POLITICS

‘ABC' Veterans Group Says 'Damn Right' They Feel Abandoned By Government

10/16/2015 04:10 EDT | Updated 10/16/2015 04:59 EDT

A group that made headlines after launching its “Anyone But Conservatives” campaign has now released a video asking Canadians to consider veterans come election day.

The 57-second ad uploaded Thursday meshes together photos and footage of veterans as well as press clippings of stories critical of the federal government’s treatment of soldiers.

“We did not know that when we came home wounded, we would have to fight our own government to get the critical care that we needed,” a male narrator says off-camera.

“Do we feel abandoned?” he asks. “You’re damn right we do.”

The ad continues the group’s critical tone toward Stephen Harper’s Conservatives and the government’s overall handling of cases involving injured veterans and PTSD within the military.

Supported by a network of approximately 320 volunteers, the “Anyone But Conservatives” group has organized rallies across the country, collecting donations to fund their campaign to unseat Harper.

But not all veterans are on side with the group’s efforts.

Lee Humphrey, a retired warrant officer with the counter-group, Veterans for the Conservative Party of Canada, described the ad as “slickly produced” and “simply regurgitates the same misleading statements.”

He called the ABC Veterans Group “moral cowards” and pointed out that one of the biggest complaints among ex-soldiers today, the charter revision changing lifetime pensions for injured vets to lump sum payments, was implemented by Paul Martin’s Liberals.

The party under leader Justin Trudeau has pledged to restore the lifetime pensions.

But that hasn’t influenced Humphrey enough to change his vote.

“I believe the CPC have proven that they are willing to put veterans ahead of union bureaucrats and are willing to make reasonable do-able changes that improve veterans lives and that their commitments to veterans won't come at the expense of the military,” Humphrey said in an email to The Huffington Post Canada.

“Veterans’ issues are the litmus test for the rest of society,” said 27-year Canadian military veteran David MacLeod during a Halifax rally organized by the ABC Veterans Group on Oct. 8.

“Veterans are fighting for the very things that the average Canadian is concerned about,” he said, referring to pensions and healthcare. “What can be taken from veterans can be taken from the public in general.”

Prior to the election, veterans-related stories dominated headlines after a series of gaffes involving former veterans affairs minister Julian Fantino last year. He was demoted and replaced by former Royal Canadian Air Force officer Erin O’Toole in January.

With files from The Canadian Press

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