As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced he would skip out on Remembrance Day services for the second-straight year, we learned that over 270,000 Canadian veterans had been shortchanged on their pensions and disability benefits.
“More than 270,000 ex-soldiers were short-changed by Veterans Affairs Canada for over eight years because of an accounting error worth at least $165 million, CBC News has learned,” CBC’s Murray Brewster reported Monday.
“The mistake was uncovered by the veterans ombudsman’s office, which has worked with the federal department for over a year to get it to confirm the mistake and make amends,” his report added.
A written statement from Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan confirmed a retroactive compensation program is in the works — but the affected veterans will have to wait up to two years to get their money, the CBC story reports.
Trudeau to spend Remembrance Day in France for Paris Peace Forum
On the same day this error was discovered, Trudeau announced he would be leaving the country on Remembrance Day, yet again.
“The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that he will travel to France from November 10 to 12, 2018, to attend commemoration events for the 100th anniversary of the First World War Armistice and the first-ever Paris Peace Forum,” a news release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office Monday read.
“On November 10, the Prime Minister, along with the Minister of Veterans Affairs, Seamus O’Regan, will meet with Canadian veterans and thank them for their service and sacrifice,” the release continued. “They will also visit the Canadian National Vimy Ridge Memorial, a tribute to the Canadians who fought and gave their lives in the First World War.
“On Remembrance Day, Prime Minister Trudeau will participate in commemoration ceremonies in Paris on the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, which marked the end of the First World War.”
And, of course, the prime minister won’t forget his pet projects on this trip.
“After the ceremony, the Prime Minister will attend the Paris Peace Forum, a new annual event that brings together political, economic, and civil society leaders from across the globe to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” the press release reads. “The leaders will highlight the importance of strengthening multilateralism, global governance, and the rules-based international order.”
Can you believe this?
It seems our Prime Minister would rather push his international agenda abroad than spend time at home to honour our fallen warriors.
The White Poppy
What happened to Remembrance Day? People are even suggesting we shouldn’t wear red poppies on Remembrance Day, but white ones.
The white poppy has been around since 1933. It was introduced by the Women’s Co-operative Guild and is supported by the Canadian Voice for Women for Peace.
“Back in 1933, the Women’s Co-operative Guild in England chose to wear white poppies to symbolize their commitment to work for peace and end their acquiescence to militarism. The Guild stressed that the white poppy was in no way intended as an insult to those who died in the First World War, but that it was a ‘pledge to peace that war must not happen again’. Indeed, many of the women had lost husbands, brothers, sons and lovers,” a news release from the White Poppy Campaign last year read.
“This tradition has now been adopted in many other communities. Many people are choosing to wear red poppies to remember veterans and white poppies to remember civilian casualties.
“Both symbols serve to renew their commitment to work for peace and remember the true costs and causes of war.”
But enough is enough. Our Prime Minister openly shirks his responsibility to spend Remembrance Day in Canada. We have white poppies instead of red ones and Remembrance Day has become a day where special interest groups take aim at pushing their agendas.
Maybe it’s time to treat Remembrance Day with reverence instead of disdain.
Maybe it’s time to forget about all the fancy or politically-correct approaches to the day and remember the real reason we stop on that day to remember.
Veterans Affairs Canada lists Canada’s conflicts and their casualties on its webpage.
Canadian casualties in war
South Africa War (1899-1902)
Approximately 7,000 Canadians served; almost 300 of them gave their lives. They are commemorated in the South African War / Nile Expedition Book of Remembrance.
First World War (1914-1918)
Approximately 650,000 Canadians served, including members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, Canadians and Newfoundlanders who served with British forces (Newfoundland was a colony of Great Britain until 1949) and merchant marines. Of them, over 68,000 perished. They are commemorated in the First World War Book of Remembrance, the Merchant Navy Book of Remembrance and the Newfoundland Book of Remembrance.
Second World War (1939-1945)
More than one million Canadians and Newfoundlanders served in Canada’s Armed Forces, in Allied forces or in the merchant navy; over 47,000 of them gave their lives. They are commemorated in the Second World War Book of Remembrance, the Merchant Navy Book of Remembrance and the Newfoundland Book of Remembrance.
Korean War (1950-1953)
26,791 Canadians served in the Canadian Army Special Force; 516 of them died. They are commemorated in the Korean War Book of Remembrance.
So take a moment on Remembrance Day and remember those who fought and died for our freedom.
Forget about the world travels of our prime minister and his push for his pet projects overseas.
Instead, just remember our war dead. Just remember them.