Morally Bankrupt Hypocrites

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The above photos were taken during the Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa 11 November 2004 and appear on the official Office of the Prime Minister website as a slideshow. Why am I showing them to you? A brief history lesson is in order first.

The year is 1941. Young Stewart Braden along with 3600 other recruits are unwittingly and unknowingly guinea pigs in a hideous government run program of chemical warfare testing. They were repeatedly exposed to various toxic compounds including mustard gas until their skin peeled and lungs bled. The experiments were conducted both in Ottawa labs and the simulated battlefields of Alberta.

Fast forward to the present. Mr. Braden has since passed on after having suffered from various health related problems throughout his life. The people in the group were plagued by such ailments as heart problems, cancer, respiratory disease and blindness, among others. His wife Velma, now 81 years of age, lives in my hometown of Winnipeg. She recalls how her happy-go-lucky teenage sweetheart shipped out to serve his country before he was even 20 yrs-old and came back a different man.

On the eve of last year's federal election, Paul Martin stated that he was finally "setting things right." The Liberals promised that they would pay $24,000 in compensation to each victim, or to their spouses as most of the veterans of this group are now deceased. Personally, I find the figure of $24,000 insulting. What the feds engaged in was disgusting, repulsive and bloody well criminal. But that's not the problem.

Following her husband's death in 1992, Mrs. Braden filled out and submitted the necessary paperwork for the aforementioned compensation. She was told that she must submit a copy of her husband's will before the claim could be processed. As the Winnipeg Sun noted, many people of Mr.Braden's generation had no will - they simply passed on what little they had to their families. The feds said too bad so sad - no will no compensation. Did it ever dawn on the incompetent fools in Ottawa that they were already paying Mrs. Braden her husband's military death benefit? Do 50 years of marriage mean anything? Does the fact that his estate went uncontested mean anything?
"If all this sounds incredible, it is only because of its rank indecency. It is unfathomable that this kind of thing would happen in this country today. It is a shameful saga."

Those were the words of former military ombudsman Andre Marin. They were spoken last year.

This is especially repugnant in the wake of the AdScam fiasco. I guess the Liberals were too busy lining their own pockets and the pockets of their Quebec advertising pals to give a crap about real people like the Bradens. This whole thing makes me sick - and so does this government.

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cross-posted to Rite Turn Only

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