UNDER MISCELLANEOUS: Talking of mild weather and veterans’ rights

Sentinel columnist Allan Hewitson talks about the area's mild weather and the ongoing troubles with Canada's veterans.

All across Canada and the United States recently, bad weather  has been the story of the day.

Ice storms, heavy snow dumps, blowing snow banks, freezing wind chill numbers, blizzards, floods, closed schools, frozen pipes, heating-related fires, power and natural gas failures, cancelled flights, shut-down public transit, burst water mains and hundreds of weather men and women standing outside in the lousy weather reporting the bad news.

However, I really haven’t heard much about the big weather news for people like Kitimat, Terrace and Prince Rupert, where – to be honest – I can not remember it green at the end of January since I came here in 1980.

I can remember, because it was exceptional, one non-white Christmas and one non-white Boxing Day, when I weeded my vegetable garden.

No snow is a big story that seems to pretty well remain uncovered in Kitimat. I have no doubt Kitimat people are as amazed as I am and are talking about it amongst themselves, but somewhat behind their hands, not wanting to jinx it or to possibly dare Mother Nature to remember again, we’re still here, and generally able to take care of it ourselves, if she does bring back snow and cold.

So, far be it from me to jinx it either, but it sure is fine by me.

It’s cold in Ottawa too and Parliament is back in action (or is Parliament inaction is back?)

Cold, yes, but is there a way to check the temperature deep in Veterans Affairs Minister, Julian Fontano’s heart?

Or the uncaring and flippant attitude of the Prime Minister to veterans’ problems, despite the eye-opening eight veteran suicides, servicemen who survived overseas action at physical and mental costs to themselves, but were unable to find sufficient support and assistance from the federal government department charged with looking after their interests.

If the Minister is disinclined to listen fairly to the real concerns of the people he represents (under self-imposed pressure to follow government economic objectives that impact these constituents) he should think hard about whether he is in the right job.

A Minister’s salary, however makes a big difference on how an MP acts and with his personal intransigent history, few would expect Fantino to be moved, or the PM either.

I’ve said it before and I say it again, the “I apologise (for what I said or did) and  now let’s move on” strategy is insulting and hypocritical in parliamentarians. People at that level must be held accountable for their actions and words.

Incidentally, Newfoundlander Paul Davis, a spokesman for veterans, is also a Legion member and a Canadian senior.

In the face of refusal to change the decision to close offices, he has vowed to campaign against the Conservatives in the next election.

Few seniors today do not have someone who served or gave his life for Canada in numerous wars and actions, so if they agree with the veterans point of view, well, that’s a lot of people (and votes.)

At least one veterans group had promised to campaign against the Harper Conservatives because of a stand taken by federal lawyers, who argue the country holds no extraordinary social obligation to ex-soldiers.

Continued on page 5

The lawyers, fighting a class-action lawsuit in B.C. asked a judge to dismiss the court action filed by injured Afghan veterans, saying Ottawa owes them nothing more than what they have already received under its controversial New Veterans Charter.

Mike Blais, president of Canadian Veterans Advocacy, speaking at a Parliament Hill news conference said that  since the First World War, the federal government had recognized it had a “sacred obligation” to veterans — and that notion was abandoned with the adoption of the veterans charter by the Conservatives.

Blaid said the veterans asked  the government to stand down on this ridiculous position and to accept the obligation that successive generations of Parliament have wilfully embraced.

Veterans of Afghanistan deserve the same commitment as those who fought in the world wars, he insisted.

The lawyers, fighting a class-action lawsuit in B.C. asked a judge to dismiss the court action filed by injured Afghan veterans, saying Ottawa owes them nothing more than what they have already received under its controversial New Veterans Charter.

Mike Blais, president of Canadian Veterans Advocacy, speaking at a Parliament Hill news conference said that  since the First World War, the federal government had recognized it had a “sacred obligation” to veterans — and that notion was abandoned with the adoption of the veterans charter by the Conservatives.

Blais said the veterans asked  the government to stand down on this ridiculous position and to accept the obligation that successive generations of Parliament have wilfully embraced.

Veterans of Afghanistan deserve the same commitment as those who fought in the world wars, he insisted.

Just Posted

PHOTO GALLERY: Malicous Monster Truck Tour

The Malicious Monster Truck Tour sold out to crowds of 2,500 people… Continue reading

North Coast fishing grounds key to orca recovery: DFO

Plan marks waters from Langara to Rose Spit as critical habitat for northern resident killer whales

Chris Green, mother of scouts, passes away

Green, who was born near Kitimat, spent more than 60 years volunteering with Scouts Canada

Intertidal Music Festival back for round two

More than 20 performances throughout the day at the North Pacific Cannery on July 21

Alberta man missing on Kitimat River found dead

Body found on July 11 after going missing on July 7

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Evacuation alert issued due to Dog Creek Trail Wildfire

An evacuation alert has been issued by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako… Continue reading

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Canadian Tire delivers toys to ease kids’ street play pain in B.C. neighbourhood

It’s like Christmas for 11 kids who are supposed to be confined to their yards by strata bylaw

City orders largest Kinder Morgan protest camp to leave

Residents of Camp Cloud near the Trans Mountain work site have 72 hours to leave

Most Read