Last week's Day Of Honour, we were told, was about Canada's veterans.The vets know better. The day was about Stephen Harper. Michael Harris writes:
If you want the quintessential Stephen Harper, look no further than last week’s National Day of Honour. Everyone knew it was the Governor General’s job to accept the last Canadian flag that flew in Afghanistan, but hey, why give up the money shot to a mere functionary? So the PM snagged the flag — and then handed it off to the hapless David Johnston, former Commander-in-Chief of Canada.
Mr. Harper suffers from what Harris calls PRD -- Public Relations Disorder:
The main symptom of PRD is the unshakeable belief that elephantine public displays of military might — tanks rolling, jets screaming overhead, guns popping off — will make people forget this government’s betrayal of Canada’s wounded veterans from the Afghanistan War.
In its terminal stages, the PRD sufferer actually believes perception is reality. In Harper’s Canada, nothing has to be true. You just need lots of commercials flogging the desired perception — paid for by the people you’re trying to indoctrinate. Nice gig.
Never mind the that veterans who suffer from PTSD or who are missing limbs will have a harder time getting help because of the closure of veterans offices across Canada:
The trouble is that returning veterans with mental or physical wounds live in a commercial-free world. They inhabit a harsh reality: how to push your kid on a swing when you’re missing an arm or a leg; how to fill a war-hardened heart with human emotions again; how to navigate the unbearably normal world of civilian life when you have seen into the abyss and know what has been done.
Their disabilities are permanent, no matter how many jets fly over the Peace Tower. The final insult? Lectures from Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino about how their treatment will be improved by slashing $226 million from the VA budget and closing treatment centres. Stories about the reduced number of Second World War and Korean War veterans justifying cuts, but not a word about the thousands of new vets from Afghanistan.
No, they were -- and are -- expendable. It's all about getting the flag in your hands. That's what counts.