Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Worth it, eh?

The last of 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.


Capability said...

I am constantly amazed at the weird sleight-of-hand that goes on in the Harper Govt regarding our veterans-- the way they're both obsessed with remembering them (mothers are good for spectacle when it comes to grief) while ignoring them at the same time. This sounds awful, but sometimes I think the suicide rates in the Canadian and American militaries are the "real" memorial-- and the truth that's least compatible with enormous stone monuments and pipe bands.

hg said...

Dear Capa,
Your eloquence humbles me. Sadly, you are so correct in what you say.
And now, rather than spending money to help distressed veterans, Harper Inc. plans to create wet dream ceremonies and statues to remind us of a war from 100 years ago, WWI. Convenient for them how there are no more veterans around from that one.