little bit more about that later on, we’ve supported that quite well. The Tony Stacey Centre, I’m not sure if everybody here is familiar with that one; it’s on the Veterans Affairs side. It’s the only veterans’ home in Canada that allows the spouses to remain with the individual and live with them in that facility, which is really unique and really good for whichever spouse is in the centre.
The No Retreat, No Surrender Ride started off again as a local ride in Newfoundland. One of our members lost his wife to cancer, who is also a CAV member, and John has started this ride. This is the second year for it and we’ve pushed it out to all our units across Canada to do their own, in location. That one is pretty unique and there’s a lot of large organizations that fundraise for cancer; I think that the majority of any funds raised goes into the research end of it. The money that John raises goes to the families who have to suffer through the costs of dealing with an individual within their family with cancer, whether it be travel, gas, hotels, meals. So that’s a pretty unique little take on things.
The Veterans Memorial Ride For Youth, again that one is Newfoundland-based. It’s in its 10th year this year and all the funds raised go to the Legion’s Youth Sports Committee, I guess, for lack of a better term. They send young people all over, taking part in sports events. That one has raised an incredible amount of money and that was all due to about five CAV guys in Newfoundland. There are, honestly, too many other fundraisers and events that we take part in on the list. We’d be here long past 11:00 a.m. if I tried to list and describe them.
The CAV also awards four $500 bursaries a year within our organization. That was instituted about a year ago. It was very well received and we’re obviously going to carry on with that as best we can.
These are the two founders, the two gentlemen I talked about that I met at a Motorcycle Ride For Dad. The gentleman on the left is Trapper Cane, he’s the current national president and the gentleman on the right is Doc Lebrun. Doc is not active in the CAV right now, again because of some issues he’s going through, but he’s still with us in spirit, I guess, for lack of a better term.
This is our national vice-president with the colours - actually that’s the 1CAV colours, that’s over in Afghanistan. That individual there has done a couple of tours as the RSM of a battle group, a very capable individual, glad to have him with the CAV. He brings a lot of experience and common sense to the table for us a lot of times.
For 2CAV, this is our area of responsibility, Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I., Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, so I’ve got the four Atlantic Provinces and within those four provinces I have 14 active units and one actually in Cape Breton that’s inactive, it has been for a while, but we’re hoping to get that one on the go because a lot of riding goes on down in Cape Breton and we ran into a bunch of interesting guys from there last summer or last Fall on our way to Newfoundland and Labrador.
The CAV is broken down into three formations we call them; 2CAV, obviously what you see here; 1CAV, they encompass Ontario, Québec and Manitoba; and 3CAV has Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and they actually extend up into the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Technically, 2CAV is responsible for Nunavut, but we really don’t have anybody riding up in Nunavut at all. We have one CAV member in Iqaluit, but he’s only up there for a temporary position working.
I mentioned ICROSS, this is their poster and as I said, retired General Lewis MacKenzie is the patron. The head individual for that is Willie Willbond, who is a crazy Irishman out of British Columbia, who just loves the CAV and what we’ve done for them. We’ve supported ICROSS so well we’ve twice been awarded the ICROSS Humanitarian of the Year Award; and that’s just another little thank you that they gave us.
I mentioned earlier the support we give the Motorcycle Ride for Dads and our organization was born there. This is a picture I took during the Spring national in Québec a couple of years ago. Trapper, with the red shirt, is our national president; the gentleman on the right is Buddha, the national vice-president; the gentleman between those is Gary Janz, who is the national president of the Ride for Dad; the rather large gentleman on the left looking so stern is the national ride captain, Byron Smith. They come to just about every event that they can get to that we do and we support them quite well.
We actually, unfortunately, did a - I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing to ourselves by supporting them so well. Last year they mandated that they want a CAV member on every Ride for Dad committee across Canada.
I mentioned earlier about Fisher House in Landstuhl, we’ve supported them quite a bit over the years and they have shown their appreciation with a certificate and a couple of very nice letters to our national personnel.
