There’s a popular bumper sticker among military backers that says, “If you won’t stand behind our troops feel free to stand in front of them”. Of course standing in front of them might put you in danger because we ask our military to stand between us and any threats we may face at home and abroad - like ISIS.
So why then is the Trudeau Liberal government taking money away from Canadian soldiers stationed in Kuwait who are part of the fight against ISIS?
This started last fall when 15 soldiers at an American military base called Camp Arifjan were told they would not get the usual tax breaks given to military personnel on overseas missions because the military said they weren’t facing sufficient danger to warrant the tax break.
Sure they were part of the fight against ISIS, sure they were stationed overseas for six months or more and sure they had been expecting that tax break, but a bureaucrat sitting at a comfy desk back in Ottawa determined they were not eligible for this tax break which can mean up to $9,000 over the course of a tour.
The soldiers complained and fought to get it back. Conservative MP James Bezan raised the issue and questioned Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan back on December 1 and thought it had been settled in the soldier’s favour.
It sounded like Sajjan was on side with the soldiers which is where I would expect him to be, but no.
The Trudeau Liberals and bureaucrats at the Department of National Defence decided to screw over more soldiers so instead of those 15 getting the tax break reinstated, it will be taken away from another 300.
Now you may be wondering why soldiers should be given a tax break that you don’t get?
Simple answer is, it’s a temporary tax break we give to them when we ask them to go anywhere with a raised level of risk - away from home. These are the people willing to take a bullet for you and offering a tax break so that the time away from hearth and home is a bit more lucrative should not be too much to ask.
But instead of fixing a small problem with a small number of soldiers, Trudeau and the Liberals made this bigger.
They can’t just pawn this off on payroll clerks at DND. This was a problem they knew about and in his answer, Minister Sajjan mentioned the finance minister and the treasury board - so three departments, three ministers were aware of what they knew to be a politically sensitive file and instead of fixing it, they made it worse.
I have no doubt of Minister Sajjan’s commitment to the troops and to our military, but I do question the commitment of the government he is serving in to the military.
It was well known that Justin Trudeau’s father didn’t like the military and reduced their funding in the middle of the cold war. Trudeau junior shows the same tendencies.
I expect this will get “fixed” after a public outcry and the government will say it was an error and they honour the troops.
Don’t believe that lie if and when it comes and instead remember their first instinct when they thought no one was watching was to screw over the soldiers.