Friendly hug from Minister of Defence leaves Ontario Junior Canadian Ranger feeling inspired, ‘special’

3CRPG image
3CRPG image

by Master-Corporal Chris Vernon

An Ontario Junior Canadian Ranger (JCR) said receiving a hug from the Minister of Defence left her feeling honoured and inspired to continue her passion for writing.

JCR Nadia Shoomin from the First Nations community of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (Big Trout Lake) was in Victoria British Columbia May 21 to the 23 attending Canadian Rangers’ 75th Anniversary Rendezvous events in recognition of the Canadian Rangers founding with fellow Rangers from across the country.

The celebrations also saw JCRs and Canadian Rangers marching in Victoria’s first post-pandemic Victoria Day parade in two years. In Ontario, the first Canadian Ranger patrol opened in Moose Factory in 1994.

It was at a reception for Rangers and dignitaries hosted by the Lieutenant Governor of B.C., Janet Austin, at her Government House official residence following an official ceremony honouring the Rangers where Shoomin spoke to Minister Anand for about 10 minutes.

“It was such an honour to meet the Minister of Defence. I had a really good time meeting all these people. I am glad I agreed to come (to the anniversary),” said Shoomin.

Minister Anand took a moment to read and provide feedback on Shoomin’s writing, a moment the teen said made her feel both proud, and nervous.

“She looked at my writing, and I was nervous, but it made me feel good even though I was stressed and exhausted from the parade,” said Shoomin, who is considering a career in writing.

Shoomin said the exchange was punctuated when Minister Anand gave her a hug.

“I just found that since covid she was forbidden to hug anyone. But she hugged me and I feel so special,” she added.

The JCR program is similar to the army’s cadet program for youth, and offers activities such as sports, outdoor skills, arts, crafts and a traditional lifestyle.

“I am absolutely delighted to be here for the 75th anniversary of the Canadian Rangers. You know the communities and are always there to help. Today, I met and chatted with so many of you, and you have inspired me with your dedication,” Minister Anand told the Rangers who served as the ceremony’s honour guard in their iconic red hoodies.

The Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon; the Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Anita Anand; and the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Wayne Eyre, also attended the ceremony and thanked the Rangers for their service.

Seven Canadian Rangers and two JCR’s from First Nations from across Northern Ontario and their army instructors participated in the national celebration of the founding of the Rangers who were first established in B.C. Ontario Rangers and the JCR program are headquartered and administered by the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group (3CRPG) based out of Base Borden near Barrie.

3CRPG’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant-Colonel Shane McArthur said witnessing the meeting made him feel proud of the confidence and professionalism his Rangers and JCRs serve with.

“It was great. Minister Anand was the first to meet our patrol group that night. The weekend was a success to celebrate all the Rangers,” said Lieutenant-Colonel McArthur.

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