The Canadian Memorial Heroes Vehicles, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with those. They’re vehicles that have been wrapped - as you can see here - each vehicle is dedicated to a soldier fallen in Afghanistan. We’ve escorted these vehicles on pretty much all of their travels across Canada. In this one here the lady, second from the right, Lise Charron from Québec, that’s her vehicle and we escorted her through quite a bit of the Maritimes. There’s another lady, Lisa Diamond, who has one here in the general area and we escorted her - actually these guys did most of the work on that one - to Gagetown for a memorial service. Her car is wrapped in memory of Trooper Larry Rudd. The guys brought her to Gagetown for a very moving ceremony, Larry’s parents came down for it.
The Portraits of Honour, again, we’ve supported that quite in depth. One of the main reasons for it not only because it’s an absolutely - if anybody has seen it - amazing tribute, the artist here in the middle, Dave Sopha is also a CAV member, so we have a little linkage to that as well. There’s Dave, that was at a bike show in Toronto, he was basically explaining some of his work to that gentleman.
I’m going to jump to 1CAV for this one, this is sort of a little special event here. As I mentioned, all our units take the name of a Canadian battle honour. This unit was stood up a couple of months ago. It took the name of Ebro, which is actually a departure from tradition for us, it’s currently not a Canadian battle honour. It commemorates the Battle of the Ebro River during the Spanish Civil War. If anybody is a military history buff, during that time Canada sent over a battalion, it was called the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion, the Mac-Paps. The Canadian Government of the day, the federal government, looked down upon that because, of course, you were taking part in somebody else’s war so they passed a law making that illegal. The fellows who went over to fight had to join the Communist Party and a bunch of other things so you can imagine what that stirred up here in Canada. When they came back there were no great thanks, obviously, because of what they did. I think that somewhere in Canada there is one small monument to what the MacKenzie-Papineau Battalion did fighting fascism.
The unit that stood up in Ontario, in the Renfrew area, took the name Ebro and we pushed that out quite a bit. The gentleman you see speaking there is the Spanish Ambassador to Canada. He was very pleased and proud to be invited to attend that.
I’m going to jump to Newfoundland and Labrador here now. Last Fall Trapper, our national president, and I were asked to go over and help support our unit in St. John’s. They were approached to help raise money for the veterans’ centre over there, the Miller Centre. They wanted to raise some funds to construct what they are calling a dementia garden for the Alzheimer patients who are in the Miller Centre. We’ve seen the artist’s concept, it’s beautiful. These guys can go out and basically wander safely, in an indoor, wooded setting, plant a garden if they wish and just basically go out and enjoy the outdoors but are indoors, in a safe environment.
I think this was before we did the ride, this gentleman in the white jacket is the Mayor of St. John’s. They asked Trapper and him to go lay a wreath in memory, there’s a small cenotaph off to the left. We did the ride that Saturday. Actually we rode over in what was initially a hurricane, it was downgraded to a tropical storm but it didn’t help us any, we still got wet. It cleared up the next day, that’s a Saturday, and our Beaumont-Hamel Unit, with some corporate sponsors, I think by the time all was said and done at the end of that day we had raised about $22,000.
Trapper is a big student of military history and while we were in Newfoundland – I have to throw this one out and this is pretty unique – he wanted to find Tommy Ricketts’ grave. Tommy Ricketts was the youngest VC winner in Canada, ever. You can’t really see that real well there but basically he was born in 1901 and he won his Victoria Cross in Belgium in 1918, so he was 17 years old when he won the Victoria Cross. We searched and finally found his grave and Trapper wanted a picture taken with our national colours and Tommy’s headstone.
I had to throw Mike in there just to prove that we don’t all do fundraisers and serious stuff, we like to have fun. You’ll find us at basically any motorcycle rally or event around the country, from one end to the other. The Wharf Rat Rally, we came down last year for that. That was my first time here, it absolutely blew me away, amazing, my first time back in the Digby-Cornwallis area in many years and it was a much nicer visit this time than my last visit.
Another big event you’ll find us at is Atlanticade. Mike is everywhere, he shows up all over the place here. We just finished presenting Glen Roberts, the editor of Motorcycle Mojo, with an award or a plaque, as a thank-you for everything he has done for the CAV. Atlanticade this year is moving to Summerside, P.E.I., and we will be there in force again and it’s quite an event.
