Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Stephen Harper and the Con Day of Infamy
It couldn't have been a more welcome sight. The last Canadian soldiers returning from Afghanistan.
If I had been watching them coming in to land, I would have been waving my arms in the air, and shouting "Glory Hallelujah, we are free at last."
And this couldn't have been a happier sight.
There were tears, smiles and warm embraces as loved ones greeted the final homecoming flight from Kabul – the last soldiers to return from a costly military mission that spanned more than a decade and claimed the lives of 162 Canadians.
But then there was the ghastly sight of our shabby leader Stephen Harper.
Mr. Harper announced May 9 would be designated by royal proclamation as a “national day of honour” to salute the end of Canada’s Afghan engagement.
Proclaiming a day of honour, on his day of INFAMY.
The federal government is arguing it does not have a social contract with veterans in response to a class-action suit brought by veterans upset with the compensation arrangement offered to wounded soldiers under the New Veterans Charter.
For what else can you call this betrayal?
"The social covenant is this promise that our country, Canada, has promised service people they will be protected when they get maimed and their families will be looked after if they are killed," Donald Sorochan said.
But in its legal response, government lawyers said no such contract exists.
"At no time in Canada's history has any alleged 'social contract' or 'social covenant' having the attributes pleaded by the plaintiffs been given effect in any statute, regulation or as a constitutional principle written or unwritten."
This indecent betrayal of the values that make us Canadian.
Pat Stogran is the spokesperson for the group behind the lawsuit, the Equitas Society, and is the former veterans ombudsman. He called the government's response "ludicrous."
"That is a contradiction to the culture that is Canada," he said.
How low have we fallen?
And this from the man who was once the Chickenhawk-in-Chief when he thought it would win him votes.
Only to abandon those he ordered into the Valley of Death when it didn't.
Along with all those other veterans, and the soldiers for whom the Afghan war never ended.
Just as the last Canadian soldiers deployed in Afghanistan returned home today, news emerged that two soldiers took their own lives.
You know I find it hard to write about Afghanistan. It's just too painful. I don't know what to say. I believe it was huge mistake, a tragic waste of human lives. But I can't deny that it was a road to hell that was paved with good intentions.
And I can't ask why Jonathan Couturier of Loretteville, Quebec, had to die in a war he told some of his friends was a "bit useless."
But returned to Afghanistan to be killed there anyway, at the age of 23, like so many others.
Because for that there are no answers. Just everlasting grief.
But I do know this: Stephen Harper needs to take the blame for what happened. Because he never has.
In this country we take care of our wounded soldiers. We do have a social covenant.
And the day we restore Canada's honour.
Will be the day we defeat him...
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