Today’s Letters: Help Veterans With Support, Not Just Words

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Wednesday November 10: On those who fought; and on the words we use to describe death. You can also write to us at [email protected]

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Injured veterans deserve better

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Each November, Canadians honor those who served in the military, especially the dead and wounded. Unfortunately, war is a permanent feature of human existence.

The poppies remind me that wars are fought by workers who are often scrapped when their courage is no longer required. While every combat veteran is a hero, the same cannot be said of those who send them to war and the gunmakers who profit from military conflicts.

Under the Warrior Code, soldiers have little choice in even the most dubious deployments. Rather than protesting or refusing orders, the majority accept the risk of injury, death and the ugliness of killing. In the horror of battle, soldiers voluntarily die for their peers.

An editor once remarked that we all have the choice of joining the military or seeking political office. This assertion assumes full equality of opportunity while ignoring the many socio-economic factors constraining career choices. It also suggests an uncomfortable question.

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Why is military service so rare among wealthy citizens of Canada and why is political success so rare among working people? Exceptions exist, but military service is often a means of establishing economic security or acquiring an education. People born into wealth have little reason to risk their lives for socio-economic benefits.

Government statements about respecting veterans make no sense in the context of PTSD, widespread suicide and homelessness. In addition, Veterans Affairs Canada is understaffed as case officers struggle to serve their clients well. If the government can afford to increase the number of highly paid generals, it will certainly be able to hire more VAC case managers and improve care for homeless veterans.

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Morgan Duchesney, Ottawa

The Merchant Navy also deserves our thoughts

Re: Honor to South Asians who fought, November 9.

Fareed Khan is a timely reminder of the service and sacrifice of South Asians – and over a million Africans – during world wars and other conflicts. Let us also not forget the men and boys of the merchant navy, without whose service the Nazis would surely have prevailed in carrying food and supplies across the Atlantic.

Malcolm Drury, Ottawa

Natural death can be peaceful death

Re: Letter, A Peaceful Death is Possible, November 6.

It bothers me when supporters of medical assistance in dying (MAID) refer to their clients dying in “peace” and “dignity”. The message behind these words is that if you die a natural death, it will be without peace and dignity.

I am 86 years old and have both cancer and heart disease. When I die a natural death, I know it will be both in peace and in dignity. I also know that it will be with the help, if necessary, of traditional palliative care, not of MAID.

I ask MAiD apologists to avoid using misleading words.

Dr François Mai, Ottawa

Changing ideas about food consumption

Re: Restaurant owners divided on raising the minimum wage on November 8.

Interesting to see a restaurateur ask: “When does eating out become a luxury?” “

Craig Steenburgh, Ottawa


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