Local Liberals, led by the Kitchener-Centre riding association, organized a Town Hall to discuss the question, “Is Canada Treating Our Veterans Fairly?” The Town Hall took place on Sunday, November 9th at the Kitchener City Hall.
The Town Hall included the following compelling speakers, followed by a question-and-answer session:
- Lt.-Col. Gordon Greavette (Ret’d) – PhD in military history and Chair of Liberal Studies at Conestoga College
- Cpl. Ryan Pagnacco (Ret’d) – Veteran wounded in Afghanistan, author of “Two Days in Panjwayi,” an essay that is part of the book “Outside the Wire – The War in Afghanistan in the Words of its Participants,” published in 2008
- Cpl. Bruce Moncur (Ret’d) – Veteran wounded in Afghanistan, founder of the Afghanistan Veterans Association of Canada, and candidate for the federal NDP nomination in the Windsor-Tecumseh riding
- Kerry Townson – Mother of an Afghanistan veteran and and co-founder of the Families of Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan support group in Waterloo Region
- Ken Knisley – Father of a wounded Afghanistan veteran
- Frank Valeriote – Member of Parliament for Guelph and Veterans’ Affairs Critic for the Liberal caucus
The speakers addressed a range of issues facing veterans and their families. After they all spoke, it was clear that the answer to the question, “Is Canada Treating Our Veterans Fairly?” is sadly and shamefully “No.”
Gordon Greavette reminded us of Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden’s promise during World War I:
The government and the country will consider it their first duty to see that a proper appreciation of your effort and of your courage is brought to the notice of people at home… that no man, whether he goes back or whether he remains in Flanders, will have just cause to reproach the government for having broken faith with the men who won and the men who died.
The information provided by each of the speakers strongly suggests that we have broken faith with our veterans and their families. Programs to help them are inadequately funded and difficult to access. Too many of our veterans are falling through the cracks. As a country, we can and should be doing better to support our veterans.
If you have any questions or comments about the event, please contact Wayne Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-591-3633.