It's good that Julian Fantino has been fired from the Veterans Affairs post in the federal Cabinet. His toxic mix of incompetence and insensitivity were a profound affront to Canada's veterans. Not much is known yet about his successor, Ontario MP Erin O'Toole. He's clearly a better communicator than Fantino, but will he be substantively different? One clue may be found in the people he chooses as role models. Among Conservative Prime Ministers, for example, will he simply mimic Stephen Harper, or will he strive to be more like Robert Borden?
I hadn't planned on posting any sort of response to the Minister, as I've found it's best not to favour such accusations with comment. However, one of those individuals I referenced in my article wants to respond to the Minister's "corrections and clarifications" regarding how the Conservatives are supporting veterans.
Some argue that combat is what defines a veteran. Think about that for a minute and you'll realize that such a definition overlooks all the logistics, support, medical, and other personnel. Think about all the aircraft mechanics required in WWII -- are they not veterans? Of course they are. Look around. Pay attention to the veterans walking among us every day.
Obviously, the Minister didn't intend that every person who dies or is injured in service to the public is a veteran. But what he did was imply that injury or death is required for one to be considered a veteran. That may be a convenient definition for a government intent on saving money on the back of our veterans, but it's a silly notion for nation that requires a military.
Retired Corporal Dennis Manuge is the driving force behind the SISIP class action lawsuit over pension clawbacks. Last year, Manuge revealed that, in 2009, the Minister of Veterans Affairs was briefed on private details of his medical conditions and finances. Now, the former mechanic with the Royal Canadian Regiment says VAC also breached the privacy of his brother, Anthony.