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The Deal Breaker

In her column in today’s National Post, Christie Blatchford writes about Julian Fantino, Canada’s Minister for Veterans Affairs. It’s a scathing commentary and one with which I fully agree but it isn’t Ms Blatchford’s column that got under my hat, it’s the recurring comments from the enlightened in response to what she wrote.

Most were conservative supporters and for the most part, they agreed with her; some going so far as to suggest that the disgraceful manner in which Fantino specifically and the Harper government generally has treated our vets is – get ready for it;

“Almost a deal breaker for me. . .”

Christ in Heaven! Just exactly what does it take for some conservatives to take their heads out of their asses and stand up and defend what is right rather than defending a politician? We’re not a cult and this constant rationalization of the violation of fundamental conservative values is beneath contempt.

It isn’t any better on the left where the weak-minded rally around Justin Trudeau and Kathleen Wynne like brainless moths around a flame but I believed that as conservatives we were better than that.

I was wrong.

Government has become the purview of the incompetent, the egotistical and the unethical. It doesn’t matter the political party, they all behave in the same manner. From the embarrassing spectacle of Mark Addler begging to be included in a photo op in Jerusalem on what is considered sacred ground to the egregious behaviour of the Ontario Liberal government; nothing is sacred and nothing beyond their own egos is respected. Politicians are precisely what is wrong with this country and we are right in there encouraging and supporting them.

If they are too often corrupt, incompetent or just plain stupid and we support them; what does that make us?

They aren’t tuned in to what is of concern to the people they represent; they’re only interested in obtaining and maintaining power. They will manipulate budget deficits as the Harper government is doing right now, squander billions of tax dollars on pet projects to try and get elected as the Ontario Liberals have done repeatedly, flit about the world at our expense to stay in first class hotels as Bev Oda, Premier Redford and a whole raft more have done and will pander to the basest instincts of our society as the PQ government is doing in Quebec – all to get elected or reelected.

According to the most recent survey, the number one issue of concern to a majority of Canadians is health care and right behind it is jobs. So – which political party or leader is addressing those issues effectively? The answer is none.

The Ontario Liberals handed out raises to the same elementary school teachers they pistol whipped into a wage freeze just six months earlier. They’ve so botched the energy file that Ontario now pays other jurisdictions to buy its surplus electricity. They’ve even introduced legislation requiring barbers – yes, I said barbers – to go back to school and learn how to be a hairstylist because ‘Fred’ deserves more than just his regular haircut.

Now Premier Kathleen Dithers is moving forward on a provincial pension plan. Spare me. We are all Canadians all of our lives but we move back and forth between provinces. How in God’s name does this woman think they will manage this? It’s just one more ridiculous boondoggle in the making with a very expensive bureaucracy just waiting to be formed.

Is Premier Wynne talking about healthcare? Nope. Fixing healthcare is hard; it’s easier to legislate barbers.

In Quebec, Premier Marois has successfully ignored the increasing talent drain from her province as more and more of the middle class are starting to pull up and move out. Instead she has decided that the most pressing issue facing Quebec is not healthcare, the budget deficit or jobs – its religious symbols and she is off and running with her Secularism Charter; a veiled attempt to rationalize bigotry and prejudice.

Pick your province; it isn’t much better. British Columbia just reelected a flake to be premier; Alberta has a little princess and the only premier who actually did reduce unemployment and the budget deficit – the Premier of Newfoundland – was bounced by her own party because they were afraid that her common sense governance was unpopular and might affect many of their reelection chances.

And that brings us to Canada’s federal government headed up by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Conservatives keep asking how people can support Justin Trudeau when he seems to stand for so little. I ask the same question about both Trudeau and Harper.

It was Stephen Harper who promised accountability and transparency. He introduced the Accountability Act which he has subsequently ignored. He promised to reform the Senate but ignored that too until it became an absurd scandal over expenses and political interference that may yet turn out to be criminal in nature.

Most conservatives I know have serious concerns about the lack of law regarding abortions but the government they support and the leader they call a statesman has steadfastly refused to deal with the issue and apparently that’s just hunky dory with the far right Christian conservative movement who claim they are pro life.

Conservatives can make fun of Justin Trudeau’s announcement yesterday but conservatives’ fearless leader has not only done nothing, about Senate reform, he has made a mockery of it. Of the 60 Conservative senators sitting in the Senate today – 59 were referred for appointment by Stephen Harper. His big plan is to wait for the Supreme Court to tell him what changes he can make without having to work with the provinces.

It makes me wonder what part of cooperative federalism and our Constitution he doesn’t get. But then, Stephen Harper doesn’t like to meet with people he doesn’t like which is why he remains one of the only world leaders to have never addressed the United Nations and why he pulled out of the last Commonwealth Conference. He doesn’t like the media either so he avoids talking to them as much as possible  failing to realize that in talking the them, he is actually talking to us.

He remains the only Prime Minister that I can remember who has never addressed the entire nation in a radio or televised address. Not even the egregious behaviour of his own office and the people he appointed that resulted in the Senate scandal was enough to get him to talk to us and tell us the truth . . . or at the very least, step up and take responsibility and apologize.

