Bill 31, Murray Whetung Community Service Award Act

NEWS                                                                                                       March 22,2024

Peterborough — Today, Dave Smith, Member of Provincial Parliament for Peterborough-Kawartha, announced that the Murray Whetung Community Service Award Act will be presented for third reading on Monday, March 25, 2025.

In the First and Second World Wars, it is estimated that more than 7,000 First Nations individuals volunteered to serve. For many who served continuously, their rights were stripped for time away from the reserve. Indigenous veterans able to retain their status were often ineligible for benefits available to non-Indigenous veterans following the wars.

The bill, if passed, will create an award for Cadet Corps and Squadrons at the Annual Ceremonial Reviews. Ontario’s 288 active Canadian Cadet Corps and Squadrons will select a member who has displayed exceptional volunteerism and citizenship over the previous year for a new award from the province of Ontario, the Murray Whetung Community Service Award.

“Murray Whetung was a pillar in our community. He volunteered fight in the Second World War and dedicated his life to family and service. I was honoured to receive his endorsement for this legislation before his passing,” Dave Smith, Member of Provincial Parliament for Peterborough-Kawartha said. “This bill does more than recognize the life of one man; it seeks to teach others of the injustices First Nations veterans faced for risking their lives in service to Canada. I couldn’t be more excited to see this come before the legislature for its third reading,” MPP Smith added.

 “My Shomis (grandfather) was humbled when MPP Smith approached him about the idea of an award named after him. My Shomis did what he thought needed to be done and didn’t expect special recognition. He was a shining example of choosing happiness in the face of adversity and an inspiration to so many of us,” said Emily Whetung, former Chief of Curve Lake First Nation. “I’ve long stood proud on November 11 because of the commitment and sacrifice he has made and as our second Remembrance Day without him approaches I can’t think of a better way to celebrate his memory. Chi-miigwetch for learning our history and ensuring it is remembered by cadets across Ontario,” she added.

The third reading will take place after the Opposition Day Motion and will be live on the Legislative Assembly video feed

Quick Facts:

• The Canadian Cadet Organizations help develop skills that will help youth transition into  

  adulthood, from good citizenship, leadership, and a focus on physical fitness, Cadets have

  experiences that you don’t find anywhere else.

• Canadian Cadet Organization encompass over 57 000 youth, aged 12-18, supervised and led by  

  over 9000 military and civilian members; supported by their communities, sponsors, the Canadian

  Armed Forces, and the Navy, Army Cadet and Air Cadet Leagues of Canada.

• Over 3,000 First Nation members, as well as an unknown number of Métis, Inuit and other

   Indigenous recruits, voluntarily served in uniform during WWII.

• Over 4,000 First Nation members as well as an unknown number of Métis, Inuit and other

  Indigenous recruits,

  voluntarily served in uniform during WWI.

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