My thoughts on this November 11th turn to a couple of comments I read in the Globe and Mail letters section last week. One writer wrote that "instead of Canada as a nation raising citizens it has created taxpayers" and another wrote that when we vote in a government we "set it and forget it" "They got elected, if you don't like it you can vote for someone else."
Both my grandfather and father served in WW1 and WW2 respectively. My grandfather was a stretcher bearer and won a medal for bravery. When I see films about the trenches of WW1 I think of him running between bullets taking wounded men off of the battle field sometimes leaving others in pieces. I cannot connect that 20 year old with the quiet, religious man who was my grandfather. I don't think he was told or believed he was fighting for the "taxpayers" of Canada.
My father served in the Navy. At one point his corvette escorted merchant ships across the Atlantic trying to protect them from German U boats. He saw sailors in the water screaming to be saved and not being able to save them. He did sixteen dangerous trips across the Atlantic. I doubt he thought he was doing it for the "taxpayers" of Canada.
I live near a large Canadian military base where soldiers are regularly deployed to war zones. Many do us proud in these very difficult situations whether they are peacekeepers or warriors. I doubt we would hear them say they do this for the "taxpayers" of Canada.
I think it is time we got back to being citizens who raise citizens who care about their country, province or home town. Citizens who are willing to help those in less fortunate circumstances or in great danger. Citizens who are willing to seek a vision for their communities large and small greater than what might be expedient at the moment. We come from a generation of courageous men and women that we are letting down by gauging everything we do by the tax implications. Shouldn't we be better than that after what they did for our country?