Monday, June 23, 2008

Open Letter to my MP

An open letter to Maurice Vellacott, MP

Dear Mr. Vellacott;

Here are some of my thoughts in response to your Summer, 2008 mail out to constituents:

1) The announcement that VIA Rail will be giving free travel passes to Defense Department employees and Canadian Forces personnel during July was news to me. I must say that I fail to see the reason for granting such a privilege to one sector of the population and not to others. Do our defense forces really merit the honour that is implied here, above, say, teachers or nurses or bridge builders?

I won’t get into my own disapproval of our presence in Afghanistan, except to say that a claim that our soldiers are there in defense of our country is a stretch; terrorism has never been a primary danger to Canadians, at least not when compared to domestic crime, traffic accidents, natural disasters or disease and addictions. Let’s honour the people who struggle daily to overcome these real dangers for a change.

2) Thank you for reprinting in whole the article by Michael Den Tandt of Sun Media, even though it is nearly a year old by now. I appreciated the inclusion of the following quotes:

Canada is [losing the communications war]. The military and the media deserve some measure of blame for this. Mainly though, responsibility falls to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Even as he struggles to sell the Afghan mission to an increasingly uneasy public, his mania for control is stifling the truth about what’s happening there.”

“The five officials from foreign affairs, the 10 RCMP officers engaged in training Afghan police, the head of the CIDA mission in the province (with a budget of $39-million this year alone), are not allowed to speak to the media. According to multiple sources here, they have been gagged by the Prime Minister’s Office. Figure that one out.”

Including these quotes in your publication one flip of the page away from “Stephen Harper is a Leader . . . Stephane Dion is not” takes some courage. One might arrive at the misconception that a great leader is one with a “mania for control,” but that surely was not your intent.

3) I was puzzled by your inclusion of the “Trials and Tribulations” article from the Canadian Shooting Sports Magazine, which basically outlines ways to stymie a government official who requests permission to inspect one’s firearms to ensure that their security complies with the regulations. Are you not a member of the government that is responsible for the regulations on gun safety? Are you not a member of the government that is responsible for ensuring that these regulations are adhered to?

(Was it just a coincidence that the hunter photographs you chose to accompany the article are all of females with guns, exhibiting their kills?)

4) Lastly, I’m not impressed by the personal attacks on Stephane Dion despite the fact that he doesn’t possess the same “mania for control” of Stephen Harper. Your leader has ridiculed the carbon tax scheme here in Saskatchewan, a stance that matches nicely with that of our current Premier. But the status quo that both are trying to window dress for public consumption is not leadership at all, and the viciousness of Mr. Harper’s attack seems to me to be an indication of his suspicion that his perceived weakness on environmental issues may become the nub of the next election campaign.

Have a nice day,

George Epp

cc. Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper

1 comment:

  1. Well stated. I have long been of the personal opinion that while he may be the representative for my riding, Maurice Vellacott does not in any way represent me. I actually had a lot of the same responses to that publication, and I'm glad to see somebody articulate them so well.