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Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

Veterans disrespected, offended by Conservatives over office closures

I was little upset with Larry Maguire and his comments and the other comments that people put in about us (veterans). I feel that many people don’t understand what this means to veterans in Manitoba and the rest of Canada.

Right now, I wonder what lies they are hearing from Maguire and his fellow party members. Talking to other Conservative members knowing it was wrong to close the offices. They are torn between the party line and the morals and values of this country. I just hope that one day the Conservative machine will start leaking oil and that well-oiled machine will fall apart.

To stand there and just say the same things over and over again and not really understand the needs of these veterans is not only disrespectful, but just plain offensive to us.

Where are the Canadian values from this party? They talk the talk but don’t walk the talk. The PM says that he knows what the people of Canada want and that he listens to the people. Who are these people? Because when I ask the people, they don’t like it or understand what is really going on.

The PM and all Conservative MPs lost the compassion for the people of Canada. This is true by just listening to them in question period and reading the bills and looking at the agenda that this party has. Yes, cutting the budget is important and job creation just as important. However, when making a policy without consulting with premiers of Canada and just spend $14 million on ads about it, thinking that the people just accept it, well, they are wrong.

The same can be said about the closures of the veterans offices — no real consulting with veterans on their needs were ever thought off.

When they did consult, it went in one ear and out the other and they only heard what they wanted to. Case in point in Sydney, N.S. When the veterans rallied behind veteran Roy Clarke, the Conservatives listened to the concerns of the veterans there. But did they really listen? No, they did not. The veterans wanted their office to stay open and have their case workers stay. After that meeting the Conservatives made their mind up to close the nine offices across the nation.

Every member of the Canadian Forces has an understanding that when they retire from serving their country that the country will look after them. Well, that’s not the case anymore.

First it’s the closures, but what else will happen? Will the long-term beds will be gone and the veterans hospitals will be gone and so on and so on? This government wants the provinces to take up the role as the provider for the veterans even more. Well, I will tell Prime Minister Stephen Harper we are federal employees and that our country needs to start looking after the men and women of the Canadian Forces better.

It didn’t matter where I was in the world when I said I was from Canada, they smiled. When people saw our flag, they knew that Canada was there to help. Help we did, to those in need. Canada has a long history of helping and sending help to other countries in need. It seems now over the past eight years or so it’s more about helping ourselves (Conservatives) in making sure you get elected again, rather than making sure the home front is looked after and the people of Canada.

Well, those days are gone. We have a lot to worry about. Harper said his government will be more open and forthcoming in running this country that the people elected them to. That’s just not happening at all.

It’s all coming to a head. When I and my fellow veterans went to Ottawa to talk about the VAC office closures, how we were greeted by the ruling party and the way we were treated by them is not the way to treat people who have a concern and would like to have a meaning full decision on it.

Were we upset? Yes, but we still respected every MP in Parliament. Therefore, I would have hoped that we would have been received by the governing party and treated with respect and compassion. Did that happen? No, not at all. We were disrespected and a lot of words were said that really didn’t mean anything.

All we wanted was a meaningful meeting with the minister and to be open with each other and to explain our side of the story. We hoped that we would leave with heads held high. What truly happened was the opposite.

Since then nothing has changed, other than knowing that we will not stop fighting and I hope one day very soon this governing party will be replaced.

Martin Haller

Brandon

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 12, 2014

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I was little upset with Larry Maguire and his comments and the other comments that people put in about us (veterans). I feel that many people don’t understand what this means to veterans in Manitoba and the rest of Canada.

Right now, I wonder what lies they are hearing from Maguire and his fellow party members. Talking to other Conservative members knowing it was wrong to close the offices. They are torn between the party line and the morals and values of this country. I just hope that one day the Conservative machine will start leaking oil and that well-oiled machine will fall apart.

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I was little upset with Larry Maguire and his comments and the other comments that people put in about us (veterans). I feel that many people don’t understand what this means to veterans in Manitoba and the rest of Canada.

Right now, I wonder what lies they are hearing from Maguire and his fellow party members. Talking to other Conservative members knowing it was wrong to close the offices. They are torn between the party line and the morals and values of this country. I just hope that one day the Conservative machine will start leaking oil and that well-oiled machine will fall apart.

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