Okay one of the no, nos for today’s Canadian politicians is you don’t disrespect our grandparents, and especially our grandparents who are Canada Armed Forces veterans.
Friday, the federal Conservative government closed nine regional Veterans’ Affairs offices across Canada, including one in Corner Brook.
A group of veterans went to Ottawa last Wednesday to reinforce their campaign for the need to keep these offices open and after two days of pleading finally had the Minister of Veterans Affairs, Julian Fantino, relent and agree to meet.
But then he made them wait while he was supposedly in the Commons to attend a parliamentary vote – the Conservatives have a majority government and his vote was crucial, you know – and then he arrived to disparage the veterans and stomp out because they were upset.
Mr. Fantino apologized for his actions, caught on national TV, the next day in the Commons but the vets demanded nothing less than the minister’s resignation.
This minister is the former Chief of Police in Toronto and a man whom Prime Minister Stephen Harper likes because he reflects the arrogance and disrespect Harper’s government portrays toward Canadians.
These offices are closing as hundreds of Canadian Armed Forces personnel, many of whom are suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), are returning to Canada from active duty in Afghanistan and other conflict areas.
Older veterans, such as Korean Conflict vets and former peacekeepers in the war torn Balkans in Europe, Israeli-Palestine left bank, Bosnia and other hot spots in the world, are reaching the age where they need additional care and many are computer illiterate. It means they need the face-to-face service these offices provide.
In a democratically elected government, the prime service to constituents is to look after everyone equally – especially our seniors. The federal Conservative government has failed again in that mandate.
It’s time Conservatives in Ottawa made their way out to view the nearest sunset. Their time to leave has come.
George Macvicar, Editor/Manager