Vet­er­ans Af­fairs min­is­ter ‘cold, cal­lous’ to­wards vet­er­ans

The Compass - - OPINION -

Ed­i­tor’s note: The fol­low­ing let­ter was writ­ten to Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper, and copied to The Com­pass

This is the first time I have writ­ten to the prime min­is­ter of our coun­try. As a proud Cana­dian cit­i­zen, I would like thank you for the lead­er­ship you have given this great na­tion over the last eight years. As prime min­is­ter, you have demon­strated courage and com­mit­ment on a na­tional and in­ter­na­tional level in rep­re­sent­ing our coun­try, and you are to be highly com­mended for the work you have done.

That be­ing said, I am an­gry to­day and have never, in the 37 years I have been an el­i­gi­ble voter, been so dis­ap­pointed in any de­ci­sion made by any level of gov­ern­ment. The way your gov­ern­ment, rep­re­sented by the Ju­lian Fantino, has dealt with our war vet­er­ans is noth­ing short of a disgrace. The cold and cal­lous man­ner Mr. Fantino has dis­played in speak­ing to this is­sue and the com­plete dis­re­spect he as shown our vet­er­ans is shame­ful.

We are priv­i­leged and hon­oured to raise the Cana­dian flag over Par­lia­ment Hill each day be­cause men and women across this na­tion paid the supreme sac­ri­fice for this free­dom. Many oth­ers have served and con­tinue to rep­re­sent their coun­try be­cause they be­lieve the free­doms that have been gained by those who stepped up for their coun­try in times of con­flict, are worth de­fend­ing.

Our vet­er­ans owe us noth­ing; we owe them ev­ery­thing. Along with other Cana­di­ans, I chal­lenge your gov­ern­ment to find other places to make your bud­getary cuts and to re­verse the de­ci­sion you have made to close eight Vet­er­ans Af­fairs of­fices.

Some things are more im­por­tant than sav­ing a few dol­lars. This is one of them. If we have to dig deeper and yes, even bor­row to care for the needs of the few, we will be a bet­ter peo­ple and a bet­ter na­tion for hav­ing cared for our own.

Mr. Prime Min­is­ter, if this file is not dealt with in a man­ner that is agree­able to vet­er­ans, I view it as one of the most im­por­tant do­mes­tic is­sues your gov­ern­ment will deal with in the next fed­eral elec­tion. The place of our vet­er­ans and those who serve, cuts to the core what this na­tion val­ues most. We must hon­our them.

Lest We For­get.

— Jesse Bown writes from Car­bon­ear

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