Editorial Exchange: Remember Veterans, but Support Them Too

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Remember veterans, but support them too

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published Nov. 11:

It's a remarkable scene, at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, when Toronto buses and cars on some roads pull off to the side and drivers emerge, standing tall, for a moment of silence.

That sign of respect, coupled with the tens of thousands who attend Remembrance Day ceremonies, symbolizes the admiration Canadians have for veterans, whether they fought in old battles or new. It's a time to remember their sacrifices, whether they were made in the last century, in Europe and Korea, or more recently in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

For those of us who have never fought, it's important to remember that the soldiers who are lucky enough to come home often struggle to leave painful memories of war behind. It was just as true during the First World War as it is today, although the problems they face are now far better understood. Adopted as a professional diagnosis in the 1980s, post-traumatic stress disorder can have a devastating impact on veterans and their families.

Combat soldiers who are injured, whether physically or emotionally, deserve a special respect -- and proper care -- from the Canadian government. That's why, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper lays the wreath in Ottawa today, it's important to remember that his government is under fire for shabby treatment of Canada's most seriously injured war vets. It's a wrong that should be made right.

On the opposite page, Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent argues that changes to the way seriously injured veterans are treated has left many of them worse off. In a recent report on Ottawa's New Veterans Charter, Parent concluded that badly injured veterans will languish in poverty unless the government increases its financial support. As the Star's Bruce Campion-Smith reported in October, Parent's report detailed the impoverished lives of injured veterans. …

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