On Remembrance Day I did some shopping at a very busy Superstore in Vancouver. There I counted just two people, one outside and one inside the store wearing a Legion poppy. For the milling crowd it was just a well deserved day off. It's just the way it is. They are entitled, so criticize at your peril. Most Canadians have lost track of WW1, which is really careless, because they're still paying for it.
No, I don't mean Canadian Federal Income Tax, the grab which was imposed as a measure to pay for that bloody war, and retained by the greedy guts who run the national government. There are several very expensive vestiges of World War 1 still being funded by you, the absent minded Canadian taxpayer. Some of that waste is bureaucratic, such as "Veteran's Affairs" the clunky, cranky cheque writing dragon which should have been slain two decades ago. V.A. is now a Tory pet, pampered and petulant enough to fight on until the day when only robot soldiers are in need of its "service".
The recent rebuild of the VIMY MEMORIAL in France cost taxpayers $20 million dollars and served notice that the Feds will maintain the archipelago of war memorials in perpetuity, as well as continue the expensive annual junkets to European battlefields which our military and political brass, along with carefully selected civilians, enjoy no end.
You may have read of the death of John Babcock, the longest surviving Canadian soldier of the Great War. The old soldier lived a long life of quiet dignity, and was 109 years of age when he died in February 2010. Babcock moved to the U.S. in the 1920s but his Canadian citizenship was reinstated in 2008 in preparation for a (aborted) plan to give him a State Funeral in Ottawa. It has not been reported that Mr. Babcock's death does not mark the end the administration of WW1 pensions as his wife and an undisclosed list of other women are still receiving generous WW1 survivorship benefits. It is a costly precedent which pertains not only to enlistees of W.W. 2, Korea and the current War in Afghanistan, but also to Federal police employees. It is an expenditure that must be financed through taxation till the end of the 21st Century.
WORLD WAR 1 (1914 - 2010)
In October I planned to comment on the fiscal lesson given to our jaded world by the mighty German government. Berlin had, on behalf of Europe's most productive taxpayers, diligently made the payments on a massive Reparations load imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. At the time I exiled my research notes to a file up in the right corner of my 23" monitor. The Reparations story got me thinking about Canada's war debt from the 20th Century, most of which is hidden from us.
On October 3, 2010 Germany made its 20th and final interest payment, ($94 million dollars), on bonds which were issued at mid-century to refinance outstanding War Reparations demanded of "the Huns" by the Allied Powers in 1919. So as far as Germans are concerned, the once humiliating "War Debt" is paid in full. You can read the details in this article . It is very interesting that the term "Allies" is in vogue again, for the multi-national forces attempting to defeat the Taliban guerrillas in Afghanistan, and that Germany is now one of the "Allies".
We are still punch drunk from the arrogant squandering of $$Billions$$ on the 2010 Winter Olympics, so few Canadians even noticed the October story on German War Reparations. (Nothing less than Ottawa calling in the American FBI to investigate RCMP invoicing for Olympics security, would satisfy me!) Skipping over other wars we are still in debt for, let us ponder the current fiasco in Afghanistan, a "limited" war which has already lasted TWICE as long as the World War in question.
AFGHANISTAN - Canada's Eleventh Province
Canadians have no grasp of just how much our War in Afghanistan has cost them, and how much it will cost over the next 100 years. I am not referring merely to the incredible burden of military expenditure - not limited to heavy transport aircraft, light armoured vehicles and twenty new Main Battle Tanks, but to purchases and institutional costs yet to be disclosed. (The complex shell game of buying, leasing, trading and delivering the Canuck Leopard II tanks from the Dutch and Germans is a story in itself. At least three LEO 2 books are in production.) If we do a rough total of what DND. CIDA and other Federal Agencies have spent or are committed to spending in the future, it is in excess of what we transfer to our Atlantic Provinces.
Why can the President of Afghanistan expect more money out of Ottawa than say, the Premier of Prince Edward Island? Because Ottawa bureaucrats now think in terms of Afghanistan as a dependant territory, a de facto Eleventh Province of Canada. More Afghan men and women are on the Canadian payroll than Ottawa has employees in the Maritime Provinces. We know that if the Afghan National Police managers do not make payroll, the very policemen we trained and equipped will turn on us..
The biggest secret in Ottawa is that we have already accepted the truth of an Afghan collapse. Washington hasn't, but Ottawa has. In Kandahar morale is high, but all sense of accomplishment is tempered by a grudging reality; When the major Allied expeditionary forces pull out, the Taliban will return to power. And taking our historical cue from the chaotic American evacuation of Saigon in 1975, we have an existing plan and designated managers to coordinate the evacuation to Canada of tens of thousands of Afghan government employees, military, police and civilians, those who have worked most closely with Canadians these past eight years. The total movement of Afghan families to Canada will equal the intake of Vietnamese boat people from camps in Southeast Asia decades ago. So far WIKILEAKS has not turned up the code name for the Ottawa's Afghan evacuation plan, but we can hope that an enterprising journalist will turn over that rock before it becomes a redacted rock.
.Some Afghan-Canadians have already assumed lucrative positions in our Eleventh Province.