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The fight for the re-introduction of the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal continues

July 2021

An undeniable truth is that there are many, many Canadian veterans, who voluntarily left military service prior to reaching the mandatory 12-year service requirement for the Canadian Forces Decoration (CD). This can be a bit of a sore point for many veterans around Remembrance Day, when veterans proudly display their service medals while attending ceremonies across Canada.

From photos prior to the 1990s, when Canada’s participation in UN and NATO operations ramped up dramatically, it’s quite common to see service members wearing only the CD. This is especially apparent with members of the RCAF, who seem to have been left out of the majority of the peacekeeping missions prior to the 1990s. This was particularly the fate of many RCAF personnel who served at the radar stations that were part of the Pinetree Line, Mid-Canada Line and the manned DEW Line sites, unsurprising given that their jobs required them to serve pretty much exclusively in Canada.

So, for any RCAF members who were employed exclusively on the above radar lines, lines that were essential to the defence of North America, and who left military service prior to reaching eligibility for the CD, would have no medals to show for their service to Canada.

I have covered this topic in previous columns, with various arguments for a medal that will recognize short service, primarily or exclusively served within Canadian borders:

Little recognition for short military service within Canadian borders – Canadian Military History (militarybruce.com)

There is currently an e-petition before the House of Commons, e-3224 (Veterans’ Affairs), initiated by David Palmer from Nepean, Ontario, with the following request:

  • The Canadian Volunteer Service Medal (CVSM) recognized veterans serving 547 consecutive days from September 3rd, 1939, to March 1st, 1947;
  • After March 1st, 1947, no service medal exists for inclusive recognition for service of Canada’s veterans since the end of World War II;
  • A service medal for Cold War veterans and all veterans serving 547 consecutive days does not exist;
  • The Canadian Forces’ Decoration is “a long service medal” for 12 years of service and does not cover veterans of the Cold War or veterans serving honourably for periods of 547 days or longer;
  • The creation of a military service medal would bring “Recognition, Inclusiveness and Remembrance” for all our veterans;
  • Since cessation of the CVSM, there no longer exists a medal where possible future bars of notable service could be affixed;
  • A new Canadian military service medal would serve this purpose; and
  • Honouring these veterans, by a new Canadian Forces service medal, would re-establish an inclusive and sincere act of remembrance and kindness by embracing all veterans, becoming embedded in Canadian history, a lasting legacy of Canada’s traditions and heritage for our nation and for those Canadians that have served yet to this day remain unacknowledged.

We, the undersigned, Canadians, call upon the Government of Canada to create a new medal to honour and include Canadian veterans, which honourably served our nation, completing 547 days of uninterrupted honourable duty from September 2nd, 1945, to the present by the issuing of a new and inclusive Canadian military service medal to recognize their service.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/the-fight-for-the-re-introduction-of-the-canadian-volunteer-service-medal-continues/

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