EDITORIAL: A good day to make good

Remembrance Day would be a perfect time for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to make good on one of his campaign promises

The list of promises made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the campaign trail was long. It’s up to the opposition and the media to keep track of those promises — a failure to deliver by the Liberals will only add to the cynicism about politics and politicians that prevails in our country today.

One of the more shameful things Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are guilty of was their treatment of Canadian veterans. This from a prime minister and party which liked to talk tough about fighting terrorism and got us involved in a number of conflicts abroad.

Nine regional Veterans Affairs offices were closed in the country under the Conservatives and there were estimates that more than $1 billion was budgeted but unspent on veterans’ issues.

“Canadians know this is wrong. A government led by me would make this right,” the Toronto Star, Canada’s biggest daily newspaper, quoted Trudeau saying on the campaign trail in August.

The Star report said Trudeau has pledged to bring back lifelong pensions for injured veterans, a new education benefit, more money for the Last Post fund, which provides funding for the funerals of veterans in financial need, and act on recommendations to enhance the delivery of mental-health services.

Trudeau cited the casualties of Canada’s Afghan mission — 158 killed — and noted that the number of suicides in the armed forces has been higher, at 170 since 2004.

“Thousands more were wounded or suffer still from post-traumatic stress disorder,” The Star quoted Trudeau saying. “We owe a sacred trust to veterans and their families.”

The Liberal leader promised to reverse the Conservative cuts by reopening the regional Veterans Affairs offices and hiring 400 front-line service workers.

Promises like these aren’t always fulfilled. Or they are pushed back in the mandate, meaning the party in power can keep saying they intend to do it, but have four years to get it on the table, so the pressure is off.

Trudeau, however, told the crowd and reporters at the campaign stop in Belleville, near the Trenton air force base that these changes would happen immediately.

It’s been less than a week since Trudeau and his cabinet was sworn in — hardly time to learn a new e-mail address, let alone put in motion new policy with big dollars attached. But he did say immediately.

What better time to announce some details and timing than Remembrance Day, tomorrow.

We look forward to that announcement and we hope to see the Remembrance Day ceremonies in Bowser, Qualicum Beach and Parksville well attended. Lest We Forget.

— Editorial by John Harding

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