"This ceremony reminds us that the work is important but can also be dangerous. To the families of the fallen officers, know that we are with you during this difficult time." — James Clancy, National President.
Ottawa (29 Sept. 2015) — This year's annual memorial for police and peace officers who died on the job was made even more poignant for participants from the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) as two of the fallen officers were members.
"This ceremony reminds us that the work is important but can also be dangerous. To the families of the fallen officers, know that we are with you during this difficult time," said James Clancy, NUPGE's National President.
NUPGE members honoured
Correctional officer Rhonda Commodore, member of the Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union (MGEU/NUPGE), was killed while escorting inmates from The Pas, Manitoba, to the town of Dauphin.
Rhonda was remembered as a loving mother and as a strongly family-oriented person.
“The birth of her son Anthony was the highlight of Rhonda’s life. Being a mother was the most important thing in her life, and everything she did with him and for him was a pleasure,” said the event’s emcee, Ottawa police Staff Sgt. Julie Vaillant.
“Family meant everything to Rhonda. She was always planning events that would bring everyone together. Rhonda’s laugh and ability to brighten a room will be greatly missed.”
Commercial transport enforcement officer Toni Kristinsson, member of the British Columbia Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU/NUPGE), was killed in February 2014 in a collision on Hwy 5 near Jasper National Park in British Columbia. Family and friends fondly remember an avid outdoorsman, volunteer and family man.
Four names added to the memorial in 2015
The names of four officers were added to the memorial this year:
- Daniel Woodall, Edmonton Police
- David Wynn, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Alberta)
- Toni D. Kristinsson, Commercial Transport Enforcement Officer (British Columbia)
- Rhonda L. Commodore, Correctional Officer (Manitoba)
In 1978, the first memorial honoured 14 officers. By 2015, the names of over 850 peace and police officers were engraved on the Honour Roll along the perimeter wall on Parliament Hill, overlooking the Ottawa River and the Supreme Court of Canada. The glass panels provide a lasting tribute to our heroes and ensure that future generations are reminded of the supreme sacrifices of fallen officers.
National Union strong supporter of memorial
Annually, correctional officers and youth facility workers, members of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), meet prior to the memorial service. Across the country, reports on the dangerous situation in provincial adult corrections due to overcrowding and the rising number of inmates with mental health problems.
NUPGE's members marched in honour of their fallen comrades but also in hope that future tragedies could be prevented.
The day's ceremony began at 9 a.m. as officers read aloud the names of each of the police and peace officers who have died on duty over the years. There was then a march to Parliament Hill where officers were greeted by dignitaries and the public.
In 1998, the federal government proclaimed the last Sunday in September as Police and Peace Officers' National Memorial Day. The Canadian Police and Peace Officers' Memorial Service gives Canadians an opportunity each year to formally express appreciation for the dedication of police and peace officers, who have contributed so much to our country.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE