Thursday, January 30, 2014

Fantino disses veterans

The Minister of Veterans Affairs, Julian Fantino, did little to endear himself to Canadian veterans when he showed up “very late” for a scheduled appointment with a group of them who had gone to Ottawa to discuss their concerns with the minister.

For the record, I lost respect for the former police chief after he pretty much disgraced himself—as commissioner of the OPP—during the crisis at Caledonia a few years back, and have not understood why the Conservative government would give this inept politician such a sensitive portfolio. As far as I’m concerned, he is, as Christie Blatchford described him recently, a bully.

His late arrival at a scheduled meeting and take-it-or-leave-it attitude towards the veterans is just another example that supports Blatchford’s assessment of the man. He showed neither an once of respect to veterans—men more worthy than he I suspect—nor compassion for those who served their country and proved they were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Even Fantino’s mealy mouth apology screams:  dump this looser before he damages the Conservative brand any more than he already has. I agree with NDP leader Thomas Mulcair (and it hurt to say that) when he said to the National Post:

If Stephen Harper believes even a fraction of what he says he believes about the courage of our veterans, he must relieve Fantino of his duties immediately and apologize to our veterans.”

The federal government, apparently,  plans commemorations marking the 70th anniversary of the Normandy landings and the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. There are several other examples of the prime minister acknowledging the contributions and sacrifices these men and women have made to and for our country.

So we know the Stephen Harper government will talk the talk as they say. But when will the Tories begin walking the talk and start treating veterans as the national treasures they are?


  1. I agree. Julian Fantino comes across like a corrupt cop on The Godfather, and any PM Harper supporter would be justified in questioning exactly why he is kept around in a portfolio where a caring heart should be prerequisite. In this sense we are compelled to advise the Wary to heed the Hairy and forget the Fairy. Our veterans are Canada's "sacred cow" and should be respected to the point of full accommodation and support. Any slighting of them is a weakening of our nation's structure from within. Using some Les MacPherson (of the Saskatoon Star Phoenix) terminology, the current recipe for repair calls for the Feared to listen to the Beard and disregard the Weird. Mulcair happens to be right on this one, proving that he's not always wrong, and it is in the interest and integrity of ALL Canadians that such action takes place sooner than later.

  2. I've spoken to a number of veterns lately regarding this and other veterns issues. The impression I get is that they feel that the government "supports the troops" only as long as they are mentally and physically able to serve. Once they retire or are unable to serve due to injury they become disposable. With lump sum payments and reduced services vets feel like the government can't get rid of them fast enough. I think that Canadians still have enough respect for our veterns that Mr. Harper disrespects them at his own peril.

  3. It may also be a bit of theater