Vetting the verbage about veterans

by Andrew Fogarasi

To the Arnprior Chronicle Guide:

Earlier this year, there was a flurry of news items about the federal  government shutting down over 10% of its Veterans Affairs offices. You may even remember Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino treating a group of veterans with an appalling degree of rudeness and disrespect when they were scheduled to meet with him on the issue. Except, of course, the Conservatives are hoping you don’t. In fact, they are counting on it.

How else to explain MP Cheryl Gallant’s recent mail-out trumpeting the joyous news that veterans now enjoy over 600 “points of service” for their dealings with government? Never mind that these exciting new points of service are nothing more than existing Service Canada outlets, already understaffed and unable to effectively serve their areas. Never mind that instead of having instant access to dedicated professionals intimately familiar with the ins and outs of each client’s case, veterans are now expected to wait in line for God knows how long in order to speak with someone who has no clue who they are or how to handle their questions. Why, if the feds only had the foresight to stuff a pile of forms behind the counter of every McDonalds in the country, they could be proudly announcing thousands of points of service!

The gall of MP Cheryl Gallant and her fellow Conservatives simply boggles the mind. They not only expect Canadians to approve of this reduction in the scope and quality of services for veterans, they are actually trying to spin it as a great achievement. What’s next for the Conservatives and their friends? Perhaps “Mike Duffy has done more to expose corruption in the Senate and the PMO than any other Canadian in recent memory.” Or “The Fair Elections Act: improving democracy by making it harder for those who are likely to vote against us to vote at all.” And I look forward to Rob Ford’s new mayoral campaign: “Rob Ford, getting crack off the streets… one rock at a time.” Unfortunately for every Canadian, the Orwellian doublespeak from the federal government is not really a laughing matter. The way they treat those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country is shameful. The fact that they are trying to convince Canadians that they are improving things for our vets when they are actively making them worse is disgusting. These are the kind of people who would kick you in the teeth and praise themselves for their forays into dentistry. The liberals and their scandal-plagued days in power look downright quaint in comparison.

Andrew Fogarasi

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