Honouring our veterans

Mayor Jim Watson’s late father, Beverley Watson, with members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

By Jim Watson

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of my late father, Beverley Watson, who served with the Royal Regiment of Canada and helped liberate the Netherlands during the Second World War.

This month, I think of him and all those who have served and continue to serve our great nation – some giving the ultimate sacrifice.

As mayor, I recognized the importance of helping veterans, appointing Deputy Mayor Matthew Luloff as City Council’s Liaison for Veteran and Military Issues in 2019.

A former member of the Canadian Forces who served in Afghanistan in 2008 with the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, Councillor Luloff is the perfect representative to solidify the City’s important relationship with the 23,000 active service members and more than 53,000 veterans living in Ottawa, as well as their families.

Councillor Luloff co-chairs the Veterans Task Force responsible for developing a culture of supporting our veterans and their families in our community. This includes helping veterans who are experiencing challenges with their transition to civilian life, advocating for our veterans and their families, particularly those not supported by entities (i.e., VAC) to receive complete and appropriate health care, making housing more affordable and easier to secure, as well as enhancing second career opportunities.

One of the accomplishments that I’d like to highlight from this term of Council was opening the Veterans House supportive housing complex for homeless veterans located at the former CFB Rockcliffe.

I trust that Councillor Luloff, the task force and our strategic partners will continue to deliver projects, facilitate access to resources and promote opportunities for those who have served and continue to serve our great country in the years ahead.

This year marks the 77th anniversary of Armistice Day, and the Royal Canadian Legion’s Poppy Campaign continues to run from October 30 to November 11.

Visit www.legion.ca/contact-us/find-a-branch to find poppies near you.

P.S. This is my final column as mayor of the City of Ottawa. I want to thank all those who participated in the democratic process by volunteering, donating and, most importantly, voting. While the makeup of City Council looks a lot different for the upcoming term, I am confident that our representatives will work hard to build on the momentum of the last 12 years. We have many important projects underway that will continue to transform our nation’s capital for years to come, and I can’t wait to see it all come to fruition.

Jim Watson is the outgoing mayor of Ottawa.

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