You probably remember the old song, if you are of “an age” like I am, that goes like:
You’re in the army now
You’re not behind the plough
You’ll never get rich
You son of a B…
You’re in the army now.
It’s true and all one has to do is look at the papers lately to prove it. The rhetoric surrounding going to battle, and war is certainly stimulating, but when things die down, our governments and even many of our people tend to forget what these people did for us. Oh, sure they remember to wear a poppy, drop a loony into the box, but when our veterans and their families need to go to a food bank, I think it is so disrespectful, it could be considered criminal. The only reason some of these autocratic bureaucratic “leaders” in government can be there is because some folks with some backbone took up arms and stood in the way of some folks we definitely don’t like, not telling us how to speak German, Japanese, or some other language.
Recently, for instance, a veteran Canadian Forces Reservist from Calgary, by the name of Darryl Watts was convicted in a training accident of unlawfully causing bodily harm, and negligent performance of military duty. For this he was demoted to Lieutenant from Major and given a severe reprimand. During the accident in question, Watts was the CO where training on the use of a Claymore anti-personnel mine took the life of a Cpl. Josh Baker, in addition to the injury of four other soldiers.
The Crown is appealing the sentence since it didn’t involve jail time and dishonourable discharge from the military. Watts is also appealing the sentence claiming that he had no training in the Claymore, and that the sentencing didn’t take that into consideration.
Now, I was not there, nor was I ever in the military, but I got to know a few of these guys during WWII, and my grandfather was overseas during WWI. During peacetime and sometimes even during war, people do not remind themselves that weapons and war are dangerous activities! People get hurt, people die. I am sure you have heard the expression “Friendly Fire”, and it is way more prevalent than you would ever guess, and it happens all the time! Yes war and preparation for it are dangerous, damned dangerous!
People also do stupid things during civilian life. Like drinking and heading out at high speed on a snowmobile at night. People get in serious trouble when they ski in known out of bounds area, or go out on snowmobiles in known avalanche areas. But I understand the our ex-Major Watts as a reservist has performed very well while a firefighter. This is a quasi military group, and he has performed admirably.
This episode is, in my opinion, completely out of line, and the case should be dismissed. Sometimes poop happens.
Once more our illustrious leaders in the form of OHS (Alberta Health Service) and the provincial Minister of Health Fred Horne, have distinguished themselves in their mean spirited decision to discontinue the special parking passes for veterans and their families to use when visiting the hospitals. Keep in mind that these passes were bought for this purpose, they were not free. The Poppy Fund bought these passes for volunteers to use when transporting people to medical care or to visit those already in care.
The powers that be, decided that the program was being ripped off and some folks who didn’t meet the criteria were illegally using the passes. Yep, it probably does happen, like everything else in life. I remember that the food bank figured that they got ripped by about 10%.
After reading the old song at the top of the blog, you will no doubt realize that many of our old veterans (in their 80’s and 90’s) are not hanging out with the Rockefellers.
The AHS and Horne had a second chance to review and hopefully reverse this decision, but Horn decided that this was a good thing and nothing was to be done. The parking passes would be history. The money to be saved is certainly not monumental. In fact the folks who run all this stuff, say that one could go inside and get a compassionate pass if the cost is going to be a problem. Now if that isn’t a typical bureaucratic response. We will now have to have staff to go through your records to see if you will qualify, and likely your car will be towed away by the time you qualify, or you will have a parking ticket. Fuzzy headed thinking at best, but certainly cheap and mean spirited with our veterans.
While I am on the subject, the city decided a while back that if you showed up for parking with a veteran plate on your vehicle, you would qualify for a $10.00 a month rebate. My opinion is that the city just plain forgo the revenue entirely on a car in a paid parking area when the car has a veteran plate. It isn’t as if these folks roam around parking areas looking for a place to free park. I and many others I know will not travel or go downtown, in spite of all the advertising to entice me to do so. Can you imagine what it costs to set up and administer a program that would see a veteran pay only the first $10.00 on his parking. I can see the bureaucrats rubbing their grubby little hands about this one.
Finally, I want to touch on the plan to phase out danger pay for our troops serving in Afghanistan! What? Does this mean that serving in the military is not hazardous or dangerous. I was not aware of that, quite the opposite. It is damned dangerous! Suicide bombers abound, snipers abound to say nothing of the IED’s all over the place that have been made and deployed to kill and maim. But it isn’t dangerous. What a load of horse pucky.
Here is the plan put forth by a joint committee of federal officials (a device to keep them anonymous, I’m sure) who decided to cut by 30% the hazard pay to some 920 soldiers in Kabul who are training Afghan troops. The soldier income will be reduced by about $500.00 a month.
You can just bet that this was put together by some pudding headed bureaucrats that have never fired a shot in anger, nor have been shot at in war. But they will sit in their ivory tower, protected by some of these people who HAVE put their fanny on the line, so that the bureaucrat will never have to.
I despair. What are they thinking. Try and keep this kind of thing in mind the next time some politician comes to your door asking for your vote. The politician has never taken a cut, but has made sure his bloated and largely unearned earnings and pension stays intact.
In my opinion