(Volume 25 Issue 5)
By Joe Fernandez
On 6, April 2018, Pierre-Karl Péladeau’s TVA Nouvelles, and a satellite newspaper, published a story “Le fédéral dépense 1,3M$ pour se defender contre les vétérans” (“The Federal government spends $1.3 million to defend itself against Veterans.”) The article then specifies “Despite a campaign promise to not oblige Veterans to fight in order to obtain indemnities, the Liberal government spent more than $1.3 million in legal fees since 2016 in order to contest Veterans’ requests for help.” It goes on to cite Sylvain Chartrand of Canadian Veterans’ Advocacy as commenting: “This is not normal.”
As per McGill University neuropsychologist Dr. Daniel J. Levitin’s book A Field Guide To Lies/Weaponised Lies, one must consider, not only a statement, but who is making that statement. Pierre-Karl Péladeau is a former Parti Québecois leader who will take, and geometrically amplify, any grain of salt to attack any Canadian government of the day.
Péladeau aside, M. Chartrand has been independently corroborated as being a member of Canadian Veterans’ Advocacy who testified before Parliament on 27 March 2014. This indicates that there is something to Péladeau’s story. The question becomes what to do.
Years ago, Jeff Martland-Rose penned a piece for Esprit de Corps wherein he correctly described and rightfully deplored the treatment of Veterans in this country. But he also unwisely spoke of the numbers of Veterans and former RCMP Constables in the context of their putative anger at being mistreated. This was unwise because there is already a wide gap of experience and of worldview between the veteran and the former constable on the one hand, and the majority of Canadians on the other, reinforcing a sense of isolation and alienation on the part of the former. Someone who is heavily disillusioned with the de jure government would tend to have little faith in elections. Reinforcing the sense of separation from the rest of society; the sense of isolation, among any group of survivors, additionally causes individual survivors to not trust other survivors and other groups of survivors, seeing them as rivals instead of allies. This is why there is an entire constellation of rival Veterans’ groups in Canada and America and, to a lesser extent, in Britain.
Britain also offers a coherent model to act to protect Veteran’s interests. On 31 January 2018, the Democrats and Veterans’ Party (DVP) was officially registered in the United Kingdom. The DVP was founded by Colour-Sergeant Trevor Coult, who won the Military Cross while serving with the Royal Irish Regiment in Iraq. The DVP website (https://dvparty.uk/ ) shows that this is not a single-issue/limited traction political party. On top of the Care of Veterans, and Defence of the Realm, the DVP also advocates for direct democracy, stating “Gone are the days when we sent an MP by horse for three days to Parliament.” The DVP also emphasises “Helping Those In Need,” under which rubric falls “the elderly, the disabled and those in genuine need.” The DVP proposes “mutual benefit programmes and other initiatives where Veterans can be employed to help.”
“We will always be a voice for the most vulnerable in our society, including those that work hard on low incomes.” On healthcare, the DVP emphasises a “focus on prevention rather than just cure. We will put to work our Veterans in helping the youth get fit, and will encourage a healthy, active society.” On education, the DVP, note that “around 50% of graduates work in jobs that do not require degrees,” and proposes “ensuring that every youth leaving education will be equipped to apply directly for a job or create one for themselves.”
Time and propitious circumstance will tell how far the DVP advances electorally. The mere model of the DVP, however, offers Canadian Veterans a concrete alternative to ribbons, stickers and demonstrations in terms of more fully aligning public support with their cause, for the ultimate benefit of wide segments of Canadian society. Militarily, the DVP model is consistent with the successful British civic affairs/anti-partisan model used to win over the civilian population in Malaya. As civic affairs/anti-partisan expert Bernard Fall said in Streets Without Joy: “A dead partisan is spontaneously replaced by his environment. A dead special forces sergeant is not.”