Canada's NDP


March 5th, 2024

Rachel Blaney Honoured with Esprit de Corps Women in Defence Award

POWELL RIVER - Rachel Blaney (NDP MP North Island – Powell River) has been named as one of the 2024 recipients of the Esprit de Corps Women in Defence Award. In naming Blaney, Esprit de Corps highlighted her continuous work advocating for and supporting measures that improve the lives of Veterans and their families, specifically her fight to get the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs (ACVA) to conduct the first ever Parliamentary study on the experience of women Veterans.

“The women who serve our country repeatedly tell us they feel ignored or invisible,” Blaney says. “That study made the reality of women who serve visible. People can now see what has been happening to women serving, what it means when they become Veterans, and how much work still needs to be done to serve women and Veterans. I’m humbled that because I fought to get this important study in place, people feel I deserve this honour.”

The Esprit de Corps editorial board noted that as the sole NDP member on ACVA, Blaney had to convince members of other parties of the importance of the study. She also fought for members to take trauma sensitivity training to support the witnesses, who often shared very personal, difficult, and traumatic stories.

“I have said before and I continue to believe that Canada needs more women in the military and in the House of Commons,” Blaney says. “To do that, we must support and listen to the brave women who are already there. Women must be given a safe space to share their experiences, and we have to be open and willing to learn from them.”

The Women in Defence Award is given to individuals who make an outstanding contribution in the Canadian defence sector. This can be through serving in the Canadian Armed Forces, working in industry, advocating for serving or Veteran members of the Forces, or being involved in supporting organizations. Recipients are determined by the editorial board of Esprit de Corps magazine.

“Never in a million years when I was elected did I think I would be recognized for making a positive change for women in defence,” Blaney says. “I had a lot to learn in the beginning about the military and the courageous people who serve our country. As someone who represents Comox 19 Wing, this is an incredible honour. I’m honoured, and I’m deeply grateful to the people who nominated me.”

The full list of recipients can be seen online.