“Since 2004 more Canadian Soldiers died from suicide than Combat.” This is just one of the shocking and attention-grabbing phrases and images the Canadian Veterans Anything But Conservatives Campaign 2015 is using to give voice to their cause. The campaign is advocating for a change in government.
The “Anything But Conservatives” (ABC) phrase, coined by premier of Newfoundland and Labrador Danny Williams, was first adopted by Veteran Ronald Clark, a prominent member of the ABC Campaign, after the Harper Government closed nine Department of Veterans Affairs district offices in 2013.
“While this was happening a group of grassroots veteran’s advocates that meet once a week to discuss veterans’ issues decided that it was time to bring veterans issues into the federal election. With that, we formed a group call Canadian Veterans ABC Campaign 2015. And after talking with Veteran Ronald Clarke he decided to join ranks with us,” said Tom Beaver the National Chairperson of the ABC Campaign.
Beaver, a former member of the army, serving as a peacekeeper in the 1990s, and his group assert the current government has done little to provide proper support and benefits to veterans.
“Many veterans’ advocates have tried to work with this conservative government without luck. I feel like this government has tunnel vision and has their own plan but does not want to share this plan or work with anyone that has a suggestion. Just ask Mr. Fantino,” stated Beaver.
The group has a network across the country of hundreds of volunteers who help a board of twelve directors arrange the campaign. ABC campaigners do everything from picket at campaign events and post signs to battle ministers on live radio shows making several media appearances.
Beaver maintains that the group only publishes material that is fact-checked and from reliable sources. Saying to any critics “anything we print can be followed up by anybody.”
And naturally the group has attracted critics including the “Veterans for the Conservative Party,” a group created in reaction to the ABC. The “Veterans for the Conservative Party” leaders have accused ABC of twisting facts and assure the public that veterans are receiving care under the current government.
“As for the accusations that we twist the facts sorry but you can google any page or write up we post and find it. The research has been done, these thing just drive them nuts because they cannot understand how we are moving forward. And if Mr. Humphrey [founder of Veterans for the Conservative Party] believes that veterans are receiving great care under this government he is way out of touch with veteran’s issues Just open a paper, turn on your TV and you will see,” said Beaver.
According to Beaver, the campaign isn’t representing any political party.
“There are the people asking why we are attacking the Conservative government and not the others. Simple, the Conservatives are in power why would we approach the NDP or Liberals there is nothing they can do for us now,” noted Beaver.