World War II veteran Harry Leslie Smith, 92, said his time is coming to an end – but first he has a message – elect a progressive government.
Smith told his story, by video, to a captivated crowd at Broadbent’s progress summit in Ottawa Saturday afternoon. He said he grew up impoverished in England and came to Canada after fighting in World War II.
Smith said his generation built a strong social safety network, created universal healthcare, public pensions, built affordable housing and demanded that education was everyone’s rights, but those things are disappearing under Harper’s watch.
As the article goes onto note Mr. Smith left Britain in 1950. That's five years into the first Labour majority government. Rather than stay and help build the New Jerusalem Mr Smith instead opted to leave for what was, at the time, one of the most capitalistic economies in the world. Among our rulers in those misbegotten days was a certain C.D. Howe. This self-made millionaire ran, while Louis St Laurent presided, over one of the most pro-business governments in all of Canadian history.
For some inexplicable reason Canada after the war was a magnet for immigrants while Britain, again in a puzzling manner, was a land for which the term "brain drain" was originally coined. Mr Smith may talk Left now but he acted Right then. Here is another choice quote:
Harper’s brought back the “dog-eats-dog world” of the 1930’s, said Smith.
It's hard not to sound like a villain when criticizing a veteran and a survivor of the dirty Thirties but as needs must. Does any reasonable person believe, not as a bit of rhetorical exaggeration but as a serious historical argument, that the Canada of 2015 is as "dog-eats-dog-world" as the Canada of say 1935? During the Depression there were scores of desperate young men who killed themselves rather than continue to starve and beg. The government of Newfoundland was so broke it abandoned responsible government and threw itself on the mercy of London. Much of the economy of Saskatchewan was literally blown away in dust storms. The Premier of Ontario recruited university students to act as strike breakers.
Today Newfoundland and Saskatchewan are rolling in it and the idea of an Ontario university student doing anything so practical, or physically demanding, as strike breaking would be regarded as laughable. For all the flaws of modern Canada from a material stand point we are a paradise compared to what came before. Never have people lived so well and for so long. To raise the spectre of past horrors, in order to score cheap political points, in a land of plenty is both absurd and obscene.