Today we honour the dead. And that's as it should be. "If ye break faith with us who die," John McCrae wrote, "we shall not sleep." It's easy to keep faith with the dead. It doesn't cost much.
But we have broken faith with the living, the veterans who have come home and who will carry the wounds of war for the rest of their lives. Guy Parent, who replaced military ombudsman Pat Strogan, is doing the same thing for which Strogan was fired. Parent reports that the government has abandoned returning veterans. According to the Canadian Press,
Guy Parent's long-awaited assessment of the government's so-called veterans charter found that veterans are receiving inadequate compensation from the government for their pain and suffering.
Hundreds of severely disabled veterans, in particular, will also take a financial hit once they retire because some of their benefits will end and they don't have military pensions, Parent says in the report.
And the proposed budget will cut the offices which deliver veterans services. The Globe and Mail reports that:
The Conservative government says it is closing the offices in Corner Brook, Nfld., Charlottetown, Sydney, N.S., Windsor, Ont., Thunder Bay, Ont., Brandon, Man., Saskatoon, Sask., Kelowna, B.C., and Prince George, B.C. by February to adjust to the changing needs and demographics of veterans across Canada.
Veterans Affairs officials point out that veterans will still be able to obtain help at Service Canada locations. They can also call the department, use their computers or request a home visit.
In its quest for re-election, the Harper government has decided that Canadian veterans are expendable. The truth is that, for the prime minister, breaking faith is standard operating procedure. Everyone is expendable -- except the man Alison, over at Creekside, calls "Commander Dress-up."