FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Red Fridays Foundation of Canada
June 20, 2007 (11:00AM -5 GST)
On the eve of the funeral for yet another Canadian Armed Forces Trooper that died in Afghanistan, comes a controversy of should city of Toronto emergency vehicles bare the support the troops ribbon. Support for our men and woman serving our country was heightened with the mission in Afghanistan. It has been long over due. Bearing a yellow ribbon or other Support the Troops ribbons does not necessarily show support for war. As stated by Mayor Miller that war in Afghanistan is full of controversy. In my opinion, any war is full of controversy. This support that is in question should not be partisan to anyone supporting war specifically or against any one person.
When the world asks for help in rebuilding and peace-keeping, it is without any doubt that Canada stands in the foreground of NATO. We are the best. The world knows that. Serving in this capacity does place all men and women in a mission or theatre of war in harms way. To symbolize that as citizens we support our serving men and woman should never be cross referenced to an act of war. Our Canadians that are serving in Afghanistan are there by the decision of the federal government. I can assure that Mayor Millers’ positioning on that very support either for or against will not change the fact that our brothers, sisters, dads, moms etc. took orders from their superiors and went to Afghanistan bearing the Canadian flag and placed themselves in harms way.
Red Fridays foundation of Canada has always been non partisan to any positioning of military missions, political parties or policies. It is essential to demonstrate to the general public that supporting our troops is supporting our country, our freedoms, our liberties, our multicultural society and the very essence of what our country stands for and that is peace. People who believe that supporting our troops is supporting war or a particular mission should reexamine their lives here in Canada and be a little more thankful.
I am safe to assume that the majority of the public at large does not support war in general. I myself don’t support war either. I support the efforts of this nation to procure peace. Sometimes in that procurement, we have to fight for democracy and peace. In 1945 D-Day, 160,000 plus men and woman lay down their lives to procure peace in the world. My family was a directly affected by the efforts of Canadians who came to liberate the Dutch as well as my family from the Netherlands where they were in the clutches of the SS Army. Les we forget.
In November of 2006, during the election campaign in Toronto, I personally gave to Mayor Miller a lapel pin of the Red Fridays support ribbon. I also gave one to Jane Pitfield the running candidate for the mayoral position. On Remembrance Day, Jane Pitfield wore the pin and also wrote a letter of gratitude and honour to the efforts of red Fridays Foundation. The Mayor did not wear his nor did I get a letter of any acknowledgement. This lack of interest in supporting our troops is not new; during a Red Friday Rally at Dundas Square were the Mayor did not patronage the efforts of the Red Friday supporters who congregated in this city to show their support. I would also mention the media paid very little support to the rally as well.
The point of our objection to the Mayor’s ambition to remove the decal stating it does not belong on City vehicles, is quite the opposite for Red Fridays Foundation of Canada. These decals belong more so on emergency vehicles than any other. The operators of these emergency vehicles know and understand the job condition of placing themselves in harms way. In a sense there is a brotherhood between emergency personnel and the military, both are serving our public.
I urge the Mayor as well as the council members to put aside their personal feelings about Afghanistan and look at this from a perspective of non partisanship. The ribbons are to honour our Canadian Forces men and woman serving Canada world wide. Afghanistan is only one theatre of over 20 currently in action. If our tax dollar of a few thousand dollars can be used to show the unity of this city, this country to offer a visible support for our troops, I can say that is money well spent. In contrast to tax dollars being spent that truly deserves the attention and guardianship of our council members. There are plenty of Moms, Dads, Brothers and Sisters, Nephews and Nieces, that have a loved one serving our country. They live day to day knowing their loved ones are in harms way or can be called at any time to be in a mission that is dangerous. Labeling the support to one mission, or the media’s hot spot for controversy is hardly fair to these people.
If the Mayor or the City’s Council whishes to remove these ribbons, please publicize the tax dollar amount to remove support for our serving men and woman. I am sure these people would like to know what their net worth is from the City of Toronto.
In conclusion, I have given some thought to having a rally at Nathan Philip’s Square to show our position but one demonstration is not nearly enough. I urge the public to wear Red every Friday and if possible walk through Nathan Philips Square to show our city leaders that we can support our troops without having to take a political position.
We the people of Toronto and around the nation care about our troops and the yellow, camouflage, red and white ribbons will continue to show that we care.
Red Fridays Foundation of Canada.