One of our units in New Brunswick does a thing every year called Lakes and Rivers Ride. It’s out of the Village of Gagetown and basically you cross on every ferry, river, lake and whatever in the general area throughout the day on your ride. The funds raised there go towards the Legion, the Wounded Warrior Fund and basically any other worthwhile cause that that unit feels is worthwhile. We don’t tell our units to go ride and raise money for anything. This is all an individual event.
In Sackville, New Brunswick, every September they do the Tantramar toy run. It has turned into a massive event and the CAV has traditionally been asked to do the parking - you can see that’s a bit of a challenge - traffic control during the ride and, of course, we take part in the ride and enjoy ourselves there as well.
Here’s something interesting, seeing you’re the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs. Trapper was presented with the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation a couple of months ago. The CAV’s work with veterans has been recognized at a high level and that’s pretty gratifying.
This young lady - I want to throw this one in there because it’s a bit different - her name is Dakota Lee Allen, a young girl in Ontario. She was attending a lot of the repatriations and the CAV guys met her. Dakota has a serious heart condition. She has a hole in her heart and some other problems, I guess. Anyway, we’ve made her an honorary CAV member and we’ve supported her and her family through the various surgeries. There are actually a couple of things still ongoing. Great kid.
I mentioned earlier about our crest having the dispatch rider coming out of the punch bowl. Old Wally here was a dispatch rider during the Second World War; a tough old bugger. According to some of the stories he told Trapper and some of the other guys, he actually had a motorcycle shot out from under him. His road name was DR - Dispatch Rider - and unfortunately Wally passed away last Fall.
This is Don Chisholm. He’s our national CAV padre. He’s an ex-crusty old sergeant major who saw the light and became ordained. He is one heck of an individual. He spent about a month last summer in Newfoundland and Labrador on his own, visiting the graves and the families of every soldier killed in Afghanistan from Newfoundland. He’s doing that for all the provinces. As I said, he spent about a month just going around, finding the families and the graves. He put together an outstanding photo collage.
One of the things the CAV does in Ontario is support the Children’s Wish Foundation and there is also - I can’t remember the exact name - Camp HE HO HA; it stands for health, hope and happiness - anyway, we go up and take these guys for rides. They love it. They get on motorcycles. They all look at Trapper like - as you can see, he’s a somewhat scary looking individual, to say the least, but he’s what we call an M&M - hard and crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.
Trapper gets to hang out with all the nice people. There’s a funny story about that one. Once His Highness found out that Trapper was a big, badass biker and he has a side car on his motorcycle, basically he said, Trapper, is your motorcycle fuelled up and ready to go? Trapper said, yes, sir, it certainly is. Could you take me for a spin? And that’s when the lady stepped in and said, no, you will not do that.
The other lady there with the CAV cresting on is Darlene Caswell. Her son was killed over there, that’s her at his grave. Darlene has become our national Silver Cross mother; we have Silver Cross cresting within the CAV. We approach the families of those who lost somebody in Afghanistan and, if they are interested, we will provide them, at no charge, with a specially embroidered crest. Or, if they are not into crests, we have basically a very nice wall plaque that we can present to them as well and show that we recognize what happened. I’m proud to say that the CAV sort of helped Darlene through a couple of rough patches. She took the loss of her son very, very seriously and there were some ensuing events that impacted hard on her as well and the CAV helped pull her through.
This is our National Rider in Chief for the veteran side of things. Rick Hillier, whose road name is the Big Cod - surprise, surprise. At the national level, or actually I guess almost above it, we have our National Riders in Chief. As I said, Rick Hillier is the veteran’s side but not forgetting our veteran supporters, Wayne Rostad is our Rider in Chief for our veteran supporters. It’s always good to have someone who can play and sing and the CDS likes hanging out with Trapper for some reason.
We’ve ridden all over the place for different things. This one is actually in Bowring Park in St. John’s, Newfoundland. A couple of years ago we rode over, they unveiled an immense, beautiful plaque commemorating all those who died on the first of July at Beaumont-Hamel and we were there for the unveiling. One of the artists, Frank Gogos, actually has written a couple of books about it and has since become a CAV member.
I was told to put that one in there because that’s my grandson. Actually he was just about two weeks old there.
