Tilson’s private members bill on war memorials and cenotaphs passes justice committee

April 03, 2021

From left to right in the photo are:

Dave MacKenzie, M.P.(Oxford), Mr. John Eggenberger of Nepean, Ontario (Vice President, Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association), Mr. Earl Page of Woodstock, Ontario and David Tilson, Q.C., M.P. (Dufferin-Caledon).

David Tilson, Member of Parliament for Dufferin-Caledon, today expressed appreciation to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights as it passed his Private Members Bill protecting war memorials and cenotaphs, bill C-217.

“I was pleased to appear before the Committee last week to defend my bill and I’m grateful to my fellow MPs for their work on this legislation,” said Mr. Tilson. “Protecting our war memorials and cenotaphs from vandalism and desecration is very important, especially to our veterans and members of the Canadian Forces.”

During his appearance, Mr. Tilson was joined by veterans John Eggenberger of Ottawa, Vice-President of the Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association and Earl Page, a Korean War veteran from Woodstock, Ontario. Both men gave an impassioned plea for the need to strengthen the penalties for this profoundly disrespectful offence.

“I was honoured to have these two veterans appear with me. It drove home the seriousness of this issue,” said Mr. Tilson. “Our veterans and Canadian Forces members look upon such acts of desecration as a grave personal attack.”

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.

The New Democratic and Liberal members of the Committee voted against the bill during clause-by-clause consideration and voted against the bill being sent back to the House for 3rd Reading. It is anticipated the bill will be up for its final hours of debate in late May or early June.