Canada's troops have left Afghanistan, with a sorry toll to tell. One diplomat and 158 soldiers, male and female, for a total of 159. Too many.
Earlier this year we learned that Veterans' offices in many parts of the country were being shut down, and already we're seeing the sad results. Two suicides in the past week -- deaths that should have been preventable with proper support services in place.
But rather than ramping up services to veterans, our brilliant government wants to celebrate the Afghan mission. Apparently they already did some hurry-up focus group work and determined that a ceremony observing the 12 years on duty in Afghanistan would not be desirable as part of Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa.
So instead, they've set May 9th as the day when the country will 'honour' these veterans.
But funds for this observance will be taken from operational budgets for the military -- sort of like giving someone a medal, then telling them they'll have to pay for it themselves. As Joyce Murray, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra has put it, it looks like "...prioritizing parades over people."
And where did the May 9th date come from? It's the Friday before Mother's Day, so maybe it's supposed to rub salt into the wounds of those mothers whose daughters and sons are dead or wounded or scarred. Or, maybe 5/9 is as close as they could get to a date with the number 159 in it.
And wait a minute, whatever happened to our role as Peacekeepers?
It's been a week for resignations. First, Jim Flaherty. Then today, Alison Redford. Maybe Steve could get off the plane long enough to do us a favour and follow their lead.