As Tim Laidler’s candidacy for the Conservatives in the new riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam is largely focused on him being formerly in the military (see his campaign website here http://www.timlaidler.ca) and him being a supporter of the Conservatives’ record on the military, veterans, and veterans affairs, I thought it was only fitting and appropriate to bring attention to what exactly Mr. Laidler was, and is, supporting.
A group of veterans recently launched the Canadian Veterans ABC Campaign 2015, a campaign designed to ensure that the Conservatives do not retain their majority in the next election and to ensure that Canadians voters are aware of the treatment that veterans have received from the Conservatives under Harper. As part of their campaign, the group compiled a list detailing the poor treatment of Canada’s veterans called Harper’s Record: The Terrible Treatment of Canada’s Veterans by the Conservative Government of Stephen Harper. Some of these items were also presented in the earliest post Embattled Fantino dumped from Veterans Affairs. I would encourage you to read the full document produced by the group as it is both eye opening and shocking. I would also encourage readers to read the recently published article in the Tyee entitled ‘You Have Forgotten’: Seven Conservative Attacks on Canadian Veterans.
Despite the extensive list of complaints compiled by this group and others, Mr. Laidler has suggested in the past that complaints about Veterans’ treatment were “coming from a vocal minority and, in some cases, from partisan groups“. Mr. Laidler was also quoted in a Oct. 1, 2014 Toronto Sun article lauding the Conservatives and their treatment of veterans again failing to mention that he was a Conservative candidate at the time of the interview (again a constant theme of Mr. Laidler’s candidacy). The latter article particularly annoyed a number of people in the veteran community and was in fact sent to me by a fellow veteran who was at the time of the publishing of the article, dismayed that Mr. Laidler was expressing support for Mr. Fantino and the Conservative government. See the article “Afghanistan veteran remains loyal to Conservatives amid protests for support” for additional details concerning Mr. Laidler’s support for the Conservatives.
In contrary to Mr. Laidler’s assertions regarding veterans generally being supportive of the Harper Government’s treatment of veterans, the Anyone But Conservatives ABC – Canadian Campaign Facebook Page has over 12,000 likes, the ABC Veterans Canada Facebook Club has over 1,000 members (describing itself as the Internet’s “largest veterans virtual social club”), and the Veterans with PTSD Facebook page has over 800 likes, all of these sites have a decidedly anti-Conservative tone. It could be suggested that this is hardly what one would describe as a vocal minority. If the vast majority of veterans of this country were so supportive of the government and the treatment that they received from it, where are the “Veterans supporting Harper” or “Veterans supporting the Conservatives” Facebook group and webpages? Try a Google search with “Veterans supporting Harper” or “Veterans supporting Conservatives” and see how many positive hits you get. Instead, what you get are results such as Harper government spent $700,000 fighting veterans in court, Veterans Affairs’ unused funds total $1.13B since 2006, links to a press conference in which veterans expressed their concerns with the Veterans Affairs Ministry run by Mr. Fantino, stories about veteran amputees who have to prove their disability annually, etc. Moreover, why is it so hard to find veterans willing to do commercials supporting Harper’s treatment of veterans if in fact they actually did treat them so well?
Given the list of grievances provided by Veterans, Mr. Laidler’s support for former Minister Fantino and the Conservatives’ handling of Veterans Affairs as detailed in the post Embattled Fantino Dumped from Veterans Affairs,
his cozy relationship and ongoing support by and for the current Minister of Veterans Affairs, Mr. Erin O’Toole as suggested by All On The Public’s Dime and suggested by Mr. O’Toole taking the time to comment on this blog (see the comments on All on the Public’s Dime) and repeatedly taking to Twitter to promote and support Mr. Laidler and his candidacy,
his positive testimony of the treatment of veterans twice before parliamentary committees (again refusing to identify himself as a Conservative candidate during the testimony as detailed in the post Parliamentary Testimonies and Unintended Consequences), and his statement that the Conservatives are the best ally of veterans, Mr. Laidler’s support for the Conservatives treatment of Veterans could be interpreted as a case of political partisanship clouding his judgment despite extensive evidence to the contrary. Is this what we want from our representative in Port Moody-Coquitlam? If elected, would Mr. Laidler allow his political partisanship cloud his judgment in other areas too if he does so in an area that he knows in intimate detail? Could we expect Mr. Laidler to stand up to Mr. Harper in defense of the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam and the people of B.C. in any matter for that matter or would he just be another “clapping seal” that we in B.C. send to parliament as Harper’s representative in our riding rather than our representative in Ottawa. Ultimately it will be up to the constituents of the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam to decide.
Edit: It appears that a Veterans for the Conservatives Facebook Page has now been established. Interestingly, the first activity for the Facebook page was on August 18, 2015, the day that this blog post was first posted. Coincidence?