Le Blogue Broadbent

In their own words: 6 veterans trash the Conservatives

Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino and Prime Minister Stephen Harper stuck to their guns on Friday and shut down nine veterans affairs offices in smaller cities across the country.

Fantino began the week by skipping a scheduled meeting with a group of men who had served in the military as far back as the 1950s and had travelled to Ottawa to plead their case to keep the offices open.

He ended it by attacking  the protesting veterans, saying they were simply pawns of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.

"The veterans were used by the union. They were duped," said Fantino.

Harper, meanwhile, dismissed the concerns of the vets. Facing repeated questions from the Opposition in the House of Commons, Harper said the offices served "very few people, had very few visits."

Now that the dust has settled, here's a roundup of how veterans are feeling about the Conservative government after an extraordinary week:


Rob Cutbush, a Navy veteran who took a day off work on Friday to speak at the protest in Thunder Bay, on Fantino's attack.

What right does he have to tell me, as a Canadian citizen who defended democracy for 25 years, who I can talk to, speak to or associate with?

Roy Lamore, whose service dates back to the 1940s.

It makes no sense to take these services away from men and women who have sacrificed so much for this country.

Phil Etter, who served in the Merchant Navy during the Second World War.

They said we'd be looked after. They have broken faith. The amount they're saying they're saving is miniscule compared to the millions they're wasting on meaningless advertising.

Alfie Burt, a veteran taking part in a sit-in protest at the Sydney office, on Fantino's treatment of the vets throughout the week.

What the frig is wrong with that guy?

Melbourne Birmingham, who served as a civilian police officer in Kosovo beginning in 2000, on Harper's assertion that the offices weren't busy, so closing them wouldn't be a big deal.

Who does he think he's fooling? He's got an agenda to try and save money on the backs of veterans. He's been doing this for years and there's no need of it. It's just hogwash.... What a slap in the face. It's a Canadian disgrace and this Harper government is causing it.

Ron Clarke, who joined the military in 1956 and retired in 1992.

It was a hard fight and that's all it was, was a fight. It's not the end of the war.

 Photo: YouTube