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Hon. John Fraser Speech 14 Oct 2011

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Re: Hon. John Fraser Speech 14 Oct 2011

Post by Dannypaj on Sat 10 Jun 2017, 09:21

New Veterans' Charter, history of headlines with no action.

Keep on them.
Headlines and a continued push for justice for all.
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/new-veterans-charter/
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Re: Hon. John Fraser Speech 14 Oct 2011

Post by Teentitan on Thu 01 Jun 2017, 10:52

Lots of tap dancing but no jazz hands! Where's the jazz hands?
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Re: Hon. John Fraser Speech 14 Oct 2011

Post by Dannypaj on Thu 01 Jun 2017, 05:29

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Hon. John Fraser Speech 14 Oct 2011

Post by Teentitan on Mon 21 Nov 2011, 10:49

Speech: The Honourable John Allen Fraser, PC, OC, OBC, CD, QC for the Equitas Disabled Soldiers Funding Society, October 14, 2011
I was the speaker of the House of Commons for some years and when somebody went on too long all I had to do was stand up and their microphone was turned off. I have been told that I am not to speak too long this evening. My wife used to sit in front of me when I was speaking and when she thought I had gone on long enough she would go like this (circular hand motion) and one day I said to her, I said, “Why did you want me to stop, everybody was listening?” and she said, “I’ve heard it all before.”
I want to take a minute or two, and not much more than that, to tell you why at the request of others I have accepted the role of doing what I can to make Equitas a success and to stick up and look after and to give hope for our soldiers, sailors and airmen.
I joined the reserve army one week after the Korean War started; I joined the West Coast Signal Regiment. I then transferred to officer training and by 1953 I was serving in the 27th Brigade in Germany, the 1st Canadian Highland Battalion. That summer there was a lot of talk about Korea, about going to Korea, but some of you may remember that the fighting stopped and we didn’t go. So I went back and finished law school but I stayed in the reserves for many years and eventually after I was no longer a serving member of parliament the then Liberal government asked me, a known Tory, if I would chair a special committee on change and reform in the armed forces, reporting directly to Minister Eggleton who was the Minister of National Defence. Now I accepted that and I had some very good people working with me but I want you to remember that at that time the armed forces was reeling under the demoralizing situation in Somalia where our soldiers killed a young lad unnecessarily, immorally. The government of the day trying desperately to balance the budget, was taking money out of all kinds of departments but to a pack of senior mandarins nothing was as inviting as the defence budget and just by the way you better watch those senior mandarins right now because one of the reasons that we will be told that there is no money for…no proper money for injured soldiers is because they are trying to balance the budget.
I am giving you that background because we were six years in studying the military. The amazing thing about it was not so much how flawed it was, and as General Hillier in his book said, “The decade of darkness.” But the amazing thing about it was how many very, very good soldiers were still there and how many very good officers were still there and if that hadn’t been the case we couldn’t have done what we have done since in Afghanistan and in Bosnia before that. I was in Bosnia twice as Chair of that committee wearing armored vests because they blew up an ambulance the night before and that sort of thing. But the point is that the Canadian Armed Forces had been run right into the ground, morale was very low. And slowly, and I give Minister Graham, the Liberal Minister, credit for this, the recovery started with the Liberal government and has been carried on by the Conservative government. But one of the things that has not been looked at properly, partly because, as Don explained in going over the various pieces of legislation and as Jim Scott explained, nobody understands what the effect of these regulations are. And the Department of Veterans Affairs has been headed by undoubtedly honest, sincere, patriotic Canadians as Ministers. But who damn well did not know what was going on inside their own department. The deputy ministers who were senior people in the public service of Canada
obviously did not know or if they did, they didn’t give a damn and it is disgraceful, quite frankly, that this has been allowed to continue. Now one can say well no one party is responsible for this, that may be so, but we are responsible as Canadians to make sure it gets fixed and that is why I am now involved in it.
Now the Members of Parliament who recently passed the piece of legislation that Don just told you was so confusing that even an expert lawyer like himself, I don’t know whether to include myself in that or not but, can’t sort it out. So there were members of all parties who passed that legislation thinking that they had fixed it but they haven’t fixed it and that is why we’ve got to support the challenge based on the Charter of Rights to make sure that this is all brought out and brought before the judges so that Canadians will understand what we’re up against and what our soldiers and armed forces personnel are up against.
I might say to you also that some years ago there was a Senate House of Commons committee which brought into existence the Charter of Rights. I was on that committee. Some of you will remember that there had been a Diefenbaker Bill of Rights but the courts wouldn’t deal with it because it only dealt in the federal sphere. And the reason some of us worked so hard to bring about the Charter of Rights was that it applied everywhere, right across the country and we also were very, very conscious of the sections which Don Sorochan has brought to our attention tonight.
I voted for that charter because…not because it suddenly had a lot of things that I had never believed in before but because finally it spelled out things that we too casually took for granted in this country. I am not dismissing for one minute our country because it was built on decency and law and order but we needed the Charter. The Charter has done some dumb things but it has done a lot of good things. And if Don’s firm and Don and others who will work with him can bring about a change in the way we are treating our veterans then the Charter was worth it if it hadn’t done anything else. But the Charter is very important to this and I say that not only as a former parliamentarian but also as a lawyer and also as somebody who has studied it to some degree.
Now I want to just say something about politics. Now I am a Tory and some of you kept me there for 21 years in the House of Commons but when I retired I got asked by the then Liberal government to do a number of things including the special committee that I mentioned for Eggleton, and other things. This is not a partisan issue that we are embracing. This is an issue that should involve every man, woman who gets elected to the House of Commons of Canada and it ought to concern members of the legislative assembly, not just of our legislature but across the country, but also people who are in elected position. Now I am not going to issue some rosy invitation that all you have to do is phone up your member of parliament and everything will get fixed but I can tell you this, if you don’t phone up your member of parliament, your MLA, the people we elect, if you don’t visit them, if you don’t bring this to their attention it’s going to make it an awful lot tougher for Jim Scott, Don Sorochan and others to win this battle. And we have got to go to all parties, not just one because we’ve got to make them aware. We’ve got to make them aware that we as citizens have got a solemn duty to do our duty to the men and women in the service.
Now in closing I just want to say something. I suppose in crass financial terms there is cost to the treasury when anyone in the military is killed or wounded or injured. Because we trained them, paid them, equipped them and cared for them and transported them sometimes thousands of miles and then back home again but it must not be a question of what part of that cost should be borne by the soldier so that administrators can keep the compensation as low as they can get away with. The cost of the soldier must be borne by all of us because we asked him or her to risk themselves on our behalf for the ideals we believe in and hold dear. And it is not just the ideals we hold dear. In our hearts we hold dear every man and woman who serves our ideals in the Canadian armed forces. Ladies and gentlemen we have to give hope to those that are injured, confidence to those who serve and a lesson to those who as yet have not been forced to do their duty properly on behalf of the men and women who serve in the Canadian Armed Forces. Thank you very much.
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Re: Hon. John Fraser Speech 14 Oct 2011

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