Welcome to the temporary Servicewomen’s Salute – Hommage aux Femmes Militaires Canada website! A new Portal website is in development and will be appearing shortly with a new look and more functions.
The Portal hub will begin with two public Search Directories listing helpful research understandings of current and veteran Canadian servicewomen’s lived experience, and local community-level services including peer supports available across Canada; a calendar of events happening across Canada involving veteran and current servicewomen; digital story-telling, sharing of stories, militaria and artifacts.
In the interim, we are describing here current Servicewomen’s Salute Canada activities, our multiple collaboration projects, and wonderful photos and mementos of the December 13, 2017 Canada 150 Servicewomen’s Salute Reception and Dinner held at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Canada’s national capital.
Our objective is to Know, Honour, and Strengthen the contribution of military women to Canada.
December 13, 2017 Canada 150 Servicewomen’s Salute Reception & Dinner
472 former or current servicewomen, dignitaries, and supporters attended the sold-out December 13, 2017 Canada 150 Servicewomen’s Salute – Hommages Aux Femmes MilitairesReception and Dinner held at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. Its goal was to publicly recognize and celebrate military women’s 132-year, historic, and continuing service to Canada. It was a moment in time for servicewomen and their supporters to enjoy being the primary authors, protagonists, and tellers of a larger extraordinary story “Our Past Our Story Our Future”.
Beginning at 1730hrs, December 13 2017 Servicewomen’s Salute guests gathered in the Canadian War Museum’s Lobby to meet with friends, military family members, colleagues, invited special guests and dignitaries, enjoy music played by Governor General’s Foot Guards Band musicians, and visit and talk with representatives at 12 Servicewomen’s Salute Thematic Displays. Volunteer retired and current servicemen assisted guests on arrival and departure. 12 Army, Air, and Navy Cadets and CIL officers assisted attendees’ registration.
Major (ret’d) Sandra Perron, Canada’s first female Infantry Officer, award-winning author, and evening Master of Ceremonies began the evening’s formal programme welcoming attendees, and introducing Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Harjit Sajjan
At 1850hrs, guests and the Dinner’s Head Table were piped in to the museum’s LeBreton Gallery. The Dinner programme began with a Territorial Acknowledgement of the land, unceded traditional Algonquin Anishinaabeg territory, on which we gathered. Canadian War Museum WWI historian Dr. Mélanie Morin-Pelletier welcomed guests on behalf of the museum.
RSVP regrets sent by retired Supreme Court Justice Marie Deschamps, and the Honourable Sheila Copps were read out by Master of Ceremonies Major(ret’d) Perron. The GGFG flute quartet played O Canada to the standing audience, and Chaplain Colonel Barbara Putnam led the saying of Grace.
Canadian Armed Forces Chief of Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance, and Honorary Naval Captain Sharon Johnston then gave invited speeches offering contemporary and historic reasons supporting the Canada 150 event’s celebration.
As guests enjoyed their 3-course dinner and wine, a Photo Montage, and WWII recruiting video were shown on the Gallery’s stage screen .
Chief of Staff Army Operations Brigadier-General Jenny Carignan gave the final invited speech of the evening to reflect on how far we have come as a country, and what can lie ahead for future CAF servicewomen and men.
The evening programme ended with closing remarks by Organizing Committee Lead LCdr (ret’d) Rosemary Park. Servicewomen’s Salute Organizing Committee members and Committee supporters (shown in the evening Programme) stood to receive the applause of guests.
Master of Ceremonies Major(ret’d) Perron presented a thank-you tribute to LCdr (ret’d) Park commemorating the symbolism of the Canada 150 Servicewomen’s Salute event, and a personal poem and memento gifts for all attendees.
Broadcast difficulties prevented showing NATO College in Rome LGen Whitecross and staff’s video greeting, plus screening of the new November 2017 CAF recruiting video for women recruits.
A recording of LCol (ret’d) Susan Beharriell’s 1885-2017 storyline that includes reflections written by both Canadian Armed Forces servicewomen attending the October 8, 1992 Servicewomen’s Salute Dinner on Parliament Hill, and by servicewomen attending the December 13 2017 Dinner will be posted on the website.
