Louis Cuppens's picture
Veterans Deserve Recognition from Government
Posted on Jan 14, 2020

For years, veterans and the organizations that support veterans have requested that the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal (CVSM) be re-introduced and issued to all veterans. In fact, this writer has written several op-eds concerning this matter, however, the Government of Canada continues to ignore these with vague responses.

Established in 1943, the CVSM was granted to persons of any rank, who voluntarily served on Active Service and honourably completed eighteen months total voluntary service in the Canadian Armed Forces from 3 September 1939 to 1 March 1947. It was briefly resurrected in 2003, to extend eligibility to members and reserve constables of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who voluntarily served during the Second World War. There is no credible reason not to continue this important form of recognition of the dedicated servicemen and women since 1947.

I have previously recommended that Canadians contact their Members of Parliament and Senators to formally request that the medal be re-introduced.

Canadian men and women continue to join the Canadian Armed Forces and serve Canada with unlimited liability. Many of those who chose to serve but leave the Armed Forces before completing 12 years of service do so without a medal that recognizes their service. Other NATO and like-minded nations have volunteer service medals, and their veterans wear these decorations with pride. Surely Canadian veterans are also deserving of such recognition!

Canadians know that whenever and wherever the military is needed, an appropriate response is rendered. These military members place themselves in harm’s way as may be necessary to fulfill Canada’s national interests, and this includes: service in war zones; service as a deterrence to the aggression of others; service to search and rescue operations; service in combating forest fires, floods, and ice storms; and a host of other types of service. Yes, it's true that after many years of requesting, the Government is in the process of issuing service recognition cards; however, a more tangible and visible form of recognition – a medal – should also be presented. All veterans' support organizations are unanimous in advocating that the CVSM be re-introduced... and their quest continues. 

The common Government common response to the request for reinstating the CVSM, over these many years, has been that there already is a medal which serves that role – the Canadian Forces Decoration (CD) – which is awarded after 12 years of service, with bars at 22, 32 and 42 years. However, what the Government response does not acknowledge is that the CD is given for long service and good conduct whereas the CVSM is intended to recognize the selfless and patriotic act of volunteering for service which has unlimited liability for injury or death, working under extremely harsh and physically demanding situations and having to obey all legally given orders of superiors.

Our military veterans deserve such recognition – let’s make it happen!

L.W.F. Cuppens, CMM, CD
Lieutenant-General (retired)