Michael Major: Why we must support our Canadian veterans

We are the people who send representatives to Ottawa to decide on our behalf the direction this country’s policies will go. When our MPs vote to send our soldiers to fight, then their war becomes our war. When our soldiers walked off the back of that plane in Afghanistan how many of you could find it on a map? Did you know who the Taliban were? Did you know the Russians had fought there in the ’80s? Did you really understand why we were going there to fight? Like it or not, even if you did not even bother to vote, the wars our politicians get involved in are your wars.

Soldiers have a sacred contract with government. Soldiers volunteer to be the tip of the spear. They will bear the brunt and horrific acts of war on behalf of their Queen and country, including laying their lives down. All that our troops ask in return is that when they return broken that their country takes care of them.

We lost 158 of our best to Afghanistan—more were wounded and too many came home with broken minds. Posttraumatic stress disorder is destroying the lives of our troops and their families so much so that some of our soldiers believe the only way to stop the pain is to end their lives. Did any of you think about this when the first soldiers set foot on Afghan soil? What did you think would happen when they got home?

Being a veteran I had no delusions that no one would get hurt or that everyone would just come home and get on with life. I’m sure that most veterans and soldiers thought the same way I did. Soldiers know the risk; they signed up because they know they are the only ones who can stand between you and all the evil that lurks in the dark. Their job is to protect you with their bodies and their lives. Being a soldier is the only job where there is an expectation that you will be ordered to die and even training for war is a dangerous, sometimes-deadly affair.

War is an ugly, horrific, and destructive business. I’ve seen the scars it leaves behind as a peacekeeper in Bosnia. There truly are no winners—just survivors—and the unspeakable horror we tell our soldiers to endure in our name is burned into the minds of so many of our young men and women. They are the best of us, we told them to fight for us, and now it is our job to take care of them. Like it or not, we are all responsible for breaking them.

The problems with Veterans Affairs are not secret, the treatment of our veterans is very public, and the solution is so universally simple. Take care of our veterans today because tomorrow you may find there are not any soldiers to protect you. After all if the government breaks their end of our sacred soldiers contract why would anyone become a soldier?

Write your MP and tell them that they must listen to the people and the veterans, or come next election they will be unemployed. We are the power in this country. It will take half an hour of your time. Just write your MP. It is the very least you can do.

Comments (10) Add New Comment
Thomas Folkestone
My MP is Libby Davies, and as an NDP'er she's on-side.

Conservative voters got you into this mess, it'll take them to get you out.
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Mark
No offense to veterans, but people nowadays don't really care too much about them. We are not like the Americans, and for a good reasons. They are war-mongers. We did not belong in Afghanistan. Canada was not attacked, the US was. It was not a global war on terror, but an American war on terror.

People care about a good standard of living, affordability, and opportunities in life.
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Julia
I agree....the soliders are there for our freedom and to let us live in this great country. We should be taking care of them.
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No support from me
I voted. I know all these things you talk about and a have no respect for someone that will wear a uniform and train to kill someone pointed as the ennemy. I prefer to support teachers, thank you very much.
Last thing, don't feel like you're fighting for me. You are not!
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boris moris
That our government has a duty to care for injured soldiers is not in doubt. The reality is that the Harper government is the most war mongering government in Canada's history yet they have treated veterans poorly...much like the American shoddy treatment of their soldiers.

Personally, I have no respect for the Canadian military, or its soldiers, who could actually make a difference in the world by speaking out about the following issues (but don't):

1) The use of depleted uranium armaments which are destroying the health of many soldiers and citizens of the countries they have been exploded in.
2) The fact that the Harper government grossly exaggerated the role of Canadian soldiers in bringing "freedom" and infrastructure to Afghanistan.
3) The fact that CF general staff was complicit in ordering war crimes.

I have no respect for soldiers who don't have the guts to speak truth to power about war crimes, genocide and human rights abuses. The fact that Canadian soldiers have allowed the Harper government to score points with voters by calling them heroes while simultaneously doing as little as possible to help injured soldiers makes the CF look like just another greedy, corrupt government agency who will do anything for newer and deadlier weapons in order to better enable the genocidal imperialists in the Pentagon.

The signs should say "Highway of Zeroes".
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Margi Corbett
I agree with Thomas. There is no way in hell I would ever vote Conservative, and my MP (Brad Trost) knows it, so there is no point in me writing to him about his shameful vote to not support veterans. Perhaps if some of the people who actually elected him were to express concern he might pay attention. But I doubt it.
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Mike
Thomas and Margi

Even if your MPs are not conservative or you did not vote for them you must still write them and tell them they are fired if something is not done now. If everyone does nothing then nothing will get done. We must exercise our voices collectively so we can not be ignored. I've written my MP three times now and had a letter hand delivered to the minister and I am still going after him and others in the government. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

To those who don't support our troops that is your right and you have a long line of soldiers to thank for that and your freedoms.
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boris moris
"To those who don't support our troops that is your right and you have a long line of soldiers to thank for that and your freedoms."

Sorry to be so blunt but that notion is one of those lies that gets told so often that people accept it at face value. It's horse shit. In the real world soldiers are more likely to shoot and bomb innocent citizens while they're not getting drunk and beating on their wives or raping other soldiers or citizens.

I thank human rights and civil liberties campaigners for my freedom...not psychopaths in uniforms or the corporations that ultimately control them.
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Veteran
Boris Moris

You haven't a clue what you are talking about and you're the only one who doesn't see that. If trolling the comments section make you feel good about yourself then go ahead, you're not fooling anyone.

We all sleep soundly at night because rough men stand ready to use violence to protect us.
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boris moris
@veteran

Yeah sure..whatever makes you sleep at night..even if it's "rough men" using "violence".

Your use of "we" assumes everyone else is as deluded as you are and that's just more horseshit.
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