Lack of benefits prompts country-wide veteran rallies
Hundreds of veterans and supporters rallied in multiple cities across Canada on Saturday to show their displeasure with the lack of benefits they’re receiving from the government. The 2006 New Veterans Charter was the target of much heat, as it decreased the amount of money to be awarded to soldiers wounded in Afghanistan. Many were also pushing for a return to lifetime pensions for vets, instead of lump-sum payments. Pat Stogran, the nation’s outgoing Veterans Ombudsman, has said he may sue the government on behalf of the injured soldiers. The demonstrations, part of the Veterans National Day of Protest on Nov. 6, targeted many conservative MP offices in the nation, as well as a large rally on Parliament Hill.
Diplomat says youth have lost “bitching rights”
Former UN envoy Robert Fowler had some harsh words for Canadian youth during the University of Ottawa convocation last week. The diplomat, kidnapped by Al Qaeda in 2008 and released in 2009, told the crowd of graduating students that they had lost their “bitching rights” about how they are governed because of their apathy and non-participation in the political process. Fowler was receiving an honourary degree from the university when he decided to bow out of the usual “thank you and good luck” piece and offer a scolding lecture on how rarely young Canadians vote. Some will inevitably say that Fowler has made a good point: don’t complain unless you inform yourself and become involved. But many others, especially those in the student community, probably just equate that speech to “get off my lawn you pesky kids.”
Canada cuts aid to Zambia due to theft
The news that millions of dollars were stolen from foreign donations to Zambia has prompted the Canadian government to suspend a $14.5 million aid program to that nation’s health ministry, the Globe and Mail reported. Auditors in the country found that about $7 million of mostly foreign aid money was stolen by Zambian officials after a whistle-blower revealed the corruption last year. This included about $880,000 in Canadian aid, which prompted the decision to suspend a four-year aid program. The Netherlands and Sweden have also cut aid in light of the scandal. The loss of funding could have dire consequences, as Zambia relies on foreign donors for over 50 per cent of its health budget.
Newly paved highway the fruit of a nudie calendar
The official opening of Saskatchewan’s newly paved highway 32 took place last Friday, and people can largely thank a nude calendar for making it happen. Residents of Leader, a small rural town, stripped down and bared all in a calendar back in 2007, which played a decisive role in convincing the province to fix the pothole-plagued highway near their community. After the road became so bad that broken axles were commonplace, and residents were still not getting any response from the government, they proposed the calendar as a way to get attention, the CBC reported. Eleven men and one woman posed for the calendar, which brought heavy media attention, which is what they believe convinced officials to take action.