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We let the veterans down

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  |  Posted: Saturday, Dec 14, 2013 06:00 am

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I am an extremely embarrassed and deeply ashamed man. I owe an apology to every man and woman that ever served our nation. All soldiers, all sailors, all airmen, all policemen and all foreign service staff, all that entered into a contract of service with Canada deserve my apologies.

You entered into a contract with me and every other citizen. You swore to defend our country, to conduct yourself with honour and to carry out your assigned tasks. You swore to obey those set over you, to protect our traditions and to carry on our proud history of service. You have met all these obligations.

I swore to train you, to equip you, to put competent leaders over you, to provide you with decent remuneration and to look after your loved ones while you are off doing our bidding. I also swore to provide you and your family with care and all necessary support, spiritual, social and physical. I swore to provide you pensions, both for a fixed term of service and for disability should you become disabled. I have failed to live up to the bargain we made. I am very sorry.

You see, I swore these things through my government and now the sacred promises that were made on my behalf have been broken. I am truly sorry.

I have done this by permitting you to receive a lump sum pension that I know will never be adequate to meet your needs. I am sorry.

I have permitted a situation where the psychological services you need are not available in the quality or quantity that is required to make you well. I am sorry.

I am permitting your dismissal from the service because you are deemed to be not fit for service. I am sorry.

I am allowing a set of circumstances that break faith with the agreement that was sworn with every Canadian veteran, living or dead, regardless of when or where they served. In 1812, Boer War, the First World War, the Second World War, Korea, peacekeeping and Afghanistan, all are diminished by my failure to live up to my commitments. I am sorry.

I am very ashamed and very embarrassed. Please accept my deepest apology.

Ed Weiss, St. Albert


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