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Canadian military magazine honours MP Rachel Blaney

Blaney named for work supporting veterans and their families
North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney with (left Union of Veterans Affairs’ Employees president Virginia Vaillancourt and (right) is Veteran Chris Banks in 2023. Photo courtesy NDP

Canadian military magazine Esprit de Corps has named North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney as one of 20 women who made a positive difference in the world of defence this year.

Blaney was named because she has been a “strong voice in Parliament for those who are too often ignored,” the magazine says. It cites her advocacy for veterans and their families, particularly the study undertaken by the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs (ACVA) on the experience of women veterans.

“The women who serve our country repeatedly tell us they feel ignored or invisible,” Blaney said. “That study made the reality of women who serve visible. People can now see what has been happening to women serving, what it means when they become Veterans, and how much work still needs to be done to serve women and Veterans. I’m humbled that because I fought to get this important study in place, people feel I deserve this honour.”

The Esprit de Corps editorial board noted that as the sole NDP member on ACVA, Blaney had to convince members of other parties of the importance of the study. She also fought for members to take trauma sensitivity training to support the witnesses, who often shared very personal, difficult, and traumatic stories.

“I have said before and I continue to believe that Canada needs more women in the military and in the House of Commons,” Blaney says. “To do that, we must support and listen to the brave women who are already there. Women must be given a safe space to share their experiences, and we have to be open and willing to learn from them.”

Blaney was named among 19 other women who have made a difference. The award is given to individuals who make a positive contribution in Canadian defence. This can be through serving in the armed forces, working in industry, advocating for veterans or forces members, or being involved in organizations.

“Never in a million years when I was elected did I think I would be recognized for making a positive change for women in defence,” Blaney says. “I had a lot to learn in the beginning about the military and the courageous people who serve our country. As someone who represents Comox 19 Wing, this is an incredible honour. I’m honoured, and I’m deeply grateful to the people who nominated me.”

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Marc Kitteringham

About the Author: Marc Kitteringham

I joined Black press in early 2020, writing about the environment, housing, local government and more.
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