For Stephen Harper's Conservatives, war is a big deal -- as long as it generates good ad copy. This government is spending $28 million to commemorate a war that happened two hundred years ago. But, as veterans gather at the War Memorial on Parliament Hill tomorrow, they will be engaged in yet another battle with the Harperites to remember the soldiers who have returned from Canada's wars -- most recently the War in Afghanistan. Tom Walkom writes in today's Toronto Star:
This week’s appearance on Parliament Hill of disabled veterans and military widows critical of the government was just the latest chapter in an ongoing dispute.
Disabled veterans had to take Ottawa to court once to stop it clawing back portions of their pensions.
Now a separate group of vets is suing the government over another pension issue — Ottawa’s decision to replace lifetime disability pensions with a cheaper, one-time, lump-sum payment.
In the first court case, Stephen Harper’s government spent $750,000 in legal fees fighting its own vets and conceded defeat only after the judge ruled Ottawa’s clawbacks blatantly unfair.
In the second case, Ottawa remains obdurate.
Hypocrisy has been the byword for this government ever since it came to power. But it is particularly galling that these armchair warriors should treat Canada's living veterans with such disrespect. However, it's worth remembering that Mr. Harper defined contempt as being outvoted in the House of Commons.