The CAV has been present at every single repat that has taken place. Trapper personally, he has missed about five, due to being on the other side of the country when they happened.
One of the things that the CAV basically was instrumental in making happen was labelling part of the B.C. highway the Highway of Heroes, not to take away anything from obviously the best-known one in Ontario, but we wanted to see a link of this across the country. The portion in B.C., I think, runs - I can’t remember the two communities it runs between, but B.C. labelled that a year ago and Saskatchewan has since labelled a portion of their Trans Canada. We’ve taken it upon ourselves in 2CAV to push that in our four provinces as well.
The New Brunswick one is coming very close to fruition, we’re aiming for a June dedication ceremony. I’ve got a retired major up there, Kent Carswell, who has done an absolutely magnificent job dealing with the New Brunswick Government on this and the Department of Transport and things are looking very positive. Now Prince Edward Island, the same thing. The past president of the 2nd CAV is over there and he’s working hard at that.
The two gentlemen with me right here, the Nova Scotia reps, and will probably bend your ears later. Roger has a little presentation binder he is going to leave with you as well. Newfoundland, the way our 2CAV is broken down - I guess I should explain this to start - because we encompass four provinces, we have the president, the vice-president, sergeant-at-arms and a road captain. So rather than keep everybody concentrated where the president may be - in my case, in Moncton right now - I am in Moncton; my 2CAV vice-president is in Newfoundland; Mike, as sergeant-at-arms, is here in Nova Scotia; and my road captain is in Prince Edward Island, so we have a formation rep in each province. My vice-president in Newfoundland is running with this over there as well. We’re hoping to really get this done by this summer. I know in P.E.I. the intent is to do the dedication or the labelling during Atlanticade, which will be a very big event.
This is just an old poem from many years ago. It was initially written to commemorate the Vietnam War and it’s still actually valid today so I thought I’d put that in there. It’s pretty nice.
Finally, two pertinent quotes to finish with: “Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out a car window.” I thought it was a very good one. “You’ve never seen a motorcycle in a psychiatrist’s parking lot.” Keep that in mind. I just had to put that bottom one in there. I just found that so funny. That concludes the presentation.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, thank you so much, Tony, for presenting that. Before we begin our discussion, I should introduce to the three of you a couple of members who have come in since you began speaking. Lenore Zann is the member for Truro-Bible Hill and Michel Samson, the member for Richmond. We’ll open the floor for responses to what you’ve told us about.
MR. EDDIE ORRELL: Thank you very much, gentlemen. I appreciate the work you do and, having a grandfather who served, I appreciate everything that’s done for veterans everywhere around the world and around this country especially. How do you select which organizations you choose to support? Do the groups come to you guys?
MR. LYNCH: Generally we’re approached. I guess initially when the CAV was first starting up as a small organization, the Ride For Dad obviously was the main focus. As you can see, they’ve since expanded. I guess it’s a function of our becoming better known and more visible, so organizations come to us. I get an incredible number of e-mails asking for CAV support for one thing after another. We have to be really careful because, again, we’re finite; a lot of us work.
MR. ORRELL: Do veterans groups take precedence?
MR. LYNCH: Not necessarily. We work closely with the Legion in a lot of communities. In some communities, for some strange reason, the Legion pulls back. That’s going to change. I can’t talk about it right now but there have been discussions at our national level and the Legion’s national level for a closer linkage, so you may see that in the next several months. We’re veterans-focused and veterans-based. We’ve supported youth programs, you name it.
MR. ROGER MAILMAN: Just to speak on that, specifically to this area, the Battle of the Atlantic, which represents our veterans here in the metro area - in June we’re planning on hosting or supporting a fundraiser run to support the Special Olympics kids in the area. That will be sometime in June. Last year it was in May and it was a really cold day and you don’t get a good turn-out, so this year we’re moving it up to June and hoping it doesn’t pour rain or snow, right? One of our members, our vice-president for Battle of the Atlantic, is looking after that this year and he had worked on it last year, so this year we’re going to host it as a CAV event.
MR. ORRELL: Just one more. It’s basically two parts. Approximately, how much money would your organization raise throughout the country? Does the money stay in its local area if you’re raising for, say, your Prostate Ride? If you had a ride in Cape Breton or if you had a ride in Halifax, would it stay there or does it get moved around for national research or local help?
