August 17, 2006
Reservists are serving their country — and risking their livelihoods
Follow the link above to read the full article…
One officer interviewed for this story
returned from a tour in Afghanistan in early 2004 to find that his job
with the Ontario government had been given away. He had tried to extend
his leave by six months to complete his mission, a highly touted
initiative which involved civilian outreach in the villages around
Kabul. But a manager back home who was eager to promote another
employee denied him, and filled the job in his absence. By the time he
got back to pursue the matter, his union membership had lapsed and —
as if to add insult — the army itself decided it no longer required
Many critics point to measures taken in other countries,
saying Canada lags badly. The U.S. has laws forcing employers to
protect the reservists, they noted, while Britain compensates employers
whose workers volunteer for active duty. Australia, too, provides more
than $800 per week to companies who release workers for military
service, and bans discrimination in the workplace against reservists.
Canada, by contrast, has done little more than pass legislation
guaranteeing jobs in the event reservists are called for compulsory
service. Considering that hasn’t happened since the Second World War,
it is something less than a grand gesture. "To my thinking, we have a
moral obligation to these guys," says Bob Bergen, a research fellow
with the Calgary-based Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute.
"We can do better."
"For being global champions of human rights and seekers of justice for all, we are pathetically apathetic in looking after our own."
We practise "Remembrance" once every year for those that gave "of their lives", or "with their lives".
What is needed is more than one thought of appreciation, once per year. We need to protect our soldiers at home while they protect us wherever they may be in the world. It is the very least we can do.