November is a time for Canadians across the country to come together in unity to remember and continue to demonstrate support for veterans and active members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
In Canadian schools, students learn about the continuous sacrifices and dedication of the military. They show respect to the ultimate patriots, those who put their lives at risk in order to preserve the values and traditions that are the country’s bedrock.
The wearing of the poppy is influenced by “In Flanders Fields” from the First World War and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. It is a symbol that represents the appreciation and genuine gratitude that Canadians owe to those who place their lives at risk for the benefit of others.
The history of Remembrance Day
According to an article written by the CBC, Remembrance Day “began as a visceral response to the terrible death toll of the First World War”.
Beginning in 1914 after the assassination of Austro-Hungarian leader Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, the First World War pitted European powers into a conflict that led to the deaths of millions. Despite having its origin in Europe, battles transpired throughout Africa and Asia between the colonies.
Britain and her Empire’s involvement in the war subsequently led to Canada and the other Commonwealth countries to join the war effort.
At the time of the First World War, Canada had a population of approximately 7.8 million, far less than the 36 million citizens it currently boasts. From the 7.8 million Canadians, 620,000 men and women were put into uniform. Around 60,000 of them were killed, that’s roughly 10%.
The average age of a Canadian soldier during the Great War was 26 years old with many being barely past the age requirement for conscription. At so young, it is impossible to conceptualize the incredible brutality the soldiers faced in their time overseas. Trench life was appalling, and the advancement in military technology resulted in battles being waged in a terrifyingly new fashion.
Prior to the First World War, the armed conflict in which Canada suffered its greatest loss was the South African War of 1899-1902.
In 1919, there were calls for some sort of commemoration to mourn the dead and pay tribute to the hundreds of thousands who fought.
King George V, the reigning monarch, of the United Kingdom urged that people observe two minutes of silence at 11 am local time across the Commonwealth and Empire.
One of the best-known elements of remembrance is military doctor John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields”. It strikes empathy and a deep sense of observation for all servicemen and servicewomen who have passed over the years.
Trudeau: “Veterans are asking for more than we are able to give”
It would be assumed that the Canadian federal government would do everything in its power to ensure that those who contribute their lives to the defense of our values, freedoms, and customs are properly looked after.
Unfortunately, this has not been the case under Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government. The Prime Minister has instead placed his attention on non-Canadians and has been responsible for reckless spending.
When Brock Blaszczyk, an injured veteran of the War in Afghanistan, summoned the courage to ask the Prime Minister why the federal government was still fighting against veteran groups in court, Trudeau replied that veterans “are asking for more than we are able to give right now”. This was met with shouts and boos from the crowd.
Those who served and continue to serve placed their maximum effort in ensuring Canada remained protected. They are undeserving of the Prime Minister’s distasteful comments and utter lack of care.
Unjustifiable comments in light of Liberal record of wasteful spending
The Prime Minister’s response to Mr. Blaszczyk’s question is hypocritical, as the Liberals have been spending exuberant amounts of money elsewhere.
The Canadian government decided that it would buy the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion from Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd for $4.5 billion. Trudeau and Bill Morneau were both eager to kick start the new project, yet unsurprisingly, had their approval for the pipeline expansion overturned. The Federal Courts of Appeal said the National Energy Board’s review of the proposal was so flawed that the federal government could not rely on it as a basis for its decision to approve the expansion according to the Toronto Sun.
With $4.5 billion seemingly being wasted on a project that has no completion in sight, and without having the appropriate measures being accounted for, it has become less surprising that the Liberals are fiscally irresponsible. Moreover, its an insult to all veterans who are struggling financially.
Most recently, Trudeau announced that Canada will be investing $14.5 million into Indonesian infrastructure in order to stimulate economic growth. The announcement was made on the margins of the G20 Leaders’ Summit, following the Prime Minister’s bilateral meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
Prioritizing foreigners and foreign markets instead of Canadians is an embarrassment and should be condemned. If the government is unwilling to place its importance in helping its citizens first, then its unfit to rule.
Moreover, a Global News report suggests that the Liberals still have more than $372 million meant to help veterans and their families unspent since taking office in November 2015. It is a further indication that the federal government has a complete lack of regard for its veterans and their respective families.
With the Liberals’ ridiculous spending, it begs the question as to why Canadian tax money is of little concern to the federal government. It also highlights the worsening state of veterans in the country.
There is hope outside the government
An affordable housing project for poverty-stricken veterans in Calgary has been planned by ATCO according to the Calgary Herald. Built in a hanger that was once part of Calgary’s Currie Barracks, the housing community will include 20 private micro-homes with all the amenities of a larger house, only scaled-down into a smaller scale.
It is estimated that the project will help house around 2,500 veterans with each house named after a fallen soldier who fought in Afghanistan.
David Howard, co-founder and president of Homes for Heroes said there are ambitions for growth with a plan to build homes in the city of Edmonton, adding “The fact is we cannot let these soldiers suffer any longer. There’s no excuse for it,” he said. “They put their life on the line for us, we have to be there for them.”
The private sector has been more effective in dealing with veterans than the Trudeau government. In doing so, it debunks the myth that an overarching, large government is a necessity to ensure society runs in a smooth manner. Furthermore, it shows that Canadians care more for their fellow citizens than Justin Trudeau and the Liberals.
More initiative from the private sector may be important going forward when dealing with Veterans Affairs.