Last week I attended a solemn, respectful and beautiful Remembrance Day ceremony in Vernon, B.C. It was well attended, well organized and respectful, just like many other ceremonies all around Canada. But this week, I get the feeling that many of us have already started forgetting about our fallen heroes until next year due to other distractions of people far less deserving.
Between Toronto's mayor who might as well be declared the Buffoon King, freewheeling, self-centred Senators who use taxpayer money as their own personal ATM's and a Prime Minister who would rather prorogue than progress, well, it's a great time to be a Canadian comedian. If it weren't so sad.
As far as the Rob Ford thing goes, it's gone far beyond a joke. The man is a raging alcoholic, misogynistic, bully: and those are three of his BEST qualities. Enough time spent on this waste of time and media coverage. If lying about using crack, numerous "drunken stupor" rampages and a constant distraction from the actual business of running Canada's biggest city aren't enough to get you fired from your job as mayor, then the whole system needs to be dismissed and revamped. If only he had lied about where his primary residence is instead of "just" using crack, drinking and driving, etc.
In the case of the dismissed Senators: Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau, at least their salaries were taken away for their fraudulent actions. Good start. But what about paying all that money BACK to Canadian taxpayers? Duffy's self-serving pleas of "I didn't do anything wrong" come across as the ramblings of a man whose head is so far up his own arse that when he sneezes, it's a fart. He either truly doesn't believe what he did was wrong (which, by the way, a 2 year old child would) or, more likely, he is furious that he got caught. You cheated and you got caught Mike. Be a man about it. Pamela Wallin was.
Meanwhile, Liberal Senator Mac Harb simply quit the Senate as soon as his name was mentioned alongside "expenses". A cowardly act to be sure but at least he didn't waste any more of our time along with all our money that he already wasted.
Still, the seriously distressing news, almost lost in all this narcissistic noise, is the true injustice facing Canadian Veterans.
Several news stories surfaced leading up to Remembrance Day of veterans being refused work and denied pensions due to physical, mental and emotional injuries suffered in the course of defending our country and protecting those who can't protect themselves.
Leaving our veterans in the lurch while public money goes to people I wouldn't trust to bring back change from a lunch order is disgusting, inexcusable and unforgivable. These men and women have earned our respect and we are forever in their debt. Period.
So what can be done about this?
1. First of all, we can show more support on an individual basis by wearing poppies not just for a few days but for the MONTH of November as I am happy to report I see many people still doing around B.C. Our veterans gave their lives for us. We can give them more than two minutes of silence and one day of focused attention.
2. We can donate to various Veterans' Affairs organizations such as Royal Canadian Legions, woundedwarriors.ca and the PTSD Association. Money is necessary and appreciated but so is volunteer time at your local veteran care facility. I know I haven't given my fair share of either up to this point. I will fix that starting now.
3. Business owners and employers can make it a priority to hire veterans who have returned from posts in areas such as Afghanistan who possess skills most of us can only dream of. Every one of these men and women who are able to work are more than willing. They deserve priority for available jobs. Please visit canadacompany.ca for more information.
4. I've saved the most important until last. The Government of Canada needs to ensure our veterans are taken care of. Without them after all, there would be NO Canada. A good start would be to allocate the now suspended salaries of Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau to Veterans Affairs immediately. An even better step would be to abolish the Senate and allocate ALL of those salaries and pensions to our Veterans in need. They have earned it. The only time I know for sure that Senators have worked within the last calendar year is in the two weeks they "debated" whether to suspend their three disgraced members. And they complained of having to work "for almost two weeks"! If you can't handle 2 weeks of work you don't deserve a paying job.
Take from the Senate, give to the Veterans. I know it's not this easy, but it should be. Prime Minister Harper, this is your chance to take action, to not prorogue for a change and to write cheques, (ones you are fully aware of), that not a single Canadian taxpayer worth their citizenship would complain about.
Yes I am a comedian. But no, I'm not joking about this.
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