Originally red poppy donations provided a way for the Canadian Legion social club to offer its members ~ Canadian veterans and their families ~ assistance beyond what the government does.
This in no way relieves our government of its obligations to support the citizens who have served in any branch of our armed services. Whether or not our nation is at war, our government owes a debt to the Canadians who have served, and their families.
Jeff Rose-Martland wrote a Huffington Post article What Fantino Wants Us to Do on Remembrance Day Is Forget. What follows is my comment, which may or may not be approved “Due to the potentially sensitive nature of this article.”
The mainstream media supports the status quo. Mainstream news programs show us images of Remembrance Day ceremonies where politicians at every level of government wear red poppies on their lapels as they stand shoulder to shoulder with veterans in uniform.
So why should there be outrage?
Canadians in both “service world” and “civilian land” believe the illusion Canada is a democracy, while living in a country where most Canadians have no say at all in what our governments do in our name.
Because the votes of most Canadians simply don’t count.
That didn’t used to be a big deal because our elected representatives at least tried to represent all their constituents. To represent the public good.
Today the public good is at risk on all fronts in Canada. Environment. Health Care. Education. Civil Liberties. It is shameful our nation has such a record of poverty ~ and most of those below the poverty line are children.
If veterans choose to suffer stoically while the Canadian government does not live up to it’s obligations to them, they are not doing their part. Some are already fighting for change.
Veterans can join the Occupy movement or Fair Vote. They can protest fracking, scientist muzzling, secretive trade deals… any of a multitude of wrongs committed by our undemocratic democracy.
Or they could vote for politicians committed to Proportional Representation.
Or they can wear a white poppy on Remembrance Day.
As both student and parent, I have attended many Remembance Day ceremonies in schools. There is no question whether the red poppy makes Canadians remember…
at least for one day a year.
But has honouring the symbol done anything to stop war?
Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino calls the white poppy campaign “offensive “ as he moves to close Veterans Affairs offices.
You can make your own white poppy, or you can continue to support the Legion’s poppy drive with donations, and paint your red poppy white with a bit of craft paint.
But can you think of anything more bizarre than fighting over what colour best symbolises peace?