The Royal Canadian Legion released a statement chastising the Trudeau government for eliminating several historical events, including the Battle of Vimy Ridge, from the redesigned Canadian passport.

“We are disappointed by the decision to remove an image that signifies the sacrifices made for the very sort of freedom the passport provides,” said the Legion. “The Vimy Memorial was a fundamental image, also representing a defining moment for Canada, a country emerging as an independent nation with limitless potential.”

“Removing that image in the context of a design change and without knowing the rationale was, to put it bluntly, a poor decision.”

The new passport has replaced images of Terry Fox, Nellie McClung, The Last Spike, Centre Block and the Stanley Cup with images of animals such as owls and bears and scenes of nature.

The coat of arms remains on the cover of the passport, which also includes a maple leaf.

“One of the things that I heard from consultations was that we want to celebrate our diversity and inclusion, we want to celebrate our natural environment … and [we] tried to bake those elements into the design,” said Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser at a press conference.

Fraser argued that replacing the images with new ones makes the passport more difficult to counterfeit.

“Passport holders’ personal information will now be laser engraved, instead of being printed with ink, which is going to make the data page more durable and resistant to tampering and counterfeiting,” said Fraser.

When asked about whether the changes were partisan, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould said there were no complaints during consultations.

“The design of this passport started 10 years ago and this is really about ensuring the security of the document,” said Gould. “I think when you look at the images here, they are fairly traditional Canadian images.”

“I mean, if you look at polar bears, and people jumping into a lake, and birds in the winter, I mean I think it really captures the spirit of who we are as Canadians.”

The passport contains new security features such as a polycarbonate data page, laser engravings, a custom see-through window and temperature-sensitive ink.

The new passports are expected to begin being issued in the summer and fall of 2023.