Let's be clear: so long as they don't break any laws, these veterans have the same rights as any other special interest
group that opposes the government, normally because of one specific policy, or advocates for some specific policy or programme ~ and there are, literally, thousands of such groups. These veterans, those in ABC
and those in groups (there's more than one) specifically against ABC
are nothing special; most special interest
groups, large and small, claim to speak for the masees; most special interest
groups are full our outrage; few have any impact on any political discussion.
I agree that some
veterans have a legitimate grievance. Ten or so years ago, when the government of the day (a Liberal government led by Paul Martin) introduced the New Veterans' Charter (NVC) they could have, and in my opinion should have
added a "grandfather" clause because the NVC changed some implicit
terms of service and, usually, when that's done ~ to pensions, for example ~ members serving on the day before the legislation is made law are offered a choice: old system or new system. That wasn't done in 2005/06; it wasn't done by the Liberals when they passed the legislation and it wasn't done by the Conservatives when they took power, before the NVC came into force. That was, in my considered opinion
because we had troops in contact with the enemy, being killed and wounded when the system was changed. Members of the CF who were serving before the NVC was passed should have been offered a choice: old system or new. But it wasn't done ... it could still be done, if it became a real issue, but:
is that neither ABC
nor the vets against ABC
are going to have any significant impact on any result in any of the 338 ridings: it, your pensions, is not something about which 98% of Canadians care.
There was, as I have explained before, a consensus in official Ottawa
, back circa
2005 that veterans benefits were too generous ~ the benefits which had been voted to HUGE numbers of Canadians in the 1920s and 1940s reflected wars that are pretty much forgotten and societies without much in the way of social or medical support for anyone but the really rich. It is understandable that Canadians, in the 1920s and 1940s, voted for generous benefits for the 1 in 10 or 12 of them, their family, friends and neighbours in most cases, who went to war. Times have changed: Canadians in the 21st century don't see you (us, I'm a veteran, too, if it comes to that) in the same light; they are not inclined to be that generous anymore. The Liberal government passed the NVC with both CPC and NDP support: while the Liberals, now, and the NDP, may attack the CPC for being niggardly to veterans they are not going to change much
, if anything at all.
So protest away, one way or the other; it's your right in a free and democratic society ~ just don't kid yourselves into believing that anyone is listening.