On September 01, 2020, the Army, Navy, Air Force Veterans Association in Canada (ANAVETS) granted it's first international charter to Mexico, headquartered at Lake Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico.
A group of Canadians is working to stop a proposed development of seaside condominiums at Juno Beach in France, the site of Canada’s famous D-Day landings.
A questionable municipal land deal has turned over a large portion of Juno Beach to a developer who plans to build 70 seaside condos this year. It is right on the doorstep of the Juno Beach Centre (JBC) – Canada’s primary WWII site in Europe to commemorate the sacrifice of Canadians who helped liberate France and Europe.
More than 14,000 Canadian soldiers landed or parachuted into France on D-Day. The soldiers who seized Juno Beach showed an extraordinary example of Canadian military skill, reinforced by countless acts of personal courage. There were 1,096 Canadian casualties that day, including 381 killed.
The Juno Beach Centre is truly viewed as a sacred spot from Canada. This humble but beautiful Centre serves for remembrance to those who came ashore on that very beach early on June 6, 1944, It also serves as a Canadian memorial to all those that fought in Normandy, throughout the rest of France. Canadians – many were volunteers – came from the high seas to open the routes to the Normandy beaches and from the skies to clear the way for the navy and army to liberate the people of France from the brutal predations of a vicious occupying power.
The stories of their heroism and valour are wonderfully told at the Centre, with artifacts, photos, videos, guides and a love that is palpable. The lessons that these Canadians gave us are captured here so that young people from France, Canada and so many other countries, can be better prepared than the earlier generation was to deter violence, racism, genocide, mass murder and mindless adherence to extremism. The gift of freedom, human rights and democracy is constantly learned at JBC.
All of this could be destroyed by this development and could lead to the closure of the Juno Beach Centre.
For the last two years, the Juno Beach Centre, Canada’s Second World War museum, which sits on the D-Day landing beach in Normandy, has been fighting back. The developer has kept the Juno Beach Centre in court for two years at a cost of $400,000. The developer is demanding the use of the private driveway of the Juno Beach Centre that will create traffic chaos and discourage visitors. This, along with the devastating impact of COVID-19 on tourism in Normandy, means the legacy that our veterans built for future generations may disappear entirely.
Save Juno Beach organizer, Cindy Clegg, says that French officials are simply looking the other way. “There should never have been an agreement to build condos in the first place. It is an enormous insult to the memory of the incredible soldiers who conquered their fear to liberate France and a continent on that day.” She is urging Canadians to raise their voices to their Members of Parliament. “We need Canadians to speak up so our politicians will step up.”
Through the Save Juno Beach website, people can send a letter to their Member of Parliament demanding action. “Thousands of letters have been sent,” comments Clegg. “Every letter encourages the Government of Canada and the Government of France to repeal the decision to build these condominiums.”
In the meantime, the Juno Beach Centre Association needs money to continue the fight to buy the property from the developer. Ultimately, the dream is to build a public memorial park for future generations to remember and commemorate the sacrifices made by all Canadians who were part of the Allied victory in all theatres of war and about the role of Canada in preserving the freedoms we are privileged to enjoy today.
According to Clegg, we still have the opportunity to bring this development and all its related consequences to a halt before it causes permanent damage to the Juno Beach Centre, and this hallowed ground that is such an important piece of Canadian history.
“Lest We Forget “must be more than just words. The phrase means that we will do all that is necessary to honour our history, remember the valour of our soldiers who fought and died and memorialize the places that preserve the story of Canadian soldiers who put their lives on hold – or sacrificed them entirely – to fight for a better world.
Current world events remind us that some things are sacred, and we owe it to those who made the ultimate sacrifice to never forget.
The Army, Navy & Air Force Veterans in Canada (ANAVETS) is thankful to the Government of Canada
and the Minister of Veterans Affairs, The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay today after receiving a
grant in the amount of one million ($1,000,000) dollars to assist its Units across Canada as they cope
with the financial distress caused by COVID-19.
All ANAVETS Units across the Country are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Provincial Commands and local Units will be making decisions as to the commencement of operations in consideration of Provincial guidelines, orders and health authority advise. The health and safety of our members and staff will continue to be our top priority. The Dominion Office staff and many Provincial Command staff are continuing to work remotely at home.
