Feds sun­set ar­rives

The Southern Gazette - - NEWS - Ge­orge Macvicar, Ed­i­tor/Man­ager

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.

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