A group of veterans who advocate for cannabinoid therapy were shut out of a Fredericton Legion hall meeting on Monday. Marijuana for Trauma wanted to talk to either Prime Minister Stephen Harper or Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole about the holistic treatment, as well as issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder and other health consequences a lot of Veterans face since returning from war. However, the group was unable to break the line of the Conservative security staff, who had denied them access.
Meanwhile, inside the Legion hall rented by the Conservative Party of Canada, veterans who had been pre-approved under the party’s campaign-stop policies listened to Harper make promises about veterans and the military.
Michael Blais, who runs the organization Canadian Veterans Advocacy, said that divisions among veterans have increased in the last few years. He said whenever he speaks out against a policy or criticizes the government there is a contingent of Tory supporters that go after him.
“They’re usually veterans, some are serving. They feel I’m too harsh on the Conservatives,” Blais said. “I feel it’s not the Conservatives [who are responsible], it’s the government, and the government must be held to account.”
According to Andrew Leslie, a retired general and the Liberal candidate for the Ottawa riding of Orléans, Harper has “under-spent” on Veterans Affairs by more than $1 billion since 2006. He considers it a, “decade of deceit.”