MP Tilson Appears With Orangeville Legion Member Before Senate Committee

February 13, 2021

Col. (retd) Andrew Nellestyn of Kinburn, Ontario, David Tilson and Orangeville Legion Sergeant at Arms Chris Skalozub of Orangeville, Ontario.

OTTAWA, ON – David Tilson, Member of Parliament for Dufferin-Caledon, last evening appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs as they began an examination of his Private Members Bill protecting war memorials and cenotaphs, Bill C-217.

During his appearance, Mr. Tilson was joined by Orangeville Legion Branch #233 Sergeant-at-Arms Chris Skalozub and retired Colonel Andrew Nellestyn of the Ottawa area. Both men made impassioned statements on the need to strengthen the penalties for this profoundly disrespectful offence.

“I was honoured to have these two veterans appear with me. Mr. Skalozub’s testimony was particularly important, given his work as Chairman of the Legion Memorial Restoration Program Fund,” said Mr. Tilson. “Our memorials and cenotaphs are sacred ground in our communities and we must do everything we can to protect them.”

The Liberal members of the Committee, including Senator Romeo Dallaire, challenged the notion of mandatory minimum penalties, advocating instead for leniency. In response to a question from Senator Dallaire, Mr. Tilson said “Yes, if you're convicted of these offences, you should have a criminal record. Absolutely. This is a serious matter. It goes beyond mischief.”

C-217 adds significant penalties to anyone convicted of mischief against a war memorial, cenotaph or similar structure designed to honour those who have died as a result of war. A minimum fine of $1,000 would be imposed for a first offense, with a two week jail term for a second offense and a thirty day jail term for third and subsequent offenses.