03 May 2012

Our soldiers are just another political prop

If there’s one thing the Conservative party’s limited roster of spokespeople do well, it’s controlling the narrative. The party’s spin machine is unrivalled, and reaches its tentacles deep into the operations of all government departments.

Government-employed scientists aren’t allowed to talk to the media? Oh, employee censorship is a common practice in any organization.

Recklessly speeding through the pipeline environmental review process? Oh, don’t worry, the only people concerned are radical foreign environmentalists.

Changing the definition of fish habitats and completely rewriting the environmental assessment act? Oh, it’s a minor budgetary measure.

The cost estimates for planes we don’t need were lowballed by $10 billion? Oh, it was just an accounting error.

This government’s arrogance demeans the intelligence of its fellow parliamentarians and of Canadians as a whole. I’m not of the opinion that Stephen Harper has a secret Reaganesque agenda that he will suddenly impose upon the Canadian people. The government’s decisions are made hastily, without proper debate or analysis. The fact that it hides so much of its policy from the rigour of public scrutiny speaks to a sense of entitlement beyond comprehension.

There are a lot of things about the Conservative government that make me bristle. But what really made me taste venom today was the excerpt in today’s National Post from Noah Richler’s new book, What We Talk About When We Talk About War. He lays bare the plight of our injured military personnel, who get kicked to the curb if they’re no longer fit to serve.

If they die, they are hailed as heroes with a ramp ceremony and all. If they lose a leg, suffer PTSD, or commit suicide, the government quietly ignores them while scaling back supports.

Nothing is so callous as ordering young men and women to fight for a perceived sense of national security, then punishing them for not being quite dead.

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