Who are we to believe?

I’m not sure what’s it’s like where you live but here in Canada we have a department of the federal government for Veterans Affairs.

Now when I was younger I didn’t hear too much about problems with this department but as I got older and the world got more cash crunched this was one part of the government that has become a problem.

Or rather this is one part of the government that has been dropping the ball and their attempts to fix it have been half hearted and miserable.

Over the past decade we’ve seen more than one Ombudsman for veterans speak out about the shabby way veterans are treated. Add to that obvious attempts by the government of the day to attack the credibility of the their first appointee by illegally releasing private medical details when he became too much of a thorn in their side.

The government Minister for Veterans Affairs switched to a newly elected MP, Julian Fantino. This MP is the retired chief of police for the city of Toronto. In his first run at political office he won a seat in parliament. (In a riding that so strongly favoured anyone with his credentials that he never came out to debate) So he’s a junior MP. But the Prime Minister made him a Cabinet Minister. In a post that has devolved into confrontations with the veterans it is supposed to serve.

And in that post he has bruised feelings with missed meetings and clumsy dealings.

When the Federal government tried to claw back over $400 million in pension to veterans they ended up in court. And that’s when the government’s spokesperson said essentially that there is no special obligation on the part of the government with regard to the veterans … like they are so many civil servants that punch clocks and get a token gold watch and pension at the end of their careers where they can retire happily. Except they aren’t just civil servants – they put their lives and hides on the line. They go through some of the most hellish things a person can, so bad that many come back broken inside where you cannot see it. And take their own lives. But, no, no special obligations.

And they’ve changed the Act regarding veterans and their pensions. Up until 2005 a veteran got a pension for life. Now they get a one time lump sum payment. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, thank you. And shut up about PTSDs or other malingerers ailments.

This political party, the Conservative Party of Canada, disgusts me and I’m just one of many people who feel that way.

The latest news is about the way that the department gives back unspent and unused funds. Gives it back to the government so it can go into general revenue …

So let me get this right: The veterans are griping more and more about how changes in the department are affecting them badly. Changes due to fiscal belt tightening. But at the end of the year the department has hundreds of millions of dollars left over to give back? Why?

They budget for the coming year knowing they aren’t going to spend it all? Really?

Why would they do that? Could it be so that at some point the government can say ‘Look how much we’ve increased the budget for Veteran’s Affairs! What a great government we are!’?

Say that they give them 1000X and get the department to kick back 200X but not talk about that. Is that legal? Moral?

But wouldn’t that make them liars?

Liars who are cheating a group of people who they trained to fight and kill and now discard with disdain.

Are they that stupid? And crass? The government I mean.

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