TORONTO: Councillor Ceta Ramkhalawansingh says “It’s not a big deal, sh*t happens” after flubbing names and ranks of our two soldiers killed by terrorists
BY DON PEAT, CITY HALL BUREAU CHIEF
FIRST POSTED: | UPDATED:
TORONTO – Lest we forget.
Councillor Ceta Ramkhalawansingh failed to remember the ranks of the two Canadian soldiers killed just a few weeks ago in two separate terrorist attacks during her speech at the city’s Remembrance Day ceremony.
Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was killed last month in Quebec just two days before Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot and killed in a separate attack while guarding the National War Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
“This year is of course particularly sad as we honour the memory of Mr. Cirillo and Mr. Vincent — I forget his name. I’m sorry, I’m a little nervous,” she told the hundreds gathered around the Cenotaph at Queen and Bay Sts.
“Those are very sad reminders of what we must continue to fight for.”
After the ceremony, Ramkhalawansingh said she couldn’t remember the soldiers’ ranks.
“It is not a big deal,” she insisted.
Asked what she would say to people who may be offended by the omission, Ramkhalawansingh said she doesn’t know “anybody that would be upset by that.
“When you get asked to stand in at the last minute — trying to prepare with remarks because I had to rewrite some of it — s— happens,” she said.
Mayor Rob Ford didn’t attend Tuesday’s ceremony at Old City Hall due to his ongoing cancer fight. He asked Ramkhalawansingh to speak on his behalf late Monday and she was provided with the remarks prepared for him.
In her speech, Ramkhalawansingh talked about how Toronto residents have gathered for the last 95 years to remember and honour those who fought for our freedom.
“I hope that by remembering we will do all that we can to strive for peace rather than rush to war,” Ramkhalawansingh said. “Those who did not return are still owed a debt that can never (be) repaid.”
Later, the Trinity-Spadina (Ward 20) councillor apologized profusely on her Twitter account to those who chided her.
“My apologies for not having the titles of Mr. Cirillo and M. Vincent in my notes,” she tweeted.
She told another Twitter user, “Sorry sorry sorry — had names but not titles and did not want to make them up.”
She made headlines in August when she tried unsuccessfully to get city council’s support in asking the federal government to change the lyrics of O Canada to make them gender inclusive.