2023 marks the 106th anniversary of Canada’s historic victory at the Battle of Vimy Ridge. The MVLP joins all Canadians in commemorating the immense contributions of our World War I Métis Veterans, among our Canadian Veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice. Métis servicemen and women fought side by side with Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike, united by their motivation to secure liberty, freedom and peace. The bravery and selflessness of Canadian soldiers who stood on the sloped battlegrounds of northern France and demonstrated our country’s strength and unity in the face of overwhelming adversity.
On April 9, 1917, our soldiers spent their Easter Monday fighting tirelessly in blustering snow against heavily armed enemy forces in one of the most brutal battles the world has ever seen. Their extraordinary contributions to the War efforts at Vimy came at great cost, with nearly 3,600 Canadian soldiers sacrificing their lives to preserve the values of freedom, democracy and peace for the generations that followed.
For the first time in history, each division of the Canadian Corps fought together in the assault on Vimy Ridge, charging enemy lines by blending innovative attack strategies, leading to the withdrawal of the Germans from Vimy. The success of this collaboration would not have been possible without the invaluable traditional hunting and trapping skills of the Métis soldiers, which gave Canada a substantial advantage against the heavy artillery and treacherous weather conditions. They led the front lines through the harsh “No Man’s Land” where they dodged enemy machine gun fire, incoming bombs, snipers, and barbed wire submerged in the muddy ground, while watching their fellow soldiers fall beside them, often never to be seen again.
Side by side, after four days of gruesome fighting, the four Canadian divisions captured German defensive lines and overtook the last major position on Hill 145. Their tremendous victory at Vimy Ridge demonstrated our young nation’s strength in a time of unprecedented conflict, marking a defining historical moment for Canada’s role on the global stage. We celebrate the selfless efforts of our Veterans from April 9th to 12th, efforts that earned us a separate signature on the Treaty of Versailles, putting a formal end to WWI.
For more information on the history of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, visit veterans.gc.ca
As we gather with our families in our safe, warm homes this weekend, we must honour the sacrifices, loss and trauma experienced by our WWI Canadian soldiers and surviving family members after the pivotal victory at the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
Our Veterans are our Heroes today, tomorrow and forever.
Lest we forget.