Monday, February 10, 2014

"Thank you for your service"

Mark Towhey wrote a scathing article criticizing Minister Julian Fantino's treatment of veterans who came to meet with him. What follow is my edited-for-a-blog version, full version here.

When you're an hour late for a meeting with a group of Canada's veterans, stop for a moment before you walk through that door. Remember that you're about to meet with some of our nation's most cherished citizens.

Veterans are unique among all Canadians. They alone, have volunteered to waive their Charter-protected right to security of the person.

Only members of our military can be ordered into danger and can be tried, convicted and jailed for life for refusing an order that will get them killed.

Our police and firefighters are very brave men and women but they have the right to say "no" when the situation is just too dangerous.

Soldiers call this the "unlimited liability" clause in their terms of service. They know about it when they volunteer and they do it anyway. That takes guts. And, we owe them something for it.

The group of veterans that waited to meet with the minister last week served at our pleasure. They went where we sent them. They fought who we told them to fight. Our veterans walked willingly into danger when we asked them to because they trusted us to care for them if they survived, wounded, maimed. If they were psychologically scarred.

So, Mr. Minister, before you open that door next time and meet with those veterans, remember this: they have done what you have not. They deserve your respect.

When a veteran is angry with you for being late, you say, "I'm sorry. Thank you for your service to our country. Please come in and sit with me. I'm here to listen."

Then you sit with them and listen. You promise to do whatever you can to make the situation right. And then you do it.

And, in case you think this is me blaming the poor treatment of Veterans on the Conservatives - think again. I am a Conservative. This is not a partisan issue. Canadian soldiers and Canadian veterans are not being mistreated by the Conservative Party. They are being mistreated by the Government of Canada. This government happens to be Conservative, but the plight of our veterans is not a new thing.

1 comment:

Retro Blog said...

Well said, same goes for Vets in USA.