Stewart: the government must take immediate action

Don’t think the Trudeau government underestimated how outraged the Canadian people were when the politicians in Ottawa gave $10.5 million to Omar Khadr. 

Of all the possible ways that kind of money could have helped many Canadians in almost every walk of life they gave that kind of cash to a young boy who wanted to make his dad proud by throwing an explosive device that killed an American soldier. When all the dust settled a huge number of charges were piled on this young idealistic kid. A chat with an over-eager and cash hungry lawyer and the boy was willing to admit his guilt if Canada got him out of 

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Guantanamo Bay detention camp. So, a story was made up to feed to the Canadian taxpayers that if this went to court, the pay-out would be more than $20M so it would be better to just give the boy $10.5M instead.

Now that outrage is further compounded because the federal Liberal government, through the Veterans Affairs Department, is refusing to pay for a $34K prosthetic leg for Air Force Captain Kimberly Fawcett.

You see Both Fawcett and her husband were members of high readiness units in the Canadian Armed Forces, meaning they could be deployed overseas on short notice and at the same time.

The possibility of a sudden simultaneous deployment of both mom and dad meant the Canadian Armed Forces required the couple to devise a plan to make sure their baby Keiran would always have child care, known as the Family Care Plan. The Family Care Plan is a mandatory Department of National Defence form that helps prepare families of Canadian Armed Forces members in case of unforeseen events, emergency callouts and planned deployment.  All Canadian Armed Forces personnel must complete the Family Care Plan (FCP) Declaration DND Form 2886.

On the morning of Feb. 21, 2006, it looked like a double deployment could be in the works. Fawcett’s husband Curtis was called to the base for workup training to deploy to Africa and her unit was next in line for activation.

Fawcett executed the Family Care Plan with the approval of her commanding officer, donning her uniform and putting her son in the car to drop him at his grandparents’ house.

Tragically, Fawcett’s vehicle slid off the icy road into the median. She then took her nine-month-old son and headed for the ditch to get out of the way of oncoming vehicles. But while she was in the ditch, a truck hit a semi and careened into the ditch, hitting Fawcett and her son. Fawcett’s leg was severed, and baby Kieran was thrown under a semi-truck and killed.

The circumstances of Fawcett and her husband being in the military were a key factor in what happened, and she was an active member of the Air Force, being willing to defend Canada and serve at a moments notice. Firstly it should be understood the minute you sign up for the Canadian Armed Forces you are on duty and can be called to serve at a moments notice and her injury should have been considered as being when she was on duty.

The Liberals who shamefully state that veteran are asking for too much money and  for a decade, the government has steadily refused to pay for her $34,000 prosthetic leg. And, now this is all made all the worse considering the extraordinary dedication Fawcett has shown to her country:

Against all odds, Capt. Fawcett became the only Canadian woman to deploy to Afghanistan with a prosthetic limb. She served during the height of the Afghanistan war in Kandahar, helping the families of fallen soldiers to process their own losses on bereavement visits. Despite her dedicated service, Fawcett feels she has been betrayed by the very institution and government she has served faithfully.

Prosthetics are expensive, but the Canadian Armed Forces is refusing to pay for Fawcett’s prosthetic leg, disputing whether she was on duty at the time of the accident and this has left Fawcett on the hook for the cost.

Keep in mind, the government controls the military, that’s the entire point of ‘civilian control of the military’ in a democratic nation. So, they could order the military to pay for Fawcett’s prosthetic leg. All it would take is a phone call.

I am astounded by the difference between how Omar Khadr has been treated, and how this loyal member of our Armed Services is being treated.

They bent over backward to be nice to Omar Khadr and they did what they thought was the right thing even though it wasn’t popular. Now, I suggest we have done her wrong. She didn’t murder anybody. She did not go against our country. She served honorably, and she is being singled out?

The government must take immediate action and reverse this gross injustice. The Defence Minister or the Prime Minister needs to pick up the damn phone, call the armed forces, and order them to immediately cover the full cost of Fawcett’s prosthetic leg.

Anything less is simply unacceptable and that is the way I see it.

© Copyright Dawson Creek Mirror News

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