I feel sorry for military veterans who believe that any of the political parties will actually make good on their election promises. This thinking is naïve and gives politicians power over veterans. Before veterans mix treatment and care issues with partisan party politics, they should educate themselves to know exactly what existing benefits each party promises is actually giving away. The details are shocking.
Veterans will recall Stephen Harper promising veterans and their families the world if he was elected during the 2005 election campaign. He promised to fix the NVC but chose to fight veterans in court instead. We may have opinions of why he didn’t follow through with his election promise but the reality is he isn’t the first or the last politician to dupe veterans this way.
The job of a politician is to get elected: When it comes down to it, the politicians job is to market themselves and their party’s agenda to get the most seats so their party can form government in language you want to hear. That is their primary goal and everything else is secondary. They are expert at sales and are very convincing. That’s what Mr. Harper did to veterans in 2005 and that’s what all parties are doing to veterans now. They are saying trust me, vote for me and I’ll give you whatever you want. But then…
Once a party forms government, politicians are faced with the reality of trying to fit all of their election promises into the budget. This becomes an impossible task because they usually promise more than they can afford. They negotiate away their election promises to meet party priorities. Some ridings win, most ridings lose. As a governing party, they also have a responsibility to balance the budget to prove to the voters that they can be trusted to be re-elected. They are always in sales mode, never closing the deal but always selling themselves and their Party to stay in power and prepare for the next election. That they haven’t made good on their election promises doesn’t matter, they simply put lipstick on a pig and keep reselling the same old pig. They are selling the idea not the product.
What does that mean for veterans and their families? It means that we have to lobby (fight) government to make good on their promises after each and every election. Not fulfilling their 2005 election promises in 10 years has landed the government in court in another class action lawsuit. Can the veterans trust current Conservative election promises if the government won’t stop fighting them in court? The lawsuit has moved some markers so far by having all parties of government to re-affirm their commitment to military veterans and their families. Sadly their election platforms fall short of putting serious action to these words.
Don’t be disillusioned by this, be educated it’s a fact of life. Politicians are simply doing what they can to get elected and veterans fall for it every time. The way to fix it is to separate party politics from veterans’ issues. Vote for the party that best aligns with your personal values. Then once a new government is formed let’s rally round our disabled and their families to have their needs met by holding all parties of government accountable to their collective election promises.
It’s important for veterans to vote, after all, didn’t we serve and sacrifice to defend this privilege? Don’t veterans and their families deserve better that lipstick on a pig?