May 26th, 2024

Vets Affairs ‘March holidays’ post: ‘In trying to be apolitical we became political’

By The Canadian Press on May 2, 2024.

Veterans Affairs staff had to try to explain over the Easter weekend why one of their social media posts about the holiday didn't actually mention it by name. Signs for a National Defence and Veterans affairs office is pictured in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu on Monday Oct. 20, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pascal Marchand

OTTAWA – Veterans Affairs staff found themselves working over the Easter weekend, trying to explain why one of the department’s social media posts didn’t actually mention the holiday.

Instead, the posts wished people a “happy March holiday season,” prompting hundreds of questions online about what exactly constitutes the March holidays.

An early draft of the post, released through an access-to-information request, lists Easter, Ramadan, Purim, St. Patrick’s Day and the Spring equinox.

That list of hashtags was removed from the final version and a photo was added of two Armed Forces members preparing Easter dinner.

People online flooded the posts with angry comments about the apparent exclusion of Easter and at least one media outlet asked for an explanation.

That led to messages between Veterans Affairs staff, one of which says, “I think in trying to be apolitical we became political.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 2, 2024.

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