As a retired member of the Canadian Forces with 35 years of service, I am saddened and angry about the unacceptable treatment of our military veterans due to the proposed closing of multiple Veterans Affairs offices (Veterans Affairs closures defended, Jan. 31). Minister of Veterans Affairs Julian Fantino's behaviour towards the veterans who wished to speak with him about the closures was offensive and disheartening.
Fantino has lost any credibility to represent Canada's veterans on behalf of the government. Arguing centres are being closed for reasons of efficiency is galling when there is no discernible movement to shut down the multi-million dollar boondoggle called the Senate for those same reasons.
Perhaps the final words about this sorry are best left to English writer Rudyard Kipling. Tommy, one of Kipling's many poems, was written about the ordinary British soldier during the 19th century, and still seems relevant today. The final stanza:
You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all;
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "anything you please;"
Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!
I have three words for Mr. Fantino:
Lest We Forget.