In the first World War, Canadian Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden spoke to the soldiers who were about to go into a battle. In his speech, he said “As you go forward into this action, know that your courage is known to the Nation and know that no man, whether he comes home or remains in Flanders shall have cause to reproach the government for having broken faith.”
When one joins the Canadian Armed Forces, one is required to swear an oath to “be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second”. This oath is between the Canadian Forces member and the people of Canada, as represented by the Queen. In order to be valid, an oath must be reciprocal – the member promising to defend us and our way of life and the people to Canada, through the Queen, to act according to our respective laws and customs.
On January 31, 2014, the Harper Conservatives filed its “Response to Further Amended Notice of Civil Claim” in the Equitas lawsuit. Unfortunately, in this document, the Harper Conservative Government, through its lawyers, alleges “that the statements made by Sir Robert Borden and the coalition government in 1917 were political speeches that reflected the policy positions of the government at the time and were never intended to create a contract or covenant” and “that at no time were these statements intended to bind future governments.”
Every Canadian knows, in their heart, that we owe a great deal to the men and women who have agreed to defend us and our way of life. We know that if they do not come home, we must remember them and their ultimate sacrifice. We know that if they come home wounded, mentally or physically, we have an obligation to ensure that they are looked after and are able to live their lives in hope and with dignity and respect.
Today is the day we reaffirm our faith with our service men and women. Canadians are proud of their men and women in service, even if our government treats them as second class citizens.