MR. LYNCH: That’s excellent and I’m glad you asked that. The Ride for Dad is run by its own organization, we support it. For example, in New Brunswick we do what is called a tri-city ride, we do Fredericton, Saint John and Moncton, all three rides simultaneously in our own areas and come together in Sussex.
All the money raised at a Ride for Dad is – well, I won’t say all because there is a certain amount that has to go back to national, 10 per cent or whatever, but the vast majority of the money raised stays in that local area, that’s the intent. If there’s a cancer research unit at the local hospital, that’s where the money will go. If there’s no local research, the money will be put towards raising awareness of prostate cancer and go get yourself checked and so on, that’s on the Ride for Dad.
Any other rides that we do, whether it be the Nathan Ride for Hope, No Retreat, No Surrender, Veterans Memorial, that all stays in that province. If it’s something like the Miller Centre ride that we did for that $22,000, that stays right there in St. John’s at the Miller Centre.
MR. ORRELL: The reason I asked that is a friend of mine is a big prostate cancer supporter, puts a golf tournament on and does it pretty well basically on his own. You were talking about the Cape Breton chapter being inactive, so I thought that might be a good idea to contact him and maybe the two could work together and have another fundraiser for that.
MR. LYNCH: Give him my e-mail and my card and tell him to send an e-mail.
MR. ORRELL: I will do that, thank you.
MR. LYNCH: As for how much we’ve raised, I think directly and indirectly over the – well, this is our 9th riding season coming up this year, so over eight seasons in the past, directly and indirectly, we’ve raised approximately $5 million, or contributed to the raising of $5 million.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Jim.
MR. JIM BOUDREAU: Thank you very much, gentlemen, for your presentation. A few questions out of curiosity. Before I ask the question I’d like to make a comment. Looking at your mission statement - which is ride, have fun and help others - I want to commend you on that. Obviously anybody who has ridden a motorcycle knows it’s a great deal of fun. Helping others is obviously extremely important, I think. You have quite a diverse amount of charities or group of charities that you work with. It’s certainly nice to see that and to see that you are using your skills and talents to advance the needs of others so I want to congratulate you on that.
I’m just little curious about in the Maritimes, you say you have 14 units here. Just out of curiosity, how many do we have here in Nova Scotia?
MR. LYNCH: We’ve got Battle of the Atlantic, based out of here, and Fortress Europe is out of Greenwood. Unfortunately the Gothic Line, which was the Cape Breton unit, is temporarily inactive because we have an issue with the individual who was running that and we said he’s gone and the unit is in limbo until we get the right people in place. So technically, right now, two active units.
MR. BOUDREAU: So are most of them in New Brunswick now?
MR. LYNCH: We’ve got two in Prince Edward Island, two here. In Newfoundland we’ve Beaumont-Hamel, Lys, Gallipoli, Kemmel Ridge, we’ve got four or five. I guess the majority, number-wise, probably the majority are in New Brunswick.
MR. BOUDREAU: Okay, we’ll have to get a few more here in Nova Scotia, by the looks of it.
MR. LYNCH: Absolutely. We just re-energized, actually, Battle of the Atlantic Unit with some new personnel.
MR. BOUDREAU: We’ll have to get Mr. Orrell working on that one in Cape Breton, that’s it.
MR. LYNCH: Like I said, there’s great potential down there.
MR. ORRELL: It’s a great cause, my Dad had prostate cancer so it’s one that you get close to your heart.
MR. MAILMAN: The Ride for Dad here is normally out of the Ramada Inn in Dartmouth, it’s an annual event.
MR. MIKE BURKE: We’ve got one in Amherst also.
MR. MAILMAN: Okay, so it may be possible to organize one for Cape Breton.
MR. LYNCH: As Tony said, they’ve requested, if there’s a CAV presence in the area, in a major city, that a CAV member be on the committee.
MR. ORRELL: That might be just the thing that could revitalize your group in Cape Breton.
