Ottawa’s decision not to include Terry Fox’s image in Canada’s redesigned passport has sparked outrage in his hometown of Port Coquitlam, B.C.
The image of Fox in his Marathon of Hope is one of several historic images featured on the current passport pages. The new passport features animals and natural scenes, such as children jumping into a lake.
Brad West, the mayor of Port Coquitlam, about 30 kilometers east of Vancouver, took to Twitter to express his displeasure at the change.
“Whoever made the decision to remove Terry Fox from Canadian passports should shake their heads,” West wrote. “Our country needs more Terry Fox, not less.”
I’m the mayor of Terry Fox’s hometown. Whoever made the decision to remove Terry Fox from Canadian passports should shake their head. Our country needs more Terry Fox, not less. pic.twitter.com/1sHKHlRrUb
Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser said the new design was the result of 10 years of consultation. A complete change of theme was necessary to improve the security of the passport.
“It makes it a lot harder to fake,” Fraser said.
Dave Teixeira, coordinator of Port Coquitlam’s Terry Fox Hometown Run, said he was disappointed to hear that Fox’s image would not be on the new passports.
“Removing those images instead of very generic stock photos is really kind of a nod to what’s important to them: ease and function, as opposed to honoring Terry,” Teixeira said.
After losing a leg to osteosarcoma, Fox began his Marathon of Hope on April 12, 1980 to raise funds for cancer research.
His dream of running across the country was cut short near Thunder Bay, Ont., when he learned the cancer had spread to his lungs. He died on June 28, 1981.
Volunteers have kept Fox’s legacy alive by organizing an annual run to raise money for cancer.
The current passport also features historical images of the Fathers of Confederation, Canada’s national Vimee Memorial in France, and the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poulevre condemned the new plans in the House of Commons on Wednesday and accused the Liberals of trying to erase Canada’s essential history.
The Royal Canadian Legion also expressed disappointment that images of the Vimy Memorial were not featured in the new design.
“Removing that image in the context of a design change and without knowing the rationale was, frankly, a bad decision,” the Legion said in a statement.
Teixeira describes the new passport as a “lost opportunity”.
“Terry not being on the passport document may not matter in itself, I think what matters is how our country wants to represent our heroes at the most important moments in our history.”
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