Thursday, June 25, 2009

Military vets rip up Conservative membership cards

A story from the Comox Valley Record in my hometown of Courtenay in Vancouver Island North, where it seems unrest amongst military veterans over pensions is leading some of them to tear-up their Conservative membership cards.

This is a riding that's home to CFB Comox and many thousands of military retirees, a vote that has traditionally gone Conservative and has often been the margin of difference in some very tight races. So this doesn't bode well for Conservative incumbent John Duncan.

I haven't heard if former MP Catherine Bell will try to take the seat back for the NDP, but I have heard of an interesting name or two expressing interest in running under the Liberal banner.

Also interesting that the reluctant Senator Mike Duffy was in town to raise some cash for the CPC, and try his hand at some weak damage control.

Bill Ouellette ripped up his Conservative Party membership card Monday evening.

He had to use his teeth because the card is plastic, but standing in front of the Best Western Westerly Hotel — where MP John Duncan was holding a fundraising dinner with Senator Mike Duffy — Ouellette tore the card in pieces and ripped up his renewal request as part of a demonstration regarding the debate over the clawback/bridging of military and RCMP pensions.

Other protesters clapped as Ouellette ripped his card, and Gordon Keenan tried to burn his before trying to rip it and stomp on it.

“We’re protesting the clawback of our pension money,” said Ouellette, who was joined by almost 50 people by 6:30 p.m.

Ouellete lost $649 when he turned 65, while some veterans he knows have lost more than $700 and more than $800, he noted.

Since retiring, Ouellette worked for Duncan up until a number of months ago.

“We’ve been ignored,” he said. “We open our mouths and immediately they close their ears and turn off their brains. It’s a kick in the teeth.”


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Ibis said...

Love that: "reluctant senator Mike Duffy". Mind if I use it sometime?

Jeff said...

Please, feel free. :)

sjw said...

You're from Courtney, are you? I lived in that riding (Dodge City) during Mulroney's big sweep in '84. If my memory is correct it went NDP despite his historic win. Mulroney even visited during the campaign.

Jeff said...

I think Bob or Ray Skelly had it for the NDP thru the 80s. John Duncan took it for Reform in 93 I think, and held it through various name changes thru 2006, when he lost to the NDP's Catherine Bell. He went to work in Ottawa in the fisheries ministry I think, and then took it back from Bell last year.

It's long been a swing riding. Layton and Harper were both out during the campaign, and Layton was actually a regular for years between campaigns too. He also papered us with 10%ers.

We went Liberal once during the Trudeau sweep. Very challenging for us.