How Deep is the Love?

Rob Anders Nods off in House of Commons
The Conservatives love a good war. They were deeply pissed off when Canada gave a pass on the invasion of Iraq and when they were in power, the soldiers became poster boys for the re-election of Harper’s Government.

They have a decidedly different view of the military when they lose their usefulness. One legged poster boys don’t have the same appeal.

Veterans have become used to receiving the brush off from this government.

Military bureaucracy can’t hold a candle to the quagmire veterans have to wade through at Veterans Affairs. That is nothing new but one might think that the party that has been working hand over fist to put the military first and foremost in people’s minds, might pay a bit more attention to those who have done their bit.

Retired army personnel fighting to get some adequate compensation after being exposed to Agent Orange have been banging their heads against a brick wall for years.

It got so bad at one point that The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association issued a statement saying they are astounded by the "hurdles, the runarounds and the hardships” Canada’s veterans face when they try to collect federal military service and disability benefits.

We remember Pat Stogran the veteran's ombudsman was drummed out of his position by the Harper bullies for having the gall to actually do his job. To speak up, forcefully on behalf of veterans and to voice some of the concerns raised to him by those he considered his constituents and he brought to light the shoddy treatment many of them felt they were getting under the leadership Conservative government.

Then it was revealed that Veterans Affairs Department improperly accessed and shared his medical files and other information after he brought forward his concerns and was speaking out on behalf of veterans.

The shoddy treatment continues.

Several newspapers reported this week Calgary Conservative MP Rob Anders is accused of falling asleep at a Commons Veterans Affairs Committee during a presentation about efforts to help homeless former soldiers.

Anders came late to the Halifax meeting then, according to Jim Lowther, president of Veterans Emergency Transition Services, Anders slept through the group's presentation at the committee on Tuesday. Liberal MP Sean Casey, who is on the committee, said Anders has fallen asleep before at its meetings. "This happens fairly regularly at veterans committee, so it wasn't out of the ordinary," he said. "This isn't the first time."

The presentation was about the transition services group seeking charitable status, but not wanting any federal funding.

Not unexpectedly, Anders claims he was awake for the entire meeting and he accused Jim Lowther, president of Veterans Emergency Transition Services of being under the control of NDP MP Peter Stoffer, who is the party's veterans affairs critic.

In an almost incomprehensible statement Anders said, "If you praise Vladimir Putin with the way he deals with veterans and you're on NDP press releases and you praise Peter Stoffer and you're in favour of the unionization of the RCMP and you try to crash the prime minister's rallies and you criticize Rob Anders for visiting a mess hall, go figure, Connect the dots."

"When you guys go quoting somebody I think it would be nice if you do a little background on this guy to figure out he's a hack," Anders added.

But Anders appears to be confusing David MacLeod, in part at least, for Lowther. MacLeod said he made the actual presentation, while Lowther, who had pneumonia, sat beside him.

MacLeod said he mentioned in his presentation that the Russians had provided housing for their former soldiers and had set up a hospital to treat Afghan war veterans with post traumatic stress disorders, something he thought was a good idea.

"I support Vladimir Putin?" said MacLeod, when told of Anders' remarks. "I was in the Canadian Forces for 27 years. I'm former military intelligence, for God's sake.

You have to ask the Conservatives, How deep is the love, when it comes to veterans of the Military.

Not very deep

UPDATE:  Rob Anders was punted from this committee by Harper. Not soon enough.

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