Jennifer Frezza would like the federal government to make Remembrance Day, Nov. 11, a legal national holiday in all Canadian provinces and territories.
And the Saint Lazare mother of two has taken advantage of a newly created Parliament of Canada e-petition form to start an online petition that can not only be signed by anyone across Canada, but which will be presented in the House of Commons if it garners at least 500 signatures.
But Frezza is aiming slightly higher than that.
“I want to get 50,000 or 60,000 signatures,” she admitted of the online petition she started on Feb. 2. She has 90 days to collect the names. As of Thursday her petition, e-164, had received 152 signatures.
Frezza, who works as Vaudreuil-Soulanges Liberal MP Peter Schiefke’s communications director and who had her petition sponsored by Schiefke, was adamant that she is undertaking the initiative as a private citizen. “I am one hundred-percent doing this on my own. I’m an army brat… both of my grandfathers are veterans and my father and step-father were lifelong army men,” she explained of her fierce pride in Canada’s military and its personal connection for her. Her belief is that people simply don’t take the time to stop and recognize the sacrifices that have been made because life is too busy. “If Remembrance Day was a statutory holiday it would be a paid day off so schools, businesses and everything would be closed. We’d have the time to go to events, or just stop and think,” Frezza noted.
She feels schools should further educate children about Canada’s military history, while municipalities could plan parades and events to recognize veterans and active military members and help them connect with residents. According to Statutory Holidays Canada, Remembrance Day is a recognized holiday in most Canadian provinces except Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. An NDP private member’s bill which aimed to formally make Remembrance Day a legal holiday seeming went by the wayside last April when the Harper government put the brakes on the single-clause bill. Frezza says the new online petition format which was introduced last fall means anyone from any province or territory can create a legally recognized petition. They then need to have it sponsored by a Member of Parliament. If a sponsored petition receives the required number of signatures it will presented in the house. The government has 45 days to respond. To sign Frezza’s petition, e-164 (Remembrance Day), go to https://petitions.parl.gc.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-164.