MR. BURKE: If I may reference the units standing up in the Province of Nova Scotia, we have members in the Cape Breton area who are coming under Battle of the Atlantic. We have members in Yarmouth who come under Fortress Europe. What’s going on there is once we have an executive say, strength, then they can stand up on their own; right now they’re affiliated with the other two units at the moment and we’re working on it. Now with the new black crest which was mentioned earlier, that has definitely got the Navy here in town doing some eyeballing. There are a lot of riders in town and they all want to do something, they’re just looking for the right people. They see us and they see Army veterans and we bring it forward, it’s not Army, it’s Army, Navy, Air Force referring to the Armed Forces.
MR. CHAIRMAN: I was just going to ask, Tony, you had mentioned briefly about the campaign to have a section of the Trans Canada Highway in Nova Scotia named and I know, Roger, you’ve been working on it. Would you like to say a few words, Roger, about where that campaign stands? I know you’ve had discussions with the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. Would you mind saying a little about that?
MR. MAILMAN: Tony showed a picture of a sign there. That sign is at Exit 66 at Langley, B.C. on the Trans Canada Highway heading east toward Abbotsford and that’s the section that has been named. I was there last September, saw the sign. Before that in July, August, whenever, I started chasing this thing and looking for assistance from other people in other parts of Canada that were pursuing this thing because the CAV had taken it on as a national event.
There has been a section of highway in Saskatchewan from Regina to Moose Jaw. Moose Jaw has a military base there and there was military presence in Regina at one time. The RCMP recruit depot is in Regina. New Brunswick is working on a piece of highway, there has been a piece named in Québec and, of course, we got the Highway No. 401 through Ontario, the main big corridor that everybody sees and all the e-mails that float around with the people on the overpasses and everything.
I had originally sent a letter to Minister Estabrooks requesting a meeting to discuss the potential of naming a piece in Nova Scotia, Highway of Heroes, fully understanding that in Nova Scotia, we have from Miller Lake to Truro, the Veterans Memorial Highway. We also have a section of Highway No. 125 from North Sydney to Sydney that is named Peacekeepers Way. Not wanted to wear out our welcome, as a comment or words to use, we’re not looking for a substantial amount of highway, but to be part of the Canada-wide program.
On February 20th I met with Minister Estabrooks in his constituency office and I presented him this package, which I’ll leave with Gary; that is a copy of everything that I left there. In there is also a photocopy of the letter that I originally submitted that has some pictures of the signs that were in the presentation. Minister Estabrooks was quite impressed with the sign from Saskatchewan for some reason; that was his flavour. We really hadn’t pinned it down to a piece of highway because there are different sections of highway that have names on them, like going to the Valley you have the Harvest Highway, I think somewhere up Springhill way there is the Miners Memorial or something. When I spoke to him I said, I don’t think we really want to pursue a large section of highway, because somewhere down the road somebody else is going to have a similar request for something, it could be one of a million different things that could be of significant importance to name a piece of highway after. If you take up too much highway it doesn’t leave opportunities for other people so we’re not wanting to hoard the system with signs on the highway.
What I spoke to Minister Estabrooks about was the potential of naming a piece of the Trans Canada - from Exit 12 in Glenholme by the Masstown Market area is where it starts, going east to Exit 17 or 18 toward New Glasgow area - as Highway of Heroes, thinking that Debert was the biggest holding base for Canadian troops in World War II. It has significance there and as well, it intersects with the Veterans Memorial Highway, coming from Truro. That was the thought behind it. Like I said, we haven’t nailed down any permanent request. There is no request in this presentation of a section of highway. It just says a section of Highway No. 104, whichever people in whatever committees, whether it be this one or Transportation or whatever, will hopefully see fit to support the program or the request to have a sign put up.
I will leave this behind with Gary and it’s in colour. It names all the troops that were killed. There’s a page in there that names all the troops that were killed from Nova Scotia. The first troop killed in Afghanistan from Nova Scotia, Nathan Smith and Richard Green and two other chaps from somewhere and unfortunately that was by friendly fire. They were the first ones that were killed and that was 2002, I believe. Nathan Smith, as an example, I know his family very well and they’re originally from Ostrea Lake down on the Eastern Shore. At the time, his parents were living in Tatamagouche after he had retired from the Esso tanker fleet world. I believe Green was from down in Mill Cove or Hubbards area somewhere. Just to name them off so you know who they are . . .
