The apology was something many people wanted and was in the making for many years. One of the first times the demand for an apology for LGBT Purged individuals appeared in print was in a journal article published in 2009 by Lynne Gouliquer and Carmen Poulin.
The interviews (i.e., the personal stories) of over 100 military individuals and their partners affected by the Purge campaign of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s were the inspiration for a list of recommendations they included. In addition to the demand for a official apology, they had included a number recommendations such as providing a financial retribution for discharged members, a permanent memorial, the creation of a special military medal to commemorate the ordeal, etc.
Many individuals (e.g., Diane Pitre, Martine Roy, Darl Wood) fought for years trying to reverse the decision that ended their careers because they had been deemed unfit to serve in the military due to their sexual orientation. The military, civil service and RCMP had actively and viciously interrogated and discharged individuals for years.
In 2014, in response to a request by Diane Pitre, Peter Stoffer of the New Democratic Party Member of Parliament, agreed to bring in a petition asking the federal government for a formal apology for the historical wrongs committed against LGBT Canadians. At the press conference in the parliament, Darl Wood also gave a personal testimony of the harm done through the purge. Numerous individuals (e.g., Diane Pitre, Martine Roy, Gary Kinsman, Darl Wood, Lynne Gouliquer, & Carmen Poulin et al…) made their way to Ottawa to attend the press conference.
Following that event, this group grew quickly to over 30 people who communicated through e-mails between 2014 and the fall of 2017. The group spanned the country from east-to-west and north-to-south and were motivated by one unifying and central goal; their demand for an apology for the atrocities committed against LGBT people.
The group eventually became known as the “We Demand an Apology Network.” Members stood united and worked tirelessly, writing briefs for politicians and the media, answering countless media requests for interviews, creating an online petition, and garnering awareness and support across the country. Once an apology seemed eminent in 2017, the group also provided insights and feedback to the Liberal party as to what the apology should address and say. It took the work of many organisations and individuals putting pressure on the government to demand and finally receive an official apology November 28, 2017 for the discrimination and hurt that LGBTQ+ peoples suffered historically at the hands of the Canadian government. The We Demand an Apology Network stands proudly among them for having brought about such a historic governmental event.
Remarks by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to apologize to LGBTQ2 Canadians