By Mitchell Consky/CTVNews.ca Staff Writer
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Toronto, Ontario (CTV Network) — Conspicuously absent from the newly revealed redesign of Canada’s passport are certain images, a move that has led some to accuse the federal government of trying to “erase” the country’s history.
The previous passport design features images of the Fathers of the Confederation, the Vimy Ridge Memorial in France and athlete and activist Terry Fox, but these nods to Canada’s past will not appear on the new passport, according to officials.
The new design, unveiled Wednesday morning, features symbols the government hopes reflect Canadian life, including more images of nature.
But the changes have drawn criticism.
In a statement, the Royal Canadian Legion said it is “disappointed by the decision to remove an image that signifies the sacrifices made for the kind of freedom the passport provides.”
“The Vimy Memorial was a seminal image, which also represented a defining moment in Canada, a country emerging as an independent nation with unlimited potential,” the Legion said. “Removing that image in the context of a design change and without knowing the reason was, to put it bluntly, a bad decision.”
Brad West, the mayor of Terry Fox’s hometown of Port Coquitlam, BC, expressed similar disappointment at the removal of historical imagery in the redesign, saying Canadians need “more Terry Fox, not less.”
“I think whoever made this decision needs to shake their heads,” West said in an interview with CTV National News’ Glen McGregor on Wednesday.
“Across this country, Terry Fox has inspired and continues to inspire millions of Canadians. And millions of people around the world. And so we need more Terry Fox, not less Terry Fox. And I think this is a very bad decision. It must be addressed. It should be reversed.”
Asking questions about the removal of the story in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Pierre Poilievre, leader of Canada’s Official Opposition, said: “They removed Vimy Ridge to put up a picture of a squirrel eating a nut. Terry Fox, a guy who ran halfway across the country to fight cancer, was erased to put a man raking leaves. And they erased Quebec City to put up what appears to be an image of a childhood prime minister swimming in Lake Harrington. Could this prime minister be more disconnected from Canadians?
Asked why previous historical images were not included in the redesign, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser, who announced the changes in Ottawa on Wednesday, explained that the designs were based on consultations with government departments, such as the Canadian heritage and indigenous communities.
Minister for Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould, who helped announce the changes and oversees Service Canada, said the redesign, which includes images of polar bears, people jumping in a lake and birds in winter, captures the “spirit of whose”. we are like Canadians.”
With files from CTV National News Senior Political Correspondent Glen McGregor
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