OTTAWA — Lest we forget, politicking evidently never stops, even on Remembrance Day. The Liberal party, flush from the Oct. 19 election victory, is using the solemn occasion to continue trying to accumulate information on potential supporters and donors. The governing party has issued an email from new Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr, which encourages readers to add their names to an online message of thanks to members of the Armed Forces and veterans "for their service and sacrifice." Such email solicitations, known as data mining, are commonly employed by political parties to glean names, email addresses and postal codes which are added to data banks used to identify supporters and financial contributors. The message from Hehr also veers into the political realm, reiterating various Liberal campaign promises aimed at honouring the country's "sacred obligation" to veterans. But it's also personal; Hehr recounts how a drive-by shooting left him a quadriplegic at just 21, and notes that, while such moments of life-changing, extreme violence are rare in civilian life, they can be an "everyday risk" for members of the military. "When I was injured, I found the support I needed to rebuild my life and eventually go on to have a successful career in public life," says Hehr, a former Alberta MLA. "In those moments I felt alone, there was always someone, somewhere I could turn to. I want Canada's servicemen and women and Canada's veterans to know they too are not alone, that all Canadians stand with them." Hehr says he's excited to be the minister who will be "rolling out all of the commitments we made during the campaign in the weeks and months to come." He lists Liberal campaign pledges to provide lifelong disability pensions to veterans, boost financial aid for wounded veterans, pay for veterans' complete education, increase support for families caring for veterans dealing with the aftermath of war and reopening veterans service centres closed by the previous Conservative government. Hehr has posted the same message on his Facebook page but it does not include the data-mining device of asking readers to add their names to a note of thanks to veterans.
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Remembrance Day 2015