MR. LYNCH: While Roger is doing that - we don’t want that portion of highway renamed because we know maps have to change and everything else. We’re using the term, “labelled”, which means, put up a sign and that’s it. There are no other ramifications or expense involved there.
MR. MAILMAN: Starting from the beginning, or the earliest guys killed: Private Nathan Smith, who is listed as Tatamagouche; Private Richard Green, Mill Cove; Private Braun Scott Woodfield from Eastern Passage; Corporal Paul Davis of Bridgewater; Corporal Christopher Jonathan Reid from Truro; Warrant Officer Frank Mellish from Truro; Corporal Kevin Megeney from New Glasgow; Corporal Christopher Paul Stannix from Dartmouth; Private John Michael Roy Curwin from Mount Uniacke; Corporal Thomas James Hamilton of Truro; Sergeant Kirk Taylor of Yarmouth; and the last one was Sergeant James Patrick McNeil of Glace Bay. Those were the troops that were killed from Nova Scotia. Any questions?
MR. BOUDREAU: Just for clarity, the labelling process that you’re looking at, you’re looking at, I assume, a part of the Trans Canada Highway, is that correct?
MR. LYNCH: Yes.
MR. BOUDREAU: So it’s not a secondary road per se?
MR. LYNCH: No. It’s just the main, that we consider the Trans Canada Highway here, we call it the 104; some places it’s No. 1; some places it’s No. 2 and so on, if it has the maple leaf.
MR. BOUDREAU: Thank you.
MR. BURKE: Originally when this first came out through the CAV, talking about this and this, I stated for the Province of Nova Scotia with the CAV that I would step up and see what I could do with this. The original thought at that time, the combat mission was coming to an end and Canada had 157 KIAs during the combat mission. At that time, the idea of 157 kilometres sounded like - we’re going to ask and we have 14 Silver Cross family recipients in this province and at that note, I’ve talked with five Silver Cross families and just put the idea out there to see what they thought, because they’re the ones who have lost.
What we were talking about was a possibility of 14 exits on the Trans Canada because this was the Trans Canada Highway. That’s what the big thing is. We knew we had the Veterans Memorial. Like you said, not to take away from that, but for the Trans Canada Highway, the dream was 157 kilometres for the combat mission and 14 exits, no names on them. It would be exit whatever it was. If it was 17, it would stay 17 with a Silver Cross symbol underneath it, for 14 exits to represent the 14 KIAs.
Since then, I’ve talked with Roger who is on computers and whatnot - whereas I’m part caveman - and he has taken the ball and run with it. We’ll take what we can get. If that helps what our dream was, where we’re at.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Michel.
HON. MICHEL SAMSON: Thank you for your presentation. Based on what we’ve heard, I would be prepared to introduce a motion that the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs write to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to indicate our support of the efforts of the Canadian Army Veterans Motorcycle Unit, to have a section of Highway No. 104 in Nova Scotia known as the Highway of Heroes. I would so move.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Is there any discussion on the motion? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.
The motion is carried.
MS. LENORE ZANN: Good morning, gentlemen. I just wanted to say it’s great to see you here. I don’t know if you remember, but we met at the Portraits of Honour in Truro and I had a chat with you about this whole idea. Mike, we met, and mentioned that he should speak with you and come in and do a presentation here today for us. I’m really glad to see that you followed through, that you’re here and it was very interesting. I didn’t know the complete history because we didn’t have much time to talk about the whole history, but this is the way I thought would be the best way for us to try to approach this here in Nova Scotia.
I was very interested about the memorial to the Spanish Civil War. I actually did see that memorial in Victoria, British Columbia; it’s a small one near the harbour right in Victoria. My mom and dad go over to Spain usually each winter, they love Spain and they love the history of Spain. They said the people of Spain, it’s like Amsterdam, it’s like Holland - they love Canadians because we came over and tried to help them fight the fascists and that’s basically what was going on at that time, fighting fascism. A lot of brave people went over from Canada, even in spite of the fact that their government did not want them to go, so good on you, and thanks again so much for being here today.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Are there other points of discussion that anybody would like to raise? I would just like to give you an opportunity - was there anything else, as we’ve talked away, that has come to your mind that you might want to make sure that we don’t close up without having mentioned?