This site and our Instagram (@servicewomensalute) provide a growing catalogue of Reserve and Regular Force servicewomen’s lived experience, historical, research, art, literature, and film resources and representation describing Canadian servicewomen’s military participation from 1885 to the present day.
The objective of a one-stop, interactive, and curated resource and network of expertise did not exist …Until now.
Beginning in October 2018, seven media students at Ryerson University have been completing a photojournalism project to highlight and promote the stories of women who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces. Supported by Servicewomen’s Salute Canada, the students have produced 21 photo-stories of veteran servicewomen, and are in post-production edits of the documentary titled “An Invisible Force” about the three decisions of servicewomen to publicly describe their experiences following military sexual assault. Both photo-stories and documentary Trailer can be found on the student’s Peridot Productions An Invisible Force Facebook Page.
Servicewomen’s Salute – Hommage aux Femmes Militaires Canada began in 2017 as a citizen-led volunteer Canada 150 Campaign ToKnow, Honour, andStrengthen the historic and continuing contribution of former and current Canadian Armed Forces servicewomen to Canada.
The 2017 Servicewomen’s Salute fact-finding exercise behind the Canada 150 Legacy Campaign found significant offers of help and interest by former and current servicewomen and men, Members of Parliament and Senators, Canadian War Museum, local museums and archives, public libraries, Military Gals Facebook site Administrators, Historica Canada, Nursing Sisters Association of Canada, WRCNS Toronto branch, HMCS York and Carleton, many university researchers, Women in Defence and Security, and ‘hidden gems’ of Canadian history, archived local records and artwork located all over Canada. We found many many former and current women with hugely fascinating stories, and shared much laughter.
The fact-finding exercise also found:
gaps in recording and accessing Canadian military women’s 132-year history;
very rare public celebration of servicewomen’s unique historical and contemporary contributions to Canada;
no coordination or aggregated collection of whole-of-community resources in Canada supporting former or current servicewomen’s interests, goals, and issues; and,
no ongoing opportunity for servicewomen to share, digitally record, enjoy and benefit from their reflections and insights arising from their experiences as military members.
Also evident was rare external leadership, and over-reliance on the few wanting to tell their stories as a public narrative about Canadian military women and their service to Canada.
The Canada 150 Servicewomen’s Salute Organizing Committee ended the Canada 150 sesquicentennial year by staging the Canada 150 Servicewomen’s Salute at the Canadian War Museum honouring and recognizing Canadian Armed Forces servicewomen.
December 13, 2017 was chosen because it allowed the centennial celebration of perhaps the most notable historical date for Canadian women – December 17 1917 when the first Canadian women ever exercised their full suffrage ie having all municipal, provincial, and national voting rights as a Canadian citizen of Canada:
1. As a result of the September 20 1917 Military Voters Act, an estimated 504 Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps Nursing Sisters serving overseas in France voted in both early balloting on December 5, 1917 or on the December 17, 1917 election date. As a result, they are the first ever women to have full voting rights in Canada;
2. As a result of the September 20 1917 Military Elections Act, an additional 50O,000-plus Canadian adult women of military family members serving overseas voted on December 17 1917, and so joined their military sisters as the first women in Canada to also receive full suffrage.
Since then, 2018 and 2019 Servicewomen’s Salute Canada Activities have included:
a. the start of building online, interactive SWS Search Directories of historical and contemporary resources describing Canadian military women’s history, lived experience, research, artistic expression, and artifact catalogue listings.
b. use of Servicewomen’s Salute Canada social media postings, discussions, and sharing to create greater public awareness of veteran and current servicewomen’s continuing contributions to Canada, issues they continue to face, and their supporters.
c. Production of ‘An Invisible Force’ documentary and photo-21 stories of veteran servicewomen by Ryerson University’s Peridot Production media students’ team.
d. Collaboration with academic researchers seeking to add greater understandings of Canadian women’s military service.
e. Development of civilian work opportunities and peer-support networks for PRes and Regular Force, active and former service women.
f. Incorporation of Servicewomen’s Salute – Hommage aux Femmes Militaires Canada as a Military Member Association and employment social enterprise recognizing and supporting former and current Reserve and Regular Forces servicewomen’s loyalty and contribution to Canada.