This November 11th may not go down as a good day for Remembrance. Canada’s veterans have lost their best fighter, ombudsman Pat Stogran, forced out by the Prime Minister for doing his job a bit too well. Then it appeared that the Royal Canadian Legion was taking a stand against peace and free speech by threatening anti-war activists who sold white poppies.
Days before the white poppy war, news broke of a racist costume winning a Halloween contest in a legion hall in Ontario. Then last weekend, hundreds of veterans and supporters around the country took to the streets. "It's a broken [support] system that is falling apart in many different areas,” said Halifax organizer and navy veteran Gary Zwicker to the Canadian Press
. “It's run by bureaucrats that don't care and the adjudicators for pension disputes have no experience with veterans."
The hot issue is the New Veterans Charter, which replaced lifetime pensions to wounded and injured veterans with lump sum payments. The Charter will have direct and dire consequences for soldiers wounded in Afghanistan. Documents leaked to the Canadian Press
show that Ottawa wants to save a miserly $40 million a year by overhauling veterans' benefits and instituting the Charter. This from a government that claims to support our troops and wants to spend an untold fortune
on stealth fighter we don’t need.
And now comes the news that our troops will stay on in Afghanistan, not in combat perhaps but still in the country for the indeterminate future. Not a great time for our serving forces let alone veterans.
On the home front, thanks to all of you who helped spread the 10 Scariest Canadian Politicians
list. The Halloween stunt saw over 1100 unique visits to the website, and 65 people subscribed to the magazine while the site was most active. So thanks for your support! But wait, there’s more. We’re putting together a Christmas “naughty and nice” list of politicians and other notable citizens. We want your suggestions for who’s been bad or good, so have a think and send us an email.
This issue is packed, and I hope you’ll find time in your busy schedule to enjoy it. Read editor Kalle Lasn on the censure of his magazine, Adbusters
, by Shoppers Drug Mart and the Canadian Jewish Congress. Eric Alterman explains how Obama lost the mid-term election by winning, while Michael Davies shares his eye-witness account of Jon Stewart's Rally in DC.
And if you’ve got a few minutes right now read Toronto anti-war activist John Bell’s moving tale of his veteran father’s life after war. It’s an extraordinary piece of personal and political journalism. Enjoy, and as always, please let us know what you think.
David Julian Wightman
Publisher slash Editor
Brazilian artist Carlos Latuff
provided the cover art for this issue. Muito obrigado, Carlos! I’d also like to say welcome and thanks to the UPEI Grad Student Association
executives for subscribing en masse. PEI rocks!
And a correction from last issue: I was horrified to learn I’d made a serious error in the Halloween Edition. In my editorial I misspelled the name of poet Marilyn Irwin. I’m tempted to make a joke here (“that’s gonna haunt”) but this is not a laughing matter. I feel terrible that I made such a mistake and would like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to Marilyn.