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?