The PM likes to put on military shows
Veterans have had it with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his big partisan military spectaculars celebrating ancient wars.
He should be spending more money looking after veterans who fought in recent wars, like the one they fought in Afghanistan that lasted 12 years, cost 158 military lives and has left hundreds more soldiers wounded, maimed or suffering from continuing mental anguish.
Harper and his government have forgotten their responsibilities towards those who fought so recently for Canada and its values, they say.
Last fall Harper closed nine regional Veterans Affairs offices across Canada. He needed the money for other military spending, such as his parades and big spectaculars.
Veterans of the Afghanistan war were told that if they needed medical or other assistance, they should do as do the rest of the population and go to Service Canada offices.
Some of the older vets who aren’t too good at fancy modern computers at Service Canada offices didn’t take too kindly to the advice.
It just happens that Harper is preparing another big military spectacular on Parliament Hill May 9 to honor soldiers who fought in Afghanistan during that ugly 12-year war that cost us billions and took the lives of 158 Canadian soldiers.
Harper will lead the big parade up to Parliament, with a big brass band, along with dozens of distinguished politicians and military visitors, all under the presidency of the wheelchair athlete Rick Hansen.
Defense Minister Rob Nicholson, will be there, so will Governor General David Johnston and Chief of Defence General Tom Lawson.
There will also be a huge fly-by overhead, featuring a C-17 transport, a military Airbus, a Hercules, a Chinook and Griffon helicopters plus 140 maritime aircraft flying overhead in addition to a few hundred soldiers and veterans.
Our boy knows how to put on a show.
Veterans say they already have a memorial day.
Colonel Pat Stogran, our first Canadian battalion commander in Kandahar, said bluntly: «There is already a day of honor and its called Remembrance Day and that is on 11 November.
He wasn’t too thrilled by Harper’s plans.
Stogran called Harper’s parade «a public partisan spectacle. »
He added: “In all honesty, I 'm not interested in his show. »
Now was that nice, saying that to a guy who’s trying to get re-elected on the military vote?
One vet said Harper will eventually work his way back to celebrating wars of ancient Rome.
NDP MP Peter Stoffer says it’s not clear where the money for the May 9 show will come from.
All we know so far is that Harper has decided that transportation to Ottawa for the families of the Afghanistan military war will be paid by VIA Rail.
Harper never forgets the war dead. Soldiers who fought against Moammar Gaddafi were honored Nov. 24, 201. Last year Harper spent several million more to celebrate the War of 1812. That’s when British soldiers in Canada backed up by Quebec militias fought against the Americans.
Some veterans noted that the last surviving soldier of the War of 1812 died over 150 years, while there are plenty of our soldiers who went to Afghanistan who are still alive and in need of help today.
The Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said that the show proves that «the Conservative government has shown that supporting our men and women in uniform is a priority. »
But should it be a higher priority than keeping those Veterans Affairs offices open for our military who fought “in uniform” in Afghanistan?