It’s been a while since I posted to Out of the Shadows. Been intending to post sooner but today I have been moved to do so. I noticed that our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is going to embark on a quick tour to hear what Canadians have to say. I rather doubt he’ll be dropping in where I hang out so I’ll just share what I have to say here.
Dear Prime Minister:
So, it’s been just over a year since you were elected. Not sure if the majority you received had to do with Canadians having confidence in you as much as we were sure as hell tired of Stephen Harper and his nasty band of followers. For me, it was a lot of getting rid of Harper and willing to give you a try.
There are some areas I really think you have been letting Canadians down. Here are some of my thoughts.
Military & Veterans
Canadian have a military to be proud of. Our men and women in uniform serve with pride and valour unequalled by any. They think on their feet. They do what is asked, even when the resources they are provided are lacking. Explain to me exactly, why should their resources be lacking?
If we’re going to run deficits, then some of the cause of the deficits need to go into making sure our military is properly equipped and resourced. If we’re going to ask the military to put their lives on the line for this country, then we have a duty to make sure they are properly equipped, not constantly needing to ‘make do’.
I hear that we’re sending a peacekeeping force to Africa sometime this year. Where exactly in Africa is there a peace to keep? Let’s cut the bullshit, peacemaking at best. Are you going to cater to the UN and provide the rules of engagement they want or are you going to demand that our troops have maximum ability to defend themselves and those they are supposed to be protecting?
You talk about peacekeeping like it is some benign, safe mission. The Canadian public has bought into that into that in the past when the loss of 150+ peacekeepers over the years rarely made it into the public’s awareness. Times have changed. The public became very aware of the sacrifice of our military members during Afghanistan.
I am one of those thousands of Canadians who have repeatedly gone to the bridges along the Highway of Heroes to honour our fallen. You wont be able to hide the casualties this time. So, you better make sure they are not the result of weak rules of engagement and lack of resources.
Duty of Care
This country has a sacred obligation to care for our military members while in service and after they leave service. That includes the full cost of funerals for those who died as the result of their service. Yes, that includes those who are driven to suicide as the result of PTSD. Soldiers who succumb to PTSD, do so out of desperation and despair of life ever being normal again. Their lives were forever changed by their service.
Resources need to be provided to assist and support those suffering from wounds and disabilities. Our military are being exposed to the worst of the worst when fighting an enemy that knows no boundaries. If we are going to ask our military to defend our freedoms, then we need to do all within our power to heal the wounds created by that fight.
If we’re going to run deficits, then pay up and get the resources in place. Veterans should not have to beg for help. Every suicide or murder/suicide is a failure to meet our obligations to our veterans.
The Veteran’s Charter was supposed to be a modern day approach to our duty of care for our veterans. While the system that was in place for our WW1, WW2 and Korea veterans worked for them, it wasn’t working for our younger veterans. The Charter was supposed to address that, it has failed and needs to be fixed.
The system in place for people like my dad, a WW2 veteran, provided a lifetime disability pension for those wounded in service and then later as they aged a veteran’s allowance for those serving overseas and supports to help them stay in their homes. It was a good system, it provided dignity and honour for our veterans as they aged.
Now, in all too many cases, the disabled veteran is paid out a lump sum and dumped out on their own. That needs to change and fast. Medical costs and supports need to be covered and the veteran needs to be receiving regular income so they can live in dignity. All of that needs to be in place and happening the DAY they leave the military, not waiting weeks or months for income to kick in.
So, you ran on a platform that the 2015 election would be the last under the first past the post system. I’ve grumbled about the system in the past, as have many Canadians. So, exploring the possibilities is not necessarily a bad thing. The problem is, that it opens a huge can of worms, everyone has their own ideas. I get that.
So, if you’re going to change the voting system it’s going to take some serious guts to do so. It’s going to mean taking a stand, laying out the pros and cons of the competing views and then take the chance that Canadians can actually make an informed choice by holding a referendum.
I know, some of the provinces have had referendums on this subject and change hasn’t happened. That could be because people, for the most part, are okay with what we have. It could also be they were not impressed with the options, or lack of options, they were presented.
Yes, there is a very noisy part of the population who champion proportional representation. It’s interesting to note that most of the people I see supporting PR are people who support the smaller political parties which the majority of Canadians are not inclined to vote for. PR will in some cases allow them to get people into Parliament. People selected from party produced lists.
To me, there is nothing democratic about a system that allows any Member of Parliament to become a member because he or she got on some list. I object to that system strongly enough that should it become our election system, I will no longer take part in elections. Something I have considered to be a duty all of my adult life.
So, there Prime Minister are some of my immediate concerns. You’ve got almost three years to correct the current course of actions you’ve been taken. I think you need to get busy and either take action on your campaign promises or be adult enough to admit your promise can’t be kept.
This voter, for now, is watching.