Today is World Refugee Day and I would like to share a new idea that goes well beyond my original “Let’s put Lotta on a Stamp” idea.
In short, I have proposed to Canada Post that they create an ongoing “Refugees to Canada Who Made a Difference” stamp series, launching this series in 2022 with a commemorative stamp honouring Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova.
You can read the reasons for my proposal below, in correspondence with the Director of Stamp Services:
June 20, 2020
Dear Mr. Phillips,
I am writing you today on World Refugee Day.
Thank you very much for your email of June 18. It has inspired a few additional thoughts, and I hope you don’t mind passing these on to the Stamp Advisory Committee, as an addendum to my original proposal for a stamp to be issued in honour of Dr. Lotta.
Not being an expert in Canadian stamps, I took your advice and explored some of the recent history of commemorative stamps in Canada. I jotted down a few observations:
- A number of Canadian personalities have been honoured with commemorative stamps without reference to any particular overarching theme. Sometimes these have coincided with their deaths or anniversaries, and sometimes they have just been “standalone” commemorative stamps based on the stature of the individual being honoured.
- Sometimes a Canadian personality has been honoured within a broader theme (chosen for that specific year) that includes other personalities with similar backgrounds or historical features.
- And sometimes, the themes themselves transcend a single year and a progressive series of personalities is highlighted year after year.
- In terms of themes that might be of relevance to Dr. Lotta’s story, I discovered the following: in 1985, 2 women were included in the Decade for Women series; in 1993, 4 women were included in the Canadian Women series; and in 2000, 2 women and 2 men were included in The Millennium Collection, Humanitarians and Peacekeepers series.
- I have not been able to locate any series that features Refugees to Canada and honours the contributions that they have made to our society.
So, based on the above observations, I’d like to add the following points to my proposal to honour Dr. Lotta:
1. Dr. Lotta was such a unique personality, so well known to generations of Canadians, that she could appropriately be honoured with a “standalone” stamp, without the need to be attached to a particular theme.
Amongst the various petition comments that I received, two of them stand out: “Recognizing ‘Dr. Lotta’ in this way is long, long overdue.” And this, “Shamefully looooooonnnngg overdue!” I believe many thousands of Canadians would agree with these sentiments.
2. And if the need for an anniversary is felt to be an important factor, then I would propose that we focus on the year that Dr. Lotta first arrived in Canada, 1942, as that was the year that her “Canadian story” began.
Thus, for example, a 2022 stamp would be celebrating the 80th anniversary of Dr. Lotta’s arrival in Canada, as a refugee.
3. And if being attached to a theme is seen to be essential, then I would propose that Dr. Lotta could be included in one of the following themes: Great Canadian Women, Great Canadian Humanitarians, or Refugees to Canada Who Made a Difference.
4. A word about the latter theme. It strikes me that Canada Post actually has a great opportunity here. As far as I can determine, there has been no theme or series celebrating the significant contributions that refugees to Canada have made to their adopted country.
Why not start such a series in 2022, beginning with Dr. Lotta, one of the most compelling refugee stories in our Canadian history? And then feature a different refugee to Canada who made a lasting contribution to our society in each subsequent year.
Thank you in advance for including the above remarks as an addendum to my proposal to create a stamp in Dr. Lotta’s honour.
I look forward to hearing the results of the Stamp Advisory Committee’s deliberations.
June 18, 2020
Dear Mr. Rain:
Thank you for your email to the Chairman of the Stamp Advisory Committee, in which you suggest that we issue a stamp to honour Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova.
I will be pleased to ensure that your suggestion is brought to the attention of the Committee for consideration in future stamp programs. Suggestions are sometimes incorporated in a series of stamps featuring a related theme. The Committee has the mandate to examine all stamp suggestions and to recommend the annual stamp program.
I appreciated the extensive information provided in your email, including the petition, testimonials, achievements and reference to Clyde Sanger’s book. This documentation will be retained in our files.
For your reference, you can find our Stamp Subject Selection Policy on our website. If you would like to read more about our commemorative stamps, including historical facts and details on the artistry involved, I invite you to visit Canada Post Magazine.
Again, thank you for writing, and I very much appreciate your interest in our commemorative stamp program.
Director, Stamp Services, Canada Post
T : 613 734 7671 | C : 613 868 1086
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Ottawa ON K1A 0B1