Veterans Affairs misidentifying German soldiers as Canadians still has public fuming

Veterans Affairs misidentifying German soldiers as Canadians still has public fuming
Screenshot of the Veterans Affairs video under fire. (Veterans Affairs of Canada)

Canadians are still expressing their disappointment in Veterans Affairs after a major oversight on their part last spring.

It involves a video posted on the 74th anniversary of VE Day that was intended to pay tribute to Allied soldiers. What it actually featured was footage of German Wehrmacht, the unified Nazi forces in the Second World War. The video incorrectly stated the soldiers were Canadians.

And while the video is no longer online and Minister Lawrence MacAulay has apologized, Canadians are still hurt by the mistake.

Samples of that feedback has been published by the Ottawa Citizen. The outlet obtained the letters through an access to information request, and withheld the names attached to them.

Some examples of the distress caused by the video:

“My father managed to survive Juno Beach, the battle of Caen, the Liberation of Holland, France, Belgium, Denmark and Germany. The decades of emotional suffering that he endured, the screams of his horror that occurred every night in our family home, are stark reminders of the sacrifice made for all Canadians, for all the families of the suffering Europeans.”

“In my 73 years on this planet, I have rarely seen the kind of stupid stunt the idiots in your department have perpetrated… I served this country in the Army as a young man. My father and his brothers served in WWII. These memories of service to our country are important to us.”

“My late Father, a twice wounded veteran of the Second World War liberating the Netherlands… (a section is redacted) would be ashamed of your performance and that of MacAuley. What did he go to war for with the mess you have made of Canada? Shame, shame on you.”

University of Guelph Canadian history professor Matthew Hayday told the paper that despite how much time has passed since the war, people still feel bonded to the past.

“I don’t think the emotional connection to the war is necessarily gone in the younger generation… The stories that families still tell their children are often vivid and powerful and impactful ones that build that connection,” he said.