OUR VIEW: Feds shouldn’t pay soldiers lip service

While federal politicians will be at Remembrance Day ceremonies and may speak, the words might seem a bit empty.

Remembrance Day is set for this Sunday and there will be a ceremony at the cenotaph by Grand Forks City Hall to remember service people that have survived or have perished in war.

Various politicians from the city and Regional District of Kootenay Boundary will be on hand.

There will also be similar ceremonies in the province and nation’s capitals, with prominent politicians as well and in fact, Grand Forks’ Roxanne Priede has been selected by the Royal Canadian Legion as the National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother and will be in Ottawa to partake in the Remembrance Day memorial.

The various politicians will likely lay wreaths and may even say some words, “Lest we forget,” etc.

But when you consider some of the recent moves by federal politicians, the words from the aforementioned will be merely lip service and veterans deserve so much more.

The examples of this are plentiful.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is said to be increasing military spending but it seems veterans are getting the proverbial short end of the stick.

According to reports, a federal fund intended to give poor veterans a dignified burial has rejected 20,147 of 29,853 requests for funding, or 67.4 per cent – failure to meet eligibility requirements or their qualifying veteran annual income was over $12,010 a year.

Also, earlier in October, the federal government said it will cease to deduct veterans’ disability pensions from benefits for lost earnings and Canadian Forces income support. There have been reports of veteran disability benefits reduced as well.

The number of Second World War vets is dwindling and with younger generations becoming older, the relevance and true importance of veterans and Remembrance Day may be on the wane but that doesn’t mean war vets – whether they served in the First, Second World Wars or more recently in Afghanistan – should see such disrespect.

The phrase “War is Hell” has been tossed around often, especially at this time of year, and that is what people that have taken part in military action go through – one can only imagine killing another person or seeing one’s friends and acquaintances killed before their very eyes.

Helping veterans of war cope with life after service and giving them a proper burial is the least we can do.

– Grand Forks Gazette

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