OTTAWA — Veterans advocates say the nasty, personal attacks of the federal election campaign are driving an unprecedented wedge among the country’s community of ex-soldiers, the likes of which haven’t been since the 1920s.
Sean Bruyea, an outspoken critic of both Liberal and Conservative governments, says the aftermath of the First World War was the last time veterans were so politicized and divided.
A group of ex-soldiers, angry about closures of regional veterans offices and fights over benefits, have — since before the Oct. 19 vote was called —waged an “Anyone But Conservatives” campaign to oust the Harper government.
As the election has tightened, “Veterans For The Conservative Party of Canada” have launched a counterattack, claiming to speak on behalf of a “silent majority,” who they say are happy with the way they’ve been treated.
One of the organizers, retired warrant officer Lee Humphrey, says by not offering a specific alternative to the Conservatives, members of the ABC campaign are “cowardly.”
Bruyea says that kind of personal attack has nothing to do with the facts and that questioning the integrity of other veterans is not something that happened even during the brutal political fights of 80 years ago.