This government can’t even get a pipeline built and instead keeps publicly asking for a decision from the Americans as if we were supplicants instead of cancelling the Keystone and initiating either Northern Gateway or an across Canada pipeline.

Leadership is claimed by Harper’s supporters, but there is precious little real leadership coming out of the Prime Minister’s Office.

All of that aggravates me but what is the final straw for me is the way the Harper government has treated our vets and I have absolutely no use for those who call themselves conservatives and who claim to support our veterans while continuing to support Stephen Harper and his thugs and how they have treated the men and women who served this nation.

It was the Harper government that leaked confidential medical information in an attempt to silence a veteran who was critical of the government. It was the Harper government that unilaterally changed compensation support for vets, moving to a lump sum payment which dropped the total support to vets to less than they had previously received for just one year. It was the Harper government that tried to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder removed as a recognized medical condition so that they wouldn’t have to provide support to our vets and when challenged on these and other issues, it was the Harper government through Julian Fantino that announced on Remembrance Day that the government would spend up to $50 million on yet another bloody war memorial.

It was the Harper government that reduced the number of personal case workers for vets and it is the Harper government that has made a practice of discharging the wounded from the military instead of finding them desk jobs just so they can save some pension cash.

Now the Harper government is closing 9 regional veterans support offices to save money. It never ceases to amaze me how these guys are so nickel and dime wise and dollar foolish. If it cost $1 million annually to run a local office I’d be surprised, but let’s be generous and ratchet the cost up to $2 million for each office. That’s $18 million in savings.

I’m all for saving money and fiscal responsibility but here’s the question. How come we don’t have $18 million to keep those offices open for our vets but we had a spare $200 million for Stephen Harper to hand out to Jordan and the Palestinian Authority? There is never enough money for what is needed but always enough for the photo op.

How come there isn’t enough cash to properly provide for veterans but there was a spare $100 million to advertise the Economic Action Plan and another $400 million to hand over to profitable oil and gas companies so that they could explore ways to go ‘green’?

Here’s an idea. Scrap the war memorial and keep the vets’ offices open. We’ll still save $36 million and our vets will continue to get the administrative support they need.

Ultra-conservatives like to point to the tax and spend stupidities of Liberal governments and with good reason but apparently they aren’t as willing to look closer to home.

What the Harper government and its supporters have brought to the table isn’t fiscal responsibility. It’s parsimony. They nickel and dime people like our veterans while squandering millions on advertising their accomplishments or spending $50 million just to redecorate Treasury Board President Tony Clements’s constituency.

I’ve been accused of not being a very loyal conservative by some and of not even being a conservative by others but I’ve got news for those people. I don’t consider people who talk out of both sides of their mouths to be conservatives – just sheep. If you’re not prepared to defend conservative values and principles no matter who violates them, then you aren’t any better than those who follow along blindly down the Liberal’s yellow brick road to economic and social chaos.

Some conservatives may be willing to try to rationalize this disgraceful treatment of our veterans in order to defend Stephen Harper; I’m not. The way the Harper government has, and continues to, treat our veterans is a deal breaker for me and I make no apology for it.

Enough partisan bullshit. It’s time for people to start acting like Canadians rather than mindless followers in a personality cult. It’s time to defend Canadian values rather than constantly trying to rationalize how they are being undermined by those we have supported in the past.

It won’t happen, of course. Ultra-conservatives have pretty much proven that when it comes to partisanship, they’re no better than Liberals. Values, principles and decency mean nothing. Supporting the leader is everything.

And we wonder why we’re in the state we’re in.

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© 2013 Maggie’s Bear

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  • oldwhiteguy

    vets need our support. why can we not get accurate numbers both on the cost per building being shut down and the numbers of vets who use those facilities. also who will be harmed and I mean harmed, not inconvenienced by such closures. transparency requires real numbers not speculation. of course we rarely see any transparency from any government.

    • MaggiesBear

      It’s just one more example of the Harper government’s concept of transparency. But in this case, it shouldn’t be about cost; it should be about responding to the concerns of those who served this country. There have been eight suicides by vets and serving members of the forces since October. That is an alarming situation and one the Harper government is continuing to ignore. All governments by all parties have cut military spending when it was politically expedient but it is only the Harper government that has treated veterans this poorly.

      • disqus_Li56uZxHMU

        Subject: Re: New comment posted on The Deal Breaker

  • J. Allore

    WOW!!! Amazingly on target, Bear. Thank you.

    • MaggiesBear

      Thanks for taking the time to read it.

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  • matthew brandley

    You know bear, It sounds like like the good ole u s of a. The closing of vets offices and the in fighting of political parties with the interest of only those we elect and not the people who elected them. No longer do the people matter . Only those who are in the hierarchy of goverment it would seem. Its become a mad , devious , corrupt , self centered world of politics where we can no longer trust anyone we elect in any country

    • MaggiesBear

      Yes sir.