Many ANAVETS Units are remaining in contact with senior members and Veterans via email or telephone to ensure that they have everything they need and have small groups of willing volunteers to help shop, pick up prescriptions and other necessities.
Notice from Interior Public Health regarding ANAVETS Kamloops Unit 290 can be found HERE.
ASSISTANCE FOR VETERANS
Veterans Affairs is encouraging all Veterans that are requiring assistance to reach out to them through either the MY VAC Account online secure messaging system or via telephone at 1-866-522-2122 (E) or 1-866-522-2022(F)
Veterans Affairs is also reaching out to vulnerable Veterans who may need extra support through case managers and VSA agents that are working from home.
The VAC Assistance Service is a free, 24/7 mental health resource that connects you to psychological support and counselling. You do not have to be receiving VAC benefits to use this service. Call 1-800-268-7708 to speak to a mental health professional right now.
Emergency needs for shelter, food and clothing may be able to be accessed through the Veterans Emergency Fund. https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/financial-support/emergency-funds/veterans-emergency-fund
They encourage all Veterans to also come to their website for more information or link to them on their social media channels. https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/help/faq/info-veterans-covid-19
There are many federal and provincial programs that are in place to help support individual Canadians, businesses and not-for-profits and charities. Below are some links to Federal and Provincial sites that clearly outline or link to individual programs and services.
National COVID-19 Volunteer Recruitment Campaign
Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
FOR MB: https://manitoba.ca/covid19/
FOR NL & LAB: https://www.gov.nl.ca/covid-19/resources-2/
FOR YK: https://yukon.ca/covid-19
Today, Brian Phoenix is known as the Immediate Past Dominion President of the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans in Canada (ANAVETS). A Torontonian whose parents were each veterans of the Second World War and members of ANAVETS, Brian is no stranger to the association and in his own words, he “grew up in the organization”. Since the young age of eight, Brian has taken great pleasure in the ANAVETS camaraderie, participating in various social events and special occasions. As a child, he looked forward to the picnics, barbeques and group activities which took place on a regular basis.
In 1976, Brian’s father gave him his first ANAVETS membership as a birthday present. Prior to becoming a member, Brian was in the Sea Cadets for six years. It was here that Brian learned how to play the bugle in the Vanguard Sea Cadet Band. It wasn’t long before Cadet Band became quite good and they were soon performing at various veteran occasions throughout Toronto, the Province of Ontario, New York State and Great Britain in the late 1970s.
In 1978, Brian attended the Canadian Coast Guard College and three years later, graduated as a Marine Engineer. His newly acquired diploma presented him with enormous opportunities at sea and he quickly set sail on various vessels throughout the Central and Arctic region of the Canadian Coast Guard. Brian left the sea after 17 years and obtaining the position of Senior Engineering Officer onboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship, Griffon.
Eager to be on dry land again, in 1997 Brian accepted a shore position working out of Burlington, Ontario as a Technical Inspector for the Canadian Coast Guard. Here, Brian learned how to deal with government bureaucracies and became well versed in the day-to-day challenges involved with running a government repair facility for small craft. In 2001, Brian was awarded the Exemplary Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada for his meritorious service to public safety in Canada with the Canadian Coast Guard. In 2013 Brian retired from the Canadian Coast Guard after 34 1/2 years.
With a continuous passion to help veterans in any way he could, in 1998 Brian became a member of the executive for the Owl’s Unit 306. After just two years, he was elected President of the Owl’s Unit 306 and he maintained this title until 2004. Brian continued to work for his unit as the Immediate Past President, until a new President for the Unit was elected in 2010. In 2005, Brian became one of the Dominion Vice Presidents of ANAVETS and is thrilled to have retained this position up until today. Over the past few years Brian has chaired the Honour and Awards Committee, Constitution Committee, Publicity & Public Relations Committee, and is currently Chairman of the Finance Committee.
Invested in the ANAVETS association since a young boy, Brian has only become a bigger voice over the years. He looks forward to future growth and development within an organization he holds in such high esteem. In recognition of his dedication, he was awarded a Life Membership in the association in 2009.
Honorary Dominion President