The following letter was addressed to Greg Kerr MP. Mr. Kerr is the Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veteran Affairs. The author is Debbie Lowther, the wife of Jim Lowther who, along with David MacLeod, Mr. Rob Anders MP insulted following a meeting of the Standing Committee of Veteran Affairs and Veteran Emergency Transition Services (V.E.T.S.) a volunteer organization that assists homeless veterans.
Dear Mr. Kerr
My name is Debbie Lowther and I am the Secretary/Treasurer of V.E.T.S. I am also a concerned tax payer and the proud spouse of a decorated military veteran; it is in that capacity that I am writing to you.
My husband served this country proudly and honourably for 15 years as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces. Sadly, his military career was cut short due to injuries sustained while serving but he has never really stopped serving his country. He continues to serve his country in a different capacity…by helping his fellow veterans who have fallen through the cracks, lost their way or however you choose to word it. I’m talking about homeless or at risk veterans. Two words that should never be in the same sentence, by the way…homeless and veteran.
Jim spends countless hours on the streets looking for his brothers and sisters who may need some help. He offers help to any veteran that needs it or who is willing to accept it. And he does this without judgement; he doesn’t care how a veteran may have ended up on the street, he only cares about helping them get off the street. He spends his time (and money) taking veterans to Veterans Affairs or to medical appointments, sitting with them in the hospital to ensure they receive proper care or just having coffee and listening to them. He does all of this and then comes home and says he feels he should be doing more.
Jim is the most compassionate, selfless and giving person anyone would ever hope to meet, so to hear someone speaking about him in the manner in which Mr. Anders did is utterly offensive. As if it wasn’t bad enough that he fell asleep in a meeting regarding an important issue; a meeting he was paid by tax payers to attend, he goes on the attack when confronted about it. Mr. Anders could have simply apologized for his little catnap and it would have been forgotten. But, clearly he lacks the integrity to be the type of man who accepts responsibility for his own actions. He chose, instead, to verbally assault Jim as well as David MacLeod and Roland Lawless, other veterans in attendance.
A Vladimir Putin supporter?? I’ve never heard anything so ludacris in my life. In actual fact Putin’s name wasn’t even mentioned at this meeting. During the course of David’s presentation he mentioned a facility that the Russians established to support their veterans returning from Afghanistan. The point being that even the Russians take better care of their veterans than the Canadian government does. Perhaps during Mr. Anders nap he was having a dream about Putin?? Maybe that’s where that came from?
An NDP hack? In the pocket of Peter Stoffer?? Again, ridiculous slanderous accusations! Jim is a card carrying conservative but has often said he would “kiss every ass in Halifax if it meant getting a veteran off the street”. He doesn’t care if those asses are red, orange or blue! Jim was praising Peter Stoffer? Of course he was! Peter has done more for veterans than any other member of the Canadian government. Peter genuinely cares for our veterans and he would get the praise, gratitude and respect of those veterans regardless of what party he represents. Mr. Anders could certainly learn a lot from Peter!
Something that didn’t make the papers, that further demonstrates Mr. Anders lack of respect and professionalism is that an RCMP officer on the cusp of retirement, was also presenting at this meeting. This man cares deeply for his fellow RCMP officers and it showed in his very emotional presentation. Unfortunately, Mr. Anders wouldn’t know that because he slept through it and then couldn’t be bothered to take the reference material provided by the officer. He simply left it on the table as he made his speedy exit. I can tell you that this gentleman was offended, to say the least.
You may be interested to know that Jim was contacted yesterday by a lawyer from Ottawa offering to represent him in suing Mr. Anders for slander. Jim, being the merciful person that he is, declined the offer. The lawyer indicated that the offer remains open should Jim change his mind.
As Jim’s wife, I am offended and outraged by Mr. Anders comments. As a taxpayer, I’m furious that my hard earned tax dollars are paying the salary of someone who has clearly demonstrated his apathy towards the men and women who have given so much for their country. I would like to see my tax dollars pay the salary of someone who would, at the very least, stay awake on the job!
Today, every paper in the country is carrying the story about Mr. Anders’ apology…what apology?? He did not contact Jim or David via telephone, email, text message or even by smoke signals so who did he apologize to? If he thinks issuing a statement, one he was most likely forced to issue, is sufficient then he is more dozey than we all thought! If Jim and David hadn’t been contacted by reporters, they wouldn’t have even been aware of the “apology”.
I believe that Mr. Anders does owe Jim, David MacLeod and Roland Lawless an apology for his behaviour and his remarks. However, this apology needs to be done formally and publicly in the House of Commons. He might also think about apologizing to his fellow committee members. Most importantly, Mr. Anders needs to resign his position on the Veterans Affairs Standing Committee…he’s clearly bored by it and, perhaps, “tired” of veterans issues. Mr. Kerr as the chair of this committee, I believe, it’s up to you to ask for his resignation. If he refuses to offer his resignation the committee should vote to remove him. Of what benefit is he to the committee anyway if he sleeps through the meetings?
Thank you for your time, I look forward to your response.