Incoming National President Remarks at CAVUNP BGM, Peterborough ON, 2 July 2022
Thank you for electing me National President. I will do my best to live up to the high standard set by my predecessors.
We have much to do in the next two years. Our marking of National Peacekeepers’ Day is roughly one month away, and Canadians look to us for leadership on how best to observe this important occasion. While the ceremony in Ottawa reflects one end of the spectrum, this is not the only way to recognize the service of over 125,000 Veterans who have served and the 130 who gave their lives in such service. For our smaller Chapters without a dedicated Peacekeeping monument, it could be as simple as inviting the local news media to witness the laying of a wreath at a nearby cenotaph by a few Blue Berets. It all counts, and if we do not mark National Peacekeepers’ Day, no one else will, either.
This year is the 30th anniversary of the start of the United Nations Protection Force in the Former Yugoslavia, or UNPROFOR, mission, which saw Canadian contributions to UN efforts top 3,300 personnel continuously overseas. While our numbers have been drastically reduced over the years, the 59 individuals currently deployed on UN duty in Cyprus, Haiti, Mali, Congo, South Sudan and UNTSO still deserve our recognition and support. We should also not be shy in asking our elected representatives what became of the Government commitment in 2016 to provide an ongoing presence of 860 Canadians on UN missions.
Next year will feature the 75th anniversary of continuous Canadian participation in United Nations Peacekeeping missions, as well as the 35th anniversary of the Nobel Peace Prize to UN Peacekeeping Forces. In addition, the RCMP will mark their 150th anniversary. At the national level, CAVUNP is already engaged in orchestrating several activities to highlight Canada’s longest continuous military operational activity, but there is much that can also be done at the local level. One idea that is paying dividends is to record a member presenting his overseas experiences at a regular Chapter meeting, inviting the news media to be present and sharing the recording with them and anyone else who might be interested, like Veterans Affairs Canada social media.
I also know that many Chapters are concerned with dwindling membership numbers. I share this concern, though like most of you, I do not have a magic solution. But what has been successful is listening to Veterans when and where they gather and inviting those with UN experiences to join us. I offer this to you because the approach has had some success in Ottawa. Finally, I encourage you to support your Association and your Chapters by being active members. Attend the meetings. Contribute your thoughts and stories to the Thin Blue Line. And please feel free to talk, call or write to me; I am always eager to hear what you have to say and support.
Wayne Mac Culloch, CD
National President / président national
Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping (CAVUNP)
L’Association canadienne des Vétérans des Forces de Paix des Nations-Unies (ACVFPNU)
E-mail / courriel: [email protected]