MR. BURKE: Watch out for motorcyclists. (Laughter)
MR. LYNCH: Actually, one of our riders, a past-president of 2nd CAV and the guy who is running with the Highway of Heroes in Prince Edward Island for me, he approached their government and had May or June designated as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Maybe you can keep that in the back of your mind, there are a lot of guys out there on motorcycles and not everybody is a crazy person on a motorcycle. The ones who stand out, unfortunately, are the ones who get noticed more than the rest of us who just do our own thing and ride.
MR. CHAIRMAN: We’ll certainly get you a copy of the letter from the committee supporting your application to have a section of the highway renamed. We just want to thank you for coming and explaining all this. For some of us, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard this; for others it’s new, the CAV is a relatively new organization. It has been great to have been able to have this all put here on the record, so thank you again.
MR. LYNCH: Thank you very much for the invite, it was appreciated.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Maybe we’ll take a five-minute break and then kind of reconvene to deal with a couple of administrative things for the committee.
[9:59 a.m. The committee recessed.]
[10:09 a.m. The committee reconvened.]
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. We have a few administrative things, the first of which is just this correspondence that has come from the Commissionaires in response to the query we had sent earlier. Does anybody have any thoughts about this, other than that we should receive it for information? Agreed.
Then we need to think about meeting dates. The practice has been that we didn’t meet when the House was in. Does everyone agree that we should continue that practice?
Then we need to think about the next meeting. Of course, since we don’t know when the House will be out, nevertheless we need to schedule people and they need to have some reasonable assurance of when the date is going to be.
Would everybody agree that we take that second Thursday, June 14th, as the time for the next meeting?
MS. ZANN: Except that around that time I think we’re going to have a caucus retreat in Truro. (Interruption) Are you sure? They told me yesterday around June 14th or 15th. I just don’t know, you should check.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Then with that caveat, will we agree that the date we’ll ask Kim to shoot for in organizing the next presentation will be June 14th?
MR. SAMSON: So then you’re not doing the April 12th meeting - or are you still doing it?
MR. CHAIRMAN: Yes, that’s the idea.
MR. SAMSON: Okay, April 12th will be moved to June.
MR. CHAIRMAN: April 12th is moved to June; May is out.
Then thinking about agenda matters, we have the presentation about PTSD is what we had kind of thought about for the next meeting. We’ll move that from April here to June.
As far as this inventory of possible matters, would it be the best idea that we would agree that in September we would take some time and ask each caucus between now and then to give some thought to reviewing this list to see if there are things here that we may want to bring forward or discontinue and if there are any new things and kind of give some thought to refreshing this inventory of possibilities, do that in September? Is that agreed?
So the subject that we had kind of tentatively been thinking about beyond the PTSD meeting - in June now - was this matter of The Memory Project but there’s a little clarification about exactly what we’re asking people to come and present, that Kim needs in order to do this. Kim, could you speak to that?
MS. KIM LANGILLE (Legislative Committee Clerk): With regard to The Memory Project, I guess my question is around - The Memory Project is a project whereby veterans basically tell their stories of their experiences involved in the various conflicts. They do it verbally and they attend events and do so, and there’s a Web site where you can go and look at them.
I guess my question is, is the intent of this topic to have a veteran come in and talk to us about their experiences or is the intent more to have someone who is involved with The Memory Project to come in and talk about how it started and all those sorts of things, funding and all that kind of thing. If I could get some direction on that, that would be helpful for me.
MR. BOUDREAU: I think the intent was the latter part of that, just to find out a little more about the project and how it began, where it is and where they anticipate it’s going.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Leonard.
MR. PREYRA: I was going to say the same thing. Mostly it would be for background information; I don’t know if they could actually do a project . . .
MR. CHAIRMAN: Kim, does that give you the precision you need to organize that?
MS. LANGILLE: That’s fine, yes, I think so. Thank you.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Is there anything else that should come before the meeting?
Okay, is it agreed that we adjourn?
Agreed. Okay, thanks everybody.
[The committee adjourned at 10:14 a.m.]