Quebec plans to issue new set of special license plates commemorating veterans

The Minister of Transport, François Bonnardel, has given a mandate to Quebec's automobile insurance board, the SAAQ, to create a distinctive visual to highlight veterans' contribution, Radio-Canada has learned.

After a decade of lobbying, Quebec veterans welcome the 'upgrade'

A committee of veterans has been asking the Quebec government to offer commemorative plates for some 10 years. Finally, they are getting their wish in 2019. (Marc-Antoine Lavoie/Radio-Canada)

Quebec's 60,000 veterans will now be honoured on the roads with specially designed license plates — something a veterans' committee has been demanding for a decade.

The Minister of Transport, François Bonnardel, has given a mandate to Quebec's automobile insurance board, the SAAQ, to create a distinctive visual to highlight veterans' contribution, Radio-Canada has learned.

While working in collaboration with veterans, the SAAQ will take inspiration from what is being done elsewhere in the country and present a draft plate to the minister by March 31, 2019. 

It will be a design that goes beyond the small poppy that has adorned veterans' license plates since 2005. This comes as welcome news for veterans like Pierre Dugal, who have long been pushing for what he calls an "upgrade."

"It's a great recognition for those who have sacrificed their lives," he said.

Dugal is spokesperson for the committee that has been advocating for new veteran plates. After finally getting the proposal approved, he joked "I think I'm going to have a heart attack!"

The committee has made a range of suggestions to visually honour those that have served, asking for imagery, but also words like "veterans" and "former combatant." (Marc-Antoine Lavoie/Radio-Canada)

He said his group won't be able to insist on a visual, but the government will be asking for recommendations. Already, the group has prepared a range of suggestions, asking for words like "veterans" or "former combatants" to be included.

The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) is following through on a campaign promise made in September to fast-track the creation of these new plates.

Dugal said he was surprised by the speed at which the CAQ has started the ball rolling.

"We have no words to describe the speed of execution."

With files from Radio-Canada