November 6 2012
Can you copy and paste remembrance?
Mayor Rob Ford’s official Veterans’ Week proclamation, issued in error Monday, contained serious mistakes because it was not updated from previous years’ declarations.
Among the errors was the statement that this year marks the 93rd anniversary of the end of World War I. That was November 1918, making this the 94th anniversary.
The document also said “few remain to share their stories of the Great War.” In fact, there are no longer any surviving veterans of World War I.
Barbara Sullivan, the city’s chief of protocol, the office responsible for Ford’s proclamations, said the statement was posted in error.
“We have removed it from the website and are working to replace it with a corrected version (Tuesday),” she said in an email.
The proclamation had earlier been tweeted by both the City of Toronto and Ford’s official Twitter account. Later, the tweet no longer appeared on the mayor’s account.
Scott Ferris, a spokesman for the Royal Canadian Legion, Dominion Command, said Veterans’ Week should run Nov. 5-11, not the 12th as stated in the proclamation.
“It is unfortunate that proper attention was not paid to the contents of this document,” he said, adding the Legion received numerous calls about it.
Councillor Josh Matlow said he intended to speak to city staff about the errors.
“Many of our veterans travelled the world to fight for our country. We can do, at the very least, our due diligence to make sure that we commemorate them correctly,” he said.
The mayor’s Veterans’ Week statement is often nearly identical to the previous year’s. Ford’s 2011 statement is nearly the same as former mayor David Miller’s in 2010, 2009 and 2008. Mayor Mel Lastman also used similar statements multiple times.
Jeremy Diamond, a historian who works with veterans, said they are owed more respect than a duplicated statement. The proclamation from the city should be done “each year with a renewed sentiment” and include current efforts, such as the troops in Afghanistan.
“It just seemed like it was in the regular course of business. . . . ‘Oh, it’s Remembrance Day, let’s just knock out the same thing we had last year,’ ” he said.
“It would definitely be an asset to turn around and have a new perspective,” said Blaine Barker, national president of the Royal Canadian Naval Association. “People are a bit more in the know about what the military’s been up to in the last little while.”
Sullivan said in the future the protocol office will “endeavour to better reflect not only our history but also a contemporary view